Don't take their pain away

potty training raising resilient kids Nov 06, 2021

My son Felix took his driving test last Friday.

 He’s a really confident driver and had a lot of practice.

 We’d taken him to the area of the test centre to practice and we felt he was ready.

He got in the car with the instructor and I sent him off with a thumbs up and a wave.

 I think you know what’s coming.. he came back 30 minutes later and he failed the test on a silly fault.

 Now, most of us know that failing a driving test first time is really common.

Felix knows that too, as lots of his friends have had the same experience.

 What shocked me was his reaction.


 When our child experiences intense disappointment, it is SO easy to want to appease them and try to make it better.

 As I drove him back home he was totally silent and sat glaring out the window. (That's how I knew he was devastated, he doesn't show it in an overtly emotional way)

All I wanted to say was:

‘Never mind, you just need to take it again’
‘It’s not the end of the world, it’s only a driving test’
‘Dad failed his first test’ (I kept quiet about the fact I passed first time 😉)

 You might be thinking – what’s wrong with saying any of those things?

 I don’t know about you, but when I’m really upset about something, I just need to process it first and not have someone try to 'make it better' and kids are the same.

 So all I said was ‘I get it, you really hoped to pass and it feels rotten that you didn’t. You were hoping to share the good news with all your friends’

 Then it took an enormous effort on my part to zip my lip!

 Here’s what I was also thinking as the day wore on and he was still in a foul mood – ‘Just suck it up and get over yourself!’

 I didn’t say that either as I knew that wouldn't go down too well 🤣.

 By the evening, he’d bounced back and was totally fine about it and we had a nice family dinner.

 So here’s the thing – our kids need to experience failure, disappointment, feelings of being left out, anxiety about trying something and risking getting it wrong and more.

 We really mustn’t rescue them and jump in or try to take their pain away, as hard as that is.

That doesn’t mean to say we can’t be totally empathetic. We can help them bounce back but the first thing to do is just empathise.

 Let them have the feelings.

 Imagine your child came home and said ‘My friend Joe wouldn’t play with me today’ and they are really upset about it.

 We want to start to give advice, or we probe:

‘Why don’t you just play with someone else?’
Or ‘Did you boss him around? You know you do that a lot and you’ve got to share’
 Next time this happens, just think about empathising and letting your child have their feelings.

We dig deep into this skill in my course The Tantrum Taming Toolkit’ – click here if you’d like to join the VIP waitlist for next time it’s released. 

Talking of pain, I’ve been doing some posts about potty training this week on instagram. Potty training is something many parents dread or have found terribly stressful.

​Are you thinking of starting or do find yourself delaying it because you can’t face the mess?.

Good news! I have great little video course for you – you’ll want to grab yourself access to it to find out how to make the whole process totally stress-free. Get set for potty training with The Potty Preparation Plan mini course.
You learn:

  • How do prepare your child so that they are excited about learning.
  • How to tell when your child is ready.
  • How to engage them - even if they seem totally disinterested.
  • How to re-start when things have gone wrong.
  • How to make it stress-free so that you all ENJOY the process and it goes quicker than you expected

So if you are a parent who wants a gentle, fast approach to potty training, without tears and frustration, then grab yourself access to The Potty Preparation Plan mini video course. Click here to learn more.

 Here's a testimonial from Harriet who loved the course:

"I completed Camilla's Potty Preparation Plan course before embarking on potty training my son. I had bought everything possible - potties, trainer pants, pants, reward stickers etc - but I just didn't know where to start and was slightly dreading the whole process! This course was just what I needed to give me the confidence to take the next step. I realised that we weren't quite ready and needed to spend a bit more time preparing our son. I'm so pleased that I found Camilla's course when I did since our little boy (aged 2 ½) nailed potty training in a few days once we got him ready!" Harriet Wood, mum of a toddler and a baby.

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