Yesterday the boy ran into the house screaming. This is not an unusual occurrence, he is a very sensitive and kind soul, and many of the other kids either take advantage of him or make fun of his uniqueness.
So he runs into the house and slams the door. I walk down the stairs to find him crying his eyes out ito a pillow, on the living room sofa.
“What happened?” I asked giving him a squeeze.
“They made fun of me!” He bawled.
“For what honey?”
“I fell and they made fun of me!” As he answered the questions, he alternately lifed his head and went back to crying into the pillow.
“Oh honey,” I said enacting phase one of Operation Console the Boy. He was hysteriacal over some kids laughing at him? Inside I was rolling my eyes, but I had to validate how he felt. I rubbed his back and encouraged him to get himself together.
Phase two is kind of tricky. If I didn’t chose my words just so, he would implode again and think I didn’t understand.
“You know, it sucks when people make fun of you, but that’s what kids do.” I paused and took a deep breath. He was truly being inconsolable and my patience was wearing thin. “Look at me boy.”
The sharp tone in my voice shook him out of his hysteria slightly and he looked me in the eyes, sniffling and trying to catch his breath.
“They didn’t mean anything by it -”
“Yes they did!” Back to bawling.
“Honey…I mean…Yes, they were being mean and -”
The head pops up as he shouts, “They hurt my feelings!”
“I’m sorry about that; I really am. And I understand how upsetting that can be. But you cannot get this hysterical every time someone makes fun of you honey,” I was rubbing his back, wishing he would just calm down. “Buck up boy, get yourself together. I need to give you someinformation that will help you deal wit this next time.”
Eyes swollen and wet, he looked at me and did the crying hiccups.
“It sucks that they made fun ofyou when you fell. I’ve never thought that sort of thing was funny, but most kids and even some adults disagree. Them laughing wasn’t about you, but because they are kids and that’s what kids do. You reacting in this way gives them way too much power. You’re going to have to learn not to let it get to you like this. Next time, take a deep breath, and let it go.
He turned away, looking throught the glass patio door. Wiping his tears away with the back of this hand, the boy discarded the pillow and asked, “Can I go back outside?”