Holding Space For Your Kids, Increases Their Tolerance When kids feel safe and loved for who they are they become more tolerant

Holding Space in therapeutic terms means being totally present for someone. Accepting their faults, issues, and struggles. Not having expectations, not judging or criticizing. In this climate of total acceptance, healing happens. Holding space is a conscious act of being present, open, allowing, and protective of what another person needs at that moment.

Shouldn’t we do this for our kids?

Holding Space For Your Kids, Increases Their Tolerance
Holding space for your child helps them become emotionally regulated

Good enough parenting is all about holding space for your kids. Being totally present while remaining invisible. Raising kids is not about intervention and containment. It is about awareness, acceptance, and self-control. Holding space for them allows them to feel grounded and gives them courage. Allowing them freedom, without judgment, empowers them to truly be. By giving them space to flourish, becoming an attuned observers,s and truly accepting who they are, we teach them it’s okay to be different.  When we tolerate we teach our kids about tolerance.

Learning how to hold space for our kids is not easy and needs to start right from birth.

The Paradox of Attachment

Unlike most other animals, human babies are physically very vulnerable. They literally need an external womb to thrive optimally. They need to be in constant touch with their primary caregivers, they need to be held close continuously.  Studies have proven positive outcomes of secure attachment.

According to Alan Sroufe, a developmental psychologist, the parent-child attachment is a relationship in the service of a baby’s emotion regulation and exploration. It is the deep, abiding confidence a baby has in the availability and responsiveness of the caregiver

A secure child feels more confident to explore.  For babies holding them in a space of warmth, love, and security helps them learn to self-soothe. This fills them with the feeling that they are OK, and the world is OK.  Without this feeling, they will always feel insecure and lack the confidence to explore and deal with their environment.

Winnicott – Capacity To Be Alone

According to Donald Winnicott, an essential milestone in child development is the one where the child learns to play alone but in the presence of someone. ‘Responsible adults must be available when children play’, but this does not mean that the responsible person needs to enter into the child’s playing. The crucial element of this development of this stage is an empathetic ‘holding environment’.

He saw  play as the cornerstone of the capacity for being and crucial to the development of authentic selfhood. Winnicott believed people were born without a clearly developed self and had to “search” for an authentic sense of self as they grew. And this could happen only in a space that was supportive without being intrusive.

Winnicott And Violence.

Winnicott also believed that antisocial behaviors developed from a person’s having been deprived of a holding environment in childhood and from feelings of insecurity.

According to him violence, hatred, and intolerance stem from childhoods that did not allow space for tolerance.

Recent studies have proved that the strength of mother-child attachment is instrumental in avoiding violence in teens,  Holding space promotes a child’s window of tolerance and hence more peaceful interpersonal relationships.

How Society Kills Our Creativity – Award-winning Short Film

Parenting And Holding Space

Good enough parenting is all about being there without being in their hair. You have to be attuned to their needs and respect their autonomy. Non-interference and enough space to explore and make mistakes. Acceptance and tolerance. Where you subtly fulfill their needs without disparaging their dependence.

When you as a parent provide empathic attunement to your child’s needs, moods, fears, and joys, your child internalizes within himself a felt sense of a safe haven in the parent. Holding space for your kids is the only way for them to accept and tolerate themselves which in turn makes them tolerant of others.

Nonetheless, good parenting is about empathetically holding space for your kids and allowing them to increase their window of tolerance.

Donald Winnicott had expressly stated that the happiness and future satisfaction of the human race depended not on material comforts and riches but rather on how parents bring up their children. If we love and accept who they are, they will, in turn, accept the world for all its differences.

Imagine, what a peaceful and tolerant world we will be.


Image Source: Pixabay

Further Reading:

Playing and Reality – D. W. Winnicott

5 2 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments