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  • Writer's pictureCerissa Rhodes

What's up with my kid's BIG feelings about the little things? HINT: It is not about the broken nail.

Updated: Feb 4

First, I did not coin this phrase, but I use it often with parents struggling with their kid's big feelings.

Using, for example, a 13-year-old girl that breaks her nail getting ready for school, and goes storming off to her room in tears...

trust me it is not about the broken nail.

It's about the fact that her crush hoped to be asked out this Friday and "now he will never ask. " It's about her friends that all have their nails done and "now she won't fit in." Or the fact that she spent all her tips from work to get her nails done and "now she has no money to get the nail fixed." It was about what the broken nail represented in her mind.

This is especially true of young children. When my kiddo was 5 he struggled with sharing. I remember a time that my son returned to the house to find that his friend had been playing with his play dough. My kid's BIG feelings about someone else playing with his play dough was over the top y'all. But was it about the play dough...

Long story short, a few mornings after the play dough incident I asked my son if he had any dreams and he replied "Yes, I dreamed that you let Anna borrow my footstool without asking."

A young child mad and yelling.
Who would you let her borrow my foot stool?????

Now this was not just a dream. He actually woke up twice in the middle of the night asking me about his footstool...a footstool... seriously y'all he was distressed about someone taking a footstool. His big feelings about his friend playing with his playdough while he was out, was not about the playdough. It was about so much was about losing control, about fear of losing his toys or his toys being broken and not replaced.

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