“I don’t want that card…I don’t want to sit next to Mama…I want it to be my turn”, he whined. He was finding it hard to sit still. We pushed on, playing the final round of the game.
“You’ve won” we all exclaimed, hoping that might cheer him up. But instead, he burst into tears and angrily exclaimed, “BUT I DIDN’T WANT TO WIN!”
I held back the desire to laugh (whoever heard of a child not wanting to win?!) I stayed close and listened to him. He was mightily cross and kept saying over and over again, “I didn’t want to win,” with tears rolling down his cheeks. Every now and again I’d say, “I know you didn’t,” which would bring another wave of upset. After about ten minutes he stopped crying and cuddled with me.
“Can I go to bed now?” he asked softly.
We got through our bedtime routine easily and he fell asleep quickly. I suspect if I’d distracted him away from his upset, going to bed would have been a struggle.
This was such a wonderful illustration for me about how children use small pretexts to release hurts. My son was waving a big red flag with his whining and offtrack behavior, showing us that he had upsets bubbling inside. And even though I didn’t respond to his signals, he smartly used the fact he had won the game to shed his emotional tension.
Rachel Schofield, Certified Instructor in Merimbula, Australia