You started third grade. You loved it until another boy hit you in the back. On purpose.
I think you handled it the way you felt was best at the time. You told the teacher.
Dad coached you to hit back next time. And we have always told you that you will never be in trouble for defending yourself with your words or your fists.
I coached you to consider doing something without your fists, if at all possible.
Three days later you still ruminated, marinated, really, on the incident and all the bad things you could do to get back at the other boy. You were angry and plotting your retaliation. We were driving to school.
I stopped the car in the middle of our dirt road and turned to look at you. I felt lost. How was I going to help you? Being a parent is full of these moments. Questioning how I can help you on your human journey.
I said, “Honey, I can almost guarantee that the other boy is not thinking about you right now. He’s getting ready for school or getting yelled at by his mom for NOT getting ready for school. He’s taking up all your energy and thoughts right now. You are the one feeling big feelings about something that happened three days ago. Not him. Sweetheart, brains are super powerful. You can choose to not think about him. You can train your brain and make its super powers work for you rather than let all those thoughts run loose. Would you like to know how?” I breathed easier when you said yes.
We practiced how to recognize the thought about him and redirect to something you are good at or were looking forward to. I said his name and you said ‘hunting and fishing’ or ‘playing with the dogs.’
By the time we got to school, you were laughing instead of fuming.
I picked you after school and asked how it all went. You said it went pretty good.
I’ll take that as a win.
I hope we are building a trust so that you keep coming to me when you are angry, hurting, questioning, or happy.