Johnny’s freckled face frowns with concentration.
His wet tongue protrudes slightly in the corner of his mouth.
His fingers carefully move the little red Lego block into position.
His thumb and third finger hold the smooth angular surfaces upright.
He eases it into position on the roof.
He’s nearly made the car.
Johnny gives a small grin.
He’ll show dad he did it all by himself.
He presses downward on the nobbly top surface of the block.
Johnny stares in dismay. His beautiful car!
Smithereens – shiny red, blue and white blocks scattered on the floor.
The little black wheels spin upside down.
‘My car!’ he wails.
The cheerful blocks swim in a brown sea as his eyes fill with disappointed tears.
Dad’s arm is gently on his back. He kneels down.
‘You took so long building your car and then it broke. You’re feeling really upset about that?’
Johnny nods. Gulps. The tears bubble out.
Johnny burrows his wet face into Dad’s comforting shoulder.
Daddy’s here. He understands.
In sharing this story with me the parent reflects,
‘Before learning about a coaching approach to parenting I would have said something like,
“Oh it’s okay. We can build it again. Don’t get upset.”
Now I stay present to what he is experiencing.
I know that Johnny “felt felt”.
And once he’d cried out his disappointment he set to and rebuilt his car.
The connection between us was really great.’
What’s your response when your child experiences disappointment?
What’s helpful to ensure your child ‘feels felt’?