Tag Archives: children

Your Child’s Super Hero Tool Box…Climbing out of the Rabbit Hole ~ Explaining Violence to Children

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Precious Jewels

Just thinking about writing my experience with this subject matter, gives me the heebie jeebies. My heart is racing and my body stiffens. But this is one of those important matters that are uncomfortable at best, necessary at the very  least, scary for all of us, yet could save a life that may be our own child’s.

Please know, as you read this, that these are my wisdoms in this growing area of violence with children. You may not agree with all that I say. Please take what you think will work for you and your family, and leave the rest.  We have seen this in action. It DOES work. Thank you for reading this and please pass it on if you feel it will help someone. 

 

 As parents, grandparents and caregivers, I believe, we must be brave and tell the facts in a way that children can best understand,and to me, that is through encouraging them with the tools they already have, and encouraging their own bravery in a way they will be able to remember, if they ever have to take these tools out of their young minded tool box and put them into fast action.

Maybe you are playing with your little one in the sandbox. Maybe you are going for a walk, looking for bugs, or cool rocks. I believe nature is a great cozy cushion, that fosters deeper listening and atunes all of us to be present and focus more clearly. This is the setting that I recommend for this kind of conversation.

As an early childhood educator for over 2o years, I have learned that children listen best, if you tell them FIRST what is going to happen. For example: “Joey there are some things I want us to talk about now  that are going to give you some extra special tools to add to your toolbox of life.  You may even want to reference their favorite Super Heroes….from Frozen….Batman, Peter Pan,etc. Ask them to remind you of their fave character and why they like them. This will give you information. Many a time they remark about how their hero saves others. Then I begin the conversation with, “You know sometimes Joey, we can be our own Super Hero. Let me tell you how..”

This is how I explained it to my 4 year old who is now almost 27. It came into use for him when he was 11 years old. 

Joey can you picture yourself having fun on the playground? What would you be doing?  Oh that sounds like great fun!  Now lets pretend that you were running around and having so much fun, that you didn’t notice the big hole that was in the grassy part of the playground and you fell down into it. What tools do you already have that would help you get out?  What would you do to get out? 

This interactive kind of conversation is so important as it gives you information as to what tools they know they already have …a baseline for you to proceed from , as well as it encourages their own  self esteem to say it out loud. They most likely will say, they would yell for help and try to climb out, which is GREAT!  So you want to encourage that by taking it to a slightly higher level. “Yes…you may have to scream really loud so other people can hear you right? What could you be doing with your hands and feet to try to help you get out?”  This visual infuses into their minds eye, for possible later use. You can add silliness to this…You may even want to stand up and act it out. Both of you wriggle your body around and pretend you are climbing,up up up….

So now you have set the stage for safety, as well as a possible scary situation, and  turned it  into positive action they can take with the tools they already have and you have described it as an adventure.

Here comes the transition. “Well Joey, you are such a great Super Hero for yourself! You would do all the right things to climb out of that rabbit hole. Hooray!  

“Now I want you to know, that sometimes in this world there are people out there that hear some loud voices in their head. They really want to make the loud voices stop, and sometimes they think that being mean to other people, will make the voices stop. Sometimes they try to do mean things, just like the villians in some of the stories we have seen in the movies, and on TV. Sometimes they will grab other people and try to take them away.

If this ever happened to you, what do you think you could do to get away and be your own Super Hero? Listening and acknowledging their answers is really important here and then you can add things like…”Yes! Screaming for help as loud as you can is a GREAT idea!  Just like you would do if you fell down the rabbit hole!   Yes!  Wriggling your body all over to get away is excellant! Now you know I have told you it’s not nice to bite your friends, but if someone is being really mean to you and trying to take you somewhere you don’t want to go, or even trying to hurt you, you have my permission to bite them….use all your super powers you have to get away! ”

If you and your family believe in God, or a Super Power out there, or a ritual that is very important to your family, it is a good idea to add this to the mix. For me, with my son, I told him to always BELIEVE  he has the power and right ideas to get away. I told him to pray to God to have him know the exact right super powers to bring forth as his tools.

I kept referencing the Rabbit Hole scenario, as that is something they KNOW they can do and it helps to reinforce other scarier situations.

I personally do not care for the saying…”stranger danger” as unfortunately many times the villian is NOT a stranger plus it is just a scary phrase to me.

The other tool I make sure to include is to remember to breathe. We all stop breathing when we get scared and that hampers the amount of oxygen that goes to the brain. That is why you see many people just “freeze” when encountered with drama as they are so scared they stopped breathing and can’t make any decisions.  Once again…the Super Hero comes in….”Remember when we are doing super hero work Joey, we must breathe breathe breathe because it is hard work!”

Through out life, I would bring the Rabbit Hole subject up and let them do most of the talking so you, once again, have a baseline for what action they would take. You will see as they get older the story changes and it gets cemented in their being. I have had these talks with two year olds. To me it is never too early.

The other things to discuss are reminders about where to get help. Cell phones. 911 of course, neighbors,etc.  If there are stores around….running away, into a store and screaming for help. I also added to the mix for some reason that came apparent later, that if you couldn’t find anyone right away, go to the next store.

My son was being chased down by a child molester.  I was only minutes from him, but not close enough. The man flattened my son’s tires on his bike, un be knowns to my son, who tried to get away fast and flipped over his handle bars and broke his wrist. He remembered he was a super hero for himself and he ran to the next store, as I was racing in and out of every store looking for him as he had called me on his cell.  The lady at the counter  at the next store, for some reason didn’t believe him but the produce man was walking by and he  DID believe his screaming, distraught face and hid him in the back until I got there as well as the police. We were blessed. We were lucky. My son remembered everything in his Super Hero Tool Box. Your child will too!

Thank you for reading this. I’m sure I have now  officially given you the Heebie Geebies, but hopefully, some added skills and tools for YOUR Tool Box as well!  🙂

Red Snow

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snowy_rose

I was cold, like chilled to the bone, all day today. Fair enough. It was a rainy cold day here in Paradise San Diego. Abit unusual for us Sun Worshippers. It turned out it was a VERY unusual day. I was just taking my Aussie for a brisk walk in the night, trying to shake off my desolate feelings of the day, and a teenager flew by us on a skate board with his rap music blaring, and I thought…”Good for you!” for fleeting by me with the Real YOU!  Expressing yourself! So important!  Seconds later another young lad came  rolling along, almost skipping across the pavement,  like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who always muttered…”Im late! I’m late! For a very important date! “…and yet his happy little words to me were “Merry Christmas”!  As I returned to our little village courtyard I saw the  twinkling lights of Christmas adorning many doorways and I heard the faint familiar sound of children laughing and for at least the twentieth time today I started to cry.

Life  to me today, felt like it should stop.  For me. For the world …For Everyone. Twenty Eight People were massacred today at an Elementary School In Snowy Connecticut. That was the last count that I heard.  The red blood cries of innocence,made their last  terrifying plea, screaming out wildly for their Mamas and Papas. No one could help them. It was too late.  The Families of Connecticut will no longer have a White Christmas this year. It is stained forever with the blood of their children. Their hopes and their dreams. The treasures of their lives were  Snatched and  Vanished  forever by senseless murder. It’s extra evil and chilling that it is Christmas time. It is an endless  torture, I cannot fathom.

When I first awakened, I had a feeling, as I sometimes do, that I needed to get some kind of  breaking news that was taking place. I always squirm with this knowingness and sometimes try to crouch away from the huge urgency I feel, but I always end up relinquishing my power and acquiescing to the invisible.  I never know what it is, but I usually know it is going to be disturbing, so I usually sigh before I find myself with the remote in my hand. But it is like the mind of writers, and actors, and painters….I have no choice…I must see. I must know. So on came the big screen of television. The big feeling in my stomach that started to arise in me as I watched and I listened to CNN, unfortuneately only grew worse as my day wobbled  on.

It started with one casualty and last count it was 28. Mostly children were 5 and 6  years young. First graders.  Hunted down with flying bullets and the darkest evil imaginable. We have had these mass killings in schools before. I remember the first time. Colombine. Even tho it happened in a state far away, I could not think about one other thing until I had my own son safe  at home in my arms again.

This horror  happened in Connecticut: The beautiful, SAFE, affluent, full of helping  community neighborhoods and old Yankee pride and constitution, Nevermind being known for having most of the best school systems in the nation.  The “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” kind of value systems is what we were all surrounded with in lovely, beautiful Connecticut. Family Oriented…..Full of Christmas, and all Holiday Celebrations, and old steadfast, great manners. This was and I thought, always would be,  my Connecticut. I never gave that a second thought. Nothing could take that away from me.   This was my home. This was where I grew up. My childhood memories of frolicking in the rolling hills, ice skating on all the ponds and lakes, listening to the frogs and crickets at night. Catching fire flies. This ….is life as a kid on the East Coast. Until today. Like 911 changed us all. Today will change everything.

Yes we need to look harder at gun control. Yes we need to see what really happens to brains when they have concussions, and accidents. Yes we need to get a hold on drugs and addiction  in our country. Yes we need to eat healthy food and not self medicate with alcohal and prescription drugs. But what about neglect?  What about denial? What about  covering up or delaying that uncomfortable conversation with your children…your teenagers?  What about being too busy making a living and struggling in this economy to really listen to what our children our troubled with? What happened to the value system and manners I grew up with?  What happened to catching fire flies with your kid?  It seems we cuddle and swoon over them as the adorable babies and toddlers that  they are and then the uncomfortable times come.

How do we handle the “uncomfortable?”  Do we live right next to that river in Egypt called “denial?”  What grade do we give ourselves as parents? Do our children feel completely SAFE and loved by us?  Can they really TALK and COMMUNICATE with us, or are we too busy?  Who was this 20 year old who blew himself and everyone else away?  Away to where by the way? Did we listen to his cries for help? Do we know the red flags?  Did he feel like he belonged? Did he feel heard and seen in a loving way by his Mom and Dad?

Where will these little Angel Children of the Morning, Go?  Where can I go to weep with them? I am so sad and forlorn. I am so angry. I don’t like it when tragedy happens and there is no understanding. There is no explanations. There is just unspeakable heartbrokeness. We are at war in our own country. Our children are killing children. My parents would be so heartbroken if they were still alive. What happened to us?

Pasta Pretty

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Any Pasta….can make you feel pretty again. Really. It’s true. Any pasta, made with love, can help you forget all your troubles, forget all your cares, lickidy split!  “Try it! You will like it! “

Lately, it seems that all I do is write about food! Nourishment for the soul. I guess that is what I am needing for now. How about YOU? 

I came home from work tonite, feeling sassy…not quite “Stella in her groove” yet. Kind of..”.I’m almost there”…if only I could……THEN I will be happy!” kind of mood. So….of COURSE…my pasta had to have lots of sultry seasonings, like capers, pesto, sunflower seeds and WINE!  The more I kept tasting the fruits of my labor as it kept sizzling over the flames….the better I felt.  Perhaps it was the wine. I like to think it was fate. I felt triumphant as I watched it all come to life in one big happy bowl of  over flowing yumminess as it slid it’s way into my beautifully designed, Pasta bowl. 

Perhaps it was …the long ago memories. Way back when. My son’s father left us.  The blue eyed boy…. he was very little. I was very scared. Our best friends moved in with us. We were all fledglings, or refugees or broken souls or something quite dreadful and foreign. But we became a new kind of family. Brought together by betrayal….and necessity. We…the Mommies, were too shell shocked to cook cool stuff. We had all we could do to not cry into the  spilt milk….the raising of these boys. We talked. We cried. We took them to the circus. We made Easter Eggs. We cried. We picked each other  lilacs and savored the fragrances of hope. We made Pasta. We made “kitchen sink”, elegant at times, ho hum, incredible….Pasta! The boys always loved it. We always ate it. We didn’t eat much in those hapless days of pain, but we always ate our pasta. We told each other we were beautiful. Pasta made us feel pretty amidst the tumultuous  job of navigating a new way of being for these fatherless boys. Hooray for Pasta. Hooray for Pretty. Hooray for strength and capers…..seasoned with LOVE!

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Outsider. Lone Wolf.  Hiding in dark corner crying.

Old. Feeling Older. 

Out of shape. You let yourself go. Too late now. Too late for anything now. 

Little Kid…Listen! Listen! Listen to me!  Listen to “little me “inside! 

Before it is too late! Before it is too late! Listen to me! 

“Mary Mary Quite Contrary…”

Your Garden Didn’t Grow.

You didn’t Listen

You didn’t Glisten….

And now you are….no more.

No more Lady Bugs for you. 

You chose your date..walked yourself to that gate…

And then You flew away in the  rope swing.

No one believed you would.

Love could not make you stay…any more. 

The Baby Cherubs fly their forlorn wings at half mast for you today.

They sadly knew…you couldn’t stay …

In the hell hole any more.

But me…I’m mad you felt this way…

The bits and pieces all astray…

The children will bury their Joy today

And tatter their dreams to shreds today

I feel the dark creep in….I do….

the dread…the lies…the hopeless feud…

But never could I dare to muster up a plan

to take this life  and go Ka Bam!!!

Never could I leave the ones I love…

Knowing how much the children grieve…

Oh No!  I could not steal their souls

I could not leave them to grow old…

But maybe you know much more than I…

So accomplished were you in your architectual ways…

You had so much but maybe not….

Your candle is out. Our world is darker now.

Your children must live on…and so must I.

Still mad with you for leaving us all

So now I can only bid you farewell…..