What is a SAFE SPACE? Is this a new age term? Do you have specific spaces you consider safe? Is this a physical place or is it space between people or within oneself? Creating a safe space is new agey, but now that I am aware of what this FEELS like. It’s a new description but an age old idea. Safe space can be:
- a physical place
- a relationship (parent & child, spouses, friends, boss & employee etc)
- used during problem solving (or a disagreement)
- time used before making a decision
- given verbally
- used in a conversation
- a mindset
When I grew up the word “safe” meant free from physically getting hurt. Now a safe space means something different to me. Its a place where I can be free, completely free to express myself in any way I can imagine. A space with no judgment and no criticism. I am lucky to know how I am able to actually create this space anywhere.
This year I was faced with a recurring issue with the children. All the children presented anger issues during our sessions. Just a coincidence? I think not. This year, due to my acting class, I am more aware than ever before of my feelings and trust myself to show them. It’s a whole new rainbow of feelings! What I brought to my little clients this year, was a safe space to feel. I allowed them to be as big and mad as they felt. Maybe it created disagreements, but I was truthful and genuine from me.
I see many parents dancing around the truth, using fear, or thinking they are helping their child by giving in to what they meltdown about. This message couldn’t be a worse lesson to learn. By “sticking to your guns” as a parent, it shows strength and creates limits and boundaries. Children who are acting out, are acting out for a reason. They may not be happy with an answer they get, or they may be physically uncomfortable. If they are coaxed into being happy, or moving on from tears, they are not feeling or learning conflict resolution.
After there were no more tears, and there was no attention from me, other than occasionally asking “do you need me for anything?” They came to me, joined me in what I was doing asked me if I wanted to play. This respectful bond made our connection even deeper. In all four scenarios, after we resolved the problem, our sessions became something more special.
In one case, a little girl brought me to her room (which we hadn’t been to in the year I was working with her, in another case a little boy began greeting me and inviting me to play (which hadn’t happened in 6 months.) Another child came to me with a boo-boo, in the past she would only go screaming to her Mother.
If we do not provide children a safe space to completely feel, they will never learn how to express themselves. Caregivers may feel the need to do something, doing something may look like doing nothing. We now can know that giving them space – may look like doing nothing, but it is something, and it is powerful.
Tantrums are thought of as “nightmares” or “something terrible.” I see them as children not knowing the correct way to express themselves. I’ve had and have tantrums. In that moment, I am so passionate about something I am unable to express myself using any of my tools. I understand tantrums, I am compassionate towards children I work with who express themselves this way, as well as random children on the street who have them. I am also compassionate towards parents and caregivers who only think stopping a tantrum is the way to handle it.
How can you “teach” your child to feel?
- Allowing yourself to feel in front of them
- naturally demonstrating your frustration
- showing conflict resolution
- validating their feelings, without judgement (I understand it’s not fair, I would be upset, frustrated, angry too)
If we give people and ourselves all the space we really need, life becomes easier and more effortless…
This has become a great lesson for me, a naturally born pushy gal!
Namaste and thank you for reading