Power to the child – Advice Please.

Dear Clever Friends of the Interwebs,

I need some advice.

On Friday night Daniel screamed and screamed and screamed in his sleep.  He eventually ended up in bed with us.  (which, if you know me, is not a regular occurrence in our house, but that’s a whole other blog post)  He couldn’t tell us what was making him scream and he is not prone to night terrors or even waking up at night.

My immediate thought was that there was something that upset him at school, so we
kept a close eye on him the whole weekend.
We had supper at my folks’ house on Saturday night and my parents suggested that if it is a school thing we would know about it come Sunday night/Monday morning.

Trues Bob.  Last night he was quite clingy and this morning it was an epic battle to get him out of bed.  Not a major drama, but he was just not his happy self to go.

We took turns over the weekend to chat about school and ask who his friends are and
what kind of work they do etc, but as a rule he is already not very good at sharing stories, so we couldn’t get much out of him. He is quite a sensitive soul, a very outgoing and gentle little boy.  Which doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his faults, but in general he is kind and affectionate and will inevitably lean toward being bullied unless we equip him to deal with it now.

I had a conversation with his teacher this morning, but nothing major happened on
Friday that she knows about.

As I left school I was listening to the radio and they were talking about the link between recurring depression in adults and childhood trauma and I realized:
childhood trauma isn’t just all the horrible stuff that can happen to children.  It is the borderline bullies, the random things that happen that can scar a child as much as the big bad stuff.  (which also made me realize that I’m not done dealing with my own shit)

BUT. Life is hard and we cannot protect him against everything, especially as we are facing Grade R next year.

So, here’s what I would like to know:

How do you equip your children to deal with conflict?

How do you teach a child to acknowledge how someone makes them feel AND express those feelings without giving their power away?

What advice could you give me and have you had something similar that you have had to deal with?