I think I made a psychological breakthrough today.
At the time of this writing, I have two toddlers who are 17 months apart, so for most of the year they were 4 and 5 year olds.
It seems that every 13 minutes or so, when they aren’t in school or sleeping or eating, they are either fighting, screaming, crying, or whining – sometimes they are doing all of the above at the same time. My point is that, seldom are they super friendly towards each other in the cute type of way.
I always ask myself, why do they whine or cry so much?
So here is my breakthrough moment;
I just identified the difference between expression and communication when it comes to my toddlers!
Lets say I bang my small toe against the corner of the door, and I scream curse words, I am expressing both my physical state (pain) and my emotional condition (embarrassment that I was so stupid not to pay attention)…
So I cry and whine as an expression. When this happens, there really isn’t any type of consolation or words that can truly help me, until the moment passes…
My youngest, Tobi, truly despises mornings. He lets us know every morning that he despises mornings. He expresses this by taking-as-long-as-possible to get dressed, eat, or anything else, and in-between are fits of crying and whining. I can’t tell you how much this upsets me!
It makes no sense why he has to cry because “…the pants he wants to wear are in the hamper…”
Lets pause for a second. Remember this?:
#failTip: Respond to emotion with reason or reason with emotion.
-via @mattmight on twitter
So when Tobi’s morning expressions are underway, I should not take it personal, and just let the little guy be. Yes, this too shall pass.
On the flip side of that, my Tolu is super sensitive – like SUPER sensitive. Sometimes when something is bothering him, he’ll bust out into tears. A lot of times I mess up because he is trying to communicate something to me, but his thoughts are bathed in tears – which frustrate me. Or he wants to get a thought across and he interrupts or whines…
So when he does this, I simply should acknowledge him, or listen, or ask questions…
I say all of this to say if you are in my demographic, and you are in the middle of a crying fit, ask yourself, is this kid trying to communicate with me or are they expressing themselves?
This way I can respond in a productive manner, and realize that it is not about me – and not take it personally.
Lastly, I think this applies to adults as well… seriously I think it does, but I am not going to go there.