Friday, January 14, 2011

ramble about strong emotions

OK, so I'm exhausted.  Camille had a big fit, screaming "I hate you!", throwing a paperback book at me, and generally freaking out at a homeschool event today (Martin Luther King Jr birthday party).  This type of thing happens when she's been overly busy and out of her comfort zone a lot.  I knew this week was pushing it, even if the plans we had were mostly of her choosing and/or fun events for the whole family.  My philosophy is that children in general (and Camille in particular) need more love, more understanding, more kindness when they are feeling out of sorts.  These are the exact moments when it is harder to find reserves of more positive energy in ourselves.  Throw in the added pressure of being in a public place and my two other children who may be needing my attention and it can be quite difficult to know what to do and how to do it.

I offered to take her home if that's what she needed, but she wanted to stay.  So, I took her to a quiet part of the building and held her and comforted her.  Ayla sat at our feet, and Sylvia was (thankfully) being entertained by another mom.  Once it had all blown over, she happily went to play with the other children.  

Conventional parenting practices would have us believe that "coddling" our children leads to them being "spoiled" and that we just need to "put our foot down".  What I believe is that modeling (and living with) an attitude of kindness and trust will show our children that we respect them (and show them how to respect others).  Plus, can one put one's foot down and make those strong feelings go away, or even the expression of those strong feelings?  I seek to help my children work through strong feelings without shaming (or punishing) them for it, and I trust that they are doing the best they can.  Surely, no one wants to throw a big fit in public for the fun of it, but even full grown adults don't always know what to do with strong emotions, so how can we expect our children to "behave" when they are overwrought (whether we understand the cause of it or not)?  I was showing her kindness by giving her extra closeness and comfort.  I was modeling kindness towards the other people by finding a quiet, out of the way spot to minimize the disruption.  I'm content with the way that I responded to her needs and emotional outburst, but now I'm exhausted.  I think I should go have a lie-down with baby Ayla if I'm going to allow myself the same need for gentle kindness when my emotions are all stirred up...

If you have read through my whole ramble and you feel so inclined, leave me a comment and let me know...
What do you do when you have been care-giving all day and you feel in need of some care yourself?


  1. I love how you dealt with that situation. How frightening it must be for a child to have these big feelings, and they need to feel safe. Hugs to you Mama for being with your daughter. Try and do something just for yourself, or sleep if you feel like it. xxx

  2. Thanks Jacqui,
    After some baby kisses, baby giggles, and a long lazy nursing session I felt loads better.

  3. You did the only decent thing you could do in the situation you were in, you honoured your daughters wishes and gave her the love and support she needed to feel better about how she was feeling.Sometimes my children feel overwhelmeld as well, they find it hard to deal with the situation at hand.Your daughter will be so grateful to have been blessed with you when she is older.And to those who disagree, who believe this is "spoiling" then I feel sad that they were never honoured as much.Hugs.May tomorrow be a better day.

  4. Yes, yes, yes! When we constantly fill up our children with love and compassion and respect and tender care they grow up with reserves to share and "spill" into the world. Loved the post and couldn't agree more. Your girls are very lucky.

  5. I have a son who is 'intense' and requires a lot of loving care and guidance throughout most days (well, all days). Hugs, quiet, back rubs, understanding, compassion, support. We model our life so that he can go gently through the world, getting what he needs, but without it being 'too much'. We are careful to accept and participate in only so many things a week so he is happy. He is worth it. And there is never too much of love, understanding, compassion, support. Ever! :)

    As for me? I read at night after everyone goes to bed. I don't generally leave or take time out away from family for myself no matter how rough the day was. I figure I'll have plenty of time when my boys are grown to have 'me' time.

  6. Thank you for all of the encouraging comments. It's hard for me to know how much out-and-about is too much. Most every outing sounds good to Camille in the abstract, so I'm always striving for a healthy balance for all of us.


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