There has been something brewing at home lately. It is a problem that has snowballed and I was hit smack dab in the face with it. Everyone and everything was doing well. All parts of the whole helping out at home, school, and activities. Life was happily moving along and then BRAKES! We were jolted to a sudden and unexpected stop. Then what? Frustrations ran on overload. Emotions spilled out. There was yelling to hurry up. There was screaming that it’s not fair. There was pleading for the love of God please just put on clothes. And there was crying that another inch cannot be moved. By nature, I know I am a patient person that is until I have someone screeching at the top of their lungs, “Stop yelling at me! You are so bossy!” or I hear, “Why do you keep bringing this up? It is so annoying!” My first thought is someone has to be bossy, and someone has to keep bringing “this” up, so we know what is going on, where we are headed, and when we are going to get there. My second thought that goes through my mind is “Jesus take the wheel because someone has got to stop talking and just do what I ask!” Does this sound familiar to you? Have struggled with this in your family as well?
In my own mind, I know where the problem lies. It is me and my thinking that they should just shrug this off and move on with life. It is not like I love listing bossy as my number one on the job skill. (Maybe it is a perk though). When my kids are crabby, irritable, grouchy, ill-tempered, or annoyed my gut instinct is to say “You’re fine. Cut it out!” It is condescending. They are entitled to feel emotions big and small. I sometimes wonder how will they ever learn to handle emotions if I’m standing over them nagging with”Stop crying”, “knock it off” or “Why are you so crabby today?” Damn it! Sometimes we all get into a funk and need some time to process and deal with our emotional health.
I am trying my best to reframe my thinking to help my kids regain control of their emotional health. When I want to say, “You’re fine” or “I’m sure it’s not that big of a deal” they are hearing me minimizing their feelings, their experiences, and their emotions. It is important to me that these two kids will know how to deal with disappointment, frustration, hurt, rejection, and sadness. When my child is crabby and argumentative, it is not time for me to retreat completely. It is time for me to say, “I’m here when you are ready to talk.” I will let my kids know that it is Ok to be sad. It is OK to mad. I want them to know that instead of sad they can be heartbroken. Instead of just mad, they can be angry. What matters is how they process these emotions and bounce back from them. Life continues on and so they must too.
I have prepared a list of things to echo to my kids (and to myself) to get us through these turbulent emotional times. And maybe you can tuck these away to share with your family as well.
- It is OK to be sad. (or mad)
- I see this is really hard for you.
- Tell me about it when you are ready.
- I will help you if you want me too.
- I’m listening.
- It doesn’t feel fair.
- I hear you need space right now.
- I will talk when you are ready.
- I am sorry.
- I love you.
Feelings need to be validated. As a parent, it is one job that I know I can do better for my kids. “You’re fine.” doesn’t allow them to share, to vent, to let out what is shaking up their world. I’m pretty sure that I can a learn a thing or two from my kids. I’ve been so busy worrying about keeping up with life it’s time to slow down to catch up with my kids now.
All my best to you,