I Will Soften the Blow
16 June 2017
I try to make it a weekly practice to read through Garry L. Landreth’s Principals for Relationships with Children (Play Therapy: The Art of Relationship). These principles really ground me and remind me about what is really important when spending time with children and adolescents. As I thought about what to write for this Newsletter, I noticed that some of these principles also hold relevance to parenting.
I know so little about the complex intricacies of childhood. Therefore, I will allow children to teach me. I nd this a beautiful reminder that we cannot presume to understand everything children go through. Allowing children to teach us about their world helps us understand them more and helps them feel more supported.
I sometimes need a refuge. Therefore, I will provide refuge for children. If our relationships with children are safe, nurturing and empathetic, then they will come to us when they need refuge.
I like it when I am fully accepted as the person I am. Therefore, I will strive to experience and appreciate the person of the child. In my conversations with children and especially adolescents, this is a topic that comes up often. Children and adolescents don’t always feel accepted and appreciated for the person they are. Letting children and adolescents know that they are fully accepted is a wonderful kindness.
I make mistakes. They are a declaration of the way I am – human and fallible. Therefore, I will be tolerant of the humanness of children. It is a lovely reminder that we all make mistakes and to o er the same grace that we hope for as adults to children.
I am more fully me when I feel safe. Therefore, I will be consistent in my interactions with children. It is certainly not an easy task to be consistent in our interactions with children and adolescents. As previously acknowledged, we are human and fallible; we will all get it wrong sometimes. Knowing that it can lead to children feeling safer makes it a goal worth persisting with.
I cannot make children’s hurts, fears, frustrations and disappointments go away. Therefore, I will soften the blow. I often wish that there were a way to magically x everything. As parents, I imagine you must feel similarly when you see your children hurting. When Gary Landreth says, “I will soften the blow”, I interpret that as meaning that:
a) I will be available and present as they work through what they are going through so they won’t be alone and; b) I will acknowledge the di culty of the situation and not minimise their struggle.
I believe that just by being present for children and adolescents, by listening and caring, we can make a huge impact on their lives.