How should you respond when your child tells you “I hate myself”?
Your sweet child who you love more than life itself. Who you have poured your love and attention on since they were so small. Who you’ve supported through the happy times and life’s challenges.
You want the best for them, you want them to be happy.
So these words coming from their lips can be devastating.
Often our ‘auto-parent response’ might be to talk them out of it, to reassure them, to tell them not to be so silly or to react harshly, telling them not to think those thoughts.
What a child needs at this moment is to be heard and understood. To know you are there to listen without judgement (even if you feel like dying inside).
Last December my husband and I had two weeks off work.
In previous years we had planned lots of holiday activities, day trips and overnight stays with friends and family. It had all been a little too busy and overwhelming for both us and the children, and so this year we decided we would hibernate at home and make very few plans.
We all had time to wind down. My husband and I were feeling relaxed and resourced enough to get playful with our daughter, aged eight, and our son, aged four.
One night towards the beginning of the holidays, I suggested we have a family wrestle before bed.
We used a spare mattress on the floor as our wrestling arena, and we made the rules up as we went along but it went something like this:
Pamela works with parents, supporting them as they strive to raise conscious, respectful children.