I am a loving person. I am caring and loving. People tell me I am. Then why do I turn into an unfeeling block of ice when people I love are clearly in need for some care and love?
What I am talking about is my reactions to situations when my children are hurt physically for example. I don’t mean that when one of them falls or hurts himself I don’t feel anything, it’s the opposite. I am always flooded with fear and am heartbroken that they are in pain no matter how small. I am not talking about serious falls or accidents though.
My ice queen reaction happens when the child who had a fall (that is probably painful but not too bad of a fall) starts to shout and scream like they are in the worst pain that anyone in the world has ever experienced. When the reaction is an over reaction and is so over the top. At this point I become really methodical and not affectionate. I actually feel like telling them to stop being a baby and calm down. I don’t do that, but it takes a lot of will power not to.
S was running around the pool at my fathers house at last weeks bbq and fell hard onto his elbow and knee. The surface he fell on was a hard surface and I am sure it hurt a lot but the way he screamed you would have thought he broke every bone in his body. Everyone jumped up, including my father, and ran to where he was. I walked… Slowly.
His father and I took him inside the house so he can calm down. M kept looking at me and I know he was warning me not to tell him off or to be too cold with him but all I wanted to do at that time was say “you know what, you have to STOP crying now. You are fine, you have a scrape and you have to deal with it! Making everyone jump and scaring the living daylights out of them is not the right way to get attention! Get over it and بلا دلع !” (I wish there was a good translation for that phrase in english but it means stop being so melodramatic!)
I held my tongue and got some ice and told him he’s o.k. and calmed him down. But then, as he jumped up to go back outside to play with the kids I sat him down and told him all the stuff I wanted to tell him when he first fell. He looked really upset and I have no idea if I was right or wrong telling him but he’s a boy who’s about to turn 9 and if he is going to scream and shout at every fall he will be teased and picked on at school or they just won’t want to play with him.
What I said was along the lines of “I know it was a bad fall, it looks like it hurt, but what do you think about how you reacted?” And “you do not want to be the boy who over reacts about things like this. It is normal to cry and to maybe scream when you first fall or if your hurt but you have to learn how to control your reaction as soon as you can” and “you scared me and the rest of our family so much by all the yelling. We really thought you were seriously hurt”.
He stayed quiet for most of the talk and looked upset when he finally went to play with the boys again. About 15 minutes later one of the children came running out of the house to where we were all sitting beside the pool and shouted “S FELL AND HIT HIS HEAD! HE IS REALLY HURT AND NOT GETTING UP”. So, I got up and ran (all 6 months pregnant me) to find he fell off a low bed on a padded carpet and was totally fine but curled up in the fetal position. I talked to him again and said the same things again but did all this fighting the urge to really shout at him and maybe give him a punishment.
So, my question to you. Am I being unfair and too cold? Should I be warm and caring and coo over him when he falls even if I know the fall is not that bad?
You were right to talk to him once he calmed down. If you tried to talk to him when he is still screaming, you would have gotten nowhere. Also, he is approaching the age where this sort of overreacting will be a reason for his peers to tease him.
I need to add that, as an expatriot, I have observed that many children here overreact when hurt or upset. Is it learned response or just something genetically programmed? Are Saudi children more sensitive?
Hi Sally, thanks for the comment. I don’t think Saudi’s are “genetically programmed” to be more sensitive. I think we are an emotional people and are probably more affectionate or expressive towards each other than in the west. Our grandparents did not have the luxury of being “sensitive” as the life they lead was not a comfortable one compared to the one we live now. Our fathers and mothers were not coddled or pampered. I think it is a learned behavior because we have more time and more security to fawn over our children now than we every had before. I cannot honestly say that I noticed Saudi children being more sensitive than other children in London for example, because that’s where I lived other than here. As for my son I chalk up his reaction to him not liking to loose as he was loosing a game of tag at the time he fell. Children all over the world in general are more sheltered than they have ever been before and parents are more afraid than they have ever been before. Everything is scary, the sun, tv’s, video games, food, friends, the internet. I think parents all over the world are over reacting sometimes… maybe thats what makes the kids act the way they do.
Hallelujah…. Thank GOD… I am not the only one! Its not like I ignore all falls.. but when I see it is an OK.. and the kids will be fine… I hate when everyone does to whole rushing and making a big deal out of it! My son used to fall, and not make a sound. His sister, if she falls, I am pretty sure all of Riyadh will hear her! Now, my son at times (not always) does that annoying OMG I am dying right NOW cry…. I am working on it! I have told my daughter to stop being so dramatic… while my in-laws are probably trying to give me the award for ice queen with their looks. Mine are still younger, but I do believe its best to nip it in the butt now! and what you did was not wrong. You did not scold him while he was on his high, you waited till he obviously was OK enough to go out and play. Keep it up, at the end of the day… its better for him to learn this simple lesson from you, instead of learning it from some bully’s at school!
The worst part is NOT knowing a serious injury from a normal little scrape! Last week, I was in the kitchen.. my son fell, and did the dramatic cry… I ignored him! (I feel awful)…. then he came to me, and showed me his finger… he had crushed it under the chair… it was swollen and was turning blue/black :( At that point I felt like the crappiest mom in the world! This is why I feel is is IMPORTANT to make them realise that OMG I am at the verge of my death cries are not acceptable for any little fall…
OUCH!!! That truly sucks! But we have ALL been there. Either ignoring an injury which turns out to be more serious or accidentally being the cause of the injury (worst moment of my life). Happy to know I’m not alone in my reactions lol.
One thing that I think made me quit being “dramatic” at that age was that when I got hurt, my mother would pull me from play, or my coach would pull me from the game, or whatever might be the case. I wasn’t allowed to go back to what I had been doing until I was told it was ok (which usually was long after the play was over). So, of course, after this I learned that if I wanted to keep playing I couldn’t be “hurt”. Of course, that also meant that when I was actually hurt and pulled myself from the play/game it meant I was serious. I was only 8 or 9 years old at the time, but I do remember it worked like a charm!
Not that children at that age cannot be reasoned with (and I agree your talk with your son was important), but it doesn’t mean that they take to heart these words every time you speak to them! Actions are learned much quicker than verbal lessons, in my opinion.
It sounds like a really good plan. This gets my point across (that being over dramatic doesn’t pay) without me being horrible to him! did you ever hide real injuries as a result though?
Exactly. In fact, you are showing him that you care A LOT! you are so concerned about his well being that you are keeping him from hurting himself further (sneaky!). He will always see you as the one that was protective and caring (maybe too much) by not allowing him to keep playing when he was hurt.
No, I do not think that I ever played through serious injuries. Anything that drew blood usually made me sit it out myself. Although, I do recall my mom getting worried over bruises and scrapes when she wasn’t aware of the cause. So, it has its down fall. You might find that you actually like knowing whenever he gets hurt; even if it is overly dramatic.
My daughter taught me the hard way NOT to be a mushy mushy mommy! I am not mean at all lol but if she falls or bumps herself (which happens a lot!) and starts screaming her lungs out, I just walk quitely and ask her to tell me where it hurts then deal with it depending on how serious the injury is (usually a hug and “oooh you’ll be OK” works). I think I am psychologically convinced that 90% of the time it is really not serious and the crying and screaming is just to draw my attention ..