I can hardly believe he will be 10, my oldest. I’ve given birth to 5 babies in that decade, and somehow I still feel like a total newbie each morning. It’s been long enough between babies that my new wee-est one keeps me on my toes and each and every day my oldest is the first almost 10 year old I’ve ever had. How is it possible to ever feel like I can take a breath and know what I did was, yes, the right decision?
We have been gently focusing on something lately — and I hardly realized it was happening because it came so naturally to the rhythm of our home. That is = the practice of being self-aware. My kids aren’t naturally great at verbalizing what they are feeling, and giant frustrations set in. So we started talking about it.
Discussing feelings even (especially??) when they’ve gotten in trouble for something, is the most transformational aspect of learning how to be self-aware.
Here’s what I mean.
They were in trouble, all getting timeouts, getting yelled at, mum and dad were PRET-ty po’d.
We paused, took a breath.
And asked them how they were feeling.
Honoring their feelings seemed to lessen everyone’s anger.
“I was very angry, and now I feel sad but I’m not sure why.”
“I feel like I did something wrong but I don’t know what.”
Sometimes it comes out that my 4 year old doesn’t have any idea why he’s even being disciplined, and we’d really not know it if not for discussing feelings.
Once we verbalize it all, we can correct or encourage, teach how to give and ask for forgiveness with tangible things like “wouldn’t it make him feel better if…”
This may sound silly to some, but it has opened new doors for communication that I would’ve never seen coming. Perhaps most of you knew about this all along, perhaps not.
Do you talk about feelings, pointing out how to be self-aware (and therefore helping your kids understand not only themselves, but what their actions do to others)?
I’d like to hear your stories about teaching feelings, and how it points back to giving grace and love to others. It is so key, don’t you think?