Parents tend to forget that kids are human too. They go through the highs and lows; they have mood swings and a host of other feelings. And just as you feel overwhelmed some times, kids do too.
The following story was culled from a Facebook post and it illustrates why we need to pay more attention to our children’s emotional states.
P.S: We have made some edits to the original text in order to make it easy for you to read. Some words have been changed also. However, we have left a major part untouched to avoid burying the lessons.
“Please parents, let’s keep an eye on how the kids are doing emotionally.
My 13-year-old is one of the most driven people I’ve ever met in that I’ve never had to remind her to do her homework.
Like her dad and I, she’s the type that won’t eat until she’s finished her work. Even at her age, her work ethic is second to none.
And in all things, she’s well-rewarded by her string of straight As.
My daughter isn’t only exceptional in school, she’s also an excellent leader in several virtual play communities she runs with her friends. The girl is all sorts of amazing 🤩.
Now that the perfunctory motherly brag is out the way, something just happened at our house that I felt I had to share with you.
Three days ago, I began to notice something really curious; my girl was gradually losing interest in the things she regularly enjoys.
- Multiple times, I saw her sit by herself away from her unofficial twin barely holding herself up on the couch.
- I realized she hadn’t opened up our common area gaming laptop.😳
I grew concerned but it took this, for me to acknowledge to myself that something was definitely wrong:
- Twice within a 20-minute period, she turned to me and said, “I just have no energy Mum.”
“Uh oh!” No energy ke?
Putting it all together, I recognized what was up. For such a healthy child to suddenly seem so drained, it sounded to me like she was in a depressive mood. So, I rushed over to dad with my concerns.
You see, at our home, we often make jokes that my 13-year-old is the only person LOVING the stay-at-home order because even before the pandemic, she came up with all sorts of reasons to stay home which is a stark difference from her sister, who requires social stimulation and needs to go outdoors and to hang out with friends quite often.
BUT even for my introverted 13 yr old, this was so unusual.
I knew I had to do something to intervene to interrupt her current mood but we had a problem:
In our city, we’re still under COVID restrictions so our options are very limited but I just could not look away. We can’t just wait out a depressive mood because it can get worse.
So, I Invited my 13 yr old and her sister out to take a walk with me for some snacks at the nearby convenience store (no one said no to snacks🙄).
This was very tricky because we’ve been having a bad snowstorm for more than a week so we had to be very careful.
All three of us ended up having such a great time walking through the snow that by the time we’d returned home, she was laughing and excitedly chatting with her sister.
I felt a bit relieved but I also knew it was too soon to think everything was back to normal.
I was soon proven right.
Before the night was over, in tears, my baby told me she’d been feeling unusually unmotivated for more than a week and that she couldn’t even get her homework completed or play her favourite games. She was concerned she’d let us down if she didn’t live up to the expectation of always getting her work done.
I spent a half-hour listening while assuringly holding and rubbing her hand.
By the end of it all, I realized my baby was describing OVERWHELM.
With all that’s going on, this kid was feeling emotionally exhausted.
Getting ready for high school, COVID and stay at home orders were taking a toll.
A moment of reflection…
As grown-ups, especially for those of us who live in the west and are still facing lockdowns, we often get so preoccupied with our own struggles that we can easily miss what’s right before our own eyes – that our children are struggling with this pandemic too.
- They miss their friends.
- They miss hugging people.
- They worry when we have to leave home.
- They are hurting from stories of losing beloved family members – to covid and other things
Most of all, they miss their normal lives.
Just as we do.
Reflection over. Time for some action!
💃🏽 No time for anyhow(ness).
So I did what mamas have done since the beginning of time, made a promise to love my baby out of this period.
The first thing I did was give her permission to take a break from all her work.
No chores, nothing!
I even offered to email her teachers to request for her to be excused for the rest of the week.
She refused that😆.
Then, I encouraged her to read a book. In my experience, there’s no safer, quicker way to be entertained that to read a good book. I signed up for Kindle Unlimited (they have a trial period running now) and she downloaded, read and loved Shakespeare’s, Romeo & Juliet.
I followed up by bringing her to spend the entire day completing her outstanding homework next to me at my small home workspace. It felt like a mini-‘take your kids to work day’ 😂
After my workday and she’d finished all her leftover homework, we played and all danced with her to her favourite KPOP music; BTS and NCT are her favourite. See wahala!
Last but not least, She took a nighttime shower, ate up a bowl of my mum’s delicious fish stew and was asleep within minutes of hitting the bed.
By the end of it all, I’d learned lots of new lessons.
⚡️⚡️ We MUST remind our children that it’s OKAY for them to DO NOTHING.
These children need to know it’s okay with us for them to take a break from their work and even from their daily virtual school.”
Note From Us
Dear parents, only you know what your children need. Regardless of their ages, when things seem a bit too quiet for your comfort, please check in on them.
Our children are people too.
👉🏽 Which part of this resonates with you?