What do children really need?
Childhood is more complex than ever. The sheer amount of THINGS that are available for kids these days is difficult to keep up with. What, then, are the really important things to provide?
Physical health is important: healthy food, sleep, hydration, sunscreen, appropriate treatment for illnesses. But in my practice, especially with older children, I’m finding the inner world to be a much more difficult area to reach. Most adults are carrying invisible trauma from childhood that extend into every corner of life, and most of the time the source is not necessarily famine, violence, abandonment (though they certiainly exist), but inherited subconscious trauma from adults who love them.
Children need to feel safe, physically and emotionally. More specifically, that can look like:
🎈Feeling accepted for displays of emotion
🎈When being told that a behavior is wrong (which is important) and given consequences, still being made to feel loved instead of rejected for that behavior
🎈Not being placed directly in the middle of family issues or being made to feel blamed for them
🎈Spending quality undistracted time with their caregiver, not necessarily every day but consistently
🎈Adults taking a second to take stock of their emotional reaction to child’s behavior, recognizing their own experiences and its contribution to the present, then approaching the child and communicating with intention
Nobody can do this all the time (if you know someone who can, I need to meet them!). But underneath all the pressure of modern parenting and the seemingly endless things out there, just a reminder that our self-compassion and self-healing is ultimately the path to providing a feeling of safety to the children and the child within us. 💫
- The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self, by Alice Miller
- Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers, by Dr. Gordon Neufeld and Dr. Gabor Maté
- Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive, by Dr. Daniel Siegel
Happy Monday! May it be a kind and peaceful week.