How often does your child glance at you?
I read an article where a Mum set herself an experiment. It was very simple. She recorded the number of times her child glanced at her for reassurance in just 30 minutes. I can’t remember the exact number but it was several 10’s.
Ever since then I have been mindful that I am not always present to my son. I am glued to the computer or my phone and take opportunities such as when he is playing in the park to read, text or call people.
So now I make the effort to do this less and make my eyes available to him more. In the park the glances are often to check where I am, to proudly show me what he is capable of or simply to make sure he is accepted and acceptable to me and to connect with me.
Some parents through adoption may not get these glances. The child has developed such independence that they are completely unaware of what it is to feel such assurance and connection.
In fact I had to teach my son to connect with me this way. I bottle fed him in a rocking chair when he arrived as my son at age 3 and I taught him to look back and wave when I dropped him off at school.
Now he wants my eye contact frequently and I am delighted to “feed” him this way. When we walk to school I will make the effort to look sideways and into his eyes as we chat. When I’m doing jobs, I will pause to do the same.
I am so glad that we have this form of communication.
Recently he was supposed to have a filling at the dentist. Because of the poor environment of his birth mothers’ womb, the enamel on his teeth isn’t forming properly.
We practised being at the dentist and rehearsed how an injection might be and how the drill might sound, but once in the dentists’ chair, he simply couldn’t do it.
On the way out he shot me a glance- imagine if I hadn’t been available to receive it. He would have been alone to cope with the sense of shame and failure he so obviously felt.
Instead I was there to support him, to voice his feelings for him and to help him manage his emotions.
Being available for our children in this way isn’t always possible. I am sure for every time I catch a glance, I still miss a hundred. It also isn’t easy-doing so opens us up to feeling our childs pain.
But boy is it worth it for the sense of connection and love that pours out our way.
Create your own glance- experiment today!!
"Thank you Gill for an inspirational and interesting few days. I have loved your honesty and your stories about you and your son. Thank you Gill for an inspirational and interesting few days. I have loved your honesty and your stories about you and your son. "
- Helene Patel -
Member of the International Stress Management Association
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