I honestly think that one of the hardest things for children, ESPECIALLY INTERNATIONAL children, is the art of expressing themselves.
Learning a language is VERY HARD. Some children learn faster than others. But ALL of them have to learn a DEPTH of language in order to communicate deep thought. Many times the ages of our children and the ability to communicate DO NOT MATCH, bringing about great frustration and sometimes anger.
I will NEVER forget the night when Miss Alli was first home. (within the first 3 or 4 months)
Mike said, "I have found all the use of that kit!" (He was speaking of an eyeglass kit that had helped us many times repair eye glasses.)
But when he said it, I saw Miss Alli's countenance fall and she rushed to her room. I went to her and found her crying. Her interpretation of what he said was.. "I have found all the uses for that KID!"
(meaning to her.... he was done with her)
I am SOOOOO GLAD the Lord allowed me to see his words and her face at the same time, or I don't know that we would have ever figured out that meltdown. She was CONVINCED he was finished with her and she would be moving on!
Communication is SOOOOO IMPORTANT!!! For hurt children, it is VITAL, yet one of THEIR biggest weaknesses. Many times they do not understand even what emotion they are feeling!
I did respite care for a family a few years ago and the mom was a Special Ed teacher. She was so wise to give her little girl a picture list of emotions, to help her to identify her emotions.
This little one at 3 years old could understand happy, sad, mad, afraid...... I payed attention to that because I was so impressed with what she understood only being home 6 months!
Our kids have to learn language and understand their feelings in a different language. Sometimes it comes out as VERY disrespectful, and we have to help them tweak what they are saying to match feelings and respect.
If we get all bent out of shape by a choice of words, it will not help our children to learn in the long run. But if we take each opportunity as an opportunity to teach something new... before we know it, the children will be saying things differently.
I am a firm believer in "Say what you mean and mean what you say!"
With that in mind: This is an excerpt taken from "The Connected Child"
"BAD WORDS: Good Words
"You suck! I feel sad, mad or angry.
"No Fair!" "I feel jealous of my brother.
"Go Away!" I feel sad and need a little time alone.
"I hate you" I feel sad or angry!
THAT sucks! I feel angry or sad....
Back to my thoughts:
Children can feel overwhelmed and take it out on mom and dad. Some of these examples are real!
The goal would be to teach our kids appropriate language in order to express frustration!
Instead of "I hate you!" The goal would be for them to say, "Mom, I really don't like that rule!"
It is HARD for them to come up with the right emotions sometimes; and very hard for them to understand WHAT they are feeling, so the one that pops out the most is anger.
A proper goal would be for us to teach them proper responses to emotions.
If your son or daughter is upset and says something inappropriate.... we can say.... "Sweetie, let's try that again. How can you say that differently, with respect?"
OVER TIME... this approach works really well!
Teaching them what different facial expressions and emotions look like will help them to identify how they are feeling and be able to express themselves more readily.
But importantly.... We MUST be ready to listen to them!
For children who are struggling, I strongly recommend a picture/emotion flash card or refrigerator card type system so they can pick out what they are feeling or thinking.
This will make your child feel more in control because they can communicate either with pictures or verbally! And that frustration will begin to diminish over time as they learn to trust. :)
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)