Seeing your child choose to dismiss others opinions of being weak or less-than during a school activity, only to muster up the courage to feel happy being who they are in the moment, brings joy to a mother’s heart.
Such was the event of my 12 year old. It had been a rough day, one she had dreaded for a week. You see, they were dissecting a fish in science, and she was not looking forward to the event. We all might remember a similar type of assignment in Biology; however, I always managed to do very little cutting, thanks to my lab partner.
I can always tell when something is bothering her,
she eventually finds me and asks to sit on my lap….yes she is twelve and I hope this never changes, or at least my legs will hold out. If I will listen silently, and with a carefully thought out question here and there, she eventually gets to the core of the problem…the one that she is actually seeking for my advice. This time the core was not the fear she felt from the assignment, but the tears she wept in front of others caused by feelings of sadness. Not only did she feel sad for the fish, but also how the group next to her were attaching and treating their dead fish. She felt it was very disrespectful, and I totally understood her point, since this is my child who spent all of her swim time one summer saving little bugs who found themselves stuck in the waves of the water.
Saying consoling words do not work for this child, she has to logically agree with what your are saying, or she will slip deeper until she works herself up into an uncontrollable frenzy. So my task has been to hand her the responsibility of her emotions. I have taught her techniques to stop this process as well as educated her on what is happening, now it’s time to give her the opportunity and learn through trial and error.
I simply told her she had 4 choices –
4 ways in which she could respond. I took the time to list them out starting with the first choice where she could choose to be the victim and think that everyone sees her as a baby. (That is what she was worried the most about). I listed 2 more other options and then for the fourth choice I began by telling her that “she could choose to think that she handled the situation the best way possible, for what she knew how to, at that very time.” I told her she could choose to emphasis in her mind that “I am neat, I am wonderful, just the way I am and I feel good about myself. Now go forward with your day creating happiness and spreading sunshine along your way.”
All of a sudden her eyes lite up.
“I like that one mom,” she said. “Can you remember it so I can write it down?” Precious, precious moments. I asked her later why this one worked for her? She wrote her answer in my journal. She said, “you learn from your mistakes so you can know that at that time, at just that second, you did the best that you could do then. And after we learn from our mistakes we can know how to do it better, knowing that you will do the best thing that you knew how to do at that time.” SHE GOT THE POINT. She did the best she could right then and she can feel proud that she had the courage to do that!
What she wrote….Out of the mouth of babes!
Real Positive Change…tools and techniques for more confident thinking.