With yesterday’s heavy rain crisis in Cairo, students in school buses were stuck in endless traffic and some of them returned home after 8 pm. This could be a traumatic experience for a child, especially those of younger age. While many moms were concerned about children’s access to food and water on the school bus on such a rainy day, we were concerned about the children’s access to toilets. Children at this young age might not have full control over their bladders. So, after spending hours in a bus, it’s highly possible that at least one child on the bus could not hold it.
Image Source: El-Wataneya News
Two major problems arise here:
- The negative effect on the child’s self-esteem.
- The child might be bullied by other children.
How should a parent deal with a similar problem?
According to Dr. Rana Hany, certified Positive Discipline Educator from Positive Discipline Association USA, both parents and the school play a crucial role, especially the school.
Nourish your child’s self-esteem
As a mom, you should support your child in every possible way and build trust between you and your child. Stress on the fact that this is how our bodies normally react, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Let them know that you understand that there was no other possible choice for them, and that it’s okay; accidents happen. Also, you should stress on not accepting negative comments/bullying from anyone at the school, because they could have been put in the same situation.
Communicate with the school
As we said earlier, the school has the biggest role here. The parent should inform the school of what happened, and to make sure that the school handles the situation through 2 main strategies:
- Apologize for the accident, explain that it was out of anyone’s hands, and acknowledge and/or honor the students for their bravery in handling such a difficult situation.
- Contain bullying, through conducting awareness sessions for the kids that nobody should be ashamed or feel shy about an accident. It could happen to elder people as well, and that it was their only option, which makes it fine under such circumstances.
Image Source: Tumblr
Listen, don’t distract
Some mothers tend to protect their children from negative feelings by attempting to distract the children to make them feel better about it faster. This is not okay. Let the child talk about it, and listen mindfully. Try to help them put their feelings into words. If they’d prefer to draw for example over talking, that’s fine. Let them draw and talk about it later. Validate their feelings and comfort them, by telling them how proud you are of their bravery and courage in such an extremely difficult situation even for adults. Expect and understand a cranky or mad attitude about little things, because whether your child wet his/her pants or not, this is a traumatic experience that will leave them with many negative emotions, especially fear.
Finally, we’d love to send all brave mothers a message of love and support. Rainy day problems and school bus problems happen all the time. We know it was difficult for you too. We trust that you can change fear and shame into confidence and bravery.
Also, don’t worry! We’ll be bombarding you with articles on tips for rainy days and safety measures during a rainy season for kids, all winter long. We’ve got you covered.