These last several days have been emotional for all of us. It has been an extra stessor if your kids are elementary school age. The worry and fret over what to tell them (if anything ) was weighing heavily on almost every parent I know. This is a deeply personal decision and often based on your own child and their needs.
I work as a counselor in an elementary school and have spent the last few days combing through "expert advice" and reflecting on my own personal experience in dealing with kids and crisis. Upon returning to school yesterday and fully braced with all of my "counselor tools" the only trend I saw of the kids who were most traumatized were those who watched the news without much parental involvement or processing. If children knew, were comforted and had their questions answered-they were fine. And for the most part, the ones who were sheltered remained that way. No matter what you decided to do-shield completely, share a little or give details, the important aspect is that you are there for them, that you remain calm, comforting and are keeping your normal routines.
I found a lot of valuable insight from my searching and reading, but this was the best article I have found on what to say/not say to your kids as well as how to teach self-talk and self regulation in times of stress.
I am thinking of all the parents who lost their children, although I still can't wrap my brain around it. I am thinking of mothers who were touched so deeply from this event because they have young troubled children of their own. I am thinking of mothers whose children have Aspergers and are feeling like they now have to defend their children from finger pointing and ignorance of the disability. And I am thinking of all of you- and how this affects you personally-as I know we have all been deeply touched.
I am wishing that ALL MOTHERS will find some comfort and peace among this unthinkable tragedy.
Friday, December 14, 2012
This post will be short and sweet-I know you have a lot to do.
Out of town guests, shopping, wrapping, travel preparations, decorating, cleaning, entertaining, partying...partying and more partying. Then we are trying to manage our sleep deprived-hyped up on sugar kids (and selves) from all the partying and late nights. This-all on top of cold and flu season and work deadlines to crank out before the New Year. Sound familiar?
Women are so damn hard on themselves. Instead of enjoying the holiday season it is like a sprint to the finish-and instead of looking back fondly at the experience, we collapse. We don't enjoy or even think about what the season means to us-we just go, go, go. Do more, more, more. Repeat. But the kicker is- in this process not only do we feel frazzled, but we get upset with ourselves for not feeling in control or fear we are going backwards in any progress that we have made to be organized, healthy and peaceful.
This is simply not true!
No matter how much progress you have made in whatever area of your life you are focused on right now-you are not going backwards. The holidays are chaotic, that is why there are so many movies, cards and commercials making fun of what we do to ourselves during the months of November and December. Some of this extra "stuff" is within your control, but some of it is not.
The best thing you can do right now is focus on eliminating stuff on the list that you really don't want to do (as I talk about here in a post from last year). As well as give yourself permission to let go a little for the next couple of weeks with the things you can't control. Be gentle with yourself. You will get back on track after all the visitors have gone, the decorations are back in their bins and your cookies have all been eaten. Mark it on your calender now-January 1, 2013-and pick up where you left your goals-along with the rest of the world.
I wish you lots of deep breaths, a sense of humor and tons of love and warmth with those you care most about.
Happy Holidays Mamas from my family to yours!!!