Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kids and Coping

My kids' lives are in upheaval right now. For starters, we're moving in a few months. They're leaving all their friends and school and everything behind to move to a smaller, older house...closer to cousins, but that's about it as far as they're concerned. They're also dealing with the fact that my father is going through chemotherapy right now, and while my son knows what cancer is, he doesn't really "get it." And there are other things in the mix too. As I was told recently, we're dealing with like three of the top ten stressors a person can go through in their life.

And my kids are, so far, taking it all in stride. There have been some questions, of course, but I think the answers to the ones they've asked have helped them to understand some of the ones they didn't know how to ask. The best part though? They are excited about the move and new bedrooms and decorating and swimming at their aunt's this summer.

That right there is something that I often feel is missing from books about kids/teens. Yes, some kids will kick and scream and gnash their teeth at any change, but others...roll with the punches better than anyone could ever expect. And I say that as the mother of an autistic child--you know, the kid who isn't supposed to deal with all.

The difficult thing is on the odd occasion I see kids like that in books, they aren't consistent. Harry is fine with being a wizard, but is shocked at the moving staircases. Whereas the kids who have always known about Hogwarts oooed and ahhhed the staircases too. One of my editors spoke to me recently about her biggest pet peeve, and it's basically that--when a character does something that goes against all the character building done up to the moment of the scene. Consistency is important to readers because even when people act differently than normal, it's usually still within the realm of their nature.

As for my kids and how they're dealing? I was happily surprised that it wasn't a moment that when against their character. They've always been the type to look for and find silver linings. I think with all the dark this time, fictional characters had prepared me for mine to lose that ability. I thank my lucky stars that didn't happen.

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