“Mommy, it’s okay to have big feelings.” These were the words a six-year-old ever so calmly and wisely whispered to his mother as he gently climbed up upon his stool to wipe away the tears from her cheeks.
You see, just a day prior, the family lost a dear loved one. The pain was fresh, raw, and real and could not be held in as the world continued to spin and move ever forward, All while the mother tried to keep up with the everyday tasks before her, starting with preparing their usual family morning breakfast.
Life, in the moments that challenge us the most, can shine a bright light at the most unexpected times. At that time the mom thought of this quote by Sue Atkins “There is no such thing as being the perfect parent. So just be a real one.”
How absolutely perfect was it for her that her son was bringing comfort to her and letting her know that it was absolutely 100% okay for her to feel the raw sting of grief at that moment? While we all strive to achieve it, thankfully, there is no such thing as the perfect parent! Instead, by letting our imperfections show and keeping it real, we serve as better and healthier role models for our children to follow.
As many families nationwide continue to reel from the ongoing pandemic, concerns surrounding the mental and emotional health of our children will be the next challenge that teachers, pediatricians, and most of all, parents will face; it’s vitally important that we are attuned to the unhealthy shifts in our children’s overall health, behavior, and wellness. Now more than ever, parents will be relied upon to stand up and step into being the parent our children need us to be.
But what does this look like? Where do we begin?
It begins with Connection. In times of increased stress, with more responsibilities heaved upon our shoulders, unexpected shifts, and changes abounding, it’s easy to become disconnected from our children and spouses if we are not mindful and careful. That means that when they come to share things with you, you take a pause, stop what you are doing, and give them your undivided attention. We also need to take a moment to assess our state of mind and if exhaustion, increased stress, and heightened emotions are hindering our connection with loved ones.
In our Early SKILLZ program for 3-4-year-olds, we start with an evaluation to see where the child is Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally, and Socially which helps identify their strengths and growth opportunities.
This assessment begins first and foremost with you! We as parents cannot give on an empty cup when we feel exhausted, stressed, or in a state of heightened emotions. Instead, wait until you have had a chance to decompress, as that will increase your ability to build a stronger connection.
- Step 1: Pull out a sheet of paper with “How am I really doing…” written across the top with four columns just below with the headings, “Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally and Socially.” Below each column, fill in how you are currently doing in each. Be honest!
- Step 2: What did you learn about your current state of overall health? This exercise may reveal positive areas of your health but also areas that need some work. The areas that need some work should be viewed as opportunities, not faults; that subtle change in point of view is important.
- Step 3: While there may be room for improvement in more than one area for you, select one category to focus on improving upon for a minimum of two weeks before adding in another area of improvement.
- For example: If you have been neglecting to address toxic, repetitive self-talk like, “I am not good enough,” or “I am not smart enough,” choose to challenge the negative self-talk with encouraging words.
- Taking Post-it notes, write, “I am enough,” “I am smart,” “I am strong,” “I am capable,” and so on that can be stuck to your bathroom mirror. Thus every morning when you wake up to get ready for the day, you are surrounded by words of love, truth, and light all around your reflection.
- Step 4: How powerful would it be for your child to witness you speaking words of love and truth about yourself at the start of each day? Might this not lead them to have positive thoughts about themselves?
By taking these steps, you will create the space within which a greater connection with your child can take place. Within this healthful space, consider creating a special time (date) with your child, exclusively for yourselves to reconnect. Maybe your date is getting outside to play in the snow or sunshine, depending on where you live or doing an art project together as you engage in a heart-to-heart about how you both are doing.
- Bonus Tip: If your child shares with you some hurts they are wrestling with i.e. “Mom, I always see you working. It’s like you have no time for me.” Or, “Dad, we don’t play together anymore. This really makes me sad.” Hold these words, thoughts, and feelings in the softest, most caring space for your child. It takes bravery and courage to speak one’s truth! When your child speaks with vulnerability, validate and honor their truth by saying, “Thank you for speaking your truth. I know that was not easy. I see you, and I hear you. I am going to process this, and together we will find a solution that works for us both moving forward.”
If you find yourself struggling in this area of your life, please don’t hesitate to connect with me. Our goal at Resilient Martial Arts is to assist you and your family in any way that we can to reduce the physical, mental, emotional, and social stressors you are facing.
It takes a village to raise a child, and we are honored to be a part of your incredible life’s journey!
To apply for our program and schedule your child’s free trial, click the button below:
RESILIENT MARTIAL ARTS
6911 Chital Drive
Midlothian, VA 23112
Email: [email protected]
Author: Eric Rangel-Ribeiro
Eric Rangel-Ribeiro is the proud owner alongside Joshua Fracker, Barbara Robinson, and Bernard Robinson of Resilient Martial Arts a World Taekwondo, Kali & SKILLZ Lifetime Gold academy in Midlothian, Virginia. Eric is also a brand ambassador for SKILLZ Worldwide and specializes in working with members of the local Neuro Diverse community. As a leading advocate for adapting Martial Arts Classes for people of all abilities he has partnered with another Martial Arts School owner and each week hosts a show to help other school owners across the country implement programs for Neuro Diverse members of their community.