It’s been 40 years now that I’ve worked with children. What an inspiration they’ve been for me. Whenever I get into my thinking adult head, they’ve been here to remind me of the sanctity of being in the present moment, being true to myself and honoring the changes the seasons bring, both in the external world and how that world is reflected inwardly.
Each spring I watch the world rebirth itself in all it’s glory. Nature comes alive with new growth and a brilliant display of color. And yes, under it all is the death of the old, the passing of what has been.
Every spring I have delighted in the changes around me in nature AND been perplexed by what I’ve observed in all my darling young charges. Frankly they’ve looked as though they’ve been taken over by some alien pod people.
They cry at the drop of hat, for seemingly the most inconsequential reasons.
They pick fights with their friends, their siblings, their parents, ME!
They are ornery and defiant.
They throw temper tantrums like there is no tomorrow.
They reply “NO!” to everything, even to stuff they want to try or do.
They lie right to my face.
They tell me exactly what they know I want to hear and then they turn right around and do whatever they please.
Nothing is ever good enough.
They want, want, want. NOW!
They steal while looking me straight in the eye.
They dare me to take a stand.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM!!!!!
It’s simple. It’s the Spring Rebirth. Here’s how it works:
The weather has changed dramatically and their little bodies are just barometers.
They undergo dramatic growth spurts.
They are hungry all the time and prefer comfort foods when what they really need is more protein.
There are too many sugar holidays in spring and they are all reeling from blood sugar imbalances.
The time change has messed up their delicate inner balances.
They are staying up later and getting less sleep when really they need more.
The weather changed, the day length changed, so they wonder, “Does that mean everything else has changed?”
Since we don’t tell them the rules are the same even though everything else is different (and they need to know that, it’s just the developmental phase they’re in) they figure they better test all our boundaries.
All of their favorite clothes from last summer no longer fit.
All of their favorite toys are no longer fun because they’ve undergone such growth that they need more challenging stuff.
THEY ARE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF THE CHILD THEY WERE, THE CLOTHES THEY LOVED, THEY WAY THINGS WERE JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS AGO!!!
It’s no wonder they are in upheaval. AND ALL THE SAME IS TRUE FOR US TOO!
So here’s what I do:
Remember all the stuff I just told you. Remember it on a minute to minute basis.
Be Loving and compassionate.
Restate boundaries, rules and policies.
Try to have fun doing it. Today I sat a group of five year olds, who were blowing it, down and said. “Get ready for a lecture.” “What’s a lecture?” they asked. “It’s when I nag you.” I replied and continued, “Nag, nag, nag, nag, nag, nag, nag.” “What am I nagging you about?” And then those incredibly clever children told me exactly what the problem was. Without me having to say an actual word. “So then you’re done with that, right?” “Yes.” And we all went on with our day.
Ask them to do something ONCE: “Please put your bowl on the counter.” Wait 30 seconds.
Tell them ONCE what you will do if they don’t do it. “Your bowl goes on the counter. If you don’t put it there I will.” Hand them the bowl. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!!!! Wait 30 seconds.
Act: Here are your choices:
Move as many activities as you can outside. Create shade, wear sun hats and stay out most of the day.
Lay on quilts and read books for rest time.
Eat picnics outside for every meal.
Dig up weeds (releasing the old).
Plant anything. (embracing the new).
Have fun wearing those old outgrown clothes. Laugh at how silly they look. Marvel at how everyone’s grown.
Allow your children the space they need to have their feelings, grieve the changes, let go of that which no longer serves them. Be supportive and loving WITHOUT trying to change, fix, alter.
Examine your own grief's. Yes, your child is growing, becoming independent, embracing themselves., needing you less. Your role is changing too.
Do a little grieving of your own.
AND FINALLY: Summer is right around the corner. This too will pass.