“You don’t understand Mom, you don’t know what it is like to be a kid.” After carefully doing my math to realize how long it had been since I was a kid, I started to pick the tiny pieces of my heart off the floor of my car. I looked back and saw genuine tears running down her face and anguish of not being able to stay at her friend’s house for a little longer. Granted this was pre-you-know-what, but the same tears have rolled down her sweet face but in a more stoic fashion over the last six months, but the tears are just as real and just as valid.
Kids are feeling these times in different ways and we have to make sure that these kids know that they are heard. It is hard on us as parents sometimes, and we try not to get frustrated when our kids act out, but we need to realize where these emotions are coming from. They are not angry with us; they have bottled emotions and they don’t know where to channel those. Single children feel this differently in that they are stuck at home without the company of other kids while siblings are just getting tired of each other.
When they start with the tears, sometimes they just need to know that mom and dad hear their frustration and have empathy for them. Granted, kids won’t know what empathy is but they just need to know that the feelings they have are normal. They look to us for support and acknowledgement. We need to emphasize that it is ok to be angry at this situation, it’s normal to feel alone and it is certainly not their fault that any of this has happened.
With schools getting back into session, their world is going to shift yet again. What they are used to will not be what they are experiencing. They may have some new emotions surrounding this new landscape. The classes might be smaller, they likely are going to be distanced from their friends and playground time will be a lot less free. Social interaction might look a little different after being away from their friends for so long, and those relationships might have some tension involved.
Each age group poses a different set of hurdles when dealing with getting back in a new normal. I urge parents to keep an extra eye on your kids. Open those lines of communication so they know you are someone that they can turn to when they have emotions that they aren’t sure what to do with.
Keep tabs on those kiddos and their feelings. They might give off subtle hints as to what is happening in their mind, or it might be giant reactions. Either way, we have to ensure that our kids are heard and know that they are so loved. This would be an amazing time to start helping them journal and begin leaning on the word. We can help them redirect their feelings to a more positive view.
Remember that there are always resources here at Saddleback Parents. Please reach out and let us know how we can serve you.