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Keeping Our Children’s Hearts Soft

Our most important role as parents is to nurture our child’s heart to allow them to remain soft and open.

We give our hearts to our children so that they may give us their hearts in this beautiful dance of nurturing secure attachment.

As parents, we are the guardians of our child’s heart.

Our sacred duty is to allow our child to feel deeply known and understood within our hearts, so that they feel a felt sense of safety and belonging in their bodies and see this reflected in our eyes when we look at them.

Today’s culture has veered off course into using separation as a way to control a child’s behaviour. Separation is at the core of time outs, withdrawing love by ignoring a child until their behaviour changes and withdrawing items in the name of consequences.

Yet, the threat of separation is the most distressing currency that we could ever use with our children’s precious hearts. It threatens the very thing we are trying to preserve – secure attachment, which connects us and becomes the anchor to navigating the storms of life. 

According to Developmental Psychologist, Gordon Neufield: “If a child becomes emotionally attached to us they will give us their heart. The more we matter to them, the less wounded they are by outside wounds. The resilience research shows that this is one of the most significant ways that we can shield a child in a wounded world. “

We keep our children’s hearts soft by embracing them with our own soft heart and honouring all parts of ourselves, so that we can honour all parts of our children.
By welcoming all of our children’s emotions, they learn that it is safe to stay connected to their bodies and to feel both comfortable and uncomfortable emotions.

They learn that emotions and sensations pass through us and change like the rhythms of nature.

It is our role as guides to show them that there are no bad or wrong emotions. That we all feel the entire rainbow of emotions and each one is there to show us something important and to be felt, expressed and allowed.

Each emotion is equally as valuable, and each expresses a part of ourselves which is needing to be held with deep compassion and acceptance in a space of non-duality and beyond notions of right and wrong.

Where emotions simply are.

We are called to trust in our child’s capacity to feel deeply and to keep their hearts open, and to trust in our hearts to hold the huge container for the tidal wave of their inner experience.

We need to preserve the soft and caring hearts of our boys as much as our girls, in the midst of social pressure for boys to suppress their emotions.

Having raised a boy with a soft heart still even as a teenager, I have witnessed the comments from teachers and parents revealing their own inner child wounds around how uncomfortable it feels for them to witness boys crying.

This week, my son had an experience wash over him whilst we were at a café. He felt some old feelings of fear arise and some tears fell. I always let him know with my energy and my words that it’s okay to feel all your feelings. From being at school, there is a part of him who has witnessed how most boys suppress and keep their tears in, and how different he felt.

Psychologists have created a name for children whose hearts become hardened and who are no longer able to express their sadness, dry-eyed syndrome. Dry-eyed syndrome is at the root of a most aggression in children and teenagers as these suppressed emotions cause havoc inside the body and have no outlet. By holding our children with soft hearts, we invite their defences to melt and enable them to soften so that the sad beneath the mad can flow and be expressed.

We have a sacred duty to protect their caring and soft hearts and to ensure that they stay open and do not close under the cultural pressure to suppress.

As Neufield captures so beautifully: “A child who really believes that there is an invitation to exist in our presence, where the attachment goes deep, we have the wonderful to preserve that wonderful potential to become all that they were meant to be.”

Nurturing our children’s, soft hearts it the greatest inoculation for this planet that we could ever invest in.

Children whose hearts are open and who feel, become adults who are deeply caring and empathic.

The world needs children who grow into men and women with soft hearts.

Nurturing the parent-child connection is the most foundational piece. Let’s cherish and treasure the hearts of our children.