Childhood is a time of wonder and awe as the world grabs our attention through fresh eyes and ears. It is not hard to find a child absorbed in the blissful moment on a swing, or spinning just to feel the world move around them. Children are natural mystics. Sometimes the wonder opens all the way to ecstasy and unity.
- Tobin Hart, The Secret Spiritual World of Children (2003)
“It’ is natural for parents to wish to insulate their children, to reduce the adversity, risk or stresses they may face. On the other hand too much protection, support or insulation may deprive children of opportunities to learn to deal with mistakes in affirmative, self-esteem enhancing ways.”
Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein, Raising Resilient Children (2001)
I know that now, more than ever, parents are aware of how important it is for children to have a strong sense of self, with personal boundaries and an ability to know when someone’s behaviour towards them is unacceptable and to communicate that. This contributes to their emotional, mental and physical safety and prevents them from being used, manipulated and violated by others.
“If a child is ignored or treated with critical words, he/ she is likely to create core beliefs of being ‘useless’, ‘unlovable’ or ‘not enough’. Children will develop positive thought patterns and core beliefs if the adults around them use optimistic language and avoid shaming and blame-based language.”
I think I can safely speak for all parents when I say, we want our kids to manage what life throws at them well and to be happy. And, unless we plan to be the parents who live with our children forever as we continue to look after them, the way to achieve that is for us to teach them some basics. So here’s what my research (and life experience) has uncovered.
According to an article on the Educational Playcare website - “Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development – it helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways. This leads to a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks and supports cognitive growth, language development, gross motor skills, social interaction and problem solving skills.”
The clear message I’m receiving in researching for this blog is, attachment to their ‘big person’ is what gives a child a feeling of safety and security. It’s a baby/ child who has a healthy attachment to their parent that feels secure enough to explore their environment and is also able to form deep, lasting friendships later in life (a key element in building resilience).