I was teaching a Playful Parenting class one night and the topic was how we notice when our children disconnected. A woman volunteered to come up and demonstrate what her son acts like when he is disconnected. She got to move her body a lot and ‘feel’ what it might feel like for him. We all sat and watched her show us what it looked like, and afterwards I gave her some listening time. She then said she had a really different perspective of what it must be like for him when he is in that place.
She came back the next week with exciting news. She said that when she left the last class she went to pick up her son. She immediately recognized that he was in disconnect. In the past she hadn’t noticed his vacant stare and had gone about talking with the babysitter for a minute or two before moving to the car without taking time to reconnect. She said trying to leave always ended up in a big messy meltdown.
But on the night after that class she recognized he was in need of connection after their time apart and decided to engage him in some play before they even thought about leaving. They played a little chase game and “oh where, oh where has my son gone?” She said it was like magic. Not only did they reconnect and have fun, but he left happily, and when they got home he had an incredibly easy bedtime. His father brought him from the car, laid him down, and he was able to fall asleep in his own bed without ever getting up once, which was highly unusual for him.
It seemed to me that the attention of the group allowed her to see her son more clearly and get a better understanding of his experience. As a result she was able to come up with a great spontaneous solution that made the transition to the car much smoother.It’s amazing what just a little bit of listening can do!
-Join Certified Instructor Kirsten Nottleson in her Building Emotional Understanding course. Starts May 8. Learn more.