We've had some big feelings come out in the last few weeks. It has not been pretty. And it is *hard* to respond in appropriate ways when my kiddos are taking those big feelings out on me. I know I'm a safe person in my children's lives, so they're trusting me to be able handle it. And in turn, it's my job to help them learn another way of handling their emotions. This is a huge responsibility!
One of the ways I help my children process their big emotions after a blow-out is through coloring. (It's important to also color during happier times, so it doesn't feel like a reward -- extra time to together after a blow-out.) We sit down together and get it all out on paper. Then I add whatever words they want. I encourage them to identify the feelings they were having when they were so upset. Sometimes it is very insightful!
Here, Keandre shares that his tummy is hurting. He deals with chronic pain and a VERY limited diet, due to his EE & EGE. He is starting to grieve the way he can't eat like other children.
It has also been a very tough adjustment for him now that Daddy has a full time job. Andy was unemployed, and working occasional contract jobs from home, for the last 3 years. Now he works long hours M - Th, plus finishing up some contract work on the weekends. Praise God my sweetie can tell me what is upsetting him so we can help him work through it!
Nichole, age 7, is dealing with adoption losses. Her birthmother (also Nichole) has been out of state for a while, and she really misses being in contact with her. These are normal ups and downs in an open adoption. I'm thankful she loves her birthmom and that she is willing to talk to me about it.
I'm feeling worn out by all the craziness and acting out. So I needed to draw also. As I put it on paper, not censoring how I think it 'should' look, I found myself calming down. I was reminded of the Cross, and Christ's gift of forgiveness when I don't respond the way I want to. I'm so thankful for His peace and comfort, too!
Lucas doesn't spill his emotions in the same intense way, but this approach is still very helpful for him. Here is a picture he drew last year after he and I discussed a problem he faces regularly. He was frustrated and tired of sharing a room with his brother. Lucas can spend a couple hours cleaning his room, and within a two days (or is it hours?), it is a disaster again. After working through it on paper, we talked about some solutions.
If you are caring for spirited or wounded children, I hope you'll consider a little informal art therapy. I'd love to hear how it works out for
you your kids! :)
It's really hard to pretend you're angry when you're no longer angry. :)
(Pictures and info shared with my children's permission.)