Why You Should Let Your Kids Suffer

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I just re-wrote an entire post because I thought I didn't write it yet. Then I scheduled it and there I saw the first one I wrote! It's a good thing I like writing! Okay, what's going on today? What do you think of today's title? We need to let our kids suffer, you guys. I'll tell you why.

Let me back up a bit and tell you about when I first came across this concept. I was listening to one of Brooke's podcasts and she was talking about how she wanted the best for her kids and how she was basically trying to control everything in their environment to be supportive of her kids.

I have totally done this. I've tried to make sure everything was fair. No fighting. Everyone has a friend. Everyone wins, everyone gets a prize. Because I know what happens in the alternative.

Someone is going to be sad. Someone is going to throw a fit. It's easier to just let everyone win.

I remember in that podcast, Brooke said her coach told her, "It sounds like you don't think your kids should have to suffer." Brooke's first thought was no, they shouldn't have to suffer. That's what I thought too, but here's where we were wrong.

Life isn't fair.

As much as I was trying to create an atmosphere of fairness, I was still always shouting that "Life isn't fair, so deal with it!" It's kind of embarrassing to admit.

We all know that life isn't fair, and yet we do this to our kids. We think it's because we love them and we want only the best for them. But is it really? I found I was doing it because I was trying to avoid any negative feelings on their part and my part.

But it didn't work. Life isn't fair, and it's a good thing. It's good because if life was fair, we might not have clean drinking water. We might not have a house to call home.

As adults, we can understand this. But how do we explain this to our kids? I think just allowing them to feel the emotions that come up when they feel left out or whatever is not fair in their world. Let them know that it's okay to feel those negative emotions. This will make them stronger emotionally.

Emotions are part of life.

Our kids need to know that emotions are part of life. ALL EMOTIONS. The good and the bad. But we also need to teach them how to feel their emotions.

Feeling anger at someone for taking a toy doesn't mean we scream and yell and hit and throw things. That is reacting to the anger. Feeling the anger is sitting and describing the emotion as it feels in the body.

This is not an easy task, but it is an important one.

Half of them will be negative.

There is such a misconception that our kids need to be happy all. the. time. But if we are happy all the time, happy looses its happiness. Then you need MORE to feel happy. You have to go through that discontent before you can feel happy again. 

Isn't this amazing? We need the good and the bad. We need that contrast of emotions. Even just knowing that half the emotions your kids will experience will be negative, you can relax.

So many times I have had a child throw a fit Sunday morning before we are even out the door for church. And I hear myself saying, 'Well, at least we got that out of the way.' We understand this innately, but we need to really get it.

Half of the emotions will be negative, and that's okay. So when your child is feeling a negative emotion remind them that it’s normal. That these negative feelings are what allow us to feel happy and excited.

Let them suffer

Let them suffer, but show them how. Let them know you will always be here for them. You will always support them.

Let them suffer because they will be stronger because of it. They will learn to be emotional adults at a young age, and life will go so much better for them.

They will learn to feel their emotions instead of buffering with things like gaming or eating or wanting to be alone all the time.

See the good in suffering, and it's not suffering anymore.