The family separation policy with immigrants has been devastatingly challenging for all of us. Seeing such young children’s being torn from their parents arms screaming is painful to watch and impossible to imagine. You may think your child is not aware of what is going on in this country right now but with people talking and demonstrations, they are absorbing some information. Even if they never see the news they can feel the sadness in the air. I have a friend who was packing to go on a trip to Europe. When she reached for their passports her six-year-old daughter, to her surprise, said “I don’t want to be separated from you.” How do we help children deal with these overwhelming feelings about the separation issue?
Here are some simple steps to help.
1. Begin by acknowledging any of your issues about family separation. Children learn from watching you. If you are able to say “I feel sad” you will be able to help them know it is ok to feel your feelings. I know how important it is to me to speak with other people and share the pain.
2. Practice the peace and love breath. Sit on the floor with your child, opening your arms out to the side as you deeply breathe in feelings of peace and love into your heart. As you exhale, breathe out love and peace to everyone in the world, particularly to the parents and children who have been separated from each other. Filling our hearts with love and peace and sending this energy out into the world has a powerful effect on everyone.
3) Let them know there are good people in the world. The truth is there was an amazing outcry and this policy was changed quickly. There are good, kind, caring people who spoke up and helped reverse this decision.
4) Draw a balloon and write their feelings of sadness in the balloon. Then close your eyes and imagine the balloon floating off with the feelings inside.
5) Feelings are just a wave. Practice a wave coming over your head. As the wave moves through the body let the feelings flow with it out through the feet. This really works, I use it myself. It helps the feelings actually come up and then move through and out. Remember to breathe.
Feeling your feelings is hard but stuffing them down does not help them go away. The only way out is through. Remember they are just feelings and it will get better as you speak, breathe and release. These are great to practice in any circumstance. This situation is a great opportunity to teach your kids the valuable lesson on how to express and feel their feelings.