Life can be extra challenging when you are healing from chronic illness, struggling with anxiety or depression and being “wired differently.” I am so grateful that many schools provide a lot of #accommodations for our children. We, the moms, also try to make our child’s life a bit more comfortable because every day we see them challenged more than others, and also we want to feel a little less pain ourselves.
However, sometimes we are so prone to creating more comfort, that we forget the benefit of learning Discomfort. Truth is, there’s real benefit in learning acceptance and even radical acceptance. This is a story of how my own teenage daughter practiced radical acceptance and pushed through a very dark period. I share it with you because I think a lot of moms with teenagers can relate.
Recently, my daughter was in a very dark place. She fell behind in school due to a significant PANS / PANDAS flare. While the school was providing accommodations, her science teacher would not budge. She asked for an exemption from the remaining assessment, and her teacher was a hard NO. Thus, my daughter entered the second semester with the dreaded “incomplete” and grew further behind. There is something about this teacher that made my daughter hate his class. She avoided it and only grew further behind. This led to a spiraling decline in her mental health. She also became more debilitated with every passing day. The mental anguish worsened her physical condition and the only thing that would make her feel better was that “exemption” from the last few units.
The school situation dragged on for weeks and hung over her like a huge dark cloud. We requested medical letters from her doctors. They ignored us. She asked me to talk to the head of the special ed department. I did. No luck. She asked for a letter from her psychiatrist requesting an exemption for medical reasons. And this is when WE STOPPED.
Her psychiatrist told her no, she would not do it. WHY? Because she explained to my daughter that the school gave her several options including extending the deadline, working with a
tutor, breaking up the test into pieces. None of these pleased my child. What we really needed was not a letter for support, but an exercise in Acceptance.
My child was mad and angry. In preparing for her test, she also met with her therapist a few times to work through the acceptance process. She ended up scoring a 93%. She was done and she finally felt liberated. Turns out, she had been in control of her own fate the entire time.
This was a lesson in #Acceptance. It was ugly and dark and painful for my child and it was extra painful for me to watch her mental and physical decline. But I did understand from a higher perspective that this is exactly what my daughter needed at this time in her life – the experience of Radical Acceptance.
Sometimes in life we need to accept that there is no “work around.” We must accept the current situation and when we do, the clouds lift. Acceptance is 90% of the work and I talk about this in a podcast episode. Shortly after my daughter’s grade was posted she had more energy and more joy. She even traveled with us to Florida. Her energy was back!
I know sometimes we get clouded ourselves because our kids have been through A LOT of pain and illness. We strive to make them feel more comfortable. But one of the greatest lessons in life is handling discomfort and we cannot rob them of this important lesson. Is there a lesson of acceptance that you can teach your own child today?
Liza Blas is a speaker, coach and the host of the Very Happy Stories podcast. She brings hope, empowerment, and validation to parents raising kids with unique challenges. Liza delivers inspiring stories and shares her best practices through her podcast, speaking engagements, and personal transformational coaching. In need of an empowerment bootcamp, learn more about Liza's digital course.