Attachment, Safety, Acceptance, and Prosperity
What does it mean to really “see” a child?
It is reading the cues coming from the child that tells the adult what the child needs. It is looking past the vocalizations or the behavior to understand where the child is coming from. It is asking yourself , “why is my child doing/saying this?”.
This is important because children often have difficulty verbalizing their feelings or needs, and they look to the adults in their lives to help show them the way.
This is commonly called connectiveness or responsiveness. It stems from getting to the root of what is happening with a child and analyzing what they need.
When an adult misreads cues coming from a child, the child can feel frustrated and misunderstood. This can lead to mistrust, insecurity, anger, and acting out behaviors. However, when an adult “sees” a child, the child feels safe and supported as they develop.
At the Root
Understanding what is going on with a child takes observation, time, and psychological understanding.
Sitting back and watching a child can provide valuable insights into the feelings and intentions of a child. Every child shows their personality through their interactions with their environment. Adults can learn to read a child’s facial expressions and body language in order to provide support for them when needed.
Past experiences can provide contextual information which can aid in understanding patterns of behavior. Patterns of behavior allow for likely predictions to be made for future responses in the same situation barring no changes have been made.
Developmental background is vital to understanding children because children are surrounded by factors that influence their lives. Understanding developmental stages such as Erikson’s Stages of Development can help adults learn when a child needs some room to explore their independence or competencies within safe boundaries.
After an adult understands where a child is coming from, the dance begins. The parent has to decide when to step in and take the lead and when to follow. This is a truly tricky area of parenting. Too much parental control can stifle positive development and too little parental involvement can lead a child down painful learning paths. So where is the sweet spot?
Making Informed Decisions:
- Does my child feel loved, safe, supported, and accepted?
- Am I open to seeing the value of what my child values?
- Am I providing tools and support for long-term success and allowing for safe exploration within those boundaries?
- Is my child chronologically and developmentally ready to make their own choices about this?
- Are there significant or minor risks in allowing my child this freedom?
- Is my child saying they are ready but showing they are not?