You know that deafening siren like sound that grabs you by the heart and almost freezes your body for a second, or maybe you run instantly towards it dropping whatever you were doing. You follow the intensifying noise, heart pumping. You know that noise, your little one makes when they are hurt. Does that noise fill you with dread or panic? It used to do that to me too, my first child never really hurt herself much, but my second, well she taught me to relax a little more upon hearing it. Mainly because she has always been able to trip up even just over her own feet! So over time I have grown more able to be calm when hearing her ‘siren’ and well, she’s quiet tough and generally will laugh before crying.
Her reaction to pain, her siren doesn’t have to cue me to react a certain way. I don’t have to fill my body with dread. I can decide and now I do. I decide to help her rather than freezing. So I stay calm because of my belief in my power to help her in many situations. What helped me to get there was when I noticed that when she had really hurt herself she would make this siren cry that emitted urgency but I noticed too that when she had done something minor, such as sitting on one of her fingers – yes that really happened, and she would use the same cry. I would go running as it sounded as if she had broken her leg.
Once I saw that her cry didn’t necessarily mean that there was something terrible happening I thought about my response. Why would I choose to feel that panic and fear when I could instead feel something else and react differently too. Our reaction to our children’s pain becomes a stimulus for them and feeds their reaction. These beliefs will be handy when you think about how you want to react.
1. If we believe it’s bad and panic they will most likely inherit our beliefs and feel the panic too. With calmness we can help provide and support a belief that THEY CAN HANDLE THIS. Telling them this will reassure them too. Also the belief in yourselves YOU CAN HANDLE THIS, whether there be blood or not we can trust our knowledge to do the best if that is taking care of it at home or if you need to take them to the Dr or hospital you will know what to do and you’ll do it. Once you believe it then you will undoubtedly feel more at ease even when faced with their cries.
2. The belief that THEY CAN HELP THEMSELVES and their body in a big way. Do you think they can? Would it make any difference how they choose to act when they get hurt? When they are scared they panic which leads to the body tightening and dealing with those feelings instead of using all its resources to cope with the pain/illness at hand. Giving them belief in themselves will help them to achieve feelings of calmness and strength. This helps their body to relax and aids them to focus on what they can do.
3. Deep breathing is a great way that children can release their pain instead of holding it in tight. Have you tried this when you have been in pain? Pregnant ladies are taught to use breathing as a way to cope with contractions. Have them take a great deep breath in. Let them know that AS THEY BREATHE OUT ALL THE PAIN OF THAT MOMENT IS LEAVING WITH THE BREATH TOO. They will feel it ease. It is great to bring their breathing to focus, to help them gain control and calm themselves. Count the breaths to 5 then start again or talk through the actions in a calm flowing voice. You can show them by doing it yourself first.
4. When they feel pain, i.e. stubbed toe, initially they will clench muscles. This hold in the pain, let them wriggle it out they WILL SHAKE AWAY THE PAIN. This is not based on medical knowledge but I have found through experience this makes a difference. Instead of hiding from the pain if the body relaxes, allows it then it leaves the body faster.
5. Let them know what’s happening to their body and how THEIR AMAZING BODY WILL COPE and what it will do to become better. This knowledge can empower them. Discuss how clever their body is that it can make the new skin and the blood will clot and form a scab while building new skin underneath. (you do not need to have medical knowledge here you can give them the simplified version of what happens) Make it fun, being interactive takes their mind off it and helps them to appreciate their body will be doing what it can to recover.
For example for my children I made it fun by explaining it in a different way. So that they could visualise their body at work. It also gave them something other than the pain to think of. I’d say that their crying had set off the body alarm and all the little body helpers would come to see what was up. They would have to climb from their toes or to slide from their head. They will see who can help such as the skin people, or the blood people for clotting or the painters to make it red or bruise colours. I ask what will they wear? we might then go off point and decide what kind of uniform they will have to wear.
6. LOOK AT WHATS GOING RIGHT instead of what feels bad. Discuss how they feel and what they could feel good about at the moment. It is easy to notice the things that go wrong with our body but you can help them by highlighting all the great things their body is doing. Remember to remind them, not everyone has all the precious abilities that they do. Discuss how lucky they are that their body works in this way.
7. If they have medicine the knowledge that IT WILL BE WORKING to make them feel better is a helpful belief. Tell them about its journey and how it will help their body.
8. If it’s urgent help them to stay in the moment. Fears will prevent you from helping them the best way you can. First give the gift of calmness, if you have fear from believing this is bad etc then they will too. Bring them to the now. Tell them about why IT’S HELPFUL TO STAY IN THIS MOMENT instead of worrying about the future whatever it may bring. In the now what is working, look for the positive of now. It is easy to jump to a view that it’s terrible but that’s not as effective as being in the moment, this has happened and there are ways you can help , with calmness of thoughts and actions. When you’re in the moment you can think clearer and take action, such as stopping blood, seeking advice, phoning an ambulance or driving to hospital
9. GUIDED MEDITATION WILL HELP GUIDE THE BODY TO RELAX and it takes the focus away from the pain. If you looked at this one and decided you couldn’t do it because you don’t know how, that is a limiting belief. You can do anything for your child, even this. It isn’t hard or out of reach. There are many guides to meditation available on the internet or in book form.
How do you feel when you hear that urgent cry from your child? How do you help when they are in pain? Do you think your beliefs help or distract your helping them?