The best and worst parts of being a parent is feeling your child’s emotional highs and lows.
Little children carry big emotions that they often do not yet have the life experience to process.
When T has a super high, excited or proud moment, we all celebrate together. On the flip side, we’re in the trenches of the lows with him.
Recently, we received a message from T’s Child and Youth Worker that the friend that he sits with on the school bus told T he doesn’t like him.
T then told his CYW this made him very sad.
The CYW explained to T the kid was upset about something else – T later told me the kid had lost his shoes – and he didn’t mean what he said.
I received this message while I was on a work call and it made me very sad.
I often think about friendships for T, as I read on private support groups about kids with T’s prognosis having challenges with maintaining friendships.
So as T’s parent, I am even more sensitive to these kind of incidents – even if in this instance, it wasn’t related to anything T did.
For me, it’s important to let kids experience the wide spectrum of emotions.
The worst thing I could do as T’s parent is to shield him from experiencing negative emotions like sadness, anger or frustration.
We work hard to give T the tools to process and verbalize his emotions, including encouraging him to talk to us or a grown up.
In the recent incident, T told the bus driver who then alerted his CYW. So while it sucked that T experienced this, we were glad he told a grown up. That is a sign of maturity, I think.
A few days later, his CYW shared even more devastating news. The classmate that T had grown close with and played with at school was leaving for a different school.
The CYW wanted to give us a heads up because she felt that this would be a huge loss for T.
So we strategized. The CYW told T about it a few days beforehand and she arranged a proper goodbye for the two boys.
The kid’s last day at T’s school was this past Tuesday. I asked that evening about his classmate. T explained he was going to a different school.
I asked T how he felt about it. He said he felt sad. And that was a perfectly normal and healthy response.
School friends will come and go – and hopefully some will also be long lasting – and I remind myself we’ll get through these moments with T together.
That night, as I was lying down with T during bedtime after stories, he snuggled up very closely to me and wrapped my arm around his chest. He fell asleep tightly in my arms.