Thing 2

Training For The Teen Years

photo(1)Nikki is getting to the age where I won’t be writing as much serious stuff here about her. I did the same thing with E early on in his life, writing more about the fun adventures than about any struggles they may be having. In other words, this may be the last “serious” entry I write about her and I’m hoping everyone will just remember I wrote it and assume it’s my life EVERY SINGLE DAY with my daughter for the next 10 years. Even if I’m just writing about her fashion choices.

Nikki is an emotional creature. She has an emotional range of 1-10 and she spends it at 1 or at 10. She never hangs out anywhere in between. And the jump from 1 to 10 is just that, a jump by-passing all the numbers in between. She just goes straight to 10.

This weekend we had a late night with her doing a lot of crying in my arms about how she has “no idea what’s going on with her life” and about her struggles with friends and boyfriends and how she wished I could be principal at her school so that when she was upset she could see me.

And she cried…and cried…and just kept wailing, “I can’t stop crying!”

I sat on the stairs and held her and rocked her and talked to her for about 30 minutes. Then we moved to the couch and snuggled and watch some TV and talked a bit more until she fell asleep.

Some days I think this is just a girl thing, because I remember those heightened emotions, but other days I think she’s just an emotional being. Reacts intensely and severely to all situations, and just always will. In which case I have to teach her how to process those emotions and deal with them in a healthy way. And since I tend to deal with mine by eating? My counseling may be a little weak.

So! Do you have an emotional child at home? How do you counsel them to deal with those emotions? She’s taking pictures of her family to school to give her strength when she needs it. We went through several memories and stories she can keep in her arsenal when she’s having a bad day. She can write it down and bring it to me later. Those are the basic ideas I’ve given her, do you have any more suggestions?

8 thoughts on “Training For The Teen Years”

  1. The sad thing is…I spent most of my childhood oblivious to the “struggles” in the real world and had to learn to deal with the emotions as an adult. Matter of fact, I am still learning to deal with them. I like that you are giving her coping mechanisms. I went to therapy during a rough period in my life and that was exactly what we did…discussed coping mechanisms so that I could get through the times where my boss was screaming at me, where I felt overwhelmed by everything that needed to be accomplished, etc. I would ask Nikki, what do you think will make you feel better when you feel like that? A small piece of baby blanket she keeps in her pocket? Pictures? A list of things that she is good at? A list of reasons why people like her? Eventually, she will be able to play the soundtrack in her head and won’t need the physical. I also have my go to song…Extraordinary by Liz Phair. I pump that up and remind myself that I am unique and extraordinary!

  2. My seven year old daughter is also so very emotional. And I try so so hard to be her ally and not just on the opposing side. She seems to handle school very well, and most of her emotional energy is directed at me. I think I’m the safe place to get mad at.
    I just mostly have to be as patient and understanding as I possibly can.
    Good luck!

  3. My parents said I was the same way. And I remember crying EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. during high school. I don’t remember it before that, but my mom says I came home every day from kindergarten and would just fall apart. My mom called them “Emotional Releases.” She told me she used to be the same way when she was younger, but she outgrew it. I definitely outgrew it. I’m not at all like that as an adult in any way whatsoever. So, I think you’re doing the best thing possible. Just hugging her and letting her know she is loved.

    As a teen, I remember just feeling these intense waves of just anger or rage or tears. And through the tears I would say to my parents “I don’t even know why I’m crying!” I liken it to that PMS feeling when you’re just PISSY and can’t exactly explain why. You look around for reasons to blame, but really that’s not the reason.

    Some people just need to vent more/cry more. And now that I don’t cry hardly EVER anymore. I do vent a lot on FB. So maybe she is just in training to vent on her own fantastic blog one day! I don’t really have any advice, except to tell you she will grow up to be a completely functional person and you’ll look back and shake your head at all this. So don’t despair!

  4. Does your school have a counselor? Maybe talk to the counselor about her coming to visit when she is feeling overwhelmed at school? One of my kiddos really likes one of the school secreteries and visits her from time to time so if not a counselor, just a favorite staff member. It helps to know there is someone in the building she can turn to if upset outside the classroom.

  5. As a school psychologist by trade and an emotional being by nature first let me say that you are doing a great job! Just knowing that someone is there to support you no matter what is most of the battle. I was the same exact way when i was in school! Part of it is a maturity thing, as she ages and begins to learn more about herself it will be easier for her to find what works best for her and discover how she can best cope with her own issues; it’s different for all of us. In the meantime reminding her of positives to focus on and letting her know you and many others are there for support are the best things you can do. One other thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that sometimes you just have to encourage people to OWN their sadness . We are allowed to feel sad sometimes. I hate it when I’m emotional and people tell me “Think of all the people that have it worse” Not only does it make me feel guilty for my emotions but it invalidates what I’m feeling and makes me defensive. Then I feel like I have nowhere to turn when I need to vent. Sometimes just blubbering out loud makes you feel better or come to a realization as to what you’re truly upset about. I know this is really long and rambling but all this to say you are doing such a great job and it will get easier for both of you!

  6. My 8 year old son is very emotional/sensitive. (My 5 year old daughter is a drama queen, and there’s a huge difference. Give her chocolate and life is okay again).
    We’re dealing a lot with anxiety. The one thing that is working for us is every night Matt and I have a “chat”. I mean, we talk whenever, but every night I get in my pj’s and he comes in and talks about whatever is going on. He saves up for those chats. One day he told me that he didn’t cry at school because he knew he cry in our chat. (is this good? I don’t know)
    Also – our naturopath recommended trytophan (like from turkey). Seriously. I know a few kids who take it – we combine it with melatonin – and OMG! He’s mellower. We just started. It’s so great.

  7. Thank you so much for writing about any of the struggles at all. I just wrote today that I leave out most of the ‘bad’ because I don’t want to dwell on it myself but there is plenty of it in my days. I have learned so much from you since my kids are an age behind your younger set and you are always one of the people I refer to as a ‘blog friend’ because I had to come up with a title for people I talk about or quote advice from etc over the year. Anyway, I hope you know how much you mean to a lot of people (and I’m not a stalker I promise!!!)

Leave a Reply