Empathy

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As I am just digging my heals into the role of motherhood, with only 14 months of experience under my belt, it is overwhelming to see how much I need to grow in. Patience, gentleness, grace, selflessness, and forgiveness. My son started walking two months ago. It has been both a blessing yet a challenge for my husband and I. Yay! Oliver can walk to the toy he wants, learning to be more independent, and getting rid of energy.  Bedtime has actually gone so much better. He eats nonstop and anything he can fit in his tiny mouth, so naturally our grocery budget is exponentially increasing.

One of the ways that is so challenging for me lately is communication. Oliver only knows a few sign language words: More, all done, eat, water, and diaper. Everything else is a guessing game. These words help so much, but life can get pretty confusing and frustrating for him. Sometimes, I just want to put him in his crib and let him deal with himself, but that’s not a healthy way for me to encourage him to sort his feelings and talk it out. I have to try to talk him through whatever it is I think he is crying about. Like, “I know you want to put your toys in the toilet, but the toilet is yucky so we aren’t going to do that,” or “I know you want to keep playing at the park, but it is nap time so we need to leave. We will come another day.” Toddler tantrums start up very early. All kids do it but it doesn’t make it easier. What I have learn to ease the situation is to talk him down, when or if I can. Even if I have no idea what he is upset about, listening and then calmly and gently trying to talk to him about those tears immediately diffuses most situations.

Oh how different this world would be if we all just stretched ourselves a little bit, reached down deep and learned to have some empathy. It would create amazing bridges in all these fights. It would transform our country and how we interact with the world. We would be able to solve so many problems and rid of all these ridiculous issues that come out of arguments, insults, shouting, and division. I want to grow my empathy muscle, and I am grateful motherhood is like a personal trainer pushing me past my limits. Lets listen more while talking, judging, stereotyping, and bashing WAY less.

A great book for understanding children’s emotions and proactively guiding them through them:

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