Parents in this generation are working hard to acknowledge their kids’ emotions and be understanding when something that might seem silly to us is big in their world.

So, when your daughter is excited to invite her friend to come over and play after school but feels disappointed when her friend can’t come today, you would not say, “Oh come on, it’s no big deal, don’t be a baby and you absolutely cry in public. The only places you can cry are in the bathroom and alone in the car.” Any parent who said those things to their kid would realize that they owe their child an apology.                                                               

However, for many of us this is how we talk to ourselves when we face a disappointment or frustration. We are not allowed to have big feelings. We have to listen to that drill sergeant in our heads and bottle up those feelings until they spew and sometimes, they leave a huge mess in their wake. In order to parent from a place of love and belonging you must start from a place of love and belonging for yourself, imperfectly being patient with yourself as you learn and grow as a human and as a parent.

If you were supposed to have a date night and your spouse had an emergency at work and had to stay it’s ok to feel disappointed and even more so it’s ok for your kids to know that you were looking really forward to your date night tonight and now, it’s not going to happen. This gives you space to be a human with feelings and it normalizes feelings for your kids.  Even moms and dads sometimes feel disappointed or have to change things when they don’t want a change.

It’s also a great opportunity to let your child contribute and support you. They might offer you a hug, a special song or to take a walk, like you do with them when they feel like you do now. They get to practice empathy and see what it is like to process real emotions in a healthy way.

Be kind to yourself like you’re kind to your babies.