THE BLOG

5 Ways I Help My Children Weather the Storm

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Originally appeared on laurendillard.co.

As a family we have faced scary health concerns and all of the accompanying life upheaval. Naturally, parents worry first about protecting the still intact world view of our innocent children in the face of difficult times. How do we keep the darkness of our adult problems from stealing their light?

In the rare quiet moments of mothering small children, I try to answer this weighted question. I contemplate how to guide them through this journey that is our tumultuous life.

While it's tempting to believe I don't have the tools or to feel that grand gestures are the only way, I find that these five simple but powerful actions are the best things I can do for them.

2016-02-01-1454296896-3055477-IMG_4992.jpg

  1. I cover my children in understanding and respect their emotions. I choose at least one point each day to hold or hug both of my children until they let go on their own. It may not seem like much but I see the value in their happiness and contentment throughout the day. It is easy to assume that I know how many snuggles they need but I find we all cope with life more peacefully when I implement this loving habit---letting them make the choice.

  • I shield my eldest as best I can from my burdens while finding some balance with honesty. When my oldest son asks for things that I would like to provide but can't afford I tell him that we're working toward it. I let him know his emotions are valid and tell him that one day soon things will be better. It's true and it allows him to have hope.
  • I teach both boys a few basics of mindful living. They practice yoga and know how to calm with deep breaths. I help them put compassion at the forefront of their minds. Encouraging them to acknowledge what others are feeling. Practicing empathy and giving small tokens of gratitude.
  • I read to them often. Aside from the important act of encouraging literacy, reading together is the perfect way to connect with each other. Our devotion to finding new and exciting books at the library and cuddling together to read them at home is crucial to the happiness of our children.
  • I encourage their expression and the release of emotion through art. They paint and draw and make glue-filled creations. I make it a point to let them create freely more often than not by letting go of that parental tendency to direct and and panic over messes.
  • I cannot immediately change our circumstances. I can't give my children the world today---at least not with material things.

    However, I can do things that are even more powerful, fulfilling their holistic needs.

    I can provide my children with the tools to lead content lives without some common modern conveniences. I can model and bestow upon them all that I know about positive thinking and mindful living.

    I can make sure they know without a doubt that more important than anything we don't have is what we do have:

    Love.

    Lauren Dillard is a crafty, overthinking wife and mother of two boys living in Virginia. She enjoys writing emotional essays about uncomfortable subjects and baking vegan cookies. Lauren is currently working on a book about the intensity of motherhood. You can find her work on The Establishment, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, elephant journal, and her site. Reach out to Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.