The theme for this week is centered around taking one small step toward recognizing and honoring your child as a unique spirit — a gift from God, the Universe, whatever you want to call the great cosmic power — with an appropriately unique set of skills, abilities, and needs.

I remember a conversation with my daughter Lily when she was very small, in elementary school, wherein she told me unprompted that she was like a sponge. When I asked her what she meant by that, she explained that she felt like she absorbed many emotions until she couldn’t absorb anymore, and just like water leaking out of the sponge, the tears leaked out of her eyes.

This was an eye-opening epiphany for me. Children feel the exact same emotions we feel. They are incredibly perceptive of nonverbal communication; it’s all they know until their brains develop language skills. They can sense when their parents are having a confrontation. They can tell when people are pretending to have one emotion while really feeling another. In addition, children are just like sponges — or perhaps it would be better to say they’re like paper towels. Just like all the competing paper towel brands, each child has their own emotional capacity before they hit their limit, and each is different from the rest!

Until children develop a basic set of tools to name a tricky emotion, understand why they’re feeling it, and execute appropriate strategies to deal with it, they are going to be sponges and towels, soaking wet with emotion. This is NORMAL for their age and stage. Even after they have those tools, they’ll get weepy often enough. I know I do — though much less now that I am practicing mind management and conscious parenting!

Make it your business to get curious, not furious, when your kids act out, so you can help them develop the tools they need to navigate tricky emotions successfully. You’ve got this!

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