I love when my kids come to me and tell me they’re feeling stressed.
Let me clarify; I don’t love that they are feeling stressed; I love that they are aware they are feeling stressed and know they can ask for help in managing it.
I get statements like, “I’m feeling stressed right now,” “I’m feeling overwhelmed,” and “I have a bad feeling right now, but I don’t really know why.”
Then I get to say, “ok, let’s figure this out.”
They are fairly knowledgeable about the techniques that help manage stress and overwhelm at this point. They don’t always need me, but they still like the cooperation and support.
Sometimes I think one gets a little jealous when I’m helping the other work through something. They often come in pairs, one after the other. Maybe it’s just that the sign is out, and they decide to be next in line.
They are getting pretty good at recognizing different feelings and determining what is causing them. They are increasingly able to separate themselves from the feeling and recognize that it’s not what they are; it’s what they are currently experiencing.
They are becoming mindful.
In becoming mindful, they are becoming more resilient. Bad moods and melt-downs that could have lasted for hours or even days are much shorter-lived now. They are realizing they are in control of their thoughts and, therefore, can alter the script. It’s truly a superpower!
My daughter was very cranky this morning. She was snapping at her brother. She was short-tempered with me. I asked her what was bothering her. She said she didn’t sleep well. Then she went upstairs, and when she came back down, she was a different person. She felt it, she identified it, and then changed directions. It was amazing to watch.
Believe me that doesn’t happen all the time, but I’ve noticed that it’s happening more and more. I also love the trust they have in me. I think they view me as a partner. I am so grateful for it.
I actively try to avoid prescribing a fix and leaving them to it. You know, the whole teach a man to fish thing. Instead, we talk. We come up with options. We discuss them. We spend time together, figuring it out.
I let them know when I’m not sure how to help, and we come up with some possible solutions together. They get that I don’t have all the answers, and sometimes it’s a trial-and-error kind of thing.
We do a lot of bonding just before bed. It’s like it all comes rushing to them when the other distractions of the day are gone, or sometimes, they start thinking about what lay ahead.
I try to be as patient as I can on those nights. It can mean they are a little late going to bed, but I don’t want to cut this stuff short. This is the gold—this openness and sharing. I want them to know that it’s important, so they’ll always come to me.
Sometimes I share my stories with them to let them know they’re not alone, and sometimes I just listen.
I think the key is just being there, being engaged, listening well, and trying my best to understand.
I feel so lucky to be their mom. To get to watch them grow and mature. I am thankful I get to experience such amazing kids and their impressive journeys.
Until next time...