Patience is a virtue

Yesterday was rough. It was rough for me mostly. Collin was getting over a cold but mostly happy. For whatever reason I just couldn’t get myself into my ‘happy teaching’ place. Most days I feel I am calm, like a ship smoothly sailing in a sea of toddler emotion. Just gently guiding them along. Not yesterday. It was rough sailing all day.
I’d like to say the kids didn’t notice but I believe that they are deeply sensitive to our moods, body language and demeanor. I’m sure they could feel it. I’m sure it played a part in their extra neediness (as in “oh oh…something is upsetting her, better make sure I’m nearby lest something really weird happen”).
My brain tries to tell me all of the proper things. It tries to remind me where they are developmentally. It tries to get me to model the right behavior instead of snapping at them to stop. Usually the brains win but let me tell you my emotional side was putting up a good fight.
For my part I tried to be respectful of myself and the kids. I simply told them I wasn’t feeling well today. I needed some extra hugs and cuddles like they do sometimes. I don’t feel trying to ‘fake’ it through the day is fair to them. How can I expect my son to grow in his
emotional intelligence if he has a mother who always pretends everything is okay? Or worse snaps at him out of the blue as a way to relieve her own stress.
I have worked in enough classrooms to know I am not alone. Teachers are human too. We have busy lives, families and stresses like the rest of the world. When you think of the amount of time some of our youngest citizens spend in full time care by the time they are even in Kindergarten, that amounts to lots of confusing adult behavior. Especially in less-than-quality care situations.
Most reputable schools will talk about how they help a child grow socially and emotionally. They talk about how modeling is the best way to teach. Yet at the end of the day I bet many moms and teachers alike feel like we did a better job of modeling manners than emotional expression.
Isn’t it just as important to teach a child how to deal with stress as to be a good friend? How to verbalize when they are disappointed?
How do you guide your little ones through your rougher waters safely?

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vanessa
    Oct 24, 2011 @ 08:02:53

    Hey Missy!! Well said!! You are so right on about that. My nephew is 3 .. Since my sis is a single mom and we live together I’ve taken a bigger role than most aunties in raising the boy. I find myself wanting to run in another room or hide tears as to not upset him.. But little ones I think are far more sensitive and intuned than adults are .. I suppose it could have something to do with their senses having to be keener when words were not their main form of
    communication??? Anyway, he is sharp and even tho we spell out the words or talk in code as to not alert him to “adult issues/emotions”
    He always seems to feel when something is amiss .. In turn i find him seeking a form of control .. No he wants the yellow plate not the red one with his chicken dinosaurs .. Even tho I just made him, as requested, raviolis on a red plate.

    Reply

    • melissacady
      Oct 25, 2011 @ 03:52:30

      Thanks for responding Vanessa! I think you hit the nail on the head when you said ‘their senses are keener when words are not their main form of communication’ Toddlers in particular operate much more with their right brain, which specializes in sensing emotion and non verbal communication. Brain research proves what intuitive mommies (and aunties) already know!
      Imagine living day to day in such an emotional state. Each little attempt for control is an attempt for them to master their own independence as well as regulate their wild emotions. As the adults caring for them day in and day out I feel like we learn just as much (if not more) about how we should honestly and effectively handle our OWN emotions. They were brought here to teach us and help us grow 🙂

      Reply

  2. Trackback: A Toddler’s Grief – A Gift Of Grace | Janet Lansbury « The Emerging Mamma

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