When Your Nice Kid Befriends the “Mean Girl”

A friend of mine recently posted something on Facebook that made me feel pretty anxious and reminded me that there are some rocky roads ahead. She has a nice, kind daughter, and the little girl has decided that she wants to be friends with the resident “mean girl.”

My first reaction to that is, “Oh heck no! Find a way to discourage that!” But as I sat with the issue a bit, I rethought that position. Continue reading “When Your Nice Kid Befriends the “Mean Girl””

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When Reality Doesn’t Meet Expectations

I’ve always been the kind of person whose motto is “expect the worst, but hope for the best.” I know, that’s totally not positive and seems counter to the general vibe of this blog.

But that’s me, in reality.

I really try to avoid getting my hopes up, because I would rather be joyful at an unexpectedly good outcome than bummed at an unexpectedly bad one. I believe this is what we call “self-preservation.” Here’s why:

Continue reading “When Reality Doesn’t Meet Expectations”

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Hiding Negative Emotions to Protect Children

This morning I broke down. I was feeling really lousy about something and I just couldn’t keep my emotions at bay. When my husband asked what I was thinking about as I stared off into space, I promptly began sobbing and the floodgates were open.

Then my son came back to the table, book in hand, asking me to read to him while he ate his breakfast. Avoiding eye contact with him, I quickly wiped my tears away and began reading with as controlled a voice as I could muster. Z was none the wiser.

I felt good, because I was able to keep our morning going smoothly and he didn’t have to deal with a sobbing mama and the potential awkwardness that might bring along with it.

Then I checked my Twitter feed and saw an article by Six Seconds, basically saying that we need to talk about feelings with our kids in order to develop their sense of empathy. While the focus of the article is mainly on simple activities you can do to help children be aware of their own emotions, the point was driven home: I have to be more open about how I’m feeling if I want Z to be able to recognize and empathize with others’ emotions.

As I did more research, I found some other great reasons to stop shielding my son from my negative feelings.

Continue reading “Hiding Negative Emotions to Protect Children”

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“In His Cortex”: Tantrums and Self-Awareness

“In His Cortex”? What?

When I was an elementary school teacher, I once attended a staff development meeting about… well, I’m not sure what it was about, to be honest. But the speaker was an incredibly animated man with some quirky presentation habits. It’s probably due to these odd behaviors that I never forgot his presentation. Maybe he did it on purpose!

Anyway, this man talked about what our more challenging students were going through when they were having meltdowns. He described the very front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, as the place that was shutting down when the students were so emotionally charged. Because the prefrontal cortex deals with self-control, the shutting down of that portion of the brain leads to a shutting down of self-control. His point was, basically, that we needed to be patient with these students and not attempt to reason with them in that moment. Continue reading ““In His Cortex”: Tantrums and Self-Awareness”

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