The Playground Incident

The Playground Incident

Recently when listening to adults talking to me about some of their adverse childhood experiences, what has really stood out for me in their story, is how their distress was compounded when the significant adults in their lives didn’t provide the nurturing that they needed at the time.

This was either because the parent was not emotionally available for whatever reason, or because the parent simply did not believe the child regarding the situation that the child was distressed about.

I’ve thought a lot about this.

These adults are very traumatised because of what happened to them as children. I can’t help but wonder how much less traumatised they would be, if at the time that the adverse event was ongoing, a significant adult in their life had nurtured them through the situation, even if it was something that they were powerless to change.

It is so difficult to watch our children struggle.

If it’s something that we genuinely cannot change, then it can be easier to look the other way and have ourselves believe that our kids are doing fine – after all, they’re “only kids”!

Last week’s “playground incident” involving my youngest was not resolved as quickly or as easily as I initially hoped.

It required a lot of ongoing nurturing on my part.

It was complicated by the fact that she ended up being off school sick, so then she couldn’t go to school to resolve it and everything escalated.

A few years ago I’m not sure if I would have had the emotional capacity to provide nurturing to the extent that I have provided it this past week.

In years gone by, I think that I used to be in too big of a hurry to jump in with my quick fire solutions. I thought that every problem had an obvious solution.

Through Leah’s illness and death I have learned that there are many situations in life that can’t be fixed, or can’t easily be fixed.

I have learned that sometimes the kindest thing that we can do for someone, is to not try and pretend that we can fix things, but to verbally or non verbally communicate: “I feel your pain, I care and I’m here for you.

Thankfully, with the help of an amazing teacher, everything appears to finally be resolved and the smile has returned to my little one’s face.

I will continue with a bit of extra nurturing, just to be sure.

I’m also thankful to those adults who entrust me with their stories, because I’m learning so much.

I just wish that I could start and raise my children all over again though, now that I’m older and wiser!


4 thoughts on “The Playground Incident

  1. Do you think there’s a fine balance between leaving kids to flounder versus molly-coddling? There’s a school of thought that says as long as you keep wiping their bums, they’ll let you. But equally, assuming that they have the emotional strength to step up to the plate is fraught with danger.


    1. Oh yes, I agree with you 100%, nurturing a child is NOT the same as fighting their battles for them. It is about listening to what they are saying, both verbally and non verbally. It is about helping and empowering them to find their own solutions that work for them, and being emotionally available to them throughout the process.


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