Jan 27, 2013

Knowing and Growing

Knowing and Growing

“I know, I know” is what I hear one parent in a RIE class reflect to her curious young toddler when there is some expression relayed in wonder by the child who has encountered a situation that warrants recognition. In a similar frame, my son's two year-old once looked at him and asked "What's she doing?" when she suddenly felt the hands of a nearby little one pushed roughly against her chest. There is a need for assurance that “my parent ‘gets’ me and I am safe emotionally and physically in the midst of his/her caring attention.” Our children have the right to that assurance and we can provide it for them, right?

Usually that is the case. Lately comes “Why?” and “How could it be?” -- questions that families, in particular parents, have been asking for the past weeks. Children with awareness of the recent atrocity have hopefully been given support to put it into some kind of context that prevents them from feeling doubt and fear. That part is up to teachers and parents who convey confidence in the surrounding well-traveled and familiar environments.

In my experience, those parents attending RIE family support groups gain more confidence in themselves, and many experience less stress and a sense of burden than the norm on standardized testing which I conducted in a five year longitudinal research project for my masters degree at Pacific Oaks College in 1991. These parents have confidence in their infants and toddlers and the older siblings, an attitude which hopefully often enough spares their children the feelings of being under domination by anyone, especially an authoritarian style of parenting, the stuff that psychotherapist/author Alice Miller has so often written about. The following excerpt is from The Drama of the Gifted Child, an excellent book many parents have found to be transformative.

“People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood, who were protected, respected, and treated with honesty by their parents, will be--both in their youth and in adulthood--intelligent, responsive, empathic, and highly sensitive. They will take pleasure in life and will not feel any need to kill or even hurt others or themselves. They will use their power to defend themselves, not to attack others. They will not be able to do otherwise than respect and protect those weaker than themselves, including their children, because this is what they have learned form their own experience.”

Now families who live in the West Los Angeles area are welcome to come discover and develop this confidence and assurance for themselves and their children by participating in RIE Parent-Infant Guidance Classes, as I open a brand new group for very young babies at an early childhood setting in Westwood. It will be on Monday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:30 pm at 2279 Westwood Blvd, between Pico and Olympic Blvds.
Please contact me for enrollment information: lizmemel@authenticbabies.com