Parents Please: Connect before you use Mindful Disconnection (Sidebar to the Series)

Just a thought that came to me as I was attending yet another vomiting child in the night…Mindful Disconnection isn’t going to work unless the child knows your disconnecting. It may seem obvious, but maybe not.

Example: Toddlers in playgrounds. Often not keen to leave. Often fully engaged with whatever it is they are doing, or motivated by what they see and think they might like to do next, just as you really have to go.

Unless they are fully connected to you at that moment of leaving, chances are Mindful Disconnection isn’t going to work.

A little trick we have used successfully to ensure that connection is there first is: you chase me and I chase you. I suggest you practise at home first. It’s pretty self-explanatory: you play a game of chasing them while they run away (saying, Mummy’s/Daddy’s chasing you) and catch them. Then you say, X chase Mummy/Daddy, and pretend to run away with tiny steps until they catch you.

End of the playground time. You play this game. They are fully connected to you because you have chased them first and want to keep giggling (it feels great). They chase you and whatdaya know, you end up at the edge of the playground or the car or whatever. It’s Mindful Disconnection because you turn your body-language away from them. If you’re really sure of their connection and they aren’t far behind you, you could try not watching to see if they are following. (This is for those up to post-grad studies in Mindful Disconnection. 🙂 )

Works well because the connection is there in the first place. I use this strategy a lot when Mr Butterfly (21 months of age) is convinced he needs to be at kindergarten with Mr Owl.

PS Apologies to people who have blogs which I usually read, we’ve had an attack of the tummy-bug and I won’t be fully on deck until the weekend at the earliest. Missing what’s going on at ‘your place’ but ya know…

(This is officially how I help put food on the table. If you’ve found this article useful, please feel free to use the Koha button just above my blogroll. Even the smallest amount is appreciated. 🙂 )


About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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17 Responses to Parents Please: Connect before you use Mindful Disconnection (Sidebar to the Series)

  1. so sorry about your tummy bug! did you give them any remedies?

    p.s. i like the tip to play “chase”…cat and mouse game…i like it!

    • Hi Jess, thanks for your kind thoughts –
      Touch wood, we’re on the mend now. No I didn’t use any remedies, mostly because I believe in the power of the human body to self-heal in most instances. We disallow solids for 24 hours and keep fluids high and every time the bug is gone by the end of that time – or we know we need to get help. Pleased you like the idea of the chasing game, I like your idea of calling it cat and mouse. 🙂

  2. Good point. I can’t see much success if disconnection were tried on it’s own. It reminds me of some families I’ve seen: “If you don’t come now I’m leaving without you.” Those poor children run sobbing to their parents. No connection, double disconnection. Downward spiral.

    • Oh cringe, I did that to our Mr Hare in the old days…thank-goodness we worked out it was making him so miserable and made changes. You’re right about the double disconnection – poor kids and a disaster for the relationship.

    • Marcy says:

      This is different from telling a child it’s time to go and turning away and walking, right? What you’re describing is more of a threat than an expectation.

  3. Marcy says:


    I’ll add that tired time is not necessarily the best time to apply mindful disconnection, or perhaps any time when your goal is important to you; it would have been better for me to buckle Amy myself when she didn’t do so, than to tell her she could sit there until she did it.

    (Part of my mistake is that I have been trying not to rescue too much — Amy hates asking for help even though I try to be happy and quick to help when she does ask, and so many times I will not do anything until she asks.)

  4. Mama B says:

    Stomach Bug AAAGH! Sorry to hear it! Hope all are feeling better!

  5. adhdwith3 says:

    So sorry you’ve been sick!

  6. IfByYes says:

    I 100% agree with you – this is sort of what I was talking about in my Attachment Parenting Part II rant, isn’t it? About how you need to develop that secure connection so the child really NOTICES when things go wrong.

    • Yep – similar rant to several of mine 🙂 . If the children don’t notice the disconnection – it’s not going to have a positive effect! In fact as Mamadandelion says, it’s a double disconnection, and some of us can see they don’t work.

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