Circle of Security (Repost)

“I desperately need you to hold the other end of the rope. To hang on tightly while I thrash on the other end.” – Gretchen Schmelzer, Ph.D.

Except from “Circle of Security Parenting” – Hoffman, Cooper, and Powell, copyright-2016. Publication: September, 2015

Deeper than our child’s difficult behavior, underneath what we might find problematic or at times impossible to understand, is always our child’s core need for us to be bigger, stronger, wiser, and kind; someone committed to staying in charge in a way that avoids giving in or blaming; in a way that keeps our Hands on the Circle.

“I need your strength. I need your caring. I need your steady hands and your choice to not be pulled into my drama. And, while I hate it when you’re human and don’t come through for me in this way, I need you to notice when you step off the Circle and find a way back on.”

Tough(ish) news: Almost every parent on the planet struggles precisely in the place where life happens (including our less than ideal history of having someone there for us) and we step off the Circle.

We try to stay firm, but we give in. We try to stay calm, but we get harsh or cold or nasty or distant. We try to stay balanced but we find ourselves acting, well, like the very child we’re trying to parent.

As we keep saying throughout this book, welcome to the club.
Imperfect parenting happens. Mistakes that cause us to cringe happen.

Ruptures happen.

But in these “almost impossible,” heat-of-the-crazy” moments, a new option also happens.

In these moments, it’s possible to tell ourselves: “My child, in this freaking, overwhelming, close to unbearable moment has innate wisdom. Under the surface of what’s going on – including this behavior that currently makes no sense to me – my child is waiting for me to return to my best version of bigger, stronger, wiser, and kind. Thankfully, I’m committed enough to find my way back on to the Circle and make clear that somehow, someway we’ll get through this rupture together. I will be the Hands you need.”

Threats can be taken back. Proclamations of terribleness can be claimed null and void. Firm, no-nonsense kindness can show up and we can start finding another way.

Repair happens.

In these moments it’s good to remember that we’re not the only parent on the planet who struggles in this way. It’s helpful to remember that our child actually needs this struggle. And it’s useful to remind ourselves that we have the capacity to find a way through this pain with them (which, by the way, includes seeking out support from others who can be Hands for us).

More than our children can ever say, they need our willingness to “never let go of the rope.”

Except from “Circle of Security Parenting” – Hoffman, Cooper, and Powell, copyright-2016. Publication: September, 2015


About Helouise Steenkamp

I'm a 45 plus, Devoted Wife and Mother. Adonai has blessed us with two Amazingly Wonderful Sons. We have had the privilege of being Place of Safety parents for 1 1/2 years and there after foster parents to a Darling Princess for 5 years. She was reconciled with her biological parents in Dec'14. Our hearts are still aching from the loss, but we know that as we trust Adonai with our salvation, so we can trust Him with her future. We welcomed our new 4 year old foster child on 05JUN'15.
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One Response to Circle of Security (Repost)

  1. Sheva Smith says:

    Hi Helouise
    I so needed to read this excerpt “Circle of Security Parenting” from …. it just reminded me to hang on !!

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