Emotional exhaustion in kids

Do kids get emotionally exhausted?

I think they do. I remember I used to, later though, as a tween and teenager, not so much as an elementary school kid.

Raised in a medium-sized town in Switzerland I was roaming the relatively safe streets and neighbourhoods as young as a 5 year old. If I had stress I don’t remember. What I do remember is my younger sister, once she started Kindergarten, coaxing a friend to walk home the long way, breaking into a house through an open window, stealing a sausage on a plate and a key from a counter, burying them in the backyard of that house, and leaving the house the same way, all in the name of ‘freedom’. That was childhood in Switzerland in the mid-70s.

My own experiences were less dramatic. (I was the easy child 🙂 ) What happened to me? Not much that caused me emotional stress. The boys teased us. Wanted to see our underwear. Was that stressful? I don’t remember it being stressful, more irritating than anything. We dealt with it, we never mentioned it to the parents…We organized each other into groups, played mostly peacefully, outside, around the neighbourhood. We explored…. We took 2-year old twins for walks pretending we were married and they were our kids. We were never told not to go beyond the playground…we just walked around the neighbourhood. School was the same. The rules inside the school were rigid, but we never considered to challenge them. We had plenty of freedom to do what we wanted after school….no one picked us up. No one told us to be home at a certain time. I don’t even remember hearing adult voices much during my early elementary school days….it wasn’t about the adults.

I wasn’t stressed…

Back then, it never occurred to me to ask my parents for a break from school or a social situation. To just stay home and process things if something happened to me that caused me emotional confusion. It just didn’t even enter my mind.

Kids today have more adult attention than they ever did in the history of family (and I’ve done readings all the way back to families in the Middle Ages of Europe). We’re also much more in tune with what kids are/might be feeling, and much more involved in giving them understanding and methods on how to cope, or deal with certain situations. We’re also more willing to allow ‘breaks’ when kids ask for them. Letting them spend a day at home when they are just too emotionally exhausted to go to school and face social situations. Process, on their own terms, with the time allowed to them, their experiences.

These are not things I even considered would become part of my parenting life. Raising babies and toddlers seem so straight forward now, in hindsight. These ‘older kid problems’ are much more complicated to deal with.

Gonna be an interesting road to tween-hood.



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