Tips to make a small world safe

05 Nov 2008

By therecord

Paul Everall sees many parents and children in his daily work at MercyCare and  runs workshops for families and parents and provides a monthly reflection on Parenting in a local newspaper. Paul shares some of his reflections on the topic of helping children during times of fear and helplessness.

Paul, a Social Work practitioner and manager at Mercy Family Services, says “As I put this reflective piece together I couldn’t help thinking how easy and “safe” it would be to avoid talking about how our children experience and deal with fear and helplessness.  However, our worlds and our children’s worlds can be turned upside down during times of crisis or difficulty.  How do we help our children deal with these situations?   What would we as parents and caregivers need during these times?
What do our children look for during these times?”
Paul’s experience in this field helps him draw the following conclusions on how parents can best help their children in this area. He says it depends on:

– Our  ability to take charge: be firm and kind (bigger, stronger, wiser and kind).
– Our choosing to soothe: focus on clear and hidden cues of distress and to do this consistently.
– Deciding to be available: emotionally and physically to offer protection, comfort and organisation to make sense of the feelings the child has or is expressing.
– Giving children time: to feel safe and then venture out for exploration and play.
– Continuing to reassure (even if it seems endless and unreasonable): because the child needs and wants it.
– Being available: our willingness to simply be available, rather than thinking that a specific problem solving skill is required.
– Being at the centre of our children’s world and be the most important resource our children need to make all the difference.

For those who are interested in discovering more information about building a circle of safety and security around our children, Paul suggests visiting the Circle of Security Project Website: or contact him on 9208 4444.

CFL members can be contacted via the telephone numbers at the top of Page 11.