How many times do we ask, where did this year go? While time always passes at the same rate, we process it as moving too quickly and, frankly, exhausting us. There is just no time! Our daily lives are filled with activities that keep us running from morning to night. The question is, do we take and value the time we spend with our children or are we too busy?
The greatest cosmic joke was to give us our best child-bearing and rearing period in life, when we were still children ourselves. We rush to work, to climb, buy a house, work harder, earn more, gather things… This requires a huge time investment to get as much as you can to make a success of your life. That first quarter of our adult life is spent raising children, the next quarter spent getting ourselves ready to enjoy our golden years. Time does not change, our impression and interpretation of it does.
In the interim, our lives are filled with deadlines and expectations for our kids. We race everywhere, often forgetting to give to them what is most important… specific, prioritised time. Every child’s needs are different. Prioritising them means asking: where is my time best spent? This is especially critical for fostered and adopted children who are never sure if they will get more parent time to themselves.
A baby’s brain develops important attachments to their parents in those first critical years. Adopted children have usually had huge interruptions during this early time of their life. While adoptive parents try their best to give their child what they missed, there is something very different about an adopted child’s internal time clock.
Physically the child may have reached age 8-10. You may think they need less time and attention. But what if their early years experiences included trauma, hospitalisation, neglect and/or abuse? Reparenting could mean the time and expectations you’d have for a ten-year-old might instead need to be adjusted to what you might offer an infant.
Children need the opportunity to be with and download from healthy and good empathic adult brains, mostly because their own emotional brains likely missed that experience. Their time constructs from earlier in life can affect their present situation.
Ask yourself, how do I prioritise the time spent with my kids? Do I schedule loads of events, so my child is equal to other children? Do I work harder? Maybe the real question is… can I just be with my child 1:1? Can I create an environment that lets my child experience that our time and this home, are good for them?
No one can survive without secure attachments. No one stands completely on their own. We are all connected to somebody. Traumatised children constantly have stuff from their past leak into their present experiences. These backwards time travelling consequences mean they need more time from the adoptive or foster parent. Investing, putting time in when/where needed, pays off in the long term.
Spend time with your child. Pick up on how they are feeling. If you push them too quickly or soon to be independent, this can create anxiety. Especially when they’re not emotionally ready to be independent. They want to please their parent above all… but inside? Something else is going on.
Take the time to learn what.