26: acknowledge and teach emotions.
Going from tantrums to emotions makes sense right? Usually when a tantrum happens it is because emotions get out of control or they are unable to express how they’re feeling or what they want.
I am horrible at dealing with emotions.
When I was younger (maybe 13?) people asked me if I smiled all the time or if I was ever unhappy. I never rally thought about it then. People could ask how I was and I would give the standard “fine, thanks! How are you?” Without pausing for a breath.
Even to people who might want to know how I actually was.
Even when I wasn’t fine.
In most situations ‘fine’ is an appropriate response (strangers, people who you aren’t close with).
Pretty soon after starting school I realized that smiling was my wall. My happy front was how I kept people out and at a distance. I’m not sure why yet.
And I really was happy most of the time. No big deal. But then when I wasn’t, there were very few people I felt comfortable talking to.
I started writing my way through my thought life a few years ago. Before that I couldn’t really tell you how I was feeling most of the time. It became essential when I met my husband and real communication needed to happen. Israel would ask what’s wrong and I would say nothing because I honestly didn’t know what was bothering me.
That still happens time and again, but now instead I say “I don’t know”. Which frustrates him because he wants to fix it. Sometimes I just say that I’ll tell him when I figure kt out and that works better. Thought sometimes I say “I do’t know ” when I really do know. (Which is why it frustrates him when I say I don’t know! The poor man).Usually i’m just scared to trust him by saying what I think when it could cause conflict. Because in my head conflict is bad.
I’m getting better at being more in touch with the why and the what of my emotions. Which is good. I’m still bad at it, but I want to make sure my kids are capable and aware of dealing with their emotions (and yes, it would help my marriage. Which is awesome!) So I’m working on it.
I would like my littles to be able to feel things and know it’s ok if you’re not happy all the time. I want them to know it’s ok to talk about thr good, the bad and the ugly with us.
So we’ll talk. And I’ll try not to silence tantrums or differing opinions or negative thoughts too much and instead try to help them to process these emotions in a constructive way.
And I’ll keep writing because that helps me process my own stuff. :)
“Many times, emphatic and reflective comments can help your child move past his frustration at not getting what he wanted. however, even if the parent offers the most supportive response, a child may still feel upset and adamant about his desire, no matter what you say or do. Allowing your child to have his distress without trying to punish him or indulge him can offer him the opportunity to learn how to tolerate his own emotional discomfort.” Parenting from the Inside Out
Just a disclaimer: if I’m talking about what I want to do with my kids and it happens to be different from what I knew, I am in no way stating my displeasure with how I was raised. I am happy with it. I am a happy well-adjusted adult. And when I figured out that emotions were missing form my brain I was old enough and well rounded enough and secure enough to deal with it on my own thanks to my parents. I had a normal childhood. Really. :)
My mom wrote this really thoughtful piece about how she is also becoming less Spock-like: Growing Pains. So good.
It is interesting to be able to go through it with her and to be able to see some of the different ways she is figuring out how to deal with my siblings who I think will really benefit more then I could have from this sort of input and are still at home. I appreciate hearing her wisdom on it all.