This phase won’t last forever, but how you choose to respond right now, may affect their ‘forever’.
Feeling touched out, constantly needed, forever interrupted, unable to properly care for yourself, counting the hours until bedtime and THEN…your child won’t go to sleep.
Oh the frustration. The squelched anticipation. The feeling of being robbed of your time. Of your evening. Of your SELF.
You find yourself firmly laying down some rules, threatening lost privileges and tricking them into going to sleep on their own, with bribery.
But that one night, when they turn around and tell you that actually they are frightened. That they only feel safe at bedtime if you are with them. That they have a painful sicky feeling in their chest from the worry they are feeling. Wow. You’ve got to listen to that, right?
The frustration is still there for sure, but really…what’s a few minutes knocked off your evening when your six year old needs your help to feel safe? It is surely worth avoiding an hour to two hour long battle if you sit with them for 15 minutes to help to feel calm.
You know what? It won’t break them. It won’t make them ‘too soft’. They won’t need you there forever. But what they will know is that you LISTEN to their needs. You CARE about their feelings. You WANT to help them. And that’s pretty powerful stuff for a child to grow up knowing.
Mama. This won’t last forever. In fact, it’s going to be gone in the blink of an eye. But how you choose to respond can affect their ‘forever’. It can shape their being. It can influence how they cope and deal with their feelings, even in the distant future.
In a world where mental health struggles are soaring and where male suicide rates are at an all time high, you have to take these cries for help, support and encouragement seriously. You have to take the, sometimes frustrating, route to reach the end of a troublesome path and guide them through. You have to let them know you are listening, will listen and will always be there to listen.
You must listen.
It’s not forever Mama, but you sure can shape it.