It’s that time of year! Perhaps you stood in long Black Friday shopping lines. Or maybe instead you are filling a virtual shopping basket and counting the days to ensure a timely arrival. Maybe you are creatively balancing the budget to see what resources are available for gift giving this holiday season. Whatever situation you find yourself in, you are not alone. It’s a busy season!
Our culture has commercialized this season and set high expectations of what it means to demonstrate love and care for your children. What does your child really need though? Yes, they may hand you a list of toys or games that look interesting and fun. Maybe these are the toys that are repeatedly shown on TV or showcased on holiday displays at the department store. Culture is telling your child that this is what they need. Once the gifts have been unwrapped, the excitement and wonder has died down, and the toys have been played with, your child still stands in need of something that can never be purchased or wrapped with paper. Your child needs you!
Dr. Dan Siegel, author of The Whole Brained Child, identifies four needs of your child that are not met through things and, in many ways, are not even met through words. These needs are met as they feel:
• Seen — by perceiving them deeply and empathically — sensing the needs behind their behavior
• Safe — by avoiding actions and responses that may frighten or hurt them
• Soothed —by helping them deal with difficult emotions and situations through modeling and remaining calm as they learn to regulate emotionally
• Secure — by helping them develop an internalized sense of well-being
As a parent, you have the unique ability to meet these intrinsic needs of your child as they grow and develop into their full capabilities emotionally, socially and intellectually. This holiday season, we encourage you to create space to sit with your child and listen to their thoughts. Take time to attune your internal world with theirs. Give the gift that has no monetary price tag – yourself!
Here at The Refuge Center, we serve the whole family through family and individual sessions. We seek to partner with parents and children to enhance connection, understanding, and relationship. We believe that this is the essence of life! If you could use a partner for this journey towards deeper connection with your child, please reach out to us to be connected with a skilled and empathic therapist specially equipped to your unique situation.