Happiness Essentials: What Children Master and Adults Learn in Therapy, Part 1
My son is four. He has a dear friend who is five. They love each other. Playing with his friend is my son’s absolute favorite thing to do.
Their relationship is quite intense though. Obviously, due to their ages, their brains aren’t fully developed yet, so impulse control is hard. In addition, they are both quite strong-willed. Don’t cave in easily. Consequently, they often find themselves in intense arguments. At times, the arguments escalate to physical fights.
Fights are unfortunate, but what keeps astonishing me, is how quickly they get over their fights. I mean they are often really, really angry. Their faces are red and they yell at each other. But then one minute later, they are smiling and back to business. Faces are normal color again.
This is what we go to therapy for. To learn to let go of feelings and thoughts which cause us misery. Many people live their whole lives holding onto grudges towards other people. We embrace anger. We build identities around it. Sadness is another feeling, around which you can build your life.
Who does it help to hold onto those feelings? It’s crazy. If children behaved like that, we’d seek them help.
Children master letting go. But we were once children, too. When does the change happen? When do we start holding onto our feelings longer and longer? Is it a gradual shift?
I guess I’ll see now that my four-year-old grows older. Could I help him retain his letting-go-of-feelings-skills? Or are skills automatically retained – I should just try not to do any damage?