Do you ever shake your head and throw up your hands when trying to manage your child’s behaviour in demanding social situations? Maybe even the first days of school feel tricky.  Some children are clinging, some children never want to leave! The social demands of a classroom can be treacherous territory because they offer novel experiences for your child.

Demanding Social Settings

We navigated many demanding social situations this summer. We experienced the dark side with our child.

Have you ever experienced the big group, the over-stimulating environment, or the unfamiliar group of friends and wondered about the bear you used to call son? Or the tiger you used to call daughter? Have you ever watched with shock as your child tried on the behaviours of older children? Or stood chest-out with new defiance? Possibly, transitions out of social situations with lots of peer magnetism are difficult, maybe even including big emotions?

Recently, over BBQ, a friend and I commiserated about our children’s challenges managing social interactions.  

When it gets really difficult, I instinctively draw my little one close to me. Even my big kids need more at-home time when they’re stretched. It is a great reminder for back-to-school days! Developmental psychology agrees.

Creating a Secure Base

In order to be successful in demanding social environments, children require the secure base of love from their parents.  Our steadfast love empowers confident explorers and curious learners.

Parents, be the secure base.

Connect Generously

Now your instinct at the end of summer might be to drop them off at school and run for your freedom. Yet, your child needs to experience lots of closeness during these days. Write cuddles, connections, and collecting on your menu.

Give generous time and attention to your child, offering the support they need. Look them in the eyes. Pull their head onto your chest. Give the gifts of togetherness.

John Bowlby, considered the father of attachment theory, posits the “secure base.” The secure base is the parent-child relationship and the child’s exploration is possible from this secure base.

Dr. Gordon Neufeld, Canadian attachment theory expert, reminds us, “…to help the child separate we must assume the responsibility for keeping the child close. We help a child let go by providing more contact and connection than he himself is seeking. When he asks for a hug, we give him a warmer one than he is giving us. We liberate children not by making them work for our love but by letting them rest in it.”

Navigating the roadmap of school days offers new opportunities to be curious about relationships. It is wonderful new territory and we want our children to feel liberated and confident.

And, you are your child’s best bet!

How will we help our children ‘rest in our love’? Establish rituals around what matters most because they offer consistency without decision-making or creative drain. What are the after-school rituals creating your secure base?

For the sake of the children,

Karine
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