A Christmas Tale of Woe

Note: I write about my parenting experiences not only to show by example how to honor deep feelings in children so that those feelings don’t morph into anxiety but also to illustrate what it looks like to tend to our own difficult feelings. If you don’t have children, I invite you to put yourself in the place of the child in the story and imagine it to be your own inner child. Whether or not you have children, you can read my parenting posts in both ways.

We woke up Christmas morning to a world sparkling in snow with luminescent angel-flakes shining in the morning sun. My body felt rested. My heart felt happy. I was ready to celebrate the day.

But while I was filled with gratitude and love, my boys weren’t so happy. The gifts that my husband and I had ordered a week before Christmas hadn’t arrived, … Click here to continue reading...

Feelings Are Messy

As humans in an uncertain world, we seek certainty in a variety of ways. We ask questions that are fundamentally unanswerable. We ruminate and obsess on a single thought (otherwise known as intrusive thoughts). We Google and text and seek reassurance in a variety of increasingly technologically oriented ways. When I see someone falling into these common mental habits, the first question I encourage them to ask themselves is, “What are these thoughts/actions protecting me from feeling?”

We’re so identified with spending thousands of hours in the realm of thought that oftentimes this question doesn’t make any sense. What do you mean “protecting” me from feeling? What I mean is that somewhere along the road of growing up, somewhere between the innately healthy relationship that babies have to their emotional life and the disconnected relationship that most adults have, we learned that one way to manage the messy, amorphous, … Click here to continue reading...

Guiding Children Through Grief: The Aftermath of the Colorado Floods

“Mommy, Ryan’s not being kind!” I hear my four year old, Asher, yell from the next room. Our dear friends, who we’ve seen every Wednesday since Asher and Ryan were babies, are staying with us at my mom’s house since we were all evacuated from our homes as a result of the recent floods here in Colorado. Ryan has been through an extremely challenging year punctuated by several extreme losses, and while his parents are as attentive, loving, and compassionate as they can be, sometimes it’s just too much for a little guy to process. When his own internal floods rise up, the overflow sometimes comes out in the form of pushing boundaries and prodding others.

“Ryan, are you trying to hurt me?” Asher asks.

“Yes,” Ryan replies with a mischievous grin on his face.

Ryan is one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met and I know he doesn’t … Click here to continue reading...