The feelings that I wrote about in yesterday's post, the grief of letting go of things we've loved and the space it takes to let new things grow, aren't at all unique to a mom sending her oldest son to college. Children experience the same type of feelings again and again, often over things that seem small and even irrational to us.
My kids used to get really upset about broken things when they small. Broken taco shells, broken crackers, sandwiches cut when they shouldn't have been. Kids can get this 'broken feeling' at the end of a day, too, as they have to let go of the day they've had and the immediacy of their connection with us to open to the great unknown of sleep. They may have a 'broken feeling' when leaving a friend's house or playground, turning off the ipad or tv, or or giving away an old toy. They may have it at the end of summer and the end of a vacation.
While we learn to feel our own grief and the emptiness of leaving space for the new, we can connect it with the feelings our children have.
When your child has an irrational meltdown, maybe wonder--are they grieving something they feel they have lost? Are they experiencing that emptiness that comes with the possibility of something new? When they cry or rage or overreact, can you gently, gently help them to recognize their feelings?
As a mom (to 2 teenage sons), wife, and person in the world, I have been on a long imperfect journey. I have made many mistakes, but with mindfulness, emotional reflection, and lots of support I have learned enormously from those mistakes.