I have been a long time advocate for children to be taught (and made privy to) an EMOTIONAL language; one that allows them to fully express their feelings (all the depths) and more importantly, feel safe in doing so.
Arizona, my almost 12 year old, has BIG feelings a lot. She expresses them, without filter or social awareness around who is going to have a reaction to those feelings and HOW.
It’s not easy to hear what she has to say sometimes. A few year ago, while upset with her behavioral aide at school, she said: “Maybe you should come to school tomorrow with a gun, and two bullets — so if you shoot yourself and miss, you’ll have a second chance at success.”
And, sometimes on a daily basis, equally expressive conditions have been directed toward me, her residential punching bag (parent life!) —
In these moments, I am grateful for the training I received while Arizona was attending Cheerful Helpers Child & Family Study Center. I learned to look past the words and have compassion for my child’s feelings. To this day, I still respond to her (sometimes shockingly) big words, “Good to know. Tell me why.”
A dialog beings, things soften, we get to the root of things.
I am grateful for an emotional language — both as a way to express AND receive.
Most importantly, I have learned that talking about our feelings and expressing ourselves = HEALING.