It’s the natural effect of going through tough things: experiencing a hardening of heart. It’s how we protect our emotional selves. We become calloused. It’s all too easy to allow the hard shell to turn into a way of life for us and the default fashion we interact with others. When it comes to our children, one thing that helps more than having all the strategies in your bag is to keep your heart tender. To keep listening to them. To keep treating them with kindness and empathy and generosity. When we allow our hearts to become hardened by all the hardship and disappointment that we are bound to encounter on our parenting road, then we are giving up the one thing that can keep things open in the child-parent relationship when all else fails. Tenderness of heart keeps it all afloat.