Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Teaching Your Children to express themselves...

I have three children. My youngest is 6. The other day, she woke up in a really crabby mood, eyebrows furrowed, huffing... I asked her, "Are you feeling crabby today?" She responded, defensively, "NO!" So as I brushed her hair, I said to her, " you know baby, not every day is sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, we may feel irritated or annoyed and that's perfectly natural. But, you have to remember not to hurt anyone's feelings even if you aren't feeling so fab. If you feel crabby, that's just fine. I bet as the day goes on, you will feel much better." She just stood there and after a few moments said, "Thanks Mom" She got her jacket on and I could over hear her telling her older brothers, "You don't HAVE to wake up happy EVERY day! Sometimes you just feel crabby, and that's just fine!" My point was really to allow her, allow all of my children, to express themselves to me and feel emotions. Part of my job, as a parent, is to raise kind and caring human beings, not robots!
My 9 year old obsesses about weather conditions. If it rains, the question is always "Will it flood?" If it's windy, "Will there be a hurricane?" If it snows, "Will there be a blizzard?" This is an ongoing thing with him. So what else can I do but listen, tell him it will be alright because we are safe...and encourage him to be a Meteorologist and study weather!!
I walked into my 11 year old sons bedroom this past weekend, and he had a book between his legs and tucked his hands down when I walked in. I asked, "Son, what are you doing? Why do you have that look on your face?" He said, "nothing Mom, just reading." I gazed at him, eye to eye, and said "Ok son. You have a good night and enjoy your book." I knew he was up to something. I just barely turned the knob closed on his door and he shouted, "Mom, come here." I walked in with a smile and he said, "...well Mom, this is what I was hiding and I didn't want to be dishonest with you..." and it was just a pen drawing of a lightning bolt on his hand, like Harry Potter. So I said to him "Son, I appreciate your honesty. Thank you and it means a lot to me. However, skin has pores, and you can get ink poisoning if you write on your hands, so you might want to reconsider it." His response...he followed me out and washed it off immediately.
My point here is that it's important to create an atmosphere with children where they can express themselves. It may be bad moods and ink drawings on the hands now, but if I let them know, teach them, that they can always express themselves to me, freely and that I will listen, I think I have a better chance when we get to the bigger things! TALK to your kids about everything, and just as important LISTEN to what they have to say!