Many times I've worked with a parent who was brought up being told to keep her feelings to herself -- scolded if she dared to express her thoughts or wishes. Lo and behold, she grows up to find herself parenting a passionate, dramatic son or daughter who makes noise about every injustice that crosses his or her path.
Last week, someone walked into a room and uttered three words that prompted me to burst into tears. Thankfully, they were tears of relief, but in the hour or so before they were spoken, something inside of me was rearranged -- something that I hope widens my capacity for recognizing the practical need for support from those in my midst.
Given that most parents confess that the majority of the interactions they have with their children are task-oriented, it's fair to say that our kids assume most of our requests are aimed at reducing their fun. If you look at it from their perspective, it makes sense that they would try to tune us out!
Even parents with a partner living under the same roof know that the probability of patiently meeting every need is impossible. But for those men and women who are going it alone -- by choice, or through circumstances they might never have imagined -- the realities of being the sole parent either full or part time is challenging at best.
In my office, I always have a squishy ball for children to squeeze when their feelings are getting stirred up. I also encourage kids to stomp their feet when they're mad, with some optional noise-making, as well. Anger is an energy, one that can be better handled if we can shout or stomp through it!