my four year old bear can be the most empathetic person i know. and then, he can be coldest, meanest person i know as well. teaching someone to be empathetic is tricky. teaching someone to trace lines is much easier.
today bear was blatantly mean to his good friend, and when the friend told him his feelings were hurt, bear laughed a terrible mean laugh. my heart sank, i flushed and felt instant shame and embarrassment. after our friends left, i tried to talk to him about empathy and why it’s important. but it kind of back fired.
when bear feels socially unsure, insecure or embarrassed he giggles and laughs. it’s something that infuriates me, because i feel judged by other parents. i know he cares about people, especially his friends, but it’s like there’s a link missing between feeling something and knowing what to do about it. he’s kinda like his dad in that sense. dear hubby is very internal and can shut down if confronted with emotionally uncomfortable or demanding situations. and yeah, i get it, why they do it, where i comes from, what triggers it, but it doesn’t mean i like living with it.
|[ this is what i looked like mid-afternoon. so tired, but i was woken up at 5:30am. ]|
i tried talking to bear again after lion went down for his nap (sootherless, mind you). he was kind of getting it, but he was also tired, so i dropped it after about 10 minutes. emotions are difficult things to navigate, but it is so necessary to know what feelings are, and what to call them. i think that’s what i really need to focus on with bear right now, labelling his emotions as we encourage (or am i insisting) on learning to be more empathetic.
last night at bedtime there was a big search for lion’s thu-thu (soother) and we took that as a sign to ditch the habit. he fell asleep relatively well, only shouting “stop that” a couple of times when dear hubby tried to rub his back. he woke up a couple of times in the night, but that’s pretty common for him. dear hubby co-slept with lion, but i think it’s the cool temps that’s waking him in the night, and not the absence of the soother. today’s nap was cut a little short, as i couldn’t get him to fall back asleep once he woke up. we’ll see what bedtime is like tonight.
i’m guessing a disaster!
today, he hasn’t really asked for his thu-thu, which is the shocking part. when we took bear’s toodle-loo away, he would ask and scream for it, especially at sleeping times.
counting down to the end of this very long, long monday.
* does anyone have any good empathy book recommendations?