We are seeing an increase in the amount of children that are developing anxiety, obesity, and other “typically adult” diseases. Just the other day one of my clients mentioned a concern for her son. She feared for what his future life might turn out to be. This was due to the level of anxiety he was demonstrating and that so many of her friends have had to put their children on medication due to stress and emotional overload.
Children express their feelings, more so than adults, through their behavior. Most of the time, this is not an issue unless, the behavior begins to disturb others or disrupt family life in some way. The most obvious approach might be to control or stop the behavior in order to bring about change. For example, if a child is displaying aggression towards other children, the most obvious way to address this is to punish the act of aggression.
The child’s behavior might stop, but there will be a continued disturbance in what I call the feeling life, or better known as the subconscious. The child may stop showing overt aggression, however, will probably start acting out in other ways. The reason for this, is that the cause of the problem and its impact on the child’s feeling life (subconscious), has not truly been addressed, but only repressed.
Children absorb the emotional atmosphere of what is happening around them. They are like little sponges taking everything in. However, they are not yet developed enough to recognize the impact and emotional hardship that is being creating.
Teaching children how to process or stop the intake of emotional information, is not on the list of skills offered by parent or teacher. Few children automatically adapt, finding their own way to de-stress and eliminate. All children are bright and creative, but for the ultra-sensitive child, the one who feels everything, this extra input quickly becomes an overwhelming overburdened.,
I was contacted by our school for one such little boy. His parents were going through a divorce and his grades had slipped. Well not just slipped, his reading score dropped from B’s & C’s to an F. Right there at the school, I set up my sand tray and gave him instruction. I remember this little boy never said a word to me, but jumped right in working the process. He totally engrossed himself moving swiftly and determined. Before I realize what was happening, he had quickly moved through what I would consider to be 3 sand trays, in the time it would take other children to do one. When he was finished, I sent him back to his class, where his teacher had him retake a reading test. To her surprise, this time his score went from an F to a low B. I have seen this happen countless of times. I believe that it is crucial to teach our children the tools and skills that are vitally important to live and function in our highly emotional society.
Physical play time is a great outlet for a child’s emotional buildup, giving one a clear window view of what has, or is transpiring in their life. One such example is sexual abuse. In a protected environment, children are encouraged to play while being observed by a Counselor or Psychologist. During this play time information is gathered for evaluation. Play and artistic expression offers a language to emotions and thoughts that other wise would be bottled up.
I have read that consciously we only use 10% of our brain; while the other 90% makes up our subconscious. Within this subconscious we have filed away beliefs and perceptions which were created not only in our early years of life, but also the ideas and beliefs of our ancestors. Take a moment to think about the times you have noticed yourself, or your child responding or acting similar to your parent, or grandparent. I smile when I recognize these traits in my own children. Yet , there are some that I also recognize, a perception or idea that I have passed on, which will only hinder their confidence, holding them back from moving forward boldly in life. These are the perceptions within myself that I focus on releasing and eliminating.
During the years that I home-schooled my children, I would attend classes for training from a well known and recognized school in Texas. Their methods of teaching had been established in Europe and focused on developing a well rounded child. While most schools jump right in, teaching children in their pre-school years to read and write; this school encouraged children, while in their early primary years, to only express themselves through the arts, such as painting, drawing and acting. They believed, and studies have shown, that the children who are encouraged to use the right side of their brain predominately early in life, learn how to express themselves confidently and develop stronger leadership skills. These children end up choosing to be Entrepreneurs, or demonstrate the ability to creatively think as the head of a company. They have developed the skill to think “out of the box” becoming leaders of others and a positive influence in their community.
I recognize that not everything a child says during play time is a reality, but through creative activity they are able to find a healthy, healing outlet to process this great amount of subconscious information. My belief is that this work must start with the mother, which I encourage the opportunity to work with, as well as the child. The old saying is true, “If mama ain’t happy, nobodies happy.” As I mentioned in the beginning, it is her emotional energy that has the greatest impact and influence on the child. Remember, she may not be outwardly expressing her fears and worries, but the child, as sensitive as they are, pick up on it immediately. I believe it is our opportunity as women to teach the children, through our example, how to navigate through life with a healthy outlook and positive attitude. Let’s teach them that happiness, yes doesn’t just happen, but rather it grows.
Tomorrow…..”Mom Can You Really Hear Me?” Part 3