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Overly sensitive?

When we're on vacation with the whole family (extended family included), one of the things we like to do (because there's no T.V. where we vacation) is to play board games or card games in the evenings. We try to keep the games family friendly so everyone can join in, but many times one particular child will fall asleep early and miss out. The next day the child will ask if we stayed up to play games. If we say yes, she feels hurt, and starts crying that we played without her. We try to play earlier, but because of dinner time and cleanup it just winds up that we don't get started until later in the evening. Because of this, some of the adults have started lying to her and saying that we didn't play any games, but I don't think it's right to have everyone lie to the child. What would you do?


Asked by Anonymous at 4:53 PM on May. 24, 2011 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • I wouldn't lie to her about it, I'd just schedule a couple times earlier in the day to play games so she gets a chance to join in.

    Answer by SWasson at 4:56 PM on May. 24, 2011

  • maybe wind things down earlier in the evening before dinner and have a special game or two with her, or if there is time one morning

    Answer by jorjiegirl at 4:55 PM on May. 24, 2011

  • Depends on how old she is. Unless it's my child I wouldn't be concerned. Trying to spare the feelings of a very young child is not a bad thing as long as it doesn't go on too long. What is disturbing is everyone catering to a spoiled brat 20 something. I get to see that regularly.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:56 PM on May. 24, 2011

  • I would just make a point of playing a game in the middle of the day, just for her.

    Answer by Melbornj at 5:00 PM on May. 24, 2011

  • My take on this is that children are resilient & can handle reality. They don't need adults (who are uncomfortable with their strong feelings of grief & disappointment) to reinvent reality for them, nor do they need compensation (a "consolation prize" of some kind, an urge to appease them or make it all all better & STOP the crying.) But they also don't need the denial, minimization, & negation of being judged to be overly sensitive, overreacting, upset "about nothing," or "too" upset. And they don't need to be talked out of their feelings, or reasoned out of them (two more examples of denial/negation.) They do need support, acceptance, & permission to grieve their losses fully, and they also deserve the right to be responsible for their feelings & reactions (i.e., what constitutes a loss & how big a loss it is, & how bad they feel about it.)
    If we are so triggered by their "big feelings" that we rush to compensate

    Answer by girlwithC at 5:41 PM on May. 25, 2011

  • (cont) or to fix things or to distract from the upset, then they learn that they "need" to be distracted or appeased, that the feelings are "too awful" just to go through & experience. (This is why it doesn't make sense to lie in order to "spare" her upset. The message is that reality is too much for her, too much of a tragedy, & it would be so unthinkable to go through it that even the adults are desperate to avoid it.) Kids also learn that we don't want them to express their upsets; this adult anxiety teaches them so that they learn fear & avoidance, not resilience. Invalidating a child's sadness or anger with denial/negation or with rationalizing triggers her defensiveness, defending against the suggestion that she is "wrong" or "shouldn't" feel the way she does, or "should" be over it. These suggestions contradict her inner experience. Defending her reality keeps her locked in her upset, unable to move on, to adjust to

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:01 PM on May. 25, 2011

  • I'd be kind of hurt, too. Playing games like that is such an event for a child! We grew up doing that on our yearly vacation, and the games were much mroe exciting than the hiking and waterskiing even. i know how dinnertime goes. What we did was to play games also around naptime, when it was too hot to be outside and we needed something low-key to do. That way, even the young ones can have time they don't miss out (we went every year from the time Kevin was 5 till he was like 21?) It's why I love games to this day, the fun we had playing with family and friends!

    Answer by Tracys2 at 5:23 PM on May. 24, 2011

  • She needs to learn that the world does not revolve around her. As she gets older she will stay up later.

    Answer by Shaken1976 at 7:47 PM on May. 24, 2011

  • While technically, a lie is a this case it's not harming her or even about anything that important.

    Answer by MamaMia9999 at 11:16 PM on May. 25, 2011