Tell Your Child When You’ve Had a Rough Day to Help Model Resiliency
Earlier this month, I had a really rough day. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong, did go wrong. I know many of you can relate to one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days. Later that evening, I was talking to my family on the phone about my rough day and I began to cry. My son, Romeo, walked in and saw me crying and immediately gave me a hug and asked, “What’s wrong?” I told him nothing and asked him to go back to his room to play.
I didn’t want him to see me cry.
I didn’t want him to see me as weak.
I just wanted him to be his happy joyful self and see his mom as this strong independent woman.
But, little did I know that this moment was a very important teaching experience that I missed.
One morning, about a week later, Romeo was sitting on the floor in the middle of his room and began to cry. I had no idea what was going on as we were just getting ready to head out for work and school. I asked him what’s wrong and he didn’t say anything. I repeatedly asked him over and over and he finally answered and said “Nothing. I’m fine. It’s okay.”
That moment hurt beyond belief and humbled me so much. Romeo didn’t even know how to communicate what was wrong with him because I was not leading by example. I was teaching him that when you are crying to just respond with “nothing” and to keep it moving. I was demonstrating that crying is a sign of weakness and to not talk about emotions which is a horrible thing to do especially as a mom raising a young man.
I want Romeo to be in tune with his emotions. I want him to be able to communicate when something is wrong and not just suck it up and hold it in. Learning these skills are an important part of him being a future leader, a great listener, and an amazing husband (if that’s what he wants).
Explain the rough days to your little ones. Never pretend they don’t exist because as you know, life is not full of happy days every day. Withholding how human you are from your child is preventing them from receiving the necessary tools they need to learn on how to cope when things don’t go their way.
Yes, we want to raise strong human beings who are relentless, persistent, and fearless but we have to show them what that full picture looks like behind the scenes. Although I cried, I am still relentless, persistent, and fearless because when I have rough days, I know how to cry it out, talk about it, and gain resilience which is what I need to teach my son.
I have learned from this incident and since then, I have been thoughtful in making sure I discuss these experiences with my little one to make sure I am equipping him for survival in his own life. I use the SBI method below when discussing rough days. I hope this helps you if you are having trouble with these conversations like me.
Tell them what is wrong
Example #1: I had a bad day because I didn’t do my best at work & I didn’t prepare like I should have.
Example #2: I had a rough day because someone said something really mean to me and it made me feel really bad
Tell them the behaviors of the party involved
Example #1: I was doing a presentation and I forgot all of the things I should have said, and everyone began to ask some pretty tough questions that I didn’t know that answer to.
Example #2: Someone called me out of my name and said that I was ugly and dumb.
Tell them how it made you feel & how you plan to rebound
Example #1: It made me feel like I am not smart, and I know that I am capable of doing my best. Next time, I am going to come better prepared and send an email to let them know that I will follow-up with answers to their questions.
Example #2: Those mean words made me feel bad on the inside and sad, but I had to realize that I am not any of those words that person said to me. That person is probably really sad in their life and they need a hug. I will not let someone’s words change how amazing I know I am.
We are all strong individuals but let’s not let that prevent us from showing our little ones that in order to be strong it’s all about how we rebound from those points that made us feel weak.