For a child, reassurance is a powerful asset

Dear Parents,

Following several conversations with parents, I was encouraged to share some thoughts about patterns you may observe with your children.

Returning to school has provided a sense of normalcy to our lives, even when things are far from what used to be normal.   The sense of a return to normalcy can provide relief from the stress of the pandemic.   It is not unusual that, as one emerges from periods of stress or anxiety, one begins to process these events, consciously or unconsciously.   We can expect that our children will begin to process what they experienced, observed, felt or overheard while families were isolated and adjusting to the stress of a pandemic.  

We can acknowledge that it is likely that the past few months many of us have experience periods of stress.  Each of us respond to that stress differently and as a result, it is likely children have heard conversations or observed behaviors and emotions that were unfamiliar and possibly unsettling.  They also have experienced changes to how they have been able to interact with others.   Children are intuitive and may understand things are different without knowing why— they may feel differently, without knowing why they feel this way.  For some children this can result in a sense of anxiety or simply just confusion.  Some have processed these changes as they occurred, other may not have.  And of course some children may have experienced lesser or greater disruption to their lives than others.

As adults we have experience to provide context and reassurance, children lack the context that time offers.  

Without projecting adult concerns or insecurities onto children, we can create quiet opportunities for them to express what feelings or questions they may have and listen to them.  When they are ready, and if opportunities present themselves,  they will share them.  It may come as they get ready for bed as an innocent question.  It may come as a concern about something unrelated that may feel more tangible and solvable.   It may be that they don’t express themselves verbally—  it may present as increased ‘clinginess’ or attention seeking. This often indicates that the reassurance they seek initially, is derived from your company and devoted attention.   Trust the fact that as their parent, you can provide them the reassurances they need in whatever form they need.   This may be a time that what they may need most, is simply your attention, approval and love, and right now they may just need more of it. 
In the same way our children need reassurance, sometime we, as parents, need that as well.  Please feel free to reach out to us, we have been able to learn from our experiences with hundreds of other children who approach understanding their experiences in every imaginable way.  We can also help by connecting you to others who can be helpful. 

Thank you all for all the support and care that you show your child. The most effective vaccine for pain or trauma -- big or small-- is compassion, and fortunately, we possess this.


Jeff Valence
Guy in the Front Office,  The Lyme School 
35 Union Street, Lyme, New Hampshire 03768  |  facebook
Compassion • Integrity • Fairness • Perseverance • Courage• Responsibility • Acceptance of others • Individuality