Intuitively responding in a gentle, kind, and loving way, when my child is in big overwhelm took me some practice. In Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne calls it Soul Fever and it can sometimes feel all very overwhelming for yourself as the parent navigating the space when your child’s behaviour triggers your own soul fevered response. Just think of soul fever being like a physical fever, but of the emotional variety. What I know about soul fever is that it is contagious, especially if you have not had time to fill your own cup with some you-space, you might be parenting solo or navigating the demands of working life and parenting.
The next time your dear one is in acute soul fever, simply holding the space for their big voices and flailing limbs to ease and doing this with very little language is all that is needed for balance to be restored. Gently acknowledging whatever it is that brought about the response is hard or frustrating, infuriating, or maybe it’s sad, is all that it takes for the young child to feel seen and heard. “I know you wanted the biscuit, and it’s nearly dinner time. You’re upset about that.”
Being the parent in a calm, stable ‘I got this’ way, helps to let your child know even though it is really hard, it’s ok. In me you can trust is the idea here. It is so important that we give our children opportunities to build resilience, practicing frustration, anger and all those big emotions. Getting through hard times with the loving guidance of a regulated adult and understanding that things are not always going to go as we might have wanted them to is an important part of the maturing process.
Kim John Payne shares a beautiful Compassionate Response meditation, a technique of rewiring of our own body language to show the young child that we are the calm waters that they can return to once their big feelings have subsided. It is a guided meditation that teaches parents how to have kind, loving eyes, a warm and stable presence, and how to not react to the soul fever in a way that adds fuel to the fire. If you are keen to have access to this meditation, please be in touch, I’d love to send you a copy of this.
Go well in your parenting life,