What’s the best part of your day? For me being third in line for the pick up car pool and anticipating the much awaited squeals of “Mammmmma” as my child runs full speed, with arms spread wide for my embrace. Yeah, that’s the moment. My heart melts every time.
Only today was different.
Where were the bouncing curls of happiness?
Pickup lines being what they are, you scurry to pop your child in their seat, buckle and drive off. When it became evident that today’s less than enthusiastic greeting was truly weighing on her, I asked if she needed a hug… and pulled over. I unbuckled my munchkin and embraced her. She told me the few things that were bothering her, included getting in trouble with the teacher. She was sorry. Now keep in mind that I had not seen the teacher, hadn’t received a call nor had the opportunity to read her behavior chart for any clues. Still, I knew my child deserved a hug, as bad days happen for all of us.
When I received the note regarding her behavior, I briefly explained to her that she broke a classroom rule and disrespected her teacher, actions that are not appropriate or tolerated. Having taken the moment earlier to embrace my daughter’s emotions, it defused any potential of my overreacting as an initial response to the teacher’s note. It also helped that my daughter immediately picked up a piece of paper and asked how to spell “sorry”. Clearly her heart was in the right place and she acknowledged her wrong-doing.
Bad days can creep into anyone’s week. We’ve all had bads day on the job, and if we came home to criticism, anger or that infamous “why did you ___?” we would shut down or shout out. Neither exactly ideal for putting a terrible day behind you and making the most of the evening. Children aren’t immune to this. Sure, behavior issues must be dealt with and understood but compassion and reason go a long, long way.
It is important to stress to our children that rotten days are normal and in fact expected from time to time, sometimes for no reason at all. It may also be helpful to point out a recent bad day example of your own. Also, please distinguish between a semi-bad day and a completely rotten day… there are different variables and different levels to crappy days. Still all normal and a necessary evil to child development.
Allow your child some space. We all need breathing room. Especially if your child has expected that you are going to be furious. Accidents, misunderstandings, forgetfulness, embarrassment… we have bad days for a variety of reasons. Regardless, our children need and deserve:
Respect – Understanding – Patience – Acceptance
Fortunate are the children whose parents take the time to listen to them describe what is bothering them and help them understand and choose best-solution options! This deepens the bond of trust in their relationship and fosters the development of nice, respectful, confident and well-adjusted adults. I hope this article is widely-read. It carries an important message.
This is a learned practice, as are most when it comes to parenting. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement.
My kids thankfully have more good than bad days, but I agree that it’s important to acknowledge the bad days and let them express their emotions!
Speaking of emotions, I totally loved Inside Out by Disney. It also addressed the need for different emotions. Hope your kids keep smiling the entire school year.
I think so many people forget that children are people too. They have bad days. They make mistakes. They get headaches or just feel “off” — just like grownups sometimes! We all have bad days. We all make mistakes that we regret (or not). Just because they are children doesn’t mean we need to rail on them or make them feel worse. Do unto others… right?! Great post and, as always, beautiful photos! I wish we all lived a bit closer. 🙂
Very well said, Tessa. No need to “dress down” a child after a bad day. It is one thing to address discipline and another to attack them verbally. (PS, I too wish we lived closer.)
Great advice. I’ve got a child who tends to have a lot of “bad days” at school. I’ve learned that being understanding goes a long way.
Very true. They need understanding and our patience.