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Growing Humans


We all have our pet fears, but whatever the specifics, the root is usually the fear of having to experience certain feelings. This often has its origins in childhood. We all want to avoid the feelings that were overwhelming to us as children.

For example, if we are subconsciously still trying to impress our parents, it’s possible that this habit comes from a fear of rejection - which would have very serious implications for a small child who is unable to survive without a caregiver. Therefore the fear of rejection is overwhelming for the child and it becomes embedded, carrying on into adulthood. Similarly we might harbour fears of abandonment or being emotional smothered, we may fear failure or even success, and would that we could locate the source, we may find all this started in our earliest years.

One of my favourite games when stationary in a traffic jam through a town or city is to study the passers-by and try to deduce what kind of child they were. In some people it’s difficult to tell, they inhabit their grown-up persona completely, and yet with others, the child they were is writ large, it’s easy to recognise the traits that defined them when they were young. They wear them as plainly as the clothes on their backs.

Growing humans is a delicate matter. Try as we might to develop, grow and mature, I’m afraid that whether superficial or buried deep, the heart and soul of the child we were lives on, and wields power, despite our best efforts.

The flip side of this is, of course, how we can try to prevent such unwanted baggage being carried forward into adulthood by our own children. It can help to encourage open conversations around emotions - including our own. We can share stories of overcoming our fears, but without negating the importance of the emotion itself. Children need to have their feelings acknowledged and validated, and then to see for themselves that they have no reason to become overwhelmed by them.

This isn’t an easy fix for anyone. Emotional maturity is a long and arduous quest, which some of us never complete (I’m looking at you, Mr. Trump) but with patience and persistence we can help our children learn not to be overpowered by their feelings, so that they can grow up free of buried fears that never leave them.

The Sense of Possibility


We can’t achieve anything that we can’t imagine ourselves doing. It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget how potent this truism is when it comes to our children. How our children think about themselves, how they imagine they are is the most powerful influence on how they think about their own future.

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There’s a part of my Storytelling show where I pretend to fall asleep on the floor in the front of the children. Often, this totally freaks my core audience of 4-8 year olds, despite my comedy snoring.

Depending on age, group, mood etc., they either shout and scream at me to wake up (in a way that starts off playfully but if I push the duration, veers into slight desperation), shyly approach and prod me, or they fall silent and look to their adults to sort out this unexpected turn of events. There is always the laughter of relief when I wake up.

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When It All Goes Right!


Despite having spent many years sharing my thoughts and opinions on successful communications with children, it alway gives me a huge thrill to hear about a positive outcome.

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Teach EYFS Article - Powerlessness


Here is another in my series of articles based on conversations with children, first published in Teach Early Years magazine. In each piece, I focus on one prominent theme. For this one, it’s POWERLESSNESS, which seems especially apt at the moment. My thanks to editor Jacob Stow for allowing reproduction, and if you want to know more, details of this and their other magazines and resources are available at:

  • Is there anything you don’t like about being a child?
  • You have no control because you’re not in charge.             (L - male)

I interviewed this little boy with his mother and I’m sure you are well able to imagine her facial expression on hearing his reply. There was good humour in her silently letting me know that it didn’t always feel that way to her.

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