Obstacles to Supporting Children’s Needs

After we moved, my son asked if we could set up play dates with some of the children in his new school. I felt uncomfortable so I invented excuses why we couldn’t.  His request triggered me because of rejection I had experienced, and I told myself that I didn’t want him to feel that same sadness.  Sometimes we don’t support our children's needs because it triggers us. In Circle of Security Parenting we call these triggers shark music: feelings, needs or situations that are safe but remind us of past threatening experiences. Our shark music maybe activated when our children ask us to meet their needs. Through conscious actions or unconscious intent, we may place our comfort before their needs.  For example if we feel we are being abandoned when they do things without us, we may undermine their activities:  “Are you sure you want to go see your friend?  Maybe you should go another day.” Or we may say yes to a request that turns on our shark music, so our tone of voice says no.  Finally, if being close to others causes us to feel anxious, we may grimace or wince when they need reassurance. Studies show that children as young as eleven months sense when we become uneasy, so they stifle their need to satisfy our desire to feel calm.  Not only does our response result in their needs not being met, but also our reaction causes them even more distress.  They may question why their request would be threatening to the person they most love and cause them to doubt their own needs and judgment.  Or they may fear that if they upset the person they are most dependent upon s/he will withdraw from them leaving them alone. Sometimes our shark music is so loud that we block out children’s needs for reasons that begun…

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Satisfying the Need for Connection

Have you ever wondered why certain books, movies and television shows are so appealing? They satisfy our need for connection  The characters treat each other the way we want to be treated. Two series I enjoy are Harry Potter and Touched by an Angel. What do fantasy fiction and heavenly messengers have in common? Relationships. The Harry Potter books are not only an amazing, creative story of good conquers evil, David beats Goliath, they also satisfy a desire for connection.  Harry no longer has to live alone in a cubby beneath the stairs rejected and maligned by family, he has friends who understand him and support him, giving him the strength to face the challenges before him. Harry Potter Last week I binged on Touched by an Angel, recently released on Netflix.  Tess, Monica and Andrew share a wonderful friendship among themselves, and with those they help. And even more important, they remind us of our relationship with God, Our Heavenly Father, and that He loves us whether or not we feel we deserve it.  Netflix What are some of your favorite books or shows and why?

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What Is Attachment & Why Is It Important

Just thinking of writing about attachment—I don’t want to.  Have you ever avoided something—really avoided it--the way you avoid touching a throbbing tooth? I avoid music written in a minor key, and books, shows and movies that end in separation or death. So I am exercising, watching A Far Off Place, and wondering if I have enough chocolate chips to make cookies. I remember watching this show over 25 years ago.  Reese Witherspoon played Nannie Parker, a girl whose parents were killed by poachers.  To escape them, she with two friends crossed the Kalahari Desert on foot.  Col. Mopani Theron, played by Maximillian Schell, never gives up searching for her. Re-watching the movie, I realize that Col. Theron only appeared a few times, but it was because of his concerned, protective presents that I enjoyed the movie--his appearing in scenes here and there to remind me that someone cared about her. Then I didn’t know that the emptiness I felt was attachment trauma.  While I write this, I have to be careful that I don’t slip into that abyss.  I wish I could write about what attachment feels like.   But if I could, I would not write this.  It’s because I didn’t experience it that I hope to help parents create a secure connection with their children. I know where life can spiral down to without it and have studied where it can soar to with it.  Attachment means that you are there for your children when they fall down and skin their knees. You are there when they strike out and when they hit a grand slam.  You are there when their best friend moves away or they are scared of the dark.  You empathize with them, instead of telling them they have no reason to feel sad or afraid or distracting them with technology or a cookie.   …

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Reframing My Mindset: You Mean She’s Not Doing This to Annoy Me

When my daughter was two, I returned to college.  https://pixabay.com/photos/books-study-literature-learn-stack-2158773/ I remember sitting at my desk studying.  My daughter would be playing a few feet away until I got up to get another book.  Then she would stop stacking the blocks and run to me.   For the next several minutes, I would attempt to re-interest her in building a tower, which rarely worked.  Next I would become stern and tell her that I had to finish my paper and she had to play by herself.  That was even less successful.  Eventually I would give up and did what I thought parents were supposed to do:  entertain. https://pixabay.com/photos/games-children-child-girl-toys-2801332/ Through Circle of Security Parenting, CoSP, I have reframed her behavior.  Now I understand that her goal wasn’t to get my attention to annoy me.  She was trying to get my attention to feel that no matter what I was doing I loved her and would be there for her.   https://pixabay.com/photos/mom-kids-mother-family-child-1973778/ If I had reassured her by giving her a hug, and a kiss, she would have returned to her construction project and I could have returned to Shakespeare.   Oh if only hindsight was foresight— If you are worried that meeting a child’s need for support will make her more dependent, studies show that children who are securely attached even as young as two demonstrate more independence than children who feel that they are alone with no one to help meet their emotional needs. Next time your child interrupts what you are doing, think of her bid for attention as a need for connection. For more information about Circle of Security Parenting please visit https://www.circleofsecurityinternational.com or read Raising a Secure Child. https://www.circleofsecurityinternational.com/books

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Circle of Security Works!

You are right: ending a sentence with an exclamation point is not longer considered acceptable.  The words the I choose should express my excitement, so I will use some more to explain. Last week I watched my three granddaughters ages six, four and 20 months while their mom was in the hospital having their baby brother.  I had taken care of them many times, but this time was different.  First, I had thought that adults were suppose to entertain children every waking hour, which is exhausting and frustrating—kids don’t always want to be entertained. Second I was concerned that they would feel insecure because their mom was in the hospital for four days and their baby brother was rearranging their family.   Since my three children have come and gone and two of them have children of their own, I have learned about Circle of Security Parenting, CoSP, which helps parents foster attachment, resilience, and self-confidence in their children.  Because children don’t come with an instruction manual, CoSP’s philosophy is that they are the manual.  They will let you know when they want to explore and when they need comforting, when they want to celebrate and when they need calming.   You can think of CoSP as a circle that you hold and your children are on moving away from you to explore and back to you for reassurance.    With this in mind, last week I wanted to give my granddaughters the reassurance that we were connected and the opportunity to explore without my interfering. We read books together.  In fact we found three new books that we love, What Do You Do with a Problem? What Do You Do with a Chance? And What Do You Do with an Idea? https://www.amazon.com/What-You-Do-Matters-Problem/dp/1946873144/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3BZYI0J9JUK9I&keywords=what+do+you+do+with+an+idea&qid=1558798666&s=gateway&sprefix=what+do+you+do+with+an+%2Caps%2C151&sr=8-3 We went to the park.  I watched the six-year-old climb the rock wall and swing across the monkey…

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Safe Spaces: Safe Homes

I grew up in the country where foxes, coyotes, skunks, raccoons and plenty of field mice roamed.  One day I explored a recently abandoned fox den.  That afternoon while working in the field, I told my dad about my adventure. That's when I learned that the meaning of the word lousy applies to more than a bad day.  He asked if I had seen anything crawling on the ground.  I only remembered scattered bones and feathers.  Then he explained that the foxes were infested with lice and a lot more.  I ran all the way home, took a bath and two showers to ensure that they were all drowned and washed away.   Recently I recalled my misadventure when I  saw a video that was humorous until I realizes what I was watching was not a cat.  A  family had posted a security tape of a raccoon snoozing on their couch. They said he must have ventured in through the pet door, explored their house and left before anyone found him.  Instead of being distressed by their intruder, they found him funny and cute so rather than barring the doggy door, they left it open and hoped he would return.  He did. He made himself at home sleeping on the sofa and searching through rooms for anything he could open and eat.  They posted his nightly antics. What they didn’t think about while they watched him unrolling the toilet paper, ripping open the chips and cuddling on the couch, were the fleas, ticks, lice, and more he shared.  Had they enlarged the scene they would have seen those threats scattering across their floor and invading their recliner waiting for the next warm body to feast on and share rabies, lime disease, ringworm, and parasites with.  I will not even talk about the feces he dropped everywhere and that trail of contamination.…

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Listening

One of the best ways to communicate love and value and understand feelings and resolve problems instead of creating them is to listen. Imagine explaining to your mom as she scrolls through her phone how unfair it was that you lost the spelling bee that you had practiced for for weeks. Or imagine telling your dad that you blocked a goal, so your team won the match and he's busy completing his video game mission or watching his favorite team score. Do you feel like you aren't important when you are telling someone how bad your day was and the other person is busy texting, gaming or scrolling? He nods like he has heard you, but you know that he doesn't have a clue about what you are saying or why it is important to you. Babies and children are not different. Contrast that with how you feel when that person sets aside the phone, video controller or the mouse, turns, looks at you and shares your excitement, frustration, or sadness. Children, everyone, need to feel heard, to feel know that you are listening to them and understand how they feel.

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I Statements instead of You Statements

You statements often express anger, escalate the situation and isolate the person:  “You didn’t clean your room.” “You didn’t come home on time.” Instead try an I statement:  “I feel frustrated when you don’t clean your room.”  “I was worried, scared when you didn’t come home on time. "I" statements express your feelings and are hard to argue with. 

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Detecting Limiting Beliefs

The first step in eliminating limiting beliefs is to identify them. Every Sunday a newly wed wife cut off a third of the roast and only cooked the other two-thirds. One day her husband asked her why, and she responded that that was what her mother did. Later he asked his mother-in-law why she did it and, she answered that that was what her mother did. Finally he asked his grandmother-in-law and she said that she did not have a pan big enough for the whole roast. Do you ever do things because that is what you always do without thinking about why? Consider why you do what you do and how you feel about it. Do you have a routine? If so, is your routine serving you well? If not, should you? Would it help to vary it? Consider getting up earlier to have time to read, mediate and plan your day. Drive to work a new way. Go for a walk at lunch with friends instead of staying at your desk. Go to bed earlier so you are not tired. What do you think about during the day? Do you ever suddenly feel exhausted? If so, what are you doing and thinking when that happens? What is the belief behind those thoughts? Our thoughts are some of your greatest allies or enemies.  Are you always hurrying, but never getting some of the things done that you really want to do?What is your average day like?What do you think of when you wake up in the morning?What do you think about when you're getting ready?What do you think about going to work?What do you think about through out the day?What do you think about before going to sleep?What do you do to relax and enjoy life?List repeated thoughts.  Are they uplifting or defeating?Do you enjoy being with other…

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My List of Limiting Beliefs

I can’t succeed. I’m not smart enough I have to work really hard to earn money.Being rich is bad.I don’t have anything to offer.No one would want to listen to me.My idea aren’t any good.Anyone could think of that.I was just lucky.This is my list. What’s on your list?For more examples visit 63 Limiting Beliefs that Hold You Back from Massive Success http://unsettle.org/limiting-beliefs/

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