At the Gan, the staff prides itself on validating children's feelings. When a child cries, we would never say, "Don't cry." Rather, we acknowledge what the child is feeling and try to empower the child to resolve the issue. Some examples of this might be: "Oh? You miss Daddy? Let's look at his picture and write him a note telling him how you feel." or "Ralph pushed you? Let's talk to Ralph about how that makes you feel and help him learn not to do that." Our goal is not to take away life's challenges, but to help children deal with them.
An interesting article on the relationship of this teaching to the week's upcoming parsha can be found here. I invite you to explore your own interactions with your child and decide how you want your child to grow when faced with difficult situations. Please remember that there are resources here at the Gan to help you and this topic fits nicely into the Steinlauf and Starbucks featured discussion about how to talk to your child about difficult topics this Friday (Jan 18) after drop off.
Sheri Brown, Director