I Was Thinking…
The other day I was talking to a mom about the importance of staying emotionally connected to her hurt child - NO MATTER WHAT! Her first response was...easier said than done. SO true, SO true!
It is SO important that we are physically and emotionally present for our children as much as possible. Our presence this way is what builds true trust, decreases anxiety, builds self esteem and helps us to meet our children where they are both physically and emotionally, which ultimately creates HEALING!
Our kids really need our PHYSICAL PRESENCE to help them feel SAFE. Our kids need this MORE INTENSELY and even LONGER than their chronological counterparts! Our physical presence is really key to the success of building the all important Safety Net! Our physical presence equals food, safety, warmth, shelter, and believing you will never being abandoned!
Physically present means being there physically for your child. Being within eyesight. Being close enough to touch. Being the one who makes the food. Being the one who physically keeps me safe from harm. Being the one who makes sure I am warm by putting a blanket on me. Being there when I am sad or scared. Being all of these things until I believe it will never end!
Physical Presence is NOT enough! We must fight to be (and stay) EMOTIONALLY PRESENT for our kids as well! This is really where INTENTIONAL PARENTING comes in. Being emotionally present is what maintains the knots of the Safety Net...it is how our children not only feel safe, but feel safe enough and important enough to go out into the world and make an impact!
Emotionally present means being connected to your child emotionally. Connected enough to know when I need you without me asking. Connected enough for me to "know" I don't have to be a survivor any more. Connected enough to know my favorites. Connected enough to see pain when I am angry. Connected enough to not quit on me or let me quit on myself. Connected enough that my yuck won't make you go away.
So, here's where that "easier said than done" part comes into play. Our children don't necessarily feel safer with us close or really believe that we can be connected enough to know what they feel or need. It takes a long time to earn that trust. In fact, many of our kids test our intentions and fortitude when it comes to being physically and emotionally present for them. It is by staying in it both physically and emotionally, NO MATTER how long, how ugly (as long as you can keep both your child and you safe) and what Push Back Behaviors are at play that we can build that Safety Net our children need to truly heal!