Children come to us with what seems like an overwhelming reaction to something we see as ‘no big deal’. To them, it is a ‘BIG deal’.
It can be easy to dismiss the distress your child is experiencing, not because you don’t care, but because you want to add logic, ‘everyone else is experiencing the same thing’ or ‘it will pass’. You may even think, ‘compared to what I’m going through or what’s going on in the world, it’s not a big deal’ and then shrug off their feelings.
It’s important to let kids know that you see their sadness, frustration, upset, anger and worry and that you are going to help them through it.
A few weeks ago my son started crying and then sobbing. He missed his friends so much. My heart was breaking seeing his sadness. Initially my brain wanted to use logic with him, ‘There’s nothing we can do about it. All your friends are probably feeling the same way.’
I wanted to fix it, but I knew I needed to let him release his emotions. So I sat beside him & let him cry. When I saw he had gotten all his tears out, we talked about what we could do together to help him through his ‘big deal’.
When our children are in an emotional state, our job is not to problem-solve. It is to support, comfort and listen with empathy.