Willow Magazine CREATING LIFE - Page 24

3. Respond to Their Hurts

Part of the glorious freedom of being a child is learning how to fall, and pick themselves back up again. Aren’t they great at it? A few tears, and they’re up, roaring to go again. No fear, and no self-judgement. This is how they learn, grow and explore the world.

Some schools of thought are concerned that if we nurture and attend to our children too much during their times of upset, they will become ‘clingy’. I feel differently to this. Instead of brushing a hurt off (whether physical or emotional), I take the time to tend to my son. This may be a hug, a kiss and a once over. Or it may be holding him and allowing him to cry, to express the emotions he feels in the moment, and witnessing it. Acting as a safe container through which he can express whatever energy he needs to move at the time.

My belief that instead of creating an attached child, this empathic response creates a self-confident, resilient, kind and caring human being. I receive proof of this on a daily basis - whenever I hurt myself, my son comes rushing to my side to check on me.

4. Lots of Cuddles

Again, some parenting styles seem to suggest that cuddling our children too much (how much is too much?) creates spoiled, molly- coddled adults. In response, I ask them: ‘don’t you appreciate a hug after a long, hard day?’

For me, it comes down to instincts. Baby-wearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping have been an integral part of family life for thousands of years. It comes naturally, and from within. From the heart. Our body even backs this up by creating Oxytocin, the love hormone!

My son is my feedback device on this one, and it warms my heart to observe that at kindergarten the bigger kids rush towards him to hug him hello and goodbye.