Say "It's Okay" Instead Of "You're Okay"
This is one piece of parenting advice that I have taken to heart and try my best to stay on track with. If there's one thing someone can say to someone that's emotionally harmful, including to kids, it's telling them how they should feel. When you say "You're okay" after your kid starts crying from falling down or from getting frustrated about not being able to open the book they're sitting on....
You are telling them how they should feel. You're telling them they're okay even if they are feeling sad, frustrated, mad, etc.. You are in a way dismissing their feels without even realizing it! Indirectly this is communicating to them that it's not okay to not be okay. It's saying that they have to be okay at all times even when their circumstances are making them feel otherwise.
I still sometimes catch myself saying "you're okay" to my 1 year old. I quickly switch it to "it's okay". I want my son to know that it's okay to cry when he feels sad or frustrated or mad. It's okay to express how you are feeling to me. It's okay to be open to others on how you are feeling. It's okay to not be okay. The only person that should be telling you how to feel is YOURSELF.
Side note: I italicize the word should because that's the one word my therapist has taught me not to use and how dangerous it can be! I used to use it allllllll the time saying things like "I should have this job. I should live here." I've talked about this in other blog posts on why this is a dangerous word to use.
Saying "it's okay" is not only a helpful tip to use with kids, but it's also helpful to use for yourself and really for everyone. There's not one person in this world, no matter who they are, that is required to be okay at all times. That's not realistic. Or healthy. So with that being said...
IT IS OK to...
- be feeling anxious about your kids starting school
- be feeling angry if someone you pass in the store isn't wearing a mask
- be feeling frustrated sometimes with your kids being home all day
- be feeling sad that you had to cancel your vacation
- be feeling scared about a family member getting COVID
IT IS OK TO NOT BE OK.
Remember that you are not alone in your feelings. Your feelings are valid. Reach out to someone if you need help or comfort. Reach out to someone if you can give help or comfort to them. We are all living in this crazy world. Let's stick together!