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I believe that one of the hardest things to do as a parent is to watch your child struggle. It’s a helpless situation to be in, even if you are aware of what will aid her through the challenges that she is facing. More than likely, as a mother, you’re not the person to offer this advice. It probably won’t be heard and will not be seen as beneficial. You’re left with your caring thoughts and hopeful prayers that your child will find her way through… until the next rock that is thrown her way.

My oldest daughter is in first grade. I remember my first grade year. Still learning to read and write, you are also learning the dynamics of friendships while trying to figure out where you fit in. It seems that no matter who you are, what circle you are part of, or what family you belong… you are never out of target when it comes to the mean spirit of other children. It still shocks me how nasty children can be to one another.

As a mom, I know my daughter will face these challenges. I overcame them and I’m probably a better person because of the numerous things I learned during these trying times in my childhood. She is now just entering the many years of broken hearts, back-stabbing “friendships,” and jealousy-driven nastiness. Though I know it’s a part of her growing up and identifying and learning about herself, it doesn’t make it any easier to watch happen. Sometimes the hugs and reassurance that I give just feels inadequate compared to what some strange boy said on the school bus.

Yet, if there was a magic button you could push to assure your child’s popularity, would you push it? I don’t think I would. It may allow for an easier road now, but it’s often the road less traveled that teaches us the most about ourselves, if we can survive it.

There are, however, things that I am doing as a mother to try and help my daughter survive.

In today’s society, children are accessible in more ways than they probably should be. With cell phones and computers, children can’t escape when they need to. Where does a hurt child go to retreat and heal?

And, do children have the same resilience when compared to the generations past? Today, many parents just begin being established in their careers at this time, homes are purchased and need to be maintained, and children are pushed to do more and more or risk getting run over by our society’s hurry to get, well… wherever it is we are going in such a rush?

I am well aware that THIS is the busiest time in my life, and just because my child comes off the school bus not saying a word, it doesn’t mean that something didn’t happen during her day. I need to be vigilant in making time for these special moments where she feels loved and safe enough to open up about her feelings.

I’m hoping that maintaining my home as a media-limited safe haven will help. I also am hoping that I’ve provided my child with some reserve she can draw on in challenging times. Then, all I can do is be present to kiss her boo-boos, refill her reserve when needed, and pray that I’m there again, when ill-spirited words hurt her…