Alright intuitive ones, you can take off your armor and set down your sword. Here the coast is clear.
I know. I’ve felt it too. There is an undercurrent of conflict pulsing in our midst; an increased tension and anxiety. We might notice ourselves feeling a little more annoyed, a little more grumpy, a little more disgusted and a lot less patient. One thing is for sure - if we, parents, are feeling it, our children are as well.
This tension and anxiety does not just exist in political chambers, it streams forth from our electronic devices. It enters our schools, organizations and community gathering places. It walks right through the front door of our homes. We feel it, then often, without even realizing it, we become it. Conflict has an urge to freedom that manifests in various ways. Kids may experience physical illness, panic attacks, a rollercoaster of intense emotional outbursts, depressive symptoms, etc. Some kids may refuse to go to school.
It turns out that we, gifted folks, do not always do conflict well. Sure we will fight to the death for our children, but as a general rule, we are uncomfortable with conflict and we kind of suck at it. That is because of our lens. We see conflict as a sign that all has surely gone to hell or that the shifting relationship is now officially over.
We often fail to realize that conflict is necessary for positive growth and advancement. Whether internal or external; without it, we become stagnant. Our problem lies in how we view the vehicles for growth. They may take the form of a boss, a partner, a friend, a teacher, a politician, a neighbor, or a family member. We tend to get stuck right there and do not budge; zooming in on the individual and completely missing the opportunity for learning. This view of conflict is what we pass down to our children - generation after generation.
I know. You don’t care about philosophy right now. You just want to know what the heck to do with your kid who has locked herself in the hall closet and is screaming, “Leave me alone!” at the top of her lungs. We’re getting there, I promise.
First let me clarify that this post is about tension and conflict, not abusive situations. That is an entirely different conversation. That said, I lovingly offer some suggestions to support you as you wade waist-deep through the mucky mire:
- It is a good time to teach your child about the gift and curse of strong intuition. Let them know that sometimes our intense emotions are stemming from greater tensions in the world. Teach them to ask, “Is this conflict really about me or something bigger?”
- Hunker-down. Limit outside activities and people. Stay home. Make a fort and watch movies.
- Remind your child and yourself that this too shall pass. What goes down, must come up.
- Let your child know that this is a time of growth as well as rest. Teach self-care which may include taking a day off school to prevent burnout.
- Teach your child that the people who anger us are simply vehicles for lessons that we need to learn. Engage in the cognitive challenge of peeling back the layers to find the lessons.
- Guide your child in determining the actions they wish to take or omit in response to the identified lessons.
- Pray/meditate/send thoughts to others that they may learn their lessons as well.
- Seek out movies, shows, articles etc. that show people making a positive difference in the world.
- Highly intuitive or not, it is never okay to mistreat others, even family members. As an alternative, provide children creative avenues and full permission for releasing their pain, anger, sadness, etc. See their pain, acknowledge it and hold it without judgement or panic.
- It is important for highly intuitive children to learn their own emotional pain thresholds and know when to reach out for help. If your child is exhibiting behavior that impedes daily functioning or making statements of self-harm, please contact a local therapist for support.
Feeling the pain of the world is not easy. Conflict is not easy. Parenting gifted children is flat out hard. Please take good care of you. Seek the support of like-minded peeps, take a walk, eat well, bathe often, get massage/acupuncture/reiki, see a therapist, take a day off work, love, love, love yourself and remember that you are not alone. You’ve got this!
P.S. EARLYBIRD DISCOUNT ENDS 3/15! The inaugural Child-Centered World Symposium, in conjunction with a Gifted Adult Summit, National Consortium of Schools for the Gifted and "Gathering of Guiding Lights" (helping professionals) will be held April 24-26 in Westminster, Colorado. For more information and to register, please click here.