April 6, 2020
April is the Month of the Military Child, and everything in this photo is so true. Our kids are resilient and have experience with difficult and new circumstances… but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Last Friday, I overheard the kids talking to each other about some of their frustrations with all of this. If your house is like ours, education is happening differently (to say the least!), routines are off, and they have even less agency than normal (read: they can’t ride their bike to their friends’ houses). Thankfully we don’t have littles anymore (serious hat tip to those of you parenting the under-5 crowd right now!!!), because kids who lack the language to express their feelings find other ways to express it – often involving screams and cries. Regardless of age, this season is a great opportunity to model and suggest language for kids to share what they’re feeling – because they’ll share it one way or another. ) Whatever you’re feeling – anxious, scared, uncertain, angry, etc – the kids probably are too. What would it be like to tell them what you’re feeling and ask what they are feeling?
Anyway – later that night we called a family meeting and created a brave space for everyone to talk about what is frustrating them. It was meaningful and revealing for all of us, and it was followed by a lovely evening as a family (which did, of course, include showing them a YouTube clip of Festivus so they’d have some context for our suggestion of The Airing of Grievances 😂).
We have a value of being honest and age-appropriately-transparent with the kids – so before deployment, we’d gather them up and tell them it would be difficult, that we’d need them to step up and help out in new ways, and that we would be a team as a family no matter what. We’d name the fears and realities as well as the hopes and the assurances. The same conversation has happened with every move and transition… and this season is no different.
Yep, things get overwhelming and frustrating… and even still, the kids are alright.