My Mr 5 is a beautiful child. Everyone thinks their children are awesome but our first born is an insightful, wise, sensitive, funny and incredibly clever child. His observations astound us regularly. We knew this complaint was his way of telling us, “I am going through some stuff and I don’t know how to process it.”
Though this seems to be a thing that happens just before his birthday every year (the amazing Planning with Kids blog posts on half ages gave me incredible insight in to this – read here on the characteristics around this). This year though, is different….it’s the first real time he’s had peer influences. He’s in the third term of his school journey and though he’s made friendships before he’s really been thrust out in to the world this year. Something I have mixed feelings about. Five is just, still, so young. And five days a week just seems so much for a small child to be in the formal school environment (how I would LOVE to have the French model where children go to school four days a week!).
It’s also the first time that we, as a family, have encountered people whose ideas about how to raise a family are different to ours and so it’s a lesson to us all. We are quite mindful of our principles as a family and we talk openly about what we believe in – kindness, learning, love of each other, loyalty, humour, self awareness. It’s firmly entrenched in Mr 5’s mind and he knows himself well. We are a household full of strong characters.
BUT he is only five and the unkindness he is experiencing from his peers is wearing him down a little. He has been torn between wanting to play with his friends and disengaging from play he knows to be wrong. He needed space to talk about this, to ask questions and process how this all fits together. The tantrums we’ve experienced the last week or so are evidence of this. His teacher is marvelous and we trust the school to deal appropriately but it’s not possible for them to see everything and be everywhere and besides, resilience is an important lesson.
And so, we sat together, around our table and I gave him room to just be himself…..I asked if there was anything he would like to tell me and the words, and tears, came flooding out. I let him speak and when he was finished, the sheer act of naming the words, sharing them with me made him visibly lighter. Mr 2, who understands much, said to him, “You are a very nice boy and I loves you and Mama loves you and Dada loves you. We always here for you.”
Though he will grow and experience much that is out of our influence he will always have space in our home to just be, talk, be angry, laugh, cry, play. And it is our greatest hope that both our boys will understand that on every level.