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Are Feelings Fixable?

by Roslyn Duffy
November/December 2008
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/are-feelings-fixable/5018487/

�" Situation �"

“I don’t want to go to [insert your choice: school/soccer/ church . . . ]!”

“Ana’s not my friend anymore! She can’t come to my birthday party!”

“I hate you! You’re [insert your choice: mean/stupid/not the boss of me . . . ]”

�" Solution �"

Whenever we hear a child say something like the above, isn’t our first impulse to ‘fix’ whatever is wrong? Is something wrong at school/with Ana/or with me? We rush to make this child feel better (at once); be happy (right now); and act loving (always). But often they don’t, won’t or maybe, can’t.

No words/No connection/No filters

Taking such statements at face value often misses underlying feelings. So, why don’t children simply say what they are feeling without the drama? There are three good reasons:

• First, they don’t have names for what they feel. Instead of recognizing that tight feeling in his face as unshed tears of sadness, little Jason argues over which soccer socks to wear or refuses to go to Sunday school.

• Secondly, a child cannot connect her feeling of sadness to its trigger source. When Aunt Penny leaves after a summer visit, the task of connecting the dots between Aunt Penny’s departure and her ...

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