It was during Joshua’s junior year in high school (about 3 years ago)… he asked to confide in me about something he was concerned about.
He hasn’t been feeling consistently “happy”… sometimes, waking up in the morning feeling sad, indifferent, grumpy…
Is this depression, mom?
I asked him how he was feeling about school… friends… hobbies… recharge time… and while understandably he felt some pressure regarding school, there was no cause for alarm as a whole.
No, sweetie… it’s called, being a teenager. 🙂
This positivity revolution is biting us (and our babies) in the butt.
We try so hard to promote being NOT SAD, kids are now starting to think feeling anything but “happy” means there’s something wrong with them.
They inquire about drugs that numb out their emotions when instead, they should be taking this opportunity to learn about their emotions in response to various stimuli. and how best to process and/or cope with them.
Pick a feelz… any feelz.
Researchers have identified 27 unique emotions… and Psychologist Robert Plutchik proposed eight basic emotions: joy, sadness, trust, disgust, fear, anger, surprise, and anticipation.
Yet, we’ve come to believe that only one emotion – joy – is acceptable.
I asked Joshua, “When you were a little boy and felt angry, sad, afraid… do you remember what I’d tell you?”
You said it’s OK to be mad or sad and explained why feeling those things in response to a particular situation made sense, and gave me time to let it pass.
And honestly? The kid was 17 when he noticed his emotions going funko-land… I’m glad he was self-aware and trusted me enough to talk to me about it. But man… the joys of adolescence!
I walked him through simple self-observation… if there are no major stressors triggering the emotion, then it’s simply coming up to take a breath. Hormones, my sweet son.
It’s important to support and validate our children’s emotions… but it’s just as important to teach them how to face and process their feelings instead of numbing them out, burying them deep down, or running away.
Resilience is a superpower. Make sure you teach your kids how to activate it!!!