A few weeks ago, my 2 year-old son bumped his head HARD on the bunk bed. He immediately screamed and cried. I felt so sorry for him. I picked him up and held him while tears ran down his face. He then started saying to me, “I want my pacifier!” to which I said, “I know you want your pacifier but that is only for bedtime.” Then he said, “I want my blankie!” to which I replied, “That is only for bedtime, too”. He started having a fit. He was so angry that I wouldn’t give it to him. It hit me then and there how early it starts for us to want something to immediately make us feel better when we experience pain. I can be no different than my two year-old: I am tired, I want some tea. I am sad, I want someone to make me laugh. I am grieving, I want to run away from it and lose myself in a TV show. We all do it.
Some may think it’s cruel to not give him his pacy or his blankie. There are appropriate times for him to have them and we stick to those rules. I want my son to learn other ways to deal with pain than reaching out for immediate gratification. Funny thing is, when he didn’t get what he wanted and he quit having his fit, he came to me for hugs and asked me to kiss it to make it better. He finally chose something appropriate. I held him, kissed his little curls on his head, and he ran off to play. It was age appropriate and ok for him to reach out to me for comfort.
It’s hard to remind myself to not reach out to things, too. I try not to, for me, and to not be a hypocrite to my kids. I want them to watch me deal with pain in an appropriate and effective way. So what do you turn to? Food, drugs, alcohol, relationships, sex, spending? There are so many things that temporarily make us feel better but in the long run damage our souls.
Thank you so much for reading today. I appreciate the feedback I get from you when you enjoy my blogs. God bless your day!
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.