Watching my kids deal with some kind of emotional trauma is horrible. As Elizabeth, our youngest, progresses from toddler to pre-schooler, I find we’re dealing more of these experiences.
Ultimately, it’s merely a sign she is growing up and figuring out how the world works. Along the way, however, there are inevitably some tears.
Yesterday, for instance, was a bit of a tough one. Elizabeth wanted to play with Helen, her big sister. Helen wasn’t interested. She made this clear in a way that wasn’t rude, but maybe wasn’t as sensitive as it could have been.
The result? An emotional outburst from Elizabeth. It was the kind of outburst that has, until now, been quite rare for her. Only cuddles would calm her down.
It was an awkward situation to deal with. I felt the need to defend Helen’s wish not to play with her sibling and yet I also understood that Elizabeth felt totally rejected.
Up to this point, Elizabeth has been quite an outgoing, thick skinned kid. In many respects the same still applies, but she is unquestionably more sensitive than before.
This cuts both ways. Not only is she more sensitive to rejection, but she’s become more affectionate, especially with me. I’ve noticed that she will quietly climb into my lap to watch television or read books, something she previously did only very rarely. She’s also requesting hugs with greater frequency.
It’s clear our relationship is changing. Elizabeth has always been more of a mummy’s girl. In the past I’ve been able to read the signals clearly and known when it’s been my time to step back and simply let Gill, my wife, deal with her.
As Elizabeth gets older, things are shifting. She’s more at ease with me, yet definitely more emotional.
I don’t recall her sister going through such a phase. That said, as a second time parent. I think I pick up on these things more. Added to that, the two kids can be very different; Helen quiet and a thinker while Elizabeth is more impulsive.
I have a strange feeling that what I’m presently experiencing is a precursor to the demanding teenaged-years. Lucky me, ‘ey?
Have you witnessed changes like this in your children? Did yours suddenly become more affectionate or did it occur slowly? More to the point, do you have teenage kids and have I just witnessed my future?