Guest Blogger drkottaway
Earlier this year I stumbled upon Katherine Ottaway’s blog “KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog” and found interesting posts on helping children, on helping drug addicts and of course she blogs on many other personal subjects . Subtitle of her blog is: Rural doctor, mom, writes poems, dance, sing.
I am so glad that Katherine accepted to guest blog for me. We share many interests and we have both met lots of patients or clients through the years. We are engaged in helping people in different ways far away from each other. My grandfather’s brother immigrated from Denmark to Seattle in the late 1800s and I would like to see this beautiful area.
Dr. Ko writes :
I am a rural family practice doctor in a town of 9000. My patients range from newborns to 104 years old and I have delivered babies for 18 years.
In my time as a health visitor I have enjoyed courses on how to help children in difficult circumstances and most inspiring was speakers who could give the impression that nobody is hopeless. It’s a matter of finding a way to open up for the knots or hindrances in the development. That the same impression I get, when I read Katherine’s posts. I asked her to guest blog on my page to inspire me and help me continue on the subject on children and I was so glad to receive following post today:
Mariaholm says: You know I am so interested in helping children and young people overcoming loss and building of relationships.
So how do we do this?
I think the best thing that we can do is model overcoming loss and building relationships for our children and our young people.
And that means we have to be honest with them. We need to be honest about our own losses and about how we try to build relationships and sometimes fail. We cannot put on a happy face, because our kids are connected to us and know us and feel our emotions. If we hide our emotions or tell them that some emotions are “bad”, then they will fear those emotions and avoid them. Emotions are neurological information: they tell us when we are enjoying something, or when someone is frightening us, or when we are being hurt and get angry to defend ourselves. We may well be wrong in our assumptions about what the other person intends or why they are doing something, but why would we teach our children to ignore their own feelings?
My sister died of cancer when my daughter was 14. My mother died of cancer when my daughter was 2 and one half. I cried in front of my children. A lot. I cried when my father died and when I was trying to handle his estate and when I was in the midst of my divorce. But I told my children what I was crying about.
Sometimes my daughter has heard me crying. She is at her desk and I am in the kitchen, sniffling. She says, “Mom? Do you need a hug?” She gives me a hug and goes back to her homework. I am sad but she is not, and that is okay and important. Children need their own emotions. They should not have to act happy, to be sad when the parent is sad, to put on a brave face. When they are small, it is very important to name their emotions and give their emotions room: you are happy that your friend is here. You are angry that he broke your toy. You are proud that you were generous. I am proud that you were kind to the other child. We are both being silly and laughing a lot.
We should not make our children our counselors, or carry the burden of our feelings. In a divorce or in stress, work with a real counselor, an adult, someone who is outside the family.
Once when my husband and I were getting divorced and it was not final, I got furious at him. I yelled and threw him out of the house and slammed a door.
My son, 13, and my daughter, 8, came to me.
“Mom,” said my son, “We don’t want you to yell at dad.”
“BUT HE…..” and I stopped. “Ok, this is where I say that he behaved badly first and then I would tell you that I don’t care what the other kid did.”
My son and daughter nodded, firmly.
“So even if dad behaves badly, I have to be polite and keep my temper and not yell and slam doors.”
“Right.” they said in unison. “You can get mad but we don’t want you to yell.”
“I am so proud of you for telling me when I am really, really mad and was just yelling.” My kids hugged me and told me they loved me. And after that I did my best to save any yelling for the counseling sessions….. with a professional referee counselor…..