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Paying Attention to Your Child Within

Paying Attention to Your Child Within

Paying attention to your child within…

My mind has been racing with thoughts. I was thinking of Tim’s blog from a couple weeks ago, which only gave me more things to ponder. I’ve thought it before but his blog added to my own about-what am I teaching my kids and am I doing ok? On the flip side I’m always wondering what in the world is everyone else teaching theirs.
Kids can not express emotion or even thoughts the way we need them too. Thankfully this is because they have not been tainted by real burdens of the world yet. They see the world differently but there feelings, fears and desires to understand are very real. Yet as adults we forget this reality and expect our children to understand our needs and follow our commands with ease. I have not been sleeping well and I know it impacts my patience so when my 8 year old daughter wants to constantly hang on me or ask me to do things it can be challenging, but I’ve been trying extra hard to stop myself and let her hang on me and actually look at her and hug her back during my “busy” moments. What a difference it makes to take one minute of acknowledgement and acceptance vs 5 mins of blah blah blah about her interrupting me. Last week I watched a gymnastics teacher walk with a student to the bathroom and the child looked up at the teacher with a look of concern that she may have upset the teacher by needing help- it truly made me ponder how giant our moods, attitudes or words are to children. It doesn’t take long to look at a child and acknowledge their need, but as an adult we are easily put off by a child needing us when we are not ready for it.
Listening to NPR last week it was not shocking to me to hear about a study on electronic use where the use was around 9 hours (not work) a day for adults (when you “take a minute” to check an email or text or facebook). All this electronic use clouds precious time for catching the emotion or hug your child needs. The NPR report was emphasizing how as parents we model quietly for our children so it might be great to start by putting down the phones, laptops, etc especially to establish connective time such as dinner, bedtime a well needed attentive hug etc.
But believe it or not, electronics are not the only barriers to taking time to check in with our kids. As adults we tend to get caught up in what we think is best for them and miss out on what they really need. We miss opportunities to take their cues. My 12 year old son is new at his school and I want him to connect w kids so I’ve been encouraging him to join clubs or go to events. I think I have been good at listening to what makes him comfortable and not pushing things he says no thanks to. This is difficult sometimes but important. In fact, by me showing him some club ideas and asking his opinions and engaging in conversation about his thoughts I was able to listen to what made him feel comfortable and interested. He ended up liking one of the clubs that came up a week later. Paying attention to physical cues of yourself or child are equally important. Tonight my 8 year old was excited about Christmas as it meant her older brother who past away a little over a year ago would come down from heaven and be close with us (because the angels come down at Christmas) I told her he’s always around. After a couple minutes of me explaining he’s always here She got quiet and looked sad. I chose to stop what I was doing, think about how my simple words of trying to open her up to my thoughts of comfort was not her comfort and realized I needed to correct my action and words. I told her that she can believe whatever she wants that makes her feel good and if coming down as an angel at Christmas worked for her then she should continue to think that and I would continue to feel that Charles is in my heart and around all the time, but now will especially look forward to his angel self being with us. What a difference in her response then. I helped her open up instead of shutting her down. My ideas are clearly not the only ones- who knew? Everyone!!!
It only took me two minutes to look at my daughter and repeat her thoughts and accept them. It only took me a few minutes to hear that my son was not ready for certain school adventures, but was willing to hear more ideas as they came up. Oddly, it takes me several minutes to hours to days to yell at my kids for fighting or not listening to me- funny isn’t it, I’m the adult yet I forget to listen (with my eyes, ears, and time) to my children. May the New Year bring me and you more time to listen to your child’s need- maybe with a sincere look or talk or just time in silence together. I hope for all parents out there that this Holiday season brings you peace of mind and time that you will give to truly hear your child within… there world.
Mistie Eltrich
Mistie has worked with children all her life, making it an official career when she became a School Psychologist in 1998. Pursuing her dream, in 2001, Mistie earned her doctorate degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has worked in schools with children pre-school through high school, but mostly preschool through elementary aged schools. She also worked in a special needs school (Gillen Brewer) in NYC. However, her biggest job has been to parent her four children (two were easier births as they are her step children- none the less hers). Being a parent is a constant review for her career and sanity, but most importantly her joy.

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Discussion: Paying Attention to Your Child Within

joel at June 22 2018

Mistie has worked with children all her life, making it an official career when she became a School Psychologist in 1998. Pursuing her dream, in 2001, Mistie earned her doctorate degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has worked in schools with children pre-school thr


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