To a frightened child, the monster under the bed is real. Saying it ain’t so does not allay the child’s fear but also denies his or her emotional truth.
You see, emotional truth is not the same as factual truth. Psychologist and writer, Dr. Diana Raab, wrote, “Your emotional truth is what you feel about a situation, and sometimes it has nothing to do with actual facts.” Two people witnessing the same thing may have two distinct emotional experiences.
But the point is that feelings are real. We all have our own emotional truth. Articulating maybe harder than relating to it. For that frightened child a reassuring hug, comforting voice, and acceptance work better than any logic explaining why the monster is not real.
As parents, we try to teach our children right from wrong. We worry about if we are modeling the proper behaviors. Not an easy task. Worth remembering that feelings are real. Better to embrace the emotional truth so they can find out the factual truth on their own.
Is the child lying or simply expressing their emotional truth?