Today I had a magical day with my children, enjoying the sporadic Melbourne sunshine. We met up with a friend and her 3.5-year-old boy (whom I will name Joe for this story) at a local beach where the boys could run around freely and use up their energy. They were having so much fun and getting a little tired. Especially for Joe, who ended up having big emotions over what is trivial to us. For me, it was such an interesting moment observing how would everyone react. It was also interesting to observe my own inner dialogue.
In our household, we have been communicating about emotions, reactions and choices. So many interesting lessons have been presented to us as parents to teach some valuable lessons around these topics.
The meltdown that happened was over the boy wanting to kick my son’s sand castle down and my 7-year-old saying no. I noticed the way my son looked at me as if to say “mum, I know he is younger, and I want to make him happy but not at the expense of my own happiness for the castle that I worked so hard over the last 30 minutes building up”. And for me, I had to check in with myself to not tell him to just let him knock it down as it would be easy to just build another one. I mean that would have just been the way to go to please a little boy and avoid his tantrum and continue on having a magical day right? Well NO!
You see, in doing that, I thought, what would I be teaching my boy on a sub conscious level? How often do we as adults do things we don’t want to do, allow someone to do something we don’t want or go with the masses as to not disturb the peace or upset someone at the expense of our own wants? Where do you think all that starts off? I can tell you with assurity, that blueprint of pleasing others and forgoing what we want to make others happy is created into our personality between the ages of 0-7. And it all depends on the expectations from the adults in our life.
Also, what message would we give our children when we expect everyone to give in to their demands when they are having big emotions? 2 things – we are uncomfortable with the emotion therefore we don’t deal with it and let it happen naturally whilst holding safe space for them. And, second, perhaps a ouch of how narcissists are shaped.
The most beautiful part of this day is the conversations that came about afterwards with my boys when were solo!