Can I fix my daugh­ter’s bro­ken heart?

Scottish Daily Mail - - EDEN CONFIDENTI­AL -

MOST peo­ple will — if they’ve had chil­dren — recog­nise your pain. Yet they’re also prob­a­bly think­ing what I’m about to say: none of us can pro­tect off­spring from things that go bump in the night. From the mo­ment a small child is wo­ken by night­mares, through times when some­one at school is mean, to exam stress, friend­ship is­sues and love prob­lems, all par­ents can do is be calm and strong.

What we must re­mem­ber is to teach our chil­dren re­silience — the most pre­cious gift any fairy god­mother can be­stow. Mod­ern par­ent­ing has veered to­wards a fussy, ‘health and safety’ cod­dling fam­ily life. But no imag­i­nary high-viz jacket can pro­tect our chil­dren from emo­tional ups and downs.

And just as we need to let them play with­out fret­ting about germs, so we must warn that hurts and dis­ap­point­ments may make them mis­er­able in school, col­lege, work — and love. Bad things will hap­pen, so they need to be fore­warned. They may not be fully fore­armed, but at least they won’t be sur­prised.

You use an old-fash­ioned term about your daugh­ter’s ex: cad. But is he? He be­haved badly and hurt your daugh­ter, but it all sounds quite nor­mal, es­pe­cially when still at col­lege with all the world ahead. The young peo­ple were dat­ing, not en­gaged.

His be­hav­iour makes him some­one who has acted as count­less young (and not so young) men and women have done be­fore — hurt­ing oth­ers. It doesn’t make him a nasty per­son. The guy who charmed your fam­ily is the same one who de­cided he was out of love — nei­ther your judg­ment nor his ac­tions were out of the or­di­nary. And it’s nor­mal for you to de­spise him!

You can do noth­ing — ex­cept as­sure her this will pass. Watch her moods, en­cour­age her to get on with work, life and friend­ships, and per­haps have a quiet, con­fi­den­tial word with her best friend so that you’d be alerted if the bro­ken heart be­came some­thing more se­ri­ous. You could take her Christ­mas shop­ping and maybe splurge on some­thing she wants but can’t af­ford. En­cour­age fun.

Veter­ans like you and me must ac­cept that some dam­age can­not be ‘re­paired’. I love U.S. singer Lucinda Wil­liams. Her track Right In Time con­tains the line: ‘You left your mark on me, it’s per­ma­nent, a tat­too.’ And so it is. Tell your daugh­ter that we brave, strong women learn to wear our ink­ings with pride.

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