I first wrote this post in response to seeing how children are reacting to their parents going at each other, choosing to fight and litigate in courtrooms rather than putting their time, energy and financial resources into being available and providing more of what children need.
Children need our attention, and they need to see in our faces that all is ok. That we are ok in spite of what is going on around us.
Can you tune everything out and focus on giving a child, your own or someone else’s, what they need in this moment?
If you can, that makes you a special someone to this child looking to you for understanding, for the right words or just for your shoulder, your ear or a hand to hold.
In almost every case or situation brought to my attention, there is a child at risk – at risk of not getting these basic needs filled. In some of those cases, the risk involves emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and even sexual abuse.
Often I see that basic needs are not being met, or there is emotional abandonment along with increased stress, and this is happening because parents are persuaded to focus their time and attention elsewhere, when the most important thing in their world…this child…is going without.
Stay present in the moment.
No matter how frustrating, difficult or lonely your situation may be, make a point to look regularly into the eyes of the child who needs you to be all in, connected to what it on his or her mind.
Listen and look into his or her eyes for your clue as to what it is you are supposed to provide to make things better. Sometimes it is just your ability to be patient and available that brings peace.
If someone or something pulls at you or tempts you to ignore, to be too busy, to be missing from this child, trust your love and your gut to instead provide what is needed now for this child, as this is what will last a lifetime.
Now, months after writing this post, I am updating it to add that when I began studying the impact on children of family conflict and what is worsening and prolonging conflict, it became apparent that more and more children are being destabilized, even being set up to fail in how their parents are treated in court cases. We can see how mental health is being eroded as parents become LESS available while uncertainty increases.
These are the children who are becoming vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking, and this path to devastation is one we can turn around. But we need your help!