How To Be A Perfect Parent In Challenging Times

How To Be A Perfect Parent In Challenging Times

So many words have been written about the EU referendum that I really don’t want to add to the noise.

However I can’t ignore how it has affected me and my family, as we’ve been navigating the range of emotions that have been thrown up since Friday.

Beyond my own deep sorrow, I also have two teenage daughters who feel disempowered and let down, compounding the stress they are currently feeling with relentless academic programmes. They are both bright and hardworking, but in their striving to do the very best they can, somehow end up feeling they are always behind, that there’s always more to do, that expectations are high (despite my futile attempts to reassure and soothe)..and that generally life isn’t very fair.

Even the presence of our little 8 year old Belarusian visitor, who has experienced first hand the terrible environmental, health, social and economic consequences of the Chernobyl disaster a full 30 years ago, does not give a perspective shift; instead it reinforces the pattern of the young being powerless and falling victim to the stupidity and mistakes of older generations.

So what can I do in the face of this?

Well, it would be patronising and belittling to brush over the depth of emotion with a brusque and bright “well there’s nothing we can do now, we just have to make the best of it”. We are not wrong to experience what we are feeling, and with compassion, empathy and love (and being able to talk about it without feeling judged) it will pass.

It will evolve into quiet determination, resolve to do what we can do, resourcefulness to find a way and to be the kind of human beings we hope other human beings would want to be too.

But we can’t ‘make’ other people, or circumstances be different. It can be so hard to let go of what we can’t control (and the indignation, anger and frustration that it’s not how it ‘should’ be) but doing so allows us to put our heart, soul and energy into the one thing we can control – how we show up in the world ourselves.

So really all I can do is try show my daughters how I deal with my own sorrow, stresses, disappointment and anger and move to a place of compassion and resourcefulness instead of resentment and blame.

I don’t claim to be perfect in this, but they learn from how I am and what I do – not what I say!!

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