Do You Have to Be Only as Happy as Your Least Happy Child?

How happy are you?

Maintaining a peaceful state of mind when your children are struggling is one of the greatest parenting tests of all––and it ain’t easy.

At the end of the day, we just want our children to be happy, safe, healthy, and comfortable in their skin. But that’s not how life works—the ebbs and flows are part of the journey. When our kids are suffering, mom and/or dad tend to absorb the issue at hand––as if it happened to them.

This is all part of parenting.

As much as my children are learning to navigate their challenges, I’m learning how to steer them in the right direction without taking myself off course.

I need to remember that I’m the commander of my emotions, and I have a choice to let my children’s disturbances pull me down with them or allow myself to stay afloat­––despite their struggles. Lately, I’ve been trying to choose the latter.

Back in September, when my daughter, Taylor, was having a difficult time at the start of college, I received a lot of tearful phone calls. It was hard—for her––and for me. I was upset that she was upset. My husband was upset that I was upset. My sixteen-year-old son was upset that we were upset. At one point, Taylor was so miserable that I threw my back out from all the stress. The entire family absorbed her negative frequency, which only exacerbated the situation.

Thankfully, Taylor found a way to rise above her circumstances, and eventually, her social life took a turn for the better. As of lately, she’s been traveling on her own spiritual path, working to improve her mental state and the lens through which she views the world.

Taylor and I read many New Age books and listen to a lot of podcasts on the subject. We also spend a great deal of time discussing the importance of learning how to raise your vibration to attract and manifest positive experiences. I’m proud of the work she’s been doing on herself, and she even started an Instagram account called “Staying Spiritual” to help other people.

Despite how much Taylor is evolving, I still get those sad phone calls every now and then. But I’ve recently discovered a new, healthier approach to helping her: I listen, and then I tell her that I love her and I’m sorry she’s not doing well. If my words aren’t helping her feel better, I get off the phone and send her lots of love in my mind.

The minute we allow someone else’s words or actions to make us feel bad, we’ve given them that power—and we’ve lost control of our feel-good state.

Having feelings are what makes us human. If we didn’t show any emotion, we might as well be robots. When something disturbing happens in our lives, we need to experience the pain, acknowledge it, and then tell ourselves to release it. Sometimes, I’ll try repeating mantras, such as, “It’s all going to work out” or “Everything is going to be fine.” Sooner or later, the negativity will pass, and it typically happens when I’m no longer focused on it.

There’s another important step, and a challenging one indeed, to helping your children––and yourself––when they’re unhappy. It’s to send everyone who is distressed loving thoughts, especially to the person who is exhibiting cruel behavior. Even though you may have a secret fantasy of punching a bully in the face, loving them in your mind is a much more spiritually evolved response than spewing anger and hate their way.

“People who love themselves don’t hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer.” ––Dan Pearce

To be able to send love to someone who is deliberately hurting another person is what I consider a type of soul cleansing. It’s a way of clearing your energetic darkness and opening your channel to allow the light to shine through. Soften your heart and imagine wrapping love around every single person, from your offspring to the a-hole, who is suffering.

And that, my friend, is how to remain centered and peaceful when your least happy child isn’t doing well.

About Lori Gurtman
Lori Gurtman is an author living in Aspen, Colorado.

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