“I started to cry silently at fourteen minutes.
I had my noise cancellers on, but the screaming was still cutting through my brain.
I KNEW in my heart that what I was doing was the best way to support him through his big feelings.
We had been here before (and doubtless will again).
None of this mattered because my four-year-old son was howling and wailing his pain and anger and frustration at life.
His body was completely taken over by blind rage, feeling the unfairness of it all.
There was not one thing I could do to fix it.
All I could do was hold space for him and tell him every few minutes that he was safe and loved and the big feelings were normal and it was a good thing to get them out.
After twenty-five minutes, he climbed into my lap, exhausted and red-eyed, and we rocked for another ten or so.
Both clinging to one another and feeling raw.
Then we went through one of the most powerful techniques I know and teach—the ‘Collaborative Problem Solve.’
That took another fifteen minutes of sniffling, laughing, hugging, and reflecting together.
When he emerged, blinking and clutching the piece of paper we had written all over together, he was greeted by his two siblings (who had been watching bonus Paw Patrol for an hour! Such is part of the protocol for when someone needs support with big feelings in our family).
‘They were some really big feelings,’ one said.
‘Yeah,’ he agreed. ‘Really, really big.’
Together, he and I shared our solutions for the conflict surrounding how to share the scooter and how sometimes when lockdown gets you down, you have to just let it out.
Tomorrow’s learning was decreed to be a joint poster of what to do when you want a turn on the said scooter.
Then, after a late dinner, the kids all played and laughed together.
Does the picture above feel like a fantasy?
Like perhaps only something a rainbow unicorn child-whisperer could manage?
To go from complete meltdown rage to playing and laughing with a plan for next time, all in the space of an hour?
Trust me: you can do this too.
You can parent through the tough times when the kids are well past it and your triggers are ringing in your ears.
You CAN be what your children need—even when you are carrying childhood trauma and have no examples of your own of a healthy family dynamic.
Healing + skills = the parent you always wanted to be.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laura Linklater. You can follow her journey on Facebook and her website. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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