The Husband or I will find ourselves saying to one of the boys (because the princess is too little yet), "Whatever it is, we can work it out." The "whatever" is different based on ages and stages but they all need to hear this from us.
Children need to know that we are in their corner and always will be. They do not have to walk alone. Sometimes they might choose to walk alone for a while, to be independent and make their own choices. But, when they are done flying solo, or when they get into a tight spot or even feel a little bit (or a lot) overwhelmed or afraid, we will be there...to hold their hand, hug them, listen or sit silently beside them.
Here's the thing: it is my job as a mom to do this. I know it in every fiber of my being, BUT it can be so very hard. We can't always control their choices, we can't always convince them it will be okay, we can't always fix the problem. Sometimes no matter how much they need us there, they really would rather we not be there at all. It is difficult and painful and sometimes just plain overwhelming.
Sometimes the issues are huge to them and to me, not so much. For instance, my 7 yo *E* had some overdue books at the school library. I reminded him daily to return them and this morning I emailed his teacher to ask her to remind him. Well, apparently he was dragging his feet because the books had an unfortunate relationship with a nasty black banana at the bottom of his backpack (I knew about said incident, cleaned off the books (I tried, at least) and admonished him loudly and sternly to "Never, never EVER" bring home a school lunch banana).
So today he will be bringing home a "Damaged Book" form and I will tell him we will take care of it (and this is why we should never ever put bananas in our backpacks) but more importantly I will tell him that no matter what he is worried about, he can talk to us and between daddy and I, "We can work it out." We can't turn back time, the book is damaged and there is the consequence of us paying for the book.
There are often consequences to our choices and actions, some will be more painful than others and some we can "fix" and others where we can only be present to support through the resulting troubles. Just like the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32...we will welcome them home no matter what and rejoice that they have returned, even if they have lost their inheritance and made poor choices. (My kids aren't looking at any inheritance, no worries there. ;) )
This story also reminds me that God, The Father, the ultimate parent, always welcomes me home, no matter what I have messed up, squandered or failed to do. No matter what the situation, God tells me, just as I tell my kids, "We can work it out."