Life is tough. It’s a hard lesson that everyone learns at some point, usually at an age younger than we’d really like to force it on our sweet, innocent littles.

That seems to be truer than ever these days with coronavirus dampening spirits and social lives all over the globe. What makes it even harder is that, especially in the States, no two people are assessing risk and acting accordingly in the exact same way.

Which means that saying things like “I don’t care what so-and-so is doing, I’m not so-and-sos mom!” are making a comeback in a big, unpleasant way.

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What are you saying to your kids if you and your family are taking a more cautious approach to breaking quarantine, while their friends are getting together and enjoying their summers? How are you talking to them about why, and are they understanding?

There’s a good chance you’re hearing big sighs, and that they’re the “only one” stuck at home.

You know this isn’t true. You know there are other parents following the strict safety regulations just like there will be other kids who aren’t allowed to date until a certain age, can’t ride in a car with a new driver, can’t go to that party where no parents will be home…but that doesn’t make it any easier.

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It’s hard, too, because we the parents also want to go and see our friends. We want to leave you kids home with sitters and have dinner out, we want to go to the movies. We want to get YOU out of the house, because it makes all of us happier.

Here’s the thing, though – we have to remember it’s a good lesson to learn. We all have to make the best decisions for ourselves and our families, even when it’s hard. We have to learn how to say no to things that make us uncomfortable, even if the cool kids are going.

If they don’t like you because of it, they were never really your friends to begin with, right?

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The best you can do is explain the reasons for your decisions, give them relevant reading material that’s age appropriate, and promise that things will get better.

They can understand, even if they don’t like it. They can follow the rules even if they don’t want to.

It’s just one of many steps to becoming an adult, and in the end, teaching them how to do that is your most important job.