Refusing to Help My Children


I write a lot about pushing my kids—about when to step back and let them do things for themselves.

That’s because I am either pushing them, feel like I should push them, wonder if I should have pushed them, or regret pushing them. It’s dizzying, I know.

This is one of the worst parts of parenting. Should I give in and make things easier for my child or should I push him past his comfort zone? I must decide. And I don’t often have a lot of time in these situations. In the moment, I just want to help him. When do I stop “helping”?

I have to make these decisions too often.

It hurts me. It doesn’t always work. I feel like a horrible mother.

Sometimes, though, it hurts me, it does work, and I feel like a horrible mother.

A horrible mother who did some minor thing right. This time. Some minor thing that may or may not help my child in the future.

I was struggling to write this post when I found something online. I remember seeing this but I had forgotten how powerful it was. I cannot bring enough words together in the right way to describe this. Everything I would have said, could possibly have written, to help you understand, is in this clip.

And so, I will go and leave you to watch this poignant performance.


10 thoughts on “Refusing to Help My Children

    • Yes, this clip makes me cry, too. The one in my post, though, is where I’m at right now and it reduces me to puddles of tears every time I watch it. I can’t even imagine what my role will be when they are grown. It evolves so slowly now. Although…maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it’s like when someone sees your child once a year and says how much he’s grown and you have to step back and realize, yes, he’s taller and his face has lost some of that “little boy” look.

      Liked by 2 people

      • My husband cried when we took our eldest to kindergarten. He said, “Next, she’ll be going off the college.” I remember looking at him like, are you kidding? Time slogs by as a parent, and then wham–you’re watching adults in the world, feeling like you walked through a time warp. Best to be present where you are at (oh, by the way, I’m typing AND doing yoga).

        Liked by 2 people

      • I know… I need to be in the moment way more than I am right now. I’m living in the past and worrying about the future. It’s scary to think I’ll miss these years because of that.

        So happy you are yoga-typing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Parenting is the most difficult and most important job of all and it is one of the few for which there is very little training and no rule book. We make it up as we go. We have to trust in our judgments and not make decisions for fear of what others may think of us, but make them for what we know of ourselves and our children. Every decision we make must be made with the knowledge of our children, their abilities and their needs. We won’t always get it right, but that’s okay. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes, as shown in the clip, it’s okay to “lose it” and express your frustration as a parent, show you are human too.If you only ever show the coping side, children won’t get to see that life and decision-making can be difficult for adults too. It may also give them an opportunity to express what their needs are, and to stretch themselves to try something new that they had been wanting to do, but fear was holding them back.
    I know l made lots of “mistakes” as a parent, but I know I did lots of good things too. My children grew into wonderful adults both because of, and in spite of that; just as Charli said.
    Hang in there, Sarah. Don’t beat yourself up. Breathe, reassess, move on! And most of, look after yourself! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My kids definitely know I’m “only human” and not perfect in any way. I wouldn’t want them to grow up in a “perfect” house anyway. Whatever that means. Thank you, Norah. I’ll try. It’s not easy for me. I always beat myself up — whether it’s because I made the sandwich or because I didn’t. Because I pushed them or because I didn’t. I’m always wondering…

      This scene is perfect. It’s so layered. It shows how many emotions (some) parents go through to make a seemingly simple decision and how many emotions we go through after we’ve made it. It’s gut-wrenching. All of it. The whole process.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely; and you can never know if you made the “right” decision or not, because you are not the only one involved! i think as long as the overall environment is positive and supportive and growth oriented, then a little bit of movement either way is okay.

        Liked by 1 person

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