My daughter Ruby loved pushing this trolley around a shop we visited about a year ago. When it was time to go, I gently explained to her that we needed to leave the trolley behind. I knelt down on the floor with her to listen to her upset feelings, until she was ready to go. I’ve done this lots of times, and I’ve always noticed that Ruby is in a much better mood afterwards.
Then the shop assistant swooped in and popped a raisin in Ruby’s mouth before I could stop her. Ruby was instantly smiling again. It seemed as if the problem was solved!
But through learning about Parenting by Connection, I’ve realised that it’s important that we listen to our children’s feelings, rather than trying to distract them, or ‘fix’ them too quickly. My daughter was communicating that she was sad to leave the trolley behind, (and that she was also feeling a bit tired and emotional too)
Parenting by Connection, calls this process ‘Staylistening,’ where we listen, stay close, and support our children when they cry. Crying is the natural healing process we use to recover from stress and upsets. Tears contain cortisol, the stress hormone, and other toxins, that are released from the body.
One raisin isn’t going to hurt Ruby, but I hope the overall message she gets from her childhood, is that when she feels upset, to seek out those that love and care about her, so that she can be listened to and have a good cry if necessary. I’d rather that when she’s an adult she won’t turn to food (like I often do, but try not to!) or other sources of ‘comfort’ such as drugs or alcohol.
We all want our children to be happy, and sometimes the most loving thing to do, is not to swoop in with a new toy, or food or some other form of distraction, but simply to be there, and listen.