I will probably never forget this conversation with a dad doing a Circle of Security Parenting Course (shared here with his permission).
He captured so beautifully what so many of us struggle with.
He was talking about a morning when his son felt anxious about going to school. He was trying to be there for his son, to be with how he was feeling, and he was telling his son:
"I understand you are feeling anxious. You don't want to go, but you will probably feel much better as soon as you leave the house."
He paused, and his face looked like a light bulb that was just switched on:
"Wait! There is no "but"! Being with him means that there is no "but". He is feeling anxious. That's it."
Being there is often about doing less, not more. It's about slowing down and getting curious about what is.
It does not mean the conversation will not develop, and they will stay stuck in the "he's anxious" place. By slowing down and giving his son's anxious feelings some space, he is creating a shared understanding of his experience.
He is showing his son that his experience is valid and that it is ok to share it.
When we take some time to linger in those moments, we often begin to see more and new ways forward. We give our children more agency to come up with their solutions.
My invitation for you this week is to notice when you have the urge to fix, solve or explain. Take a few deep breaths. Notice what is happening in your body. Notice the emotions that are present in the room.
Perhaps, instead of offering a solution, acknowledge your child's experience. Something like: "Wow, sounds full on..."
Or ask a question: "Interesting... Would you tell me more about it?"
P.s. If you resonate with what I am sharing here, you will probably enjoy my free mini-course "28 ways you can be there for your child".