Yesterday one of my kids came home upset with something that happened at school. From her voice I could tell she was holding back tears, so I offered a hug and she gave me a tight one, letting the tears flow. Great release already! As I was outside raking, I offered her a pile of leaves to jump on, suggesting I would also do it. She looked at me enthusiastically and asked if she could talk a bit about the problem before jumping so she could let it out. She summarized what happened in less than two minutes and we started jumping on the leaves. Even the dog joined in the fun! We got the energy out and she was all smiles in seconds!! I ended up jumping, too! So good to be a kid again! It was fun. Sometimes being silly and not taking it too seriously is the answer…
A few hours later, I had to bring the subject up again because from what she told me, she did not know how to deal with it and wanted to tell me in order to ask for ideas (not mom’s advices). So, I tried to give her at least two ideas she really understood and agreed to. Sometimes I give weird, complex or adult ideas that she can’t grasp, so I’m learning to try to bend the ideas to her level and her friends’ level, which are not always the same. She now has tools in her pocket to face the situation again. What bothered me the most was that she had to hold everything in until she got home; there was no way to let out those strong emotions caused by whatever happened in school. And I believe (and have seen) this is what happens to so many kids, that under big pressure will blow like a big pressure cooker, and of course they end up getting in trouble. But nothing is offered to them to calm down. I asked her, “Why didn’t you excuse yourself, went to your desk, lowered your head onto crossed arms on top of desk and took a few deep breaths until you calmed down?” She said students are not allowed to, because that will be seen by the teacher as a kid not wanting to do work. I asked, “Why didn’t you ask to go to the bathroom then? There you could wash your face and neck, take a few breaths, get away from the situation to calm down coming back with a bit more clarity at least?” She said they will owe time (5min) after school if they use the bathroom during work time. So, there is no outlet for strong emotions, and they have to sit through it in school. Now, think about it: Not even adults can handle this pressure inside their work space, sometimes needing a break, how would kids be able to figure this out?
Luckily, parent/teacher conferences were scheduled for the whole class for the next day, and I had the chance to go with my kid talk to the teacher about it and find solutions together. Again, luckily, this is a great school she is in, with staff who tries to understand the kids’ needs and find what works best for everyone with a compassionate and almost family-like view.
Now back to what I really wanted to write on this post, since it’s my favorite part! At bedtime, we have been practicing gratitude every night for the past few days. We go through our day in our heads and find one moment that meant a lot to us and made us feel really happy. Then we silently thank the person or animal or situation who provided that moment for us. So, before she fell asleep yesterday, she looked at me and asked, “Do you feel thanked, mom?” Awwwww! It is with moments like this one that parents like me fill their hearts and know it is all worth it.