♥ Inspiration: Read this meme and if it resonates with you, I invite you to read on…
♥ Insight: Something for you to ponder…
Children cry, they just do. How we respond to their tears tends to be influenced by how we are feeling in that very moment and what we perceive their tears to be about. We’re inclined to move swiftly to soothe the child who has hurt themselves physically, to assist the child who has had their feelings bruised by another or to calm a child who appears to be anxious or distressed.
Our willingness to console a child ‘who has gotten what they deserved’ is a little less forthcoming as it is often our mistaken belief that a child who is left to suffer the consequences of their actions will learn their lesson more quickly than a child who is ‘coddled’. I’d like to counter that misguided notion by sharing this:
When we comfort a child in their sadness, regardless of whether we deem their upset to be ‘deserved’ or not, we are meeting their need for emotional closeness at the time they need it most. Children who are met in their sadness with words and actions that convey our concern for their well-being are able to explore the depth of their sadness or disappointment whilst feeling safe. It’s the sinking in of their uncomfortable feelings, whilst being comforted by us, that allows the lessons we hope they’ll to learn to sink in.
When we pull back, shame or give a blast of words or energy that conveys ‘Well maybe you won’t make that stupid mistake again next time’ we risk shutting down their ability to feel the sadness around the error of their ways. Nobody feels good in the very moment they make a mistake, and everybody feels worse when they are shamed because of it, unless of course one learns over time to block out the vulnerable feelings in order to avoid feeling the sensation of emotional discomfort, and that leads to all sorts of other problems in the long term.
Coming to the aid of a crying child regardless of what led to their tears is how we can most effectively nurture our children’s emotional and psychological well-being one upset at a time. Without question, it takes a whole lot of patience and tolerance on our end, I’m not wanting to minimize that, but what I am hoping to convey is this:
When we respond to our crying children in the way that we’d most appreciate being responded to in our moments of upset, we’re not reinforcing their crying behaviour we’re meeting the need behind it. It’s in our ability to be there for them now that will help prepare them emotionally to get through the tough or upsetting times when they are all grow up and we’re no longer around. This is something we can start doing today today and it will serve them well for their lifetime.
♥ Intention: If you feel moved to set an intention for today, this could be it…
Today if (when!) my child cries, I will respond to their need to be comforted regardless of what preempted their tears. I will try and remind myself in that moment that all tears are a cry to be seen and we all deserve that, especially by our parents. What my child needs from me is my comfort and not my admonition for expressing how they are truly feeling. By meeting my child’s need to be comforted in their moment of upset I am not reinforcing their unwanted behaviour, I am expressing my unwavering love for them regardless of the mistakes they have made. ♥
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