Get Over it Kid!
By Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC
was the worst day of my life!” my son hissed.
“First mom shrunk my favorite hat, then you guys lost my favorite
book, then I did my alphabet for you and you didn’t even care!”
My seven-year-old son wrapped his arms around his head and tried his
best to “shut out the world,” including me. My first thought was to
convince him things weren’t so bad, and that tomorrow would be a
better day. But by doing that, I’d also convince him that I didn’t
understand his feelings, and what he was going through.
“Sounds like a pretty rotten day,” I replied.
That was all he needed.
For the next fifteen minutes, he told me about all of the awful
things that he’d gone through, and who had committed the “crimes.”
We ended the night in laughter, talking about the possibility of
running naked through a winter storm to the corner store and back.
It was decided neither of us would try, but we could do it, “if we
really wanted to.”
Later that night, I thought about my son’s anger and his rapid
recovery. I thought about how much more our kids share with us these
days, and how little I shared with my parents. And I thought of what
a blessing it is to have a son who’s able to share his life with me.
Back in the days of seeing and not hearing children, parents could
often skip the part of parenting that involved listening closely and
empathizing with their children. They could tell their kids to
“shape up” or “stop whining” when they were struggling, and they
could control them with fear. Children would respond by stuffing
feelings, and holding onto their anger for long periods of time.
After my son had shared his feelings with me, I shared with him how
glad I was that he could tell me what was bothering him. I told him
that “anger energy” needs to be released from your body, or it
starts to grow. And I shared that I was glad he didn’t have to stay
angry as long as I did when I was a child, because I didn’t learn
the “secret” of talking about my problems with someone I loved.
If we are to listen well, we must open ourselves to the good, the
bad and the ugly in our children. At times, it is excruciatingly
difficult to listen, when we want them to “get over it.” But all
they need is one comment to show them we understand, and their mood
shifts before us. All we need is to understand that kids are not
adults, and that they often feel their emotions more strongly than
And, they will remember how you responded to their emotions for the
rest of their life.
So the next time your child is struggling, remember the blessings
within the struggle. Remember the opportunity to join your child
with kindness and compassion.
And remember that if you really want your child to “get over it,”
you’ll have to get over it first.
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches parents by phone
to balance their life and improve their family relationships. He is
an Instructor for the Academy for Coaching Parents, and the author
of the “Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers” Ecourse.
Subscribe to One
of Our Great eZines!
Out Our Other Websites!
Work at Home Seniors