Sacrificing Authenticity for Attachment: The Adaptive Survival Responses of Children and Their Influence on Future Relationships

1 Comment
Sacrificing Authenticity for Attachment: The Adaptive Survival Responses of Children and Their Influence on Future Relationships

“If our environment cannot support our gut feelings and our emotions, then the child, in order to ‘belong’ and ‘fit in’ will automatically, unwittingly and unconsciously, suppress their emotions and their connections to themselves, for the sake of staying connected to the nurturing environment, without which the child cannot survive. A lot of children are in this dilemma – ‘can I feel and express what I feel or do I have to suppress that in order to be acceptable, to be a good kid, to be a nice kid?’” ~ Dr. Gabor Mate As children, we learn to sacrifice authenticity for connection. Done mostly unconsciously, our body’s intelligence recognizes that if we are our full, vibrant self, we’ll lose the attachment with our parents. We […]

The Developmental Impulse to Reach: Healing Trauma through Completing this Long-Held Survival Response

0 Comments
The Developmental Impulse to Reach: Healing Trauma through Completing this Long-Held Survival Response

Trauma is often defined as an incomplete survival response – fight or flight that could not happen. The body had the impulse to protect or run away, but was overpowered. It could not do what it instinctively knew it had to do to survive. The vital energy driving the biological fight / flight impulse was truncated, impeding the survival response and causing trauma. There is another survival response discussed not nearly as often – reaching. Desiring or needing connection, a child instinctively reaches for her primary attachment figure. Biologically, we are wired to connect. And so we are naturally wired to reach for that connection, particularly in pre-verbal stages of development. We long to have our hand received with gentleness and love. Yet, when that […]

The Wisdom of Giving Your Child a Sword to Play With Instead of a Gun

4 Comments
The Wisdom of Giving Your Child a Sword to Play With Instead of a Gun

There is a great debate amongst the educators and parents I present to about children playing with guns. In fact, it may be the hottest of all debates (even more than whether to allow children to go up slides!). Does playing with guns support or hinder child development? More so, how might a child playing with guns today impact society tomorrow? As a boy, I remember happily playing with guns. Whether it was with my cork gun shooting cans in my backyard or playing war with plastic guns with my friends, I only have good memories. Gunplay was a means of using my imagination, connecting with others, and being in nature. Looking back now, however, I view those times from mature hindsight, with a depth […]

There’s No Such Thing as “Just” Being Silly

1 Comment
There’s No Such Thing as “Just” Being Silly

“All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.” ~ Samuel Butler The other day I overheard a mother say to her son, “Oh, you’re just being silly, aren’t you?” He was goofing off and giggling in the most delightfully innocent and innocuous of ways. The mother’s tone was kind and intention heartfelt. But there was something stirring in her word “just” that struck me deep, an old shallow story that still saturates adult minds. That play is somehow frivolous is a belief still holding true for many. And yet ask any adult how hard play is for them. Ask them how easily they let themselves sing and dance spontaneously, how freely they dream, how fully they give themselves […]

12 Ways Children Live and Love Fearlessly (and Teach Us to Be/Do the Same!)

0 Comments
12 Ways Children Live and Love Fearlessly (and Teach Us to Be/Do the Same!)

Children are closest to God It has been said that children are closest to God. Whether you believe in any kind of God or not does not really matter. What we can all agree on is that children embody purity, love and freedom. They move and engage with lightness, abandon and gentleness. They live with what seems like an inexhaustible amount of energy that is incredibly vital, curious and imaginative. In a nutshell, they live and express themselves with far less fear than adults do. They live lovingly as free Spirits! Our Spirit, our authentic Self, the God within, in my opinion is not fearful. Fear is part of the existing human condition. The ineffable Spirit we are all a part of lies beyond the fears […]

Why We Need to Initiate Play More Than Ever!

0 Comments
Why We Need to Initiate Play More Than Ever!

Consider this: The average child spends up to 8 hours a day on technology. It’s addictive nature, combined with the increasing busyness of our lives, makes it difficult for parents to pull children away from their screens, and get them playing. And yet, it is more necessary than ever to do so! The more the toy does, the less the child does. I was recently invited to a dinner party at a friend’s place. One of the adults there – also a friend – brought her two young girls with her. Instead of doing the adult thing and chit chatting around the dinner table, I played with the girls… for four hours! We played hide and seek, turned yoga blocks into boats and forts, created […]

Remembering Joy ~ Touching the Immeasurable Essence of Life

0 Comments
Remembering Joy ~ Touching the Immeasurable Essence of Life

The more you teach the measurable, the more children will feel like they can never measure up. Since our early years, we have been inculcated with that which is measurable. We have not been fully supported to gaze in wonder at a butterfly, and explore the feelings and insights it gives us. Instead, increasingly we’ve had to know about it – to understand what kind of butterfly it is, how/where it flies, and what it eats. Rational thought and knowledge has indeed surpassed the purity of wonder. Knowing about has usurped our ability and desire to just be with—to commune with our surroundings, to be present with life. With pressures from parents and schools, and influences from society as a whole, we have become gatherers of the information age, conquers of time and […]