Giddy’up to Connection

One day I gave my 3 year old daughter a “horsey-ride” on my back. I’d done it many times before and she always enjoyed the closeness and bouncy thrill of the ride. However this day when I took her into the bathroom I was lowering her down and she slipped out of my hands and fell onto her bottom. She was shocked and i was devastated. She cried and I Staylistened with her. I told her how sorry I was that I’d dropped her, how scary that must have been for her and how it must have hurt. I held her and allowed her to cry and heal.

After this incident she was very wary of me carrying her anywhere.  I wanted her to feel safe with me again so I took the opportunity to use Playlistening to help her release some tension around it. So when she needed the toilet I would offer to give her a horsey-ride. She’d refuse. I’d say,“This horsey is a bit wobbly on his feet, do you want to come for a ride?” I picked up her teddy and wobbled and staggered as I carried him on my back and dropped him down carelessly. She laughed.

Then I became the extra safe horse and with a big smile and lots of warmth I said, “This is a new horse that carries you on the front. See how safe this one is!  It never drops you.” I gave her a big cuddle that was firm and secure and I bounced into the living room. Why, she giggled! I then said, “OK, it’s time to put you down now,” and I lowered her onto the sofa which was a safe and easy place for me and reassuring for her. She was still hesitant as I lowered her and so I stopped half way and held her close again. Again she giggled, so I lifted her up again holding her securely.

I was encouraging her to laugh about something that was a serious break of trust for her. By taking her to that place where she was faced with the imminent possibility of being dropped brought the painful feelings close to the surface where they could be felt again, but this time she felt safe and she could laugh and regain a feeling of trust in me again. I did several more games like this over the next few weeks. The more she laughed and the more times that a horsey-ride with me was a positive experience for her, the more her confidence grew.

Veronica L, Certified Hand in Hand Instructor

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