It feels good to be validated, even for the small things. I take great joy in being right. I often ask my friends if the feelings I am having towards a certain situation are the correct feelings. Sometimes I am validated, other times I get a widening of eyes and a head shake. As an adult in an unsure time, I have needed those feelings of validation more than I ever have before.
The Little Rains Children have been extra clingy in the last week. It is week five or six of shelter in place for us. We have a pretty good routine and we are all learning how to “read the room” and recognizing others’ emotions or feelings. That doesn’t sound like such a big thing, The Little Rains Children are older now. But, it IS a big thing. I have a couple teens that struggle with emotional regulation. Nick is getting better at recognizing and responding to emotion of others, but he’s not all the way there yet. As a four or five-year-old, Nick was shown faces of people with various expressions and we would play games to get him to recognize the differences. Natey is overly emotional at times, ok most of the time. And my Ella is very pragmatic and cerebral and doesn’t have time for your problems. Though she has some great coping strategies to deal with the internal emotions she feels. I digress.
As TLRC (the little rains children) became more clingy, I tried to figure out what was up. And it was quite simple. They had fears. They had reservations about the future. They didn’t know what was coming next. They were disappointed, they missed baseball and prom and their friends. While their father and I thought it was a perfect start to an early summer for them, they were dealing with so many emotions.
I am going to be honest here, I like to minimize. I like to reassure and say “everything is ok” even when my arm is on fire. That has changed as I have matured. When Natey is terrified because there is a tornado watch, I don’t just tell him it will be fine and redirect his attention. I pull up the weather app, we look at it together, we talk about our severe weather plan. I tell him that it makes me worry too and it’s ok to worry. Validating fears is powerful. Monster Spray was something we had to use many times when TLRC were small. There is a monster in the closet? I have this handy dandy monster spray and we are going to spray it all over the closet. No, there isn’t a monster, but our children saw us acknowledge their fear, validate it, and have a solution.
In this unprecedented time we are now living, we are fearful. Our children are fearful. I don’t have all the answers for the difficult questions they ask, but I process it through with them. Listen to your children, validate their feelings, talk about what you are feeling. Sometimes the best thing we can do is just say “I know how you feel, and it stinks.” We don’t always have to have answers and fix it, but we can acknowledge it and learn from it.