“I want to play with my friends, I hate that shirt, I can do it myself” (Age 6.5 Raina)
In psychology, Erik Erickson spoke about the ‘synchronizing of the child’s needs and wishes with society’s demands. The achievement being a sense of purpose (age 4-7).’
When I worked with Raina I quickly became aware of her ability to see one aspect of a story; how a feeling of dissapointment or a lack of predictability could immediately set her off in a complaint or a dismissing of her parents efforts.
Jean Piaget, showed how a child at this age would see the potential height of a liquid in a jar but not the width – just one aspect at a time. So, how can we support the child to see the whole picture? How to help the child understand her purpose?
Raina, was observed to move with quickness into her interactions with her mother. She rushed to the breakfast table, she spoke before looking around, and she focussed intently at specific details.
For instance, when she woke up she immediately stomped her feet as she rushed to the table and looked at her food with a frown and pushed the plate out of sight. Before her mother could speak, she was already complaining that she had not asked for that plate of food and wouldn’t eat it. Lucky for her the food was intended for her father.
The situations and examples continued. In therapy, Raina was given permission to explore her way of moving. She quickly took over the room, and remarked when I, the therapist moved just the slightest way different than her. I supported her to notice these changes and instead of becoming upset – that if she saw a discrepency, I asked if she could purposefully repeat the “error” and make it even bigger. Expanding our arms to the side, or jumping higher, she exaggerated all my “errored movements.” She became the judge of the moving time. She had purpose and insight into what was her way and what was mine. She felt she was a part of a bigger project and she intuitively started to anticpate my steps with hers. She decided on her own time, that we could combined the movements together to realize that there was no “wrong way to move” and that she knew I was not intentionally trying to mess up or negate her way (it wasn’t personal) but that we had our unique choices.
We later applied this movement exploration into real life situations. We discussed slowing down to see all the parts and the whole picture before making assumptions or becoming dissapointed.
Raina shared with her mother a new plan for entering situations. She communicated an understanding about how “when someone responds or moves different from her it’s not because there is a problem or threat that she must defend against but rather a beautiful unique opportunity to notice or try.”
Everyday I work with children of all ages and their families to support their development, awareness and connections! For more ways to learn how to embody parenting and support your child through life, Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (310) 966-0700 to schedule your time.
Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.