We have been going through a very emotional time with our eldest, Miss J. The smallest things trigger a very irrational response, usually involving streams of tears and her isolating herself in a corner or her bed.
Talking through the emotions, reflecting them for her and loads of hugs wasn’t seeming to have any affect. An educational psychologist recommended the Breathe app, specifically the five finger breathing method, and this helps me to calm her and provides the opportunity to gain perspective. But the outbursts have continued.
Then yesterday, she suffered one of her biggest disappointments. Her BFF had her birthday party on the weekend… and Miss J wasn’t invited. While this was heartbreaking for her, I am so proud of how she handled it.
Miss J sat at the desk (where we were doing homework), and very calmly told me about the party. “But it’s OK” she said, “we played together at lunch today”. Not a tear, not a drop. No hurt in her voice, nothing.
I took her hand, I looked her in the eye and assured her that feeling disappointed is normal. That if it was my friend, I would be feeling a little hurt too. She looked at me, “yes mummy, it hurts in here (pointing to her heart) but that’s ok too, there must be a reason she didn’t invite me”.
OMG when did my baby grow up! All those moments of irrational behaviour. All those conversations about appropriate responses. And she just matures. Overnight!
My message to you, my friend, is hang in there. Parenting is hard work, especially when we do it away from our family and home support systems. And obviously behaviour doesn’t change overnight, but all the hard work will pay off. Talk to them, hold them tight, assure them it will be ok. And one day, overnight, it will be OK!
How do your kids cope with disappointment? How do you help them give words to what they’re feeling? Please do share in the comments, I would love to hear from you.
Update… this post was written September 2018, and as the school year draws to a close I am pleased to say that Miss J is a different girl now, a young lady. She is mindful, she is community spirited, she adores her friends but I think most important she has confidence in herself again. This change hasn’t happened overnight, it’s been through the support of the school, and the continued support at home. It’s not been 100% smooth, but she doesn’t meltdown very often these days and if she does there is now a good reason for it.