When we hold on so tightly to everything, it contributes to our getting pulled around so much when things don’t go our way. We must learn to let go without losing what matters the most. In the context of parenting our children in enlightened ways, when our kids are upset about something (sad or mad or everything in between), it can be easy to feel their feelings so much that we make the situation worse. We have to have a few degrees of separation between ourselves and our children, especially when there are high emotions going on. What matters most in these situations is to be there for our children, to be available for conversation, and to show empathy for them without getting so pulled in that we lose our center. We can’t hold on so tightly to trying to “fix” the situation the way we would have it (or to try to make our children feel better when they really just need to feel what they are feeling) that we lose our own perspective on the matter. When our children are ready, they will come talk to us and/or they will be receptive to our talking to them. The trick here is for us to be patient—kids don’t always want to do what we want them to do when we want them to do it. But they will do it if we give them enough space and freedom to choose when and how they will do it (within reasonable parameters). I’m not even talking about things relating to guidance or consequences (though it applies there, too)—I’m really just talking about when our kids are having a rough time with something and we just want to swoop in there and make them feel better about things. We can’t always do that because our kids simply won’t let us do that. They are older now and aren’t going to crack a smile just because we make a silly face. Their feelings are big and real, and while we may feel their hurt very much, it is important that we figure out a way to give our children their feelings while staying in control of our own.