Archive for March, 2011

Authentic Goodbyes with Your Children

NEWS: “Short & Sweet” in Working Mother Magazine Feb/Mar 2011 read thus: “Just when you think the clinging, crying and “don’t go” days are over, suddenly your grade schooler is sad to see you leave. It could be too little sleep, insecurity, a spelling bee. Before you guilt-trip over the fact that you absolutely have to catch the 7:42 train that morning, try these tactics: 1. [Say] what time you’ll be home [to help calm her]; 2 Keep the goodbye short: a hug and kiss, then get going. 3. Look ahead: Ask if there’s something special she’d like to do with you later on, to her refocus her energy on anticipating a fun evening. OPINION: Sadness: Before the prior advice, first, stop everything, and breathe deeply and slowly. Let go of eye contact and hug your child. Keep breathing deeply and slowly. Slow breathing slows time and makes processing of information more efficient. A minute may seem like five (especially if you are worried about getting to the train on time). Then look you child in the eye, and ask if they know what they’re sad about. Whether they do or don’t, if you gotta get going, assure your child that you will talk about it when you get home (and be sure to make a note to yourself to DO IT!). Then go into the reassurance for separation. Whining: Some of same moves as for sadness, but also mirror their frustrated anger: wanting something, trying to get a grip on it, not quite getting it. Tighten your muscles, and say that you understand they want something to happen, and maybe it’s what they’re thinking and maybe it’s a little different. Then on to reassurance and commit to talking about it when you are together again. Your own guilt: Respect your guilt. It’s like a bit of conscience nagging at you from the sidelines, but not being specific about exactly what it is that you are missing the boat on. Maybe you need to schedule a bit more time for separation. Maybe you need to take more one-on-one time to listen to your child’s experiences. Maybe you need to guide more effectively into having a good time despite stuff not being perfect. Explore. Your guilt will vanish when you get to the bottom of it.



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