It’s amazing to me how just holding my daughter’s hand brings me such peace. When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, her small hand in mine reminds me to breath.
When she is crying out of anger, even when it is me that she is angry with, and I reach out to hold her hand, she holds it. When we are driving to school and she is crying from frustration and I am feeling frustrated too, I reach over and hold her hand in silence and I feel my body, and hers, calming down.
When I am sad or sick or tired, she reaches out to hold my hand, as if she knows our hearts unite in that single physical act of connection.
When we cross the street or walk through a busy public place, I reach down and her hand is there waiting to grasp mine. It is safety, it is reassuring, it is calming, it is peaceful, it is an I’m sorry, it is an I forgive you, it is Love.
I held my mother’s hand when we walked side by side, even when I was in high school and college. She was my safety, my calm, my friend. I felt her love and her heart when our hands were clasped.
Violet, often looks up at me as we are walking hand in hand and says, “Mama, I love holding your hand. I can feel you sending all your love through it.”
The power of touch is so healing and so important in our lives. If your child is feeling stressed, anxious or even angry, I encourage you to try holding their hand. Even if you don’t know what to say to them, just holding their hand expresses solidarity and compassion. As Dr. James A. Coan says, “The effect of this simple gesture of social support is that the brain and body don’t have to work as hard, they’re less stressed in response to a threat.”
One way our children can learn to regulate their own response to external situations is through the act of hand holding. Hand holding is an extension of our heart. It is a physical, tangible exchange of love.
Violet, I hope you know that you can always, hold my hand.