Thursday, January 09, 2020

On Consolation

Writing every day at the Gardens gives me a wide view of humanity.

Every age. Every kind of behavior, both polite and otherwise. It's amazing what you see if you just sit and watch.

I notice children, because they're awesome. Most of them, anyway. A few appear to have futures serving a dark lord, but only a few.

I also notice how parents work with their children, particularly when they're distressed. Some parents, when their child gets upset and starts wailing, react by putting on a dog and pony show. "Don't cry! Look at the giant unicorn!" kind of reactions.

I don't remember how I handled those moments with Eli 18.5 (he didn't have many), but now, that strikes me as an inefficient reaction. It seems like it models behavior that says sorrow should be distracted, which seems unhealthy. It also makes it seem like being upset is not okay, when it's really just a normal part of life.

What I would do today is just ask "Is there anything I can do to help?" If the child said no, then I'd say, "I'll sit with you until you feel better." That way, the child would understand that it's okay to be upset, and that it will pass. A few minutes of patience seems like it would go a long way in helping children develop their own coping strategies.

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