Growth and Change
May 17, 2009
I just read a blog from a friend of mine, Dawn.  In her blog, she talks about her three year old son’s first rebellion regarding taking a nap.  Her son says, “No nap, I’m MAD.”  Dawn replied to him, “You’re mad because you have to take a nap?” He says, “No nap, I’m MAD.”  This is his first attempt to exert his limited authority.
Dawn understood that this was a powerful step for him to admit that he was mad and that he didn’t need her to do anything about it, to understand it or to try to solve the problem for him.  He just needed to be mad for a while.
As parents, we need to know which problems we own and should get involved with and which we don’t.  Dawn doesn’t own her son’s problem in this case.  Her son needs to experience this emotion and what it feels like.  She should not step in to tell him not to be mad etc.  Even at three years old, this is his issue to deal with, feel and experience.  Watch what happens.  Dawn allows her son to be “mad.”  (She actually gets out the video camera and tapes his first mad incident for posterity while he works this out for himself).  Dawn tells her son, “I see you are mad and that is OK, but it is still nap time,” Meanwhile she is collecting his naptime collection of two blankies and a pacifier.  While Dawn is doing this her son is saying, “No nap, I’m MAD.”  When they arrive at the bed, she says, “Tell mommy nite nite,” which he does and gives her a hug and kiss on his own and goes to sleep.
Our children need to learn from their experiences, good or bad.  If we wrap them in bubble wrap so that they never get hurt or never experience a negative feeling, they will never grow as human beings.  If a person never feels unhappy, how do they know when they are happy? Therefore we should be there to support our children while they learn these lessons in life.  In the above example Dawn says to her son, “I see you are mad and that is OK, but it is still nap time.”   Dawn tells her son what they are going to do, and then proceeds to do it, letting her son know that even if he isn’t in control right now, he can feel comforted knowing that she is.  This gives her son the sense of structure that all children crave while they are learning about their world.
Dawn is a seasoned mother of three who believes that:   “Emotions are healthy.  Unlike hiding a toy, jewelry or cash, emotions are not something you should be embarrassed about experiencing.  You need to be able to explain to them what they’re feeling and help your children work through them if they need help.”
If you have difficulty with negative emotions such as anger and fear, you own that problem, your child does not.  You will want to work out those emotions on your own or with a professional so your child doesn’t end up with the same difficulty you have.  Remember that children from what you do not what you say.
As your child grows, you will face many stages and changes in your life and theirs.  Be prepared for the changes with a sense of humor, and a basic structure from which you make parenting decision.   Be ready to face sudden rebellions and emotional upheavals with a tool box full of parenting tools and a calm rational mind.
To read more of Dawn’s blogs which are very insightful visit