The sound of our children crying does all sorts of things to us. One of those things may be that it touches a deep emotional nerve that transports you back to when you were a crying child. You may remember crying and not having anyone (like your parents) respond to you. You may remember crying because someone (like your parents) were trying to teach you a lesson. You may remember crying because you were lonely or sad or hungry or hurt and someone (like your parents) didn’t seem to care. We don’t have to parent our children like our parents parented us. We can choose to continue the good (helpful) points and change the bad (harmful) ones. When our children cry (for whatever reason!), we can respond lovingly and compassionately and gently—even if there is a lesson in the balance. We don’t have to resort to methods and ways that only perpetuate the pain our children may be feeling. An easy way to show that we care when our children are crying is to attempt to comfort them in some way. Hug them, hold them, put our hand on their backs, speak encouraging things to them (like, “It’s going to be okay.”). If they don’t want to be comforted, then we can step back and respect their wishes. We don’t have to fall into the trap of shutting out our children when they are crying or being mean to them because they are acting like children or making them fend for themselves because we feel ill-equipped or inadequate to help them. We may very well be inadequate (I think that’s the big reveal for all of us parents: we aren’t enough for our children—we do need God’s help because we can’t do this by ourselves). But let’s not compound the problem at hand (our child’s meltdown combined with our inadequacies) with more destructive fuel. We need to choose to be something different to our children if we want to heal the child within us that felt neglected and shunned when we were young. We need to treat our own children with the love and compassion that we ourselves needed then that they most certainly need now. This is how we get free and how we grow something better and healthier and stronger than what we came out of.