“Mommy, my feet are boiling, I can’t walk any more. Why do I need to wear shoes?” (Layla Age 6)
When traveling with children, often adults provide advise and expectations of what has worked for their own experience in traveling – the pre-experienced responses ensue – “don’t touch that you’ll get sick, where a jacket you’ll get cold, wear running shoes to not hurt your feet, hold my hand you’ll get run over…”
These well intended words create confusion for kids. The typical response, “why?”
The typical answer “because I just want you to.”
When children don’t find meaning in the actions or tasks it makes it very challenging for the child to be motivated to follow through and comply. Additionally, since the expectation or demand has nothing really to do with the child’s needs and everything to do with the adults fears and own internal way of organizing, the child continues to feel more out of sync with his or her internal way of being.
Layla felt her best when she was in cool temperatures, she was from California and wore sandals and shorts everyday. For Layla traveling meant new temperatures and potentially different clothes. Traveling also meant often doing what the adults wanted and just going along for the plan. The beginning and end of each trip, her parents described as a consistent moment of heightened tension, screaming, whining, and discomfort. It took an initial night to adjust and then all was well again.
Within our therapeutic time, we were able to identify Layla’s needs and her parents needs. We differentiated between each person in the family. We created words that Layla could use to share with her parents when her body was not feeling comfortable. Her parents were able to explore their own patterns and fear responses. Together everyone developed a new way for embracing traveling. As a family they would now trust Layla’s choices and Layla would even try out her parents recommendations. Instead of forcing an outcome the family found ease and trusted their traveling needs!
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.