“Crying is a good thing. Welcome the meltdown. Help your child feel safe enough to look beneath their anger to their softer emotions”
My husband and I are listening to an online parenting course. Learning about emotional regulation (of ourselves and our children) as a necessary precursor before attempting to guide our children’s behaviour…..
…… and on the very same day the Irish Government announces they are putting the whole country into a near-full-lockdown with a 5 kilometre travel restriction in place. Again…. and although I’ve been expecting these new Covid-related restrictions, I’m still not impressed.
My husband tells me that I’ve been preparing for this. That I’ve got this. That we’ll be fine. That we’ve been waiting for this announcement. Which is all partly true.
But it doesn’t help… and I can feel the frustration rising…
“Crying is a good thing, welcome the crying. Don’t try to bolt practical solutions onto the top of a problem until the emotional release has happened…”
As I lift the lid on my irritation and look at what is lurking beneath, I wonder what I might find…. Is it grief, fear, loss? Or a reaction to a lack of control?
Perhaps, for me, it is grief at playdates about to be stolen and family gatherings postponed, claustrophobia at the thought of travel restrictions, skeptical that these measures will lift in a mere 6 weeks, sadness at missing my 6 month old niece’s developmental milestones….
I don’t know what you might be feeling. I do know that these quieter more nuanced emotions need some attention and care. And although I don’t know what emotions are present within you, I wonder if any of the following descriptions may be of service to you? As we get curious about what might be swirling around underneath our action-plans and anger, sometimes some suggestions can help us name what’s going on…..
…. is there a feeling of nervousness, apprehension, edginess? Of carrying a burden, being hyper-vigilant, listless, restless, weighted-down? Of being controlled, beaten down, boxed in? Of being isolated, detached, disconnected? Of heaviness, grief, desolation? Of being full of bewilderment, disillusionment? Or perhaps deep exhaustion and being apathetic or frozen? And of course the list goes on….
I don’t know what emotions you may or may not be feeling today (if you’re in Ireland), or on a similar “bad-news-day” (if you live elsewhere).
And this is what I do know…. Jesus is right here, beside us, inviting us to share these things with him. He is asking us, “What do you really think, how do you really feel?”. He is so keen to hear our answers and be with us as we allow ourselves to fully experience these emotions ..
He is after all an expert-listener and his listening leads to relief and restoration as we process these “deeper, vulnerable, soft-bellied” emotions.
This is the grace we need to extend to ourselves. Today. Before we move to the practical, the solutions, the strategies.
To simply give ourselves permission to feel our emotions, identify our emotions, speak about them to Jesus. And then have whatever meltdown comes naturally….
And then, whenever we are ready, we can start to slowly, gently, find a way forward, plot a path through the bog…
But today, today is just for the emotions. I will be so delighted to hear from you if you would like to press reply and let me know how you’re doing…
Raising Happy Healthy Christian Kids
Your Domestic Ark
P.S. The parenting course I reference here is Dr Laura Markham’s “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Online Course”
If you enjoy reading my articles, please CLICK HERE to get future articles delivered by email.