What do I say to my son? Open letter from Dr. Elena Pavan, Piscologist
as a woman, mother and psychologist I never imagined I would write you an open letter of this type and to the last I hope that the reality that is emerging is somehow avoided ... but the date of March 10th is approaching and therefore , with my heart in my hand, I feel compelled to do so, accepting Corvelva's request.
For months I have fought alongside you against coercion in favor of dialogue and freedom of choice, but today we must prepare for the fact that many children could be removed from kindergartens without being able to end the year with their companions and with their teachers, undergoing this absurd form of violence.
Each of you has probably already prepared a plan B and we must talk to our children; I feel compelled to talk to you about this, I will try to be simple, clear and general, making myself available, if needed, through Corvelva to support you, as far as I can, in this delicate situation.
- Children understand
The first mistake to avoid is to think that if they are playing they are not listening: they are there, they look, they listen and they get an idea about things. So probably in recent months they have listened to the reflections between you parents, your comments on the news, your phone calls, so they perceived that something is wrong with them and perhaps some of them have already gone as far as asking you questions .
- Never lie
If this is always true, it is even more so when they ask us a question. Children know when we're not saying something that's not true, but they accept it out of trust in their parents. So necessarily, given your age, simplify and adapt your communication to them avoiding certain concepts and certain terms, also in order not to create confusion, but do not lie.
- How to talk to them
The most important thing, as I have already written to you, is to give children information that corresponds to the truth. If you talk to them honestly you will help them build trust, you will transmit the message that a family, together, can cope with disappointment, with change.
Explain to them that your choices have been made by thinking of doing their own good ... explain to them that each parent makes choices that they consider the best for their child; educated in diversity of thought and respect for the opinions of others, giving simple examples that they can understand.
When a child has no clear information, he tends to fill "empty spaces" with confusion, bitterness and anger. Speaking openly is an opportunity to correct misconceptions.
I know that as adults all this is complicated because this moment is difficult for you too ... try to sit next to the children, try to be physically close to them and to be able to look them in the eyes by adopting the simplest language possible, trying to get straight to the point without letting them go, assure them that you have done everything possible and that you will continue to do so and that they are not to blame for the change that will take place. Leave room for questions, some children need time, others will ask them immediately, but make sure that the doubts do not remain inside them.
Explain to them what will happen after the 10 mazo, if they will stay at home with their grandparents, if they will go to alternative environments, if a babysitter will arrive, if you have decided to take them a dog, a cat ... highlighting the advantages of the solution you have found for them. If the children are in their last year, explain to them that in September they will go to elementary school with their current classmates. If they are smaller, explain to them what solution you are looking for, or have already found. In case, I hope, be on good terms with some parents of the classmates, reassure them that there will be opportunities to see them again, that they will be able to invite some classmates to your home, that meetings could be organized in the park, pizzas in the company. Encourage them to find a solution, that they themselves propose something to you, trying to ask the question as a search together.
Don't be afraid to show your emotions. We should not be ashamed to show ourselves sad or hurt, but also show them enthusiasm for the new solution. Tell your children that we understand how they feel, we see it, we imagine the disappointment and uncertainty they are feeling. Our understanding will be essential to make them understand that they are not the only ones to feel certain feelings ... THEY ARE NOT ALONE, because mom and dad share their emotion.
In your explanation, avoid words like punishment-punishment-wickedness-injustice by focusing on positive words such as choice-novelty-opportunity-growth.
Talking about these difficult things requires you to learn new parenting skills, you need to push your boundaries in a time of tension. But the most reassuring thing for a child, in our words, will be that we know what to do and can take care of him. Remember that you know your children well so calibrate the explanations you will give based on the age and knowledge you have of your child.
"You are teaching your children what Love means for you and what Freedom means for you ... it is the most important teaching you can give them do not forget it. You are not alone ... they are not alone ...
Dr. Elena Pavan, Psychologist