The Need For Quiet Space

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My three year old came out of the womb not wanting to be alone EVER. She wanted to be carried as an infant in my arms (wraps and carriers were not her cup of tea), constantly talked to and played with as a baby, always engaged as a toddler, and now as a preschooler she would love for me to be 100% present during every activity she does. Thankfully, she is now able, despite her desire for a constant companion, to play by herself for short periods of time. Even during these times of solitary play, she is “writing” letters to friends, preparing a picnic to be shared, or doing some other sort of relational activity. She is our girl with a deep longing for relationship; and for this I am greatly appreciative, and it has come with a great learning curve on our end as parents. Obviously, I couldn’t and still can’t give her all of me, all the time, and so we have worked hard to help her learn how to be ok with being alone at times and for the need to have quiet space.

We learned early on that the only time she was able to “turn off” and rest was while watching a TV show or taking a nap (usually a battle in itself.) So when she becomes overwhelmed (angry, sad, tired, hurt, or frustrated) she turns to asking for her blanket or she’ll ask to “watch something”. This is because these are the only ways she knows how to calm herself and self regulate. We use these opportunities (and there are a lot of them) to help her see that she has a desire to be alone and calm her body and mind, but of course as a new 3 year old she cannot articulate these things. {I mean how many adults can really articulate what is going on when they are overwhelmed, calmly ask for some alone time, and then process what internally is causing them emotional discord? Not many. We may not throw ourselves on the ground and scream, yell, and cry, but we use other forms (Facebook, smart phones, TV shows, Pinterests, crafts) to dissociate from our desires, emotions, and frustrations}. We now take her to her room, explain the need both physically and emotionally for rest, and help her find something to do that may be soothing or calming. It is something to be learned, and a long learning process at that. But this isn’t just about her having quiet time so I don’t crack (although that is a need that is met simultaneously), but something that we hope will serve her well for the rest of her life. To learn to rest is not easy! My hope is to allow and even encourage my daughters’ desires (because desire is good, so good. And our culture shames desire only because people do not know what to do with it), but to also teach her how to have space to breathe and just BE when desires can’t be met.

I hope you find space to breathe and be quiet this week, and blessings to you as you attempt to help your children learn how to do the same. It is a life long task, and one that is not easy, but is a gift you can give yourself and your children that will bless them and their future relationships immensely.

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Elisa is a native Arizonan by birth and a Seattleite by heart. She is a wise, spirited woman who loves feeling the sun on her face, but also enjoys cold rainy days, complete with a cup of coffee and a good book or conversation. After graduating with a Masters in Counseling Psychology and seeing clients for a time, she took a hiatus to love on, play with, and offer copious amounts of hugs to our little girls, Malia and Jayden. She is now back working at Socorro Counseling and Consulting in Downtown Phoenix. Unafraid to laugh at herself and able to see the beauty in others, she makes everyone feel at ease, making her a genuine friend, therapist, and wife. Give her a cute pattern and a sewing machine or some spray paint and a piece of furniture and they are surely to be transformed into some warm piece of art that brightens our living space. She also finds creativity in cooking, making household cleaners, and anything Pinterest. In short, Elisa is stylish, wise, thoughtful, creative woman who makes everyone around her a better person, including her husband (who wrote this bio).

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