Yesterday, when my son got off the bus, he seemed cheerful. The second we were alone; he unleashed his real feelings. He loudly proclaimed all the things that he felt went wrong that day. At first, I was going to try to talk him through his speech, then realized he just needed a moment to speak about what he was feeling and unwind from his stressful day.
Growing up, when a child complained, whether that child was me or another child at school, in the family, etc. (you get it), the adults would always try to get the child to hush. “Don’t say that!” “I don’t want to hear it.” “Just deal with it.” “The world doesn’t revolve around you.”
I’ve heard every single quote mentioned. Directed at me. Directed at others.
If we were to change the scenario and change the child to an adult. An adult who was a colleague, a friend, or someone else close to us. Our immediate reaction wouldn’t be to silence them and tell them to get over it. We would listen to what they had to say and ask if they needed to vent or if they sought advice.
Children are people, too. They’re not a part of the backdrop of the things we own. They have thoughts and feelings, too. Why should we hush a child if we wouldn’t silence an adult? If the setting is inappropriate, take the child out of the setting, if possible, and let them vent. The difference between adults and children is that most adults can self-regulate their emotions. Children are still learning how to do this.
If a child is overwhelmed, they may not know how to adequately express their feelings, or they may not know how or have the ability to remove themselves from the situation. Even adults occasionally need to step out of a situation for a minute to gather their thoughts and feelings.
After-School Restraint Collapse
The scenario I just described has been “coined by counselor and parenting expert Andrea Loewen Nair.” Read more about what it is here.