It’s been interesting, becoming a parent. I find myself constantly comparing my kids’ childhoods to that of my own. For instance, when I was a kid nobody was wearing their babies around, that’s for sure. Except when they were driving, and that was only if the baby didn’t roll off your lap onto the floorboard where you did your best to avoid smashing their face in with the clutch.
There’s just so much more… processing now. So many rules. So many feelings.
I don’t think we had feelings in the 70s. If we did we just stuffed them down deep while we rode our bikes without helmets and drank lethal amounts of Mountain Dew.
As I have journeyed further into the haunted forest of parenthood, I’ve come to realize that feelings might be important. I usually understand this as my 4-year-old is throwing her screaming self on the floor of the post office, or I’m drafting legislation to make Prozac crumbles an acceptable topping at FroYo.
For me at least, the problem lies in that discussing feelings and emotions is akin to a discussion on how to rebuild a transmission. In Japanese. The most emotional conversations around the Mayer house go something like:
Hey your shoe’s untied.
I don’t even know where to start with an adult who is practically dripping with need to tell me everything that’s on their mind from start to finish, but with a child who keeps things locked up so tight until they unravel, usually publicly? Impossible.
Thankfully, my friends are way smarter than me and I’m smart enough to know when to take advice.
“These cards will never work,” I told my friend Suzanne when she sent me her PeaceMakers cards in the mail. “My kids are crazy. Can’t you just send an exorcist, or a tazer or something actually helpful?”
My friend Suzanne is the founder of Generation Mindful, the makers of the PeaceMakers cards. A card game for kids that cultivates emotional intelligence, a critical factor in determining a person’s future success (including, but not limited to tantrums in the post office).
Here’s how it went.
DAY 1: Pull cards out, kids fight over who gets to be light purple. Explain that’s not how the cards work. Little one hits big one. Put cards away. Pour wine.
DAY 2: Pull cards out with kid #1, let her be light purple. Says she no longer likes light purple, she wants to be blue. Fine. We talk about peace. We breathe deep, gentle breaths until she sees her sister touching her stuff – then she runs over and hits her.
DAY 3: Pull cards out with kid #3 and talk about forgiveness. We practice saying “I’m sorry”, she apologizes for putting butter in her sister’s hair the night before. Even though I was the one who had to deal with the repercussions and nobody asked ME how that made ME feel, but whatever.
DAY 4: Kids ask to pull cards out, nobody fights over light purple. We choose red and talk about power, about trees, animals and nature. Somebody may have smiled.
DAY 5: My kids reference green cards when the doorbell rings. Apparently ducking under the peep hole is not “showing my love”. We talk about door to door salesmen.
“Hey these cards are awesome,” I tell my friend Suzanne over coffee a few weeks later.
“I know, right?” She says.
“Now what do you have in the form of teaching them not to talk to boys?
So check them out for yourself. In addition to helping connect with your kids in a way you’ve never been able to before, a portion of every sale goes to help other kids in need.
DISCLOSURE: The preceding was a sponsored post and I was provided services, goods and/or monetary compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.