Dear Ashley,

My daughter had a mean message written about her at school. I tried talking about it with her, but she brushes me off. “Mom, it’s no big deal. I don’t want to talk about it.” I have checked in a couple of times and she insists she’s fine. Do I let it go? Is 3-4 times checking on her enough?

Dear Sweet Mama,

I’m so sorry your daughter experienced cruelty. Let’s take a long, slow breath together and be with the reality of that. The human experience is so painfully uncomfortable sometimes.

You have a beautiful awareness in your wonder about whether or not to let go and your daughter has a mom who is attentive to her feelings, present, available and attuned to her need for space and processing.

I love your question “is it enough?” because you are pausing to discern between your own need and your daughter’s need. I applaud your desire to keep the energy toward your daughter’s experience clear and free of your own fears and feelings.

Because you worry, I may be curious if this experience has brought up feelings you experienced in your past. What about this current experience is familiar to you? Can you identify the current feeling and trace it back to a past memory? Hold that feeling in you with love and compassion, just as you wish to be holding your actual little girl right now. Know that this experience with your daughter is an invitation to integrate an old emotion within yourself. What messages are there for you? Say to this feeling “Oh, I see you. I’m so sorry you experienced that. I see how hard that was for you. It is so understandable you would feel worried you are doing enough now. I’m with you now. You are not alone anymore.” Take what works for you.

You have made yourself available and present to your daughter. That is all that matters in this moment. We meet our kids where they are and if she is not ready to share that is ok. Continue to be a safe and loving space for her with your felt presence. Listen through your presence. Words are not necessary and perhaps she actually is really fine. The way that you pose this question and your daughter’s response gives me the sense that she may have a strong sense of self and that you have provided a container for her to know her own worth.

Perhaps also there are other experiences in the present that are relatable. Perhaps there is an opportunity to share with your daughter something that happened to you or to someone else to normalize that hurt people hurt people and show her is a story that is not about her that you understand what it feels like to be projected upon.

In conscious parenting, our kids are our teachers. What’s your lesson from your little teacher sweet mama?