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The ABCs of feelings... from The Tao of Poop
My daughter's first primer of emotions. We've been reading Sandra Boynton's Happy Hippo, Angry Duck to her since she was an infant. Teaching her about feelings is as important to our family as learning the alphabet.
I never learned how to make friends with my feelings as a child. Squash them down like a bug was more like it. In my family, showing emotion is considered a sign of weakness.
I'd like for my toddler, Claire, to learn to hold hands with her feelings, as she makes her way on this winding road called life. Over the years, I've witnessed how emotions tend to come out sideways if you don't.
When I'm my best self, I'm able to put into practice what the experts suggest about helping children nurture their emotional self, such as learning to acknowledge feelings and name emotions. At other times, I realize that I still need to grow my own emotional life...and I'm just a wee bit older than the tender age of a child...
When Claire's angry and throwing one of her toddler fits (which involves a howl like a combination of a scream and crying). I try to breathe and soothe myself. But I feel my blood pressure rising. I feel like she's playing the violin on an attenuated nerve in my neck. I know she's got it in for me and only me, and I want to yell, "STOP! YOU'RE GIVING ME A CORONARY!"
Or when she's scared of the balloon; yes, I hold her and comfort her. Yet my own anxiety rises. "What? She's afraid of a balloon?" I think, as I project strange stories into thin air about my daughter's now entirely fraught future. "She's going to be afraid of everything! How's she going to manage in life, if she's scared of a balloon?!" I have to fight the urge to diminish her fear. I want so badly to say something like, "That's not scary. It's just a balloon!"
The worst is when she's sad. I want to sweep that icky feeling away like it's the bogeyman! I can't stand it when she's sad. When I see tears of hurt running down her face, I want to immediately make her feel better, bypass the big, bad emotion altogether. "Don't worry. Don't be sad. Let's make it better!," I find myself wanting to say -- discounting her feelings altogether instead of making space for her psychic reality.
Really, that's what I want to do with all of her emotions: make space for them. In my own life, I have found that when I invite my feelings along for the ride, they allow me to be the one in the driver's seat. I would like for my daughter to be the one driving too.
Most of the time, I'm able to keep my thoughts in my head and let Claire be right where she needs to be. But it's far from easy. I find it hard enough just allowing me to be me, let alone Claire.
Maybe, I need to start consulting the feelings book more often, as well.
https://taoofpoop.blogspot.com/2013/02/ ... s.html?m=1
That craving drives our worst behavior." Jodi Picoult
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