Every time I get through one particular stage of my children’s development, I think, “Whew! I’m glad that’s over, it will be easier now.” I have found, though, that each stage offers new and different joys, challenges and pitfalls.
The wide-eyed wonder and temper tantrums of the toddler morph into the proud independence and defiance of the young school-aged child. Once you think you have it figured out, that you have found the strategies and techniques that work with your and your child’s particular needs and temperaments, you transition into the next stage and it starts all over again.
My oldest daughter recently transitioned from a young girl to a young lady. I’m not sure how it happened, as I still think of her as my chubby, dimpled, happy baby girl, but she’s now in that category known as tween.
It’s a tricky stage. Responsibilities are changing, needs are shifting, and emotions are swinging all over the place.
Not long ago we were in the middle of a board game after school. Four of us were playing – myself and my three daughters, including my oldest. Midway through the game, my oldest girl suddenly started getting visibly and verbally frustrated with her younger sisters. Everything seemed to irritate her, and when I asked the younger girls to leave the room so I could speak to my oldest, she broke down in tears. She was so stressed and emotional and frustrated that she could barely speak.
I realized that she needed to push the reset button.
I told her to go to her room. Not as a punishment or a time out, but to take some quiet time for herself. I told her to read a book. Pray. Do her bible study homework. Color a picture. Write in her journal. Anything that would help her to be still, to be quiet, to breathe deeply and calm her emotions. The only rule was that she couldn’t use a screen – no tablet, phone or television.
The 20 minutes that she spent alone completely changed her perspective. She came out refreshed, with a pool of calmness and peace inside that helped her face the challenges and noise of our boisterous family -not to mention the annoyance of younger siblings.
So next time I call customer service because my phone/computer/printer/tv is being weird, maybe I won’t get so upset when the first thing they tell me to do is hit the reset button.