Girls and Squirrels - 3 Ways to Avoid the Drama
I am not really sure of the details in the story I am about to tell you.
Here’s what I know-
It was dark and I was asleep. I am assuming it was somewhere between midnight and 5 a.m. when our two oldest daughters (9 &6) came storming into our room in a panic. Ok, actually it was probably just the 9 year old in the panic and her little sister wasn’t really sure why she was sitting up in the middle of my bed. I am thinking that she and I were on the same page!
I could hear the commotion happening but I could not balance my thoughts enough to respond to what was really going on. I was lost somewhere in that awkward place between really good sleep and the realities of motherhood.
Here’s what I saw-
One daughter was sitting in the middle of my bed, patiently rocking herself while sucking her two fingers. That would be the 6 year old. The older was a mess. Tears were flowing, words appeared to be coming out of her mouth and she just couldn’t pull herself together. Her emotions had taken over.
Somewhere in the midst of trying to focus on the girls, I got a glimpse of my husband doing some sort of manly, protection, king of the jungle ritual….while still being mostly asleep. Basically, he hopped out of bed, ran to the bedroom door, skipped over to the window, fixed the blinds, jumped across to the other side of the bed and mumbled, “Where’s my bat?!” He then took off to finish the routine in the living room!
At this point I sat up and asked, “What is wrong,” to which my sweet girl replied, “I heard a squirrel crying in the creek.”
I am pretty sure my husband was responding to the emotions of his baby girl rather than the realities of what was happening. He probably never even asked why she was so upset. Of course, to his defense, it was dark-thirty and he was exhausted!
However our little bedtime drama caused me to wonder how often this scenario plays out in my home on a daily basis.
I am guilty of reacting to my kid’s emotions.
I think we can all agree that kids are emotional. Often they respond, think and live within the realm of how they feel. It’s basically what defines them as kids! On the other hand, as parents it is our responsibility to provide them with tools to help guide them through processing their feelings. It is also our responsibility to respond and react according to their realities instead of getting caught up with them in their emotions.
Here are three simple tips to help you avoid getting caught up in the emotions!
1. Listen to your children.
Having heard my daughter’s words might have eased the tension and led to a very different and less eventful evening. We often times respond to their body language, tone, or our immediate perception of the situation. Take the time to listen, which might change everything in a moment.
2. Understand the environment
Our home backs up to a wooded creek and the whole back wall of our house is glass. Knowing this puts my daughter’s fear in perspective. Know what is going on in her world. Is she having problems with a friendship? Did she not sleep well last night? Understanding these variables will help you be somewhat more sensitive to her needs.
3. Choose the appropriate tools
A bat did absolutely nothing to solve our dilemma with the sad squirrel, but a hug probably would have done the trick. Figure out early what approach or tool might assist you, rather than adding to her breakdown.
The next time a squirrel gets upset in your backyard pray for wisdom on how you can apply these simple tips to help avoid the drama!
What are a few practical things you do to help your child sort through their emotions?