I have a core memory from our time working from home with two kids during the pandemic in 2020. Each morning after my own morning work huddle my first-grader would have her own morning huddle. The class would recite a chant that ended with, “I can do hard things!”
My approach to parenting shifted slightly that day.
I embraced that mantra not only for my kids, but for myself. I even have a sticker on my work laptop that reads “I can do hard things” to remind me of the resilience we are all capable of.
My mother passed away last year and that launched me into a mini mid-life crisis. Her death reminded me that nothing in life is guaranteed, so I took time to focus on my bucket list. One thing I did was finally fulfill my long-time dream of owning a hobby beehive.
It was scary. Not only because I was working with BEES but I was starting something new that I knew nothing about. But I let that mantra and the confidence of my little girl play over in my head. I can do this. I can do hard things!
I was pleasantly surprised my children also took an interest in the bees. They even referred to them as our pets! I eventually bought a little bee suit for my daughter to join me in checking on the hive. We talked at length about safety and even had epi pens on hand just in case.
Along this journey I learned some lessons about doing hard things with my children that I want to share.
To instill confidence in both you and your children, try to acquire the right resources. For something like beekeeping, the obvious thing to do is get proper safety gear. If your child is trying biking or skating, get them helmets or proper protection gear. This safety reminds them you are there to protect them – and it may give you a peace of mind as well.
Let Them Lead
Let your child lead the way. Most importantly be sure to always validate their feelings. My favorite lesson in parenting is learning how tough my kids are. I feel so much joy whenever I step aside to let them fail first, learn from their mistakes, then succeed.
Show your support, but don’t overprotect them. This might mean that you must watch them fail. You are wired to want to see your child succeed. Instead, try to change your thinking to wanting them to find joy. My child recently tried something she wasn’t good at, but it brought her such great joy. She worked and worked at it and soon enough she improved and became great at it.
A handful of times my child has said to me these two things:
“Mommy, remember, I can do hard things”
“Mommy, remember YOU can do hard things!”
Push yourself to try hard things. You could start with little things like opening a bottle of champagne with confidence. Or, it could be something as big as running a half marathon.
Maybe you can sit down with your child today and talk about things that scare you, or goals that feel unachievable. Then, form a plan together to overcome your fears and do hard things!