Regina Pally, CRC’s Founder and Co-Director, discusses an interesting article she found in the New York Times.
Lots of kids have difficulty separating. It can be very hard on parents, especially if they don’t understand just how normal it is for separation to be difficult. The human species is actually designed for separation to activate the pain system. It hurts at a physical level- with some hurting more than others. But it can even hurt for the most resilient of us. This article illustrates how cool and collected President Obama felt like he was having open heart surgery when separating from his daughter as she went off to college. Letting your child know it’s normal to feel upset about separating can be the first step in helping to reduce their pain. If you make a child feel badly about being upset, it can activate a shame cycle that actually exacerbates the pain. In fact ‘normalizing’ all negative emotions is a very useful tool when trying to comfort a child who is upset. The point is to help your child develop coping skills for their difficult and painful emotions. But the message should always be to accept the feelings as normal.