Four years ago, we moved into a neighborhood of 1950’s brick houses. Most of the homes have only lost their original owners within the last 10 years or so, and many of the families that have moved in have kids that match our kids in age. So it is not strange at all for us to hear a knock at the door at 9:30 Saturday morning, or 4:00 Monday afternoon, for that matter.
This past weekend, the weather was amazing, and all the usual neighborhood playmates were out running and screaming and climbing, until my daughter came in, obviously shaken and about to cry.
One of the recurring helpful tips I find in parenting books, is to remember that kids emotions are just as powerful and important to them as our emotions are to us. Even if the circumstances are trivial, a child’s emotions are not. So I was trying to take her seriously, even though she was saying crazy things, like, “She hates me,” or “I never want to see her again.”
My daughter had been left out, (thoughtlessly, but not maliciously) from something, and her feelings were hurt. She was angry and sad, and that was clouding her vision of what is true. She almost always enjoys her friend. And her friend is usually very thoughtful and caring, but as we all know, nobody’s perfect.
I comforted her and talked her through it, and then before I tucked her in that night, we had this amazing talk about emotions and how you can trust your emotions to tell you the truth about how you feel, but you can’t trust them to tell you what is true. It was startling having such a grown-up conversation with a 10 year old, but I think she actually understood… not that she won’t need us to tell her again. I still need Amy to remind me what is true when my emotions cloud my vision.