One of the best parts of my day is when I wait at our gate for Caidin to arrive on the school bus. I look forward to seeing him at the top of the bus steps, smiling and all set to give me a hug. Yesterday, the bus pulled up and instead of ‘smiling Caidin’, there was ‘long-faced Caidin’. His brow was furrowed and there was a combination of anger and sadness written on his face.
As he stepped off the bus, my eyes were drawn to two red gouges on his arm. I gave him a hug and asked him how his day was. It usually doesn’t take him long to tell me when something’s happened and today was no different. He shared with me that a boy at school had gouged his nails into Caidin’s arm.
Throughout the evening we bounced back and forth between discussing what was going on with this boy and other topics like did Caidin’s new Pokémon game come, who was taking him to a birthday party this weekend, and could he stay up to watch ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.
My husband was teaching a night class at New York University so he called to check-in with Caidin. I heard Caidin’s end of the conversation, which provided a little more detail about what was going on at school.
As the night progressed it seemed like Caidin didn’t really want to talk too much about the situation, so I let it be, with a plan to bring it up in the morning as we got ready for school.
This morning I came with fresh energy and opened the conversation with, ‘so, do you need any help with the boy at school or do you want to talk about ways you can handle it?’ As parents we oftentimes want to jump in and protect and fix things, giving our advice and telling our kids what they should or need to do.
But that’s not always the best thing to do. I believe we all have lessons to learn in life and we start working on these lessons the day we are born. Caidin has been working on standing-up for himself since he was a year old and each step offers Caidin an opportunity to learn something more about this life lesson.
He’s now eight and he needs more space to see if he can work this out on his own; either by dealing directly with this boy or by speaking up and asking for help from his teacher. Everything in me wants to march into school and fix it for him, but what will Caidin learn from that? He will learn that he needs someone else to stand up for him and the key is for Caidin to learn to stand-up for himself.
We talked about what might be making this boy act out in this way. As best I can tell it’s a combination of frustration and jealousy. Caidin apparently captured two coveted legendary Pokémon (note to all: Pokémon is never Pokémons). This boy actually made them faint in his own game – which in Pokémon language means they are gone and won’t come back. He will never be able to catch them and he wants them and Caidin has them. The boy keeps asking Caidin to trade him the two legendarys , but Caidin doesn’t want to and has said ‘no’ a number of times. The more he says ‘no’ the more mean and aggressive this boy is getting.
We talked about bullying and we talked about abuse and the different kinds of abuse – mental, emotional, physical and how none of it should be accepted. We also talked about the difference between understanding what is behind someone’s behavior and accepting it.
I want Caidin to have the ability to understand what would make someone act the way they do because I believe it helps alleviate the victim dynamic. If Caidin can see that people act the way they do because of their own wounding it changes the dynamic. It doesn’t make it o.k. or excuse the behavior, but it helps Caidin see that he is the trigger not the cause.
As we drove to school I told Caidin that I would support him in whatever way he wanted and I asked him if he had a plan. He did. He had decided that he was going to do two things: he was going to tell his teacher that he was having this problem but that he was trying to work it out and he was going to tell this boy that he will not trade him his legendary Pokémon and also that he doesn’t want the boy to ask him again.
I thought that was a good strategy.
I finished the conversation with, ‘sounds like a good plan, and just know that I am here to help you however you need.’
So we’ll see how things go. There is a line, it’s an invisible line, but should things cross it, I will be marching into school without a doubt.
Here are the four things to remember as a conscious parent:
Life Lessons: Our kids have their own life lesson to learn and the situations they encounter help them to learn these lessons.
Strategies: We can’t learn their lessons for them, so as much as possible give them tools and vocabulary and strategies to help them as they learn these life lessons.
Support: Always let them know that you are there to support them in whatever way they need. Help them figure things out but give them the space to solve the problem on their own.
Step-in: Don’t hesitate to step in. The key is to create a self-sufficient, confident child who at the same time knows they have the support and backing of their parents. How do you know when to step in? Personally, if I hear the same story for a few days and it isn’t getting resolved, I’ll step in. If your child isn’t as much of a talker as mine is, watch your child’s demeanor. If it’s changed – gone from happy to sullen, social to reclusive, if they themselves are lashing out or acting out, these are all signs that it’s time to step-in.
Learning to navigate the world is a full time job for our kids. They are figuring out what’s o.k. and what isn’t o.k., how to act, react and what works and what doesn’t work. Every experience they encounter offers an opportunity for them to learn and grow.
The key here for conscious parents is to provide the support, guidance and insight that will help our kids to do just that: Learn and Grow.
© 2012 Christine Agro
Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine, invite her to speak or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.