Now, more than ever, many of us are experiencing times when we are in need of stronger and closer connections with others in our lives. The support of our partners, friends and family can be of great help to us as we go through circumstances in our lives that we wouldn’t have necessarily chosen.

The same holds true for our children. As frequently evidenced in the media lately, they too have so much that they are dealing with these days, especially teenagers, and the level of connection we have with them as parents is so important.

It's hard to see anyone we love struggle with situations that have come up in their lives and it is especially hard as parents to witness our children in pain...we just want to make it all go away for them!

As hard as it might be for us, we have to let go and allow our kids to experience what they are experiencing. I'm not talking about physical injury or pain...this is about their stress, their disappointments, their emotional struggles.

Now it's not to say that we abandon them and let them suffer, far from it. It’s about creating a safe and nurturing environment for them, being compassionate, listening to them, and loving and supporting them unconditionally through their trials, even if the choices that they have made have led them to their woes.

We've all heard the phrase, we learn from our mistakes, and one of the most difficult parts of parenting is to stand on the side lines and let our kids make them.

What sometimes happens is that we, with the very best of intentions, offer unsolicited opinions and advice to our kids believing that we have the answer to solve their dilemma.

From my own experience with two teenagers coupled with the fact that I am a recovering control freak (I'm getting better though! :)), I have humbly learned that it can be very disrespectful as well as debilitating to interfere with our kids predicaments.

Consider the possibility that the message we're sending is that we don't believe in them nor that they have the capability to figure a way through their situation or conflict; or that our common complaint that kids don't take responsibility may come from never having learned how to because we're always jumping in to save the day!

We may have unknowingly created a relationship with our children where they may not feel comfortable or are afraid to come to us and share what’s going on in their world because they don’t want or need another admonishing or ‘know it all’ lecture.

Can we really blame them? We all know what it’s like to be around the friend or co-worker with the know it all syndrome…we may even have one living under our roof!

Sometimes others, including our children, just need an ear to listen to them, words of encouragement and a compassionate hug to feel safe and supported…three simple things that can create closer connections than we could ever imagine!

Author's Bio: 

As an author, speaker and family communication specialist, Jo-Anne Cutler has become a passionate voice for children by building the awareness of what we are teaching them by our example and following her vision to inspire and empower others to be the consciously connected parents, teachers and role models our children need them to be Jo-Anne works with many individuals including parents, teachers, sports coaches, children and teens. Her services are available in person or via Skype or phone. Group or family sessions, as well as seminars are available. Building awareness to create more openings for stress and conflict-free environments for kids to live, learn and play, you can follow Jo-Anne on Twitter, Facebook or subscribe to her free monthly E-Newsletter, or blog by visiting