My son had a bit of a rough week, which is about par for the house. He’s been struggling with anxiety a bit more, and behind on his schoolwork, and it came to a head on Tuesday night with him being behind on a large number of things, or at least it appeared so. He wasn’t the only one in his class, but that doesn’t solve the problem much. By the end of the week, he was all caught up more or less and taking the weekend to regenerate.
Except he played online chess this morning and he kept losing. While he is not a gracious loser all the time, he normally doesn’t get too upset about it but today it was the last straw. And when he didn’t get instant comfort from Mom to validate his reaction, he lost it. Which put him in pure timeout in his room by himself.
I gave him about 15 minutes to calm down and then we had a long conversation. He knows about different personality types and the way people react to stuff, but today I talked to him about our energy levels for different things. He is a warm green (intuitive introvert) while Mom and I are generally blues (analytical introverts), and while we both respond to analysis, details and frameworks when something bugs us, he needs to be comforted and mainly validated that what he is feeling is natural, understandable and that we care, and generally without offering perspective or solutions. His brain won’t hear them as anything more than denial of what he is feeling. And it’s hard in the moment to remember that is what he needs and generally will always need.
The conversation came later when he was calmer. We talked about how all of our energies for different types of activities (analysis, leadership, socializing, family) go up and down with seasons, weeks, even within days, just as our physical energies go up and down during the day after food or naps. And that overall, over the last 8 months, COVID has been gently pressing down on everything, lowering the peaks and deepening the valleys of our cycles. It was a lot to throw at him but with his strong green, he’s going to need to understand it if he’s to protect his emotional/empathetic side from killing him daily. He can wear his heart upon his sleeve, and I love it about him, but he also needs to learn some self-protection and self-management skills. It mostly worked to help him take a big step up in his cognitive understanding, and I had examples of how things that have happened with me that he has witnessed and experienced were tied to what I was talking about. Things as simple as him wanting a game, and that in trying to talk to a Blue, the best thing he could do is show me the description, show me the price points, show me comparisons, etc. Show me the details, not try to appeal to me that is the most fun since someone played catch with a piece of fruit.
Today I choose to counsel Jacob and give him some hard-won lessons from my life, things I believe in. Will they help him? Only time will tell, but he seemed comforted by it today without being overwhelmed.
What choices are you making?