Saturday, October 27, 2012

What's Outside

Here's a piece of developmental attachment wisdom from Holly vanGulden that I've been chewing on all week:

What's outside goes inside.

This means that what children experience on the outside (from their environment and the parenting they experience) goes inside and becomes part of them.  This internalization informs how they see themselves and the world.

She presents this first as we talk about newborns.  They signal distress, and their designated caregiver comes to help them and bring them back to a state of safety and comfort.  The knowledge that "I'm taken care of and everything will turn out okay" eventually goes inside to create a basic trust for safety and comfort in the world.  Or, on the opposite side, a baby signals distress, nobody comes or baby gets a negative response.  The message "I'm not safe and there is no comfort in the world" goes inside, or "I'm too much" or "I have to scream and go crazy to get my needs met."

What I've been contemplating and noticing this week is all they ways that shows up in life - especially in parenting.  Right now, I'm aware that my son's struggles to do what needs to be done in a timely manner are a reflection of my never ending patience and accommodating of his resistance.  I don't hold a firm line for him to get his work done, so neither can he.

Much to his impending distress, I'm going to shift what is outside so he can create the inside he'll need to thrive in his adult life.

Try the saying on - it is pretty profound.  I'd love to hear how it looks in your world.

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