“We can’t hold her all the time, we need to give her tough love so she can stop crying.”
Patrick (a 45 year old care-provider) told me he didn’t want to hold Sophie because he thought it would create dependence. I immediately acknowledged our common goal to support her to be self soothing, self aware, and even less difficult for him, and that we had options!
The observation was key. Observation meant understanding on a body level and a sensory level, how Sophie responds and interacts in her environment. When does she seek out for the adult, what makes her cry and what are the duration, frequency, and intensity? What does this look like in her body?
Patrick couldn’t tell me any of these answers because he was thinking crying equaled problem and holding equaled enabling or being manipulated. He didn’t know what was making her cry only that she should stop.
Thankfully, with a common goal, and a shared breath, Patrick allowed me to engage with Sophie when she was crying. To hold her and to provide her with the security that she needed, in the moment she needed it. He was able to observe the relationship that formed in moments and that I could alter my holding input dependent on her response.
He noticed that he could still remain in control and that the recovery period was significantly shorter. Additionally, that I could modify my posture and physical holding with more space to gradually allow Sophie to need less support and gain her own independence.
The fear of being manipulated or increasing an unwanted behavior such as crying can certainly cause enough distress to want to run far away from the “needy” child. When we give a moment for movement, posture, and holding – a connection is formed and a space is provided for security, and soothing.
Did you know physical contact and connection brings independence? Everyday I work with children of all ages and their families to help support the meaningful connection and needs expressed by each other! 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.