Truth #3: “I am here for you.”
Imagine that you messed up, badly, in some way. You made a mistake. You failed at something, and are suffering the consequences. To make it worse, in the process you disappointed someone you care about. And now you feel awful.
Now imagine that instead of pulling away from you, that particular someone comes alongside you instead. Perhaps that person gives you a big hug, and says, “It’s okay, we’ll figure it out, we’ll get through this.” Even as you walk through the consequences, you see them walking beside you. Imagine the relief. The security of that. You would feel I messed up, but they are here for me, and will help me through it.
That is exactly how your son feels when you show your love to him when he gets the bad grade – even if it is because he did too much football and not enough studying. You don’t remove the consequences in any way (it is important that he experience those!) but you prove to him: I love you and am here for you even when you mess up. Yes you have to sit out this football game because you didn’t make the grade cutoff, but we will work with you the next two weeks to be sure your grades improve. I will stay up late with you, quizzing you, as needed. Or for your younger child: you forgot to turn in that big project, and you need to go apologize to the teacher and ask for grace on the grade… but I will walk with you into the classroom and stand beside you as you talk to her.
Because here’s the reality: our kids will mess up. Both because everyone messes up at times, and because there are simply things that are stacked against our boys. Don’t get me wrong: we can never, ever use difficult circumstances as an excuse. Our boys must grow into strong, confident, overcoming men who are able to change the world. But in order to do that, they need to know that someone is there for them, believes in them, and appreciates them, no matter what.
Want more about how to reach your kids? Check out For Parents Only (based on research with thousands of teens and pre-teens) today!
Helping people thrive in life and relationships is Shaunti Feldhahn’s driving passion, supported by her research projects and writing. After starting out with a Harvard graduate degree and experience on Wall Street, her life took an unexpected shift into relationship research. She now is a popular speaker around the world and the author of best-selling books about men, women, and relationships. (Including For Women Only, For Men Only, and the groundbreaking The Good News About Marriage).
Her newest book, The Kindness Challenge, demonstrates that kindness is the answer to almost every life problem, and is sparking a much-needed movement of kindness across the country. Visit www.shaunti.com for more.