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Sarah Charlton

Sarah portrait 2015My journey with Hand in Hand Parenting began when my son was around ten months old. Although I adored my child and loved being a Mum, I sometimes found it difficult to listen to his tears. If I couldn’t pacify him, I would feel frustrated, uncomfortable and sometimes even angry. One day when we were being supported by a wise and loving teacher, my son began to cry for no apparent reason. I was gently encouraged to hold him in my arms and listen to his tears fully for the first time.

At first it was hard to listen, but after a while I found my heart opening and I began to really hear and feel what was being expressed through those tears. At that moment, my own tears began to flow as well and the bond between us deepened enormously. Something in me had broken open and from that moment I was able to feel comfortable and even delight in listening to my son’s strong emotions; in the full knowledge that a healing process was happening.

I am so grateful to that wise teacher because it’s meant that in being able to listen my son and I have enjoyed a wonderfully close relationship. My capacity to support him and others (myself included) to fully expresses the big emotions we all feel has been possible.

I live with my now 12 year old son, partner and cat on the edge of the beautiful Ashdown Forest in East Sussex. Following a period of home education with my son I now work in a large secondary school supporting children with special educational needs and running groups for children struggling with different emotional challenges.

I’m passionate about bringing more of the work of Parenting by Connection into educational settings, especially supporting teachers with the very challenging and demanding job they do. I see the potential of Listening Partnerships in particular to bring positive change. To me this is bringing politics to the personal, with the potential to bring about huge social benefit with compassionate connection.

People say to new parents “they don’t come with a manual” but to me the Parenting by Connection approach IS that manual. Because through using these tools parents can access their own wisdom and assist their children in finding and expressing theirs too in a compassionate, efficient and respectful way. I love that we are literally helping to shape the future through love in action, one family at a time.

I have a Certificate in Counselling Skills and in Art Psychotherapy. I am also grateful to have worked alongside the wonderful Babies Know team, discovering more about the way in which the first 1000 days of life from conception lay down the blue print for the life to come. Their message that “repair is always possible” is very much in alignment with that of Hand in Hand Parenting.

I love to paint, especially mandalas and also teach art to children. Any spare time goes into tending my little garden and walking in nature, and hanging out with friends.Lewes Summer 2015 107

I am available for running groups online and in person in the Sussex area and in London. I also work with individuals online and in person. I can be contacted
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“I wanted to say that I was grateful and delighted about yesterday, you were the perfect supportive, gentle, strong presence, so thank you – I feel very lucky to have had you pop in to us at that exact time. I am going to start ‘listening’ today with 100 times more sureness and strength than before. We went for a walk yesterday evening and passed the spot we had sat down and my son pointed it out saying we’d been there with you, and that he’d been climbing on me, and had big smile on his face!” – Mother of 3 year old boy, Forest Row.

“Sarah continues to be a true inspiration and source of guidance for Us as a family. We have two children, aged 13 and 11. At a time a few years ago when we were struggling as a family to communicate and listen to each other’s needs and wants, Sarah stepped in and worked with us using and teaching the tools of Hand in Hand Parenting. She was clear, warm and mindful in her approach and enabled us to move through an extremely difficult period to a connecting wholesome place as a family. We feel truly blessed to have continued support from Sarah and be part of her unique delivery of the Hand in Hand tools.”  – AS, East Sussex, UK