Babies have feelings too!

I read Robin Grille’s article (byron child June-Aug 2006) with delight.  As a parent of a four year old, I relish increasing the authentic connection between us.  Robin Grille talked about a child’s healing and empowerment when his hurt, sadness, or rage (tantrums) is given empathy.  As an Aware Parenting instructor, I have observed that it is not only children and parents who need to show their authentic feelings.  From his birth onwards, a baby experiences feelings such as overwhelm, confusion, sadness, and frustration, which require expression.  He does this through crying, moving vigorously, and sweating, whilst being held in the arms of someone who loves him.  This way his whole being is accepted.  As a toddler and child he continues to express his feelings and that way is able to stay open to connection.  

A baby whose every feeling apart from happiness is rocked, jiggled, or fed away soon learns that there are many parts of him unwelcome.  As a toddler his need to let out his feelings and be heard becomes stronger, as the tension of holding them in becomes more uncomfortable.  Behaviours that parents find challenging, such as hitting, biting, lack of cooperation, and agitation, usually signal a child’s desperate need for expression and connection.  It is our loving “no”, said when we are in tune with our own feelings and needs, which gives the child a reason to show all that has been hidden.  Crying and raging, allows the stress to be released, so the child can again connect.  Allowing a child to express his feelings from birth means the parent has lots of practice hearing the hurt, and so eases the transition from “all-giving” parent to “parent-who-also-has-needs”.  The parent lets go of fear and guilt about hearing her child’s emotional pain and is thus freed to express her feelings to her growing child in an authentic, self-responsible way.

 

First pubished in Kindred Magazine in 2006 www.kindredmedia.com.au