Mama Bear Protects her Cub

Mama Bear Protects her Cub

I planned to write about something different today, but as has happened before, life had another idea.

This morning my daughter got her feelings hurt.  Today is a holiday, so instead of Sydney being at school, she was home with me when the offense occurred.

Without going into too many details, the short version is this: Sydney made some plans to spend the day with a friend. Before the appointed time her friend face timed and said that she was actually with another girl for the day. Sydney was very hurt and upset by this.  After she and I talked, and I had consoled her as best I could, we went out for lunch. While we were out, we received a phone call saying that her friend had been kidding and she was at our house to pick Sydney up.

I try really hard to stay out of my kids social lives.  I understand that the bumps and bruises of school life is how they learn and grow.  Sometimes (ok, most of the time) we have to learn the hard way.  I have realized over the years that I can try to warn my kids all I want, but until they experience it themselves they don’t get it. It is just the way life is.  We learn by doing.

This situation hit me though.  I felt sad.  And it isn’t for the reason you might think.  I understand that Sydney’s friend was misguided, but not mean spirited.  Once she realized the affect of her joke, she apologized profusely, over and over.  She even apologized to me.  All is forgiven.  Truly.

The part that upset me is watching my daughter repeat a pattern from my own life.  

You see, Sydney and I are trusting people.  We believe what people tell us and don’t understand when we find out that what they have said is not true.  We see the best in people and it rarely occurs to us that people are kidding or worse, have bad intentions.

What happened to me, and that now I fear for my daughter, is that this trust gets misused and then she changes who she is to try to protect herself.  As I went thru my teen years into my twenties and thirties, I took some hard knocks.  I was too gullible, too honest, too trusting.   I got hurt and the only way I knew to keep it from happening again was to go the complete opposite direction.

I spent a long time being extremely wary of everyone and everything.  I assumed the worst about people. I expected bad things to happen and I didn’t believe in the good.  I closed myself down and made my life small.  I dealt only with very small circles of people.  I believed that life was dangerous and unsafe.

If you know me, or have been reading here for a while, I am sure you are thinking that doesn’t sound like me at all. And it isn’t—anymore.  The work that I have done has brought me back to my trusting place. I clearly saw that cutting myself off from the bad had also cut me off from the good. I realized that I wasn’t truly living, I was only existing.

I have chosen to trust again.  And this time around I trust myself too.  I know that if I listen to my intuition, those feelings I get in my gut, that I can tell very easily when someone is not to be trusted or a collaboration is not going to work out. I know how to steer clear of situations where I might get taken advantage of.

Do I get it right every time?  No way.  But I can always look back at the red flags that I ignored.  The ways I tried to talk myself into it being ok.  My gut always knows, but only when I take the time to listen.

Having lived both ways, I can tell you that the open, loving, trusting way is the only way I ever want to live.  Because I believe in the good, that is usually what I find.  Because I want to see positive, positive presents itself.  When experts say that our thoughts make our reality, this is what they mean.  You will find what you expect to find. I choose the good. 

I know that Sydney has her own journey to make.  Her hard knocks may result in her shutting down for a portion of her life the same way I did.  I can only hope that my example will keep her from losing too many years to it.  And even if she does, this Mama Bear will still love and support her with all of my might.

Watching our kids make the same mistakes that we did can be excruciating.  But it falls into the category of things that we cannot control.  The only thing we can control is how we handle it. If you need some help in figuring out how to manage when your kids start making their own choices, I can help.  This is one of the many things that I work on with my coaching clients.

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One Response to Mama Bear Protects her Cub

  1. Lois Mariano says:

    Your post really got to me – as a fellow Mama Bear. Those pre-teen and teen years are so tough as the kids try different ways to get what they need – and now they have all these new tools like Facetime, Facebook, Instagram, Texting, etc. Gives them no time to even think about consequences, including hurting other people. Maybe because I’m one of the youngest of seven in a family with love but also sarcasm and tales of teenage relationships, a yellow flag went up for me when that friend said she was just kidding – but not until long after the Facetime itself. Hmmm…Your daughter will indeed chart her own course and decide how open or closed she needs to be. Hopefully she’ll hone her instincts without having to really shut down much or deny that sunny personality of hers. I applaud you for not getting directly involved – so many parents continue to intervene through college even. I do think that being optimistic leads to the best outcomes.

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