What has taken place over the last few weeks is a tragedy for the world. We need to be able to teach our children that the world is safe, that relationships are good and that good triumphs over evil. We need to hug and hold our kids. All the talk about gun control and guns in school, or whether these kids are “sick” needs to stop! How we decipher what is going on with our children is all secondary. At this time, we need to accent one theme: this is a good world!
Pain and destruction does not have to be immediately solved and resolved. That is, kids will go underground with their pain and we need to respect that. The destruction they have heard and experienced needs to rest. We have to listen. Six months from now, a year from now, we have to keep our eyes and ears open to see if there are any responses to this tragedy, decrease in grades, tension in school, wetting the bed, clinginess, or aggression to list a few things. We have to be aware of when they start feeling the pain (see my Aurora comments July 30 & Aug 27). Let’s slow down – let’s us appreciate/love what we have.
The change in the playroom
Since these tragedies, I have noticed that parents have become more sensitive. What does that mean? Parents will relay stories about their kids and are afraid they will turn into mass murderers. They are afraid that there is something wrong with their children. They are all over them, and schools are supervising and watching and making sure the kids don’t say and do things that are wrong, i.e., “I hate you, I wish you were dead, I’m going to kill you.” Of course we need to be aware of this, but the truth is that most kids do not do that and most kids do not act it out.
To those ends, we have to be more patient, understanding and accepting of children and the behaviors that they exhibit.
Certainly we need to put limits on them. In fact, over the last several months, I have said to parents, “children are no longer allowed to say, ‘I hate you’, ‘I wish you were dead’, ‘I am going to kill myself’.” We need to be sensitive to the underlying feelings, motivations and ideas that charge a child to say those words, but we have to teach them that it is as inappropriate as hitting someone, not eating or doing your homework. These words are harmful and hurtful. We have to teach our children to use other words in order to say I’m angry with you, I’m sad at this, or I’m upset about something. We need to be much more patient with children, set some new boundaries but at the same time, allow them to play and express themselves in appropriate ways.