"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Everett has been having a difficult time lately. He's been sleeping with us more often than not, crying more easily, and picking fights with his brothers. Trying to talk to him about the problem has yielded few answers, but to the best of my knowledge he's feeling displaced by Tegan - who is nearing toddlerhood at full-steam ahead, and taking up more and more of my time and attention.

Yesterday he burst into tears for the third time, this time because he wanted to play Playstation, but Spencer had just started a game. Spencer offered to let him play with him - it was a 2 player game - but he didn't want to play with Spencer, he wanted to play with Paxton. When I told him that it wouldn't be fair to make Spencer stop his game so he could play (but that he could play when he was done), he tried pulling the controller from his hands, then unplugging it from the system. I told him he'd have to leave the room if he was going to keep doing that, and he left. I took a deep breath - I was more than a little frustrated by that point - and followed. I knew that he'd be in the other room crying, and he was.... curled up in a chair, sobbing his little heart out. I picked him up, got him settled on my lap, and held him while he cried. He buried his face on my shoulder and cried until he was out of tears. We eventually talked a little bit about what he was feeling, but mostly I just let him cry. And when he was done, he was better, and a few minutes later he was happily playing with his brothers again.

I know what the popular school of thought is on the subject... that you have to stand your ground, show them who's boss, ignore the tantrums... I know all of that and I unapologetically say that I think it's ridiculous and cruel.

The last time I cried, really cried, was the day that we had to have Ally put down. I was so thankful that I had Mike with me that day, to hold me as I cried. He couldn't change the situation, couldn't take away the hurt... he was just there, and he let me cry. And the way that that helped was immeasurable.

So what I wonder is this: If we as adults know how valuable it is to have, literally, a shoulder to cry on, why on earth do so many parents expect little kids (who are that much less emotionally equipped to deal with disappointment) to do it on their own?


Mikki said...

That breaks my heart!!! Tonight, Ethan was singing and knocked his bowl of food on the floor. He burst into tears and ran from the room. It's hard being 4 and trying to figure things out.

Tuishimi said...

I think I agree with you for the most part. I think circumstances (and the children) can alter that formula.

Tuishimi said...

I should add that:

a) age matters
b) general emotional makeup matters
c) other things...

As you mentioned, this seems to be a trend with Ev... He's still pretty young and I can see how his younger sister could cause that; he has no idea how to express his feelings so he just needs to act out a little in frustration and cry. Poor guy!


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