« Let’s refrain from minimizing the children’s feelings » writes Isabelle Filliozat in Understanding children’s emotions.
Of course, I had already read that in Faber and Mazlish’s books. We are talking about receiving the child’s feelings (or anyone’s for that matter), no deny them, nor neglect them. No use in explaining that « it’s nothing », for him, it is.
It seems easy, it is not, because we don’t see that as the model around us. (funny that I recently saw it in a children’s story that I had read before…)
In Understanding children’s emotions, the writer tells the story of a little boy who bursts in tears when his balloon breaks. Instead of telling him it doesn’t matter, the adult asks :
« What is this balloon for you?
– everything dies! answers the kid, my grandpa died last week. »
Of course it is not always so extreme! but… some cries can hide others…
We should thus wonder about the child’s history, as for our friend’s little girl, recently arrived in this country, who has a hard time falling asleep by herself.
Following this logic, the author writes:
« Always let him express his feeling, accompany his discharge of cries, yells, shivering, without trying to calm him down. To cry, to yell, to shiver are his ways of expressing his suffering, of freeing his tensions, of healing. »
Ok, I get it. But I have a problem: freeing his tensions, he’s giving me some! I have trouble staying calm when I hear yelling…
It seems to me that my 4 year old should be able to better face his frustration and not burst into tears so often. It is also what his extraordinary teacher says.
Then what? How can we let our children express themselves and still stay sane??