All Feelings Are Valid
-A five year old is frustrated with a toy or friend and throws a fit…
This might not be pleasing to the eyes or ears, but giving the child a time out or ignoring him tells him his feelings are not OK. Feelings of frustration are a normal part of life. By not acknowledging a child’s natural emotions he may end up feeling guilty for even having them.
-I have 5 year old twin girls and believe me, they throw fits! When it’s happening I always first remind myself that they are NOT trying to upset me! I remember all the huge things that are going on in their little lives: their bodies are growing, their lives are constantly changing, they just became big sisters, maybe they’re hungry or tired (yes these last two are huge to a five year old). They just need love, help and understanding.
-A nine year old gets stuck on a video game level and is sad, mad or frustrated. This may seem trivial to an adult but is really important to the child. Telling him it’s “no big deal” implies that his feeling are wrong.
I know I can remember being a kid and thinking everything in my life was just as important as the things in my adult life now. I know my son feels the same about his video games or the stories that he writes and I want to show him that his interests are important to me too.
So, hold your baby when he wants you, help your two year old check everything out, play with your four year old and nine year old even if Candyland or Super Mario aren’t your thing. LISTEN to them above everything else! When nothing else works, just be there with them and listen to whatever they want to tell you.
As parents we can be advocates for our children in every way. We can take a step back from work, bills, cleaning, and all our “important” stuff. We can remember what it was like to be a child, and how it felt to be trivialized. We can tell them how important they are by showing them courtesy and respect and paying attention to all their emotions, even the ones we don’t particularly like. It will mean the world to them, I promise!