“I know a girl, she puts the color inside of my world.” John Mayer
My daughter has always functioned on the higher end of the emotional spectrum. She is very sensitive to all things, and her emotions seem to always run on high. Even as an infant and toddler, she was what others would call dramatic or high needs. I have, throughout her 9 years, struggled with this aspect of her personality. We have had to learn to read her emotional outbursts for what they truly mean.
For almost a year, she would sit on the kitchen floor every night and cry while I made dinner. We eventually learned that this meant she was overwhelmed and was melting down because she couldn’t process the overstimulation from her day. I found a remedy by asking her to sit at the bar and color or play while I cooked, and offered her some sort of healthy “snack” to munch on while we cooked.
I have had to learn that when she thinks something isn’t fair – to her or another person – she becomes very upset. We have to talk her through it and find a solution.
Sometimes, I forget she is only 9 and I expect so much of her. Tonight, I was reminded again of just how small and fragile my 9-year-old still is. While trying to decide what to wear for pajama day for school, she flew into a full-on meltdown. My initial reaction was to leave her in her room to cry it out… however, I quickly remembered that she had a busy weekend and was most likely tired.
Instead of getting frustrated with her, or leaving her alone, I climbed into her bed beside her and I held her. She cried, and pushed me away, but I stayed. Eventually, she turned to face me, wrapped her arm around my neck, and cried. She just cried, and cried, and cried. She mumbled, “I don’t want to do this, mommy.”
I cried beside her, hugged her even harder, and just rubbed her head. I said, over and over, “It’s okay. Everyone cries.” We sat like that for 45 minutes, and soon she stopped crying, and just lay there sniffling beside me.
In a world where we are distracted so much by social media, television, and just life in general, it makes it difficult to remember that our children are simply children. They need moments to relax. They need moments to decompress. Especially if, like my daughter, they tend to function on the higher side of the emotional spectrum and get overstimulated quickly.
I would like to instill quiet times in our house. 20-30 minutes a day where we turn off all electronics and focus on the quiet around us. I also want to focus on seeking to find what the real issue is when my kids melt down, and not just getting angry or frustrated with them. Life is hard enough, I don’t want my kids to feel like they don’t have the freedom to work through their emotions, or that they can’t come to me.