It's true. Children are indeed people, albeit little people. It's so easy to forget that especially since in many cultures, children are not considered. You don't become a real person until some arbitrary age (18 in our society).
Something happened today that drove this message all the way home in my heart and in my mind.
We were practicing our reading (using our Hooked on Phonics program) and Z1 was weepy and upset. It was like he was totally frustrated for some reason. As if we'd been going at it for hours and making no progress. I was getting annoyed because I was feeling like his crying was pointless. I said all right and made moves to put he program away--he clearly wasn't ready to do the work. It made him cry even more. So, we try to continue on with the work and he cries even more. I put away the work and now he's bawling. Nice.
But then I thought back to this wonderful and highly recommended book that I'm working through called Connection Parenting by Pam Leo. I suddenly realized that his tears really did not have much to do with the reading. I mean, a small frustration with one word had touched off something else--something that needed to be released.
So I put the book away and instead of asking him to go to his room and collect himself like I would usually do, I asked him to sit next to me on the couch. I asked him what was wrong. And do you know what he said? "I miss my Daddy." I was blown away and saddened too. There are times when I miss someone but I'm an adult and I know what to do to make myself feel better. Bake. Knit. Write. Call. He's little so what can he do? The only thing he really can: cry.
So I empathized with him and offered some solutions that might make him feel better. Did he want to call his dad? No. Did he want to make a card for his dad? He brightened up and enthusiastically said yes and could it have a race car on it. Great!
So me not being all that crafty got on the computer and found this handy dandy custom greeting card maker. After looking through all the options, he decided he wanted a motorcycle instead of a race car. He dictated to me what he wanted the card to say, we customized it and then printed it. He cut it out (scissor practice which is always good) and then taped it to the computer for his dad to see when he comes back from work.
Oh, it made him feel so much better. He was smiling and happy and ready to do his handwriting. And I can't even believe how wonderfully he is forming his numbers in this positive frame of mind.
This book Connection Parenting is totally transforming how I approach this whole parenting thing. It is an answer to prayers. It is helping me really see my children as legitimate people not half-people or beings on their way to becoming people. They feel real emotions as strongly as we do and we should never discount or belittle their feelings. Children are people. Just little.