The first time our baby, Malinda, injured herself was when she fell on the edge of a coffee table. Malinda was just learning to stand. There was a slip and her poor little chin connected with unyielding wood. Malinda's triumphant smile disappeared and the wailing began. I was probably more distressed than she was.
It was hard to see my baby cry. It was hard to remember what Dr. Denmark said-- that children can learn and grow strong through tough times. Since my first baby's coffee table accident, I have learned seven principles of adversity training.
Hi, I’m Madia. I have eleven children and one of the greatest privileges of my life was to know Dr. Leila Denmark. She practiced pediatrics for over 75 years and was my mentor for 32 years.
I can hardly express how much she helped me, both with the children’s medical issues and family life challenges. I would love to share what she taught me with you.
Seven Principles of Adversity Training
1) Recognize a mother's first good instinct.
A mother’s first good instinct is to shield her child from hurt, to comfort, console, and protect. This instinct is absolutely essential to the well-being of children. Children need comfort and protection, especially when they are very young. They need protection from physical, emotional and spiritual danger. I am so baffled by mothers who are meticulously careful about physical safety issues, but seem perfectly willing to expose young children to intense, often frightening and inappropriate media.
2) LIfe is not perfect
We all need to accept the fact that life is full of disappointments, pain, and troubles and parents cannot completely shield their children. Also, it is through bumps and bruises that a toddler learns to walk and children learn to be cautious. We mature through hard times.
It takes wisdom on the part of parents to strike a good balance between protecting children, yet allowing them the leeway to learn from trouble. We must allow a toddler to practice walking, but not at the edge of a cliff. A teenager needs greater privileges as he gains maturity, but enough boundaries to help him stay on a good path while his judgement matures. The wise parent shields her child from harm, but allows him to grow through adversity and face it with courage.