What can be worse than your own child stating: “You didn’t make me happy, mommy! You made me sad”
First time I heard it it broke my heart in million pieces and felt anxiety creep in slowly but surely. I started to beat myself up feeling guilty about not making her happy enough.
See, she was talking about feelings in preschool and how certain things make you happy or sad, angry or joyful. They learned that is good to share your feelings and let people know how they make you feel. They were introduced to emotions. I was told they were using any examples of what is going on in our daily life so to teach them how we are responding to emotions. Have children look in a mirror and practice making mad/sad/happy faces. Provide small individual mirrors for each child to use at large or small group. Say the silliest sentence you can think of without laughing.
She came home showing me her faces and making me do a happy/sad/OK face and asked me: Mommy, are you happy, OK or sad? I grabbed her in a tight cuddle and told her how happy I was and how proud she made me feel. I told her I love her more than anything in the world. She stared at me smiling and gave me a kiss and in that moment I felt I was on top of the world.
But then comes the other side of the rainbow. There came the day when she just done everything backwards and to spite me. Everything I asked her to do welcomed me with a big NO and a tantrum. She refused any help trying to do everything by herself and although I am all for independence in a toddler I lost it properly. It was one of those days when you try to get out the house in time and everything is against you. It was that day when I felt anxious about everything and she felt me. She felt just how I felt and couldn’t settle. I got angry for she got angry. I cried for she cried. And in the end she shouted at me: YOU DIDN’T MAKE ME HAPPY MOMMY! YOU MAKING ME SAD AND ANGRY.
I wanted to hide from the world and my own child. I wanted to try and let it all out. I felt horrible and didn’t quite have a clue a bout how to fix it. I looked at her and apologized. I said I am so sorry for making her sad and I will so try not to do it again. I cried while telling her how I love my happy Ruby.
YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED?
She wiped my tears and told me: IT’S OK MOMMY. IT WAS AN ACCIDENT. And I was speechless. How can a three year old be so mature and wise? How could she make it all better for me just like that?
Feelings are directly related to behavior. Preschoolers need to understand feelings in order to control their behavior when they experience strong emotions. Teaching kids the link between behavior and feelings will help them learn to exercise self-control when things are not going their way.
Well, my child had more self-control than I did. I must probably go back to these basic lessons.