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How to Cope When Your Child Is Struggling

I am interested in health, fitness and healthy eating. I live in the Netherlands.

The moment our children were born, we felt an overwhelming love for them. This feeling continues to this present day.
However, this feeling is not unique to us. It's an instinct every parent possesses.
We feel a deep-seated love for our children. This love is not based on performance or achievement, but only on who they are.

You are as happy as your unhappiest child.

I heard the saying 'you're as happy as your unhappiest child' ages ago. Since then, I have often thought about it because this statement rings so true!

I was at my wife's side when the umbilical cords were cut. Yet sometimes it seems as if we missed a little part. If one of the children isn't doing well, we can feel it in everything we do. For a large part, our state of mind also depends on the state of mind of the child that is hurting
This is another recognizable truth that most parents will acknowledge.

It is not for nothing that you often hear parents say that they would like to take over their children's pain and worries. It is heartbreaking to see that your child is in pain, sick, or unhappy. As a parent, you can feel powerless and want to move the whole world to ensure your child is doing well.

Having children can be a blessing. On the other hand, it can also be a worry.

Unfortunately, many of us have to deal with difficulties during our lives. Everyone will experience setbacks or something that can cause a lot of grief and pain. Children are no exception.
- You want to spare your child the hurt.
- You hope life will always smile them in the face.
- You hope they will be blessed with beautiful moments, meet nice people, do well at school, and get the best opportunities in life.
- You pray that a perfect life will be theirs for the taking.

Unfortunately, the chance that this dream picture becomes true is rather slim.

As long as children are living at home, you can, within certain limits, make sure that they do not lack anything. And you might often have the illusion that you can protect them from the outside world.

Sadly, as adults, we know only too well that someone's well-being does not solely depend on the family in which they were born or the environment in which they grew up. There is so much more to take into account. For instance:

  • your child's genes,
  • the experiences they go through,
  • their intrinsical talents or challenges

If you are lucky as a parent, your child will grow up as a balanced person. A person who is spared physical and mental discomfort—a person who will also be financially and socially successful. If you are lucky, your children will be happy people who, roughly speaking, can lead a comfortable life.

But sometimes it doesn't go like you would have wanted it to. And for whatever reason, your children have issues.

If so, you might feel you have failed, and the children's worries are often yours too.

We have to face it. Life is not always a walk in the park.
We can only influence our children's happiness to a small extent. At best.

We have to keep an eye on our own wellbeing even if our children face challenges in their lives.

So how do you do that?
How do you keep your sanity when your children are not happy?

Find Inner Peace.

Don't think I have the definite answer to that question. Even so, here are some things I found useful.

One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to find inner peace. Because when your child is not feeling well, you will also relive your past pains. Realizing your children aren't well will touch you and hurt you.

As a parent, you don't have all the resilience in the world either. Your little bucket of grief and worry sometimes runs over. Look for support from your partner, sisters, brothers, or friends. Share your fears. Talk about them. Allow yourself those moments when you don't always have the answers of how to cope with everything.

There is a place for your emotions and feelings. When you share them and talk about them, you can regain the energy to be there for your child again.

Know There Will Be Setbacks.

Sooner or later, there will be setbacks. Things will happen that will turn your child's life upside down. Unpleasant events or developments in life will cause your child to become unbalanced, and so on. This is unavoidable. It is part of life.

No matter how annoying it is and how terrible it will be for parents to see that their child is not happy or struggling, it is a setback that your child will have to learn to deal with.

After all, these things in life also enable them to build their character, become stronger, cope with other setbacks in life, etc.

Being able to spare your child the pain can sometimes seem like the best thing you can do, and often, it will be. However, that's not always the case, and you can't always prevent it. Sometimes it's good to let children make their own mistakes and get back on their feet and learn from them.

10-minute Loving kindness meditation

Practice Loving-Kindness Meditation.

This is how it works.

With loving-kindness meditation, you concentrate on the breath and the region of the heart. Next, you think of a person for whom you have strong feelings of warmth and affection (for example, your child). After admitting these feelings of warmth, appreciation, and kindness, you can project these feelings on yourself. You become the object of attention, and you wish this warmth and affection for yourself.

After this first cycle, you extend this feeling to other people. First, to people close to you, like a child, then to people who are a bit further away from you, like a colleague, neighbor, or acquaintance.

And as the last step, but that requires training from the earlier phases, one wishes this loving-kindness to a person with difficulties (such as a conflict).

These are the words I use when I am meditating with loving-kindness:


May I Be Happy

May You Be Happy

May All Living Beings Be Happy

May I Be Safe

May You Be Safe

May All Living Beings Be Safe

May I Be Healthy

May You Be Healthy

May All Living Beings Be Healthy

May I Be At Peace

May You Be At Peace

May All Living Beings Be At Peace

May I Find Forgiveness

May You Find Forgiveness

May All Living Beings Find Forgiveness

May I Live With Ease

May You Live With Ease

May All Living Beings Live With Ease

Example of Surrogate Tapping Meditation with Jessica Ortner

Practice Tapping.

Last but not least, I'll do some surrogate tapping.
Tapping is another name used for EFT. Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT, is a therapeutic intervention technique aimed at desensitization.
EFT is a short and easy to remember method to bring about positive changes in your life.
It is a positive, effective, and quick method to eliminate inhibitions, fears, and other negative emotions in a few minutes.

Who can use EFT?
Adults, children, and professional carers can use EFT. It is suitable for physical and emotional complaints such as anxiety, addictions, and inhibitions.

EFT is almost too simple. It is an elegant, dynamic, painless, and useful process, and the results are lasting, without endless talk and treatments.
I am not an EFT (Tapping) expert, but I have seen it work in my own life.

With Surrogate EFT/Tapping, you can also work on yourself for another person's issue, whether or not they are present.
Surrogate tapping is sometimes misunderstood. People might think: "Oh, I can tap for someone else and fix them." Well, it doesn't work that way.

I believe the real power of Surrogate Tapping is, in the first place, to help us resolve our emotional attachments, stress, anxiety, and being overwhelmed over the situation, person, or challenge.

If you are interested in learning more, I advise you to watch some youtube videos on the subject. I think as far as tapping goes, a video says more than a thousand words.

So if there is a situation you are struggling with, if there is a person you love, you are stressed and worried about, if there is someone you want to help, you may consider one of the techniques I mentioned above. I use them regularly myself.

Would you care to share some of your coping strategies with us? Feel free to add your comments below.


Raymond Philippe (author) from The Netherlands on October 09, 2020:

Thank you Sara. Much appreciated.

SARA from Islamabad on October 09, 2020:

Beautiful thoughts you portray in this article. Thankyou for sharing.

Raymond Philippe (author) from The Netherlands on October 05, 2020:

Thanks for your feedback. I wasn't familiar with tapping either. I learned about it when I was dealing was severe anxiety. I think it might have done me some good.

Raymond Philippe (author) from The Netherlands on October 05, 2020:

Hi Millicent, thank you for your kind words. I wish you a lot of love and kindness. Take care.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 04, 2020:

Most parents do the best they can at the time with their children. Much of what children do as they get older is out of the parent's hands. Yet, good parents will always be concerned. I like your words you shared when meditating. That tapping video was interesting. I was not familiar with Tapping Meditation.

Millicent Okello from Nairobi, Kenya on October 04, 2020:

Hi Raymond.

I love what i have just read in this beautiful article. As much as i may be patiently waiting to have my own kids, I pray it all be a blessing as much as having children can be a blessing andOn the other hand, it can also be a worry.

I am going to practice loving kindness meditation and share the kindness. Thanks.

Raymond Philippe (author) from The Netherlands on October 04, 2020:

Thank you Devika. It is true that children and their parents are often united in joy and sorrow.

Raymond Philippe (author) from The Netherlands on October 04, 2020:

Well, you are in good company as far as clicking on the send button too soon is concerned. lol. I'm glad you are enjoying being a grandparent. That's a wonderful time to cherish.

Raymond Philippe (author) from The Netherlands on October 04, 2020:

Those days of love and worry. That's a pretty good way to describe it. Thank you for your comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 03, 2020:

Raymond Philippe This is an interesting insight to the many struggles children have to cope with as well as parents. Your valuable suggestions make sense are worth considering.

Ann Carr from SW England on October 03, 2020:

Twice! Suffice to say, you made some good points with good advice.


Ann Carr from SW England on October 03, 2020:

I was still writing when it sent itself! I think it was just about ffi

Ann Carr from SW England on October 03, 2020:

Interesting theories here and I can identify with the joys and problems of having children. I had 2 girls and now have 6 grandchildren. I like to think that I pass on what I've learnt, however hard it was, to 1the young ones. I know I enjoy being a grandparent much more than I did being a parent, though much if that was down to cci

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 03, 2020:

This is a wonderful article with so much that is hepful. My grandchildren are now adults, but I remember those days of love and worry depending on what was happening at the time. I think the Surrogate Tapping is wonderful.