Updated: May 21, 2020
I recently came across an article from the NY Times called “How to Let Your Children Be Upset”. Its main focus is on the children’s author, Anastasia Higginbotham, and her series of books grappling with life’s hardest, but unfortunately, realest hardships. She has yet to write a book on this particular global-pandemic problem that we’re all grappling to fully understand, but she has just the right attitude to help influence any conversations you might want to have with your kids (of any age! Different word choices might be needed, but I do believe the topic is important for any and everyone to explore in their own way).
She smartly asks, “What do you do ‘when adults say it’ll be OK’ but children ‘can see in their eyes or overhear in their conversations that it might also not be OK?”.
I love being reminded that though it’s completely natural to want to protect our children and keep them as safe and happy as possible, it’s also completely felt by them when the world is under anxiety or pain. They look to us for comfort and peace but also look to us for honesty and clarification for the real pain or confusion that they may be feeling.
Anastasia Higginbotham says, “I really want to invite children into the fullness of an emotional life. Give them that language so that they can fully experience what their lives are. There’s no point at which their lives are going to become more real. It’s real now.”
I’m hoping that this time invites more fun and closeness together, but also some deep honesty about how confusing and unpredictable life can be. And that it’s not OK, but completely normal when it’s not.
Here’s a song from Sesame Street that truthfully expresses the confusion of hard feelings, and how wonderful it is to honestly support each other through it: https://youtu.be/Po5lHYJJQfw