I’ll admit it there are times when I have a very difficult time ignoring a crying child.
I like peaceful and happy days so I want to soothe them. Make them feel better. Help them be happy again. When I cannot, I get frazzled and frustrated. I often have to walk outside or go to my room. Why can’t I fix this problem?
And then I remember that, oh, I have emotions, too.
And it’s OK to show them.
Part of my Abundant Mama journey as a parent has been to let my children’s emotions run their course.
This is new, of course, because newborns and babies unable to care for themselves need us to help soothe them. But as our children grow older, they need to learn how to soothe themselves, calm themselves and lessen their own fears and anxieties.
It’s not always easy knowing when to step in and when to simply be there for emotional support and understanding rather than trying to fix or change the situation.
By nature, I’m a fixer.
Below is how I cope with my desire to fix and my wisdom to just let things be.
So, I practice my “It’s OK” mantra.
It’s OK to feel sad or mad.
It’s OK for my child to feel upset.
It’s OK for my child to feel passionate.
It’s OK for my child to feel scared.
It’s OK for my child to feel jealous.
It’s OK for my child to feel disappointed.
The list is endless. And, as much as we need to accept our own feelings, we also need to accept our children’s emotions as they are without judgment and without trying to control our children’s emotions. We don’t want to force on them what we want them to feel. And, above all, we should never discount how they feel — no matter their age.
Can you even count the number of times you see a child crying in a store and the bad-ass parent is threatening to spank him just because he’s crying? I’ve lost count.
That’s not the parent I want to be.
There are many tools and books to help families understand their feelings so that they can grow up emotionally intelligent, and all of them will be helpful for young children. I wish all parents would study this as much as I have so that they can understand what they are feeling and what their child is feeling.
Only then can they show compassion, empathy and respect for how their child feels. And maybe parents will have a bit more respect for themselves as well. All of this will, ultimately, lead to more peace in a household.