Monday, March 19, 2012

Soul Fever


I just read this article in the Huffington Post, and I love the idea that we as parents know how to treat bodily fevers, but somehow forget that wisdom when it comes to what the author calls "soul or emotional fever".

If a child is ill, we simplify. We keep them cozy, we stay home, we limit their exposure to more stress or chills. And we take time to just be there close and available to them.

If a child is emotionally distressed, we don't know what to do. We seek to medicate, or take them to a therapist, but what if we just tucked them in some blankets, made them soup, and sat with them?

My daughter is challenging. No labels, because we won't be seeking any, but she wears me out. When we do classes, I get her back at the end of them and see that look in the teacher's eyes - the "I'm so glad that is over" look that says they were exhausted by dealing with her.

She's sweet, and bright, and funny, and loving. But she won't do what she's asked to do, and if she does do it, she does it in her own time, and she doesn't really care what others want or think. She also has a very short attention span right now. So it can be a challenge, and it stresses us all out.

I've just decided to not enroll her in any more extra-curriculars. When the current classes run their course, she's done for a long while. In fact, for some of the classes (chess club), she's just done now. What she seems to really need more than any external stimulus and enrichment is simplicity. She needs me to play card games with her, read her picture books, and cuddle. And she needs to have plenty of time to play with her tiny dolls and elaborate worlds that she creates. She needs me to sing songs with her, and maybe take the time to teach her piano or recorder playing. She needs to listen to music, color, and have tea parties. She needs to go outside, ride her bike, plant flowers in the garden, and watch for birds and butterflies.

She does not need to do structured academic work right now. She does not need to attend science workshops or chess club or scouting or anything particularly structured. The only structured things I will insist she finishes are theater class and swimming lessons.

We have an emotional fever here. It's time for some chicken soup (or tea) for the soul.


  1. I think I read the same book as you're referring to! We took a lot of it's advice--and it made such a difference. Great post!

  2. Love this post. Thank you for sharing the link to the article. Enjoy the slowed-down pace with your sweet daughter. Spring is a wonderful time for renewal.