“What do you need?”
This question can be a first step toward empowering kids to take ownership of their emotions, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, take ownership of the solution!
I am working hard to break the habit of assuming I know what my son needs every second of every moment. With all the togetherness of virtual learning, the emotions and energy in the room can be misleading.
For years, as his speech abilities were developing, I served as Henry’s interpreter to the world. People would look at Henry, then automatically look at me to understand. Knowing Henry so well, it was not long before I began answering for Henry- jumping in before he would fully answer.
Henry needs me to love him, support him, guide him, and provide for him. He doesn’t need me to think for him or answer for him.
I would love to think I could read Henry’s mind, but I cannot. As Henry’s mother, my intuition is strong when it comes to his well-being, but it does not grant me the right to take his voice.
Teaching children skills takes time. It is no different with teaching and modeling emotionally healthy behavior and language. The trick is to be patient and give our children space to think, evaluate, and respond.
I have to learn this lesson over and over every day. Why are we in such a hurry? Surely it is not just me.
Do you also jump in and respond for your children without asking them first?
How will Henry ever learn to advocate for himself if I don’t BACK OFF and respect his person-hood enough to let him tell me what he is experiencing and what he needs?
Helping children identify their emotions and then when and how to ask for help sets them up for healthy emotional self-care in their future.
Since we now use natural options to support our physical and emotional health, I greatly appreciate how dōTERRA intuitively named their children’s blends. This line has been an incredibly helpful tool for us. The labels very clearly identify the emotional benefits such as Brave: the Courage blend and Steady: the Grounding blend. Henry can look at the labels and select what he needs in the moment.
When I allow him the opportunity to choose for himself, it builds confidence and gives him a tangible example on which to draw for future self-direction.
I am learning to give Henry space to grow into himself and he is learning to identify and meet his emotional needs.
In the Bible, James 1:19 instructs us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. When I am not quick to listen to Henry or demonstrate patience before speaking, I usually end up angry!
Friends, it does not have to be so hard. Maybe reading this today has resonated with you and you are ready to approach parenting or other relationships with a slightly new perspective.
I am with you at every step in this journey. Together, we can make progress that will be empowering to others, and in the process, empower ourselves in our own growth.
Inhale. Exhale. Know that God loves you and is with you.