Late nights. Some nights are later than others. Some nights take more out of me than others. Whenever we face a struggle, and we’ve had our fair share, supportive family and friends often remind us that the behavior we are facing is just a symptom of a phase.
Understandably, the word “phase” is meant to bring solace, a reminder, that the issue we are facing will work itself out in the end regardless of or in spite of our parenting efforts.
The thing about a phase is, when it’s something we encounter every day for three months or five times a day for two weeks is that it becomes increasingly challenging to see our experience as finite. After all, what kind of phase we are experiencing here? Will this phase last one month or six years?
Focusing on the the future, and pinning my hopes on when my daughter will grow or mature out of these phases leaves me pining for the future. When will this phase come to an end?
Tonight, as Mike suggested, we start what has now become our routine for looking for ways to respond to parenting challenges, “We can Google it or ask people we know.” While his advice was sound and helpful, I decided instead to hang out on the couch. Instead of focusing on some indistinct point in the future when the proverbial grass will be greener and the challenges I’m facing from my daughter are outgrown, I decided I should remember to have more faith in her.
Yes, some behaviors could benefit from agreed-upon strategies, consistent approaches, and meaningful conversations. But, sometimes some behaviors just require me to have faith in my daughter’s ability to work things out in her own time. Tonight’s challenge was about sleep, or lack thereof (for both her and her parents).
It’s so easy to forget to believe in her – that she means well, that she is doing her best, or that she wants to cooperate but that her actions are mitigated by internal challenges and struggles. Feelings of tiredness, hunger, and her emerging sense of independence, for example, are often impediments to immediate cooperation.
If I can remember to believe that the challenges we are facing are not just part of her finding her way to a solution but valuable experiences in and of themselves, I think I can learn to appreciate living in the tough moments.
So for now, and in this instance, I’m going to set the desire to research “solutions” aside and communicate to her my belief that she can (and will) work through this. I’m going to have faith in her.