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Children are so often told to "calm down". Have you been told to calm down as a child or an adult? And if so, how has it felt to you? What effect has it had on you and what was the message you received?

To become more calm is so often what's needed when a child or an adult becomes overly worried/ stressed/ distressed/ overwhelmed. Yet there's a big difference between a child (or adult) receiving the message that they "should" be more calm as opposed to receiving the message that they are heard, understood, cared about, that help is being offered, that upsets are understood and being listened to with care and sensitivity - which will likely have a much more calming and reassuring effect.

Telling a child to "calm down" is generally heard as an unacceptance and lack of empathy for the state they're in. It's generally heard as a demand to sort themselves out, which a child, or even most adults, is unlikely to be able to just switch into what appears to be a more calm state without repressing their feelings - which comes at a cost. Whereas giving a child the message that you are patiently "helping" them return to a more calm state is truly helpful; you can tell them "I'm helping you get all your frustrations out of your body" and offer a hug, or lightly touch them affectionately to communicate your patient loving state, or exaggerate slow deep breathing and encourage them to breathe with you, you can listen with calm presence and reflect to your child that you hear what their problem is, or offer to play a game and spend at least a few minutes of quality time together.

There are many things we can do to meet another when they are worried or upset, many things we can learn to do to help our child to reach a more calm state. Yet if upsets were managed and judged instead of met and treated with sensitivity in your family of origin, responding with more empathy and emotional support may be challenging for you to both give and access from others. Yet so important to learn to increase your sense of satisfaction in both being with the feelings of others and having the experience of being lovingly supported when you are feeling all out of balance.

There are many articles here on my blog if you click "yourself" under the articles tab that are aimed at supporting a parent's journey of self-healing and personal development. ~ Genevieve


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