We had just shared some food and were now playing side by side.
Child: "It's good to share."
Me: " Ya, it feels good to share." (Here, I did a little reframing. I wanted to leave the realm of good/bad and focus on the enjoyable feelings that arise from sharing).
We made eye contact and smiled at one another. We continued playing.
Me: "Sometimes, it feels good to say no too." (I have been supporting this child in saying no to peers, as she can have a hard time saying no. I wanted her to realize that it can feel good for a person to choose not to share and that she had support in saying no).
Child: "Ya." She looked at me and paused. She nodded. She then said, " And it feels a little sad."
Me: I paused, struck by her consideration of the topic and her ability to reflect on her feelings. "Ya, it is a little sad." (Here she supported me in reframing my understanding to include the emotional complexities of saying no.)
Saying no often creates some sort of rupture in the relationship. Having a two year old acknowledge that saying no brings sadness, touched me. I am reminded of the developmental stress that must be felt by young children (and people of any age) when the need to say no to others is strong. May we have compassion for one's who need to say NO and for the ones who have to come up against it's boundary.
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