At any time when we’ve had a change in our lives — like a brand new residence or new child or new faculty — I’ve needed to offer my youngsters additional help and listen to how they’re feeling. And that’s been true ever since Alex and I separated. What’s occurring of their candy little hearts and minds?
However, in fact, even the chattiest youngsters don’t at all times discover it simple to reveal their souls. Though kids could seem mild and playful all through the day, greater feelings typically marinate below the floor. And children, like adults, may not even know how they’re feeling. Issues can get muddled and complicated. Life is tough! Brains are bizarre!
Over the previous few months, to create house, I gave my youngsters additional lengthy bedtime cuddles and performed board video games and walked with them to get ice cream and provided foot rubs, regardless of their pungent preteen ft. And it was going… okay?
However then one thing surprising occurred.
One night, we invited three neighborhood households over for lasagna and put a bunch of Play-Doh and little instruments on our eating desk. The youthful youngsters performed with it that night, and afterward, the Play-Doh stayed out on the eating room desk, as issues typically do.
I didn’t assume a lot of it, till a brand new ritual started to develop. After faculty, the boys would drift into the eating room to stretch and form the Play-Doh. And if I sat down with them, they’d typically open up. Our palms — and half our brains — had been occupied; we weren’t taking a look at one another; nobody felt any have to preserve a dialog going. The general temper was meditative, protected, and informal. Ideas may drift out and in and immediately felt simple to share; questions got here up that hadn’t been requested earlier than. It was unbelievable.
What a contented accident. After I talked about this to a buddy, he in contrast it to driving along with your youngsters, the place you would possibly end up having deep, low-pressure, zero-eye-contact conversations. We don’t typically drive in NYC, so possibly this set-up takes the place of that. Though, it needs to be stated, there may be nothing on this world extra satisfying than squeezing Play-Doh by a tiny spaghetti maker.
Ideas? What environments or questions assist your youngsters open up? I’d love to listen to…
P.S. How you can speak to youngsters, together with about intercourse, loss of life, intervals and consent; and my youngsters’ hilariously passive-aggressive notes.