A small child called Taylor builds a wonderful castle & is feeling very proud. Without warning, disaster strikes & the wooden bricks come tumbling down. Nothing is as it was & all the animals try to make Taylor feel better. Chicken wants to talk; hyena wants to laugh about it & ostrich just wants to forget. When Taylor resists their advice, they drift away. Only rabbit comes & sits close by, warm & quiet. In time, Taylor expresses a whole range of emotions & rabbit just listens. Eventually, Taylor decides to build again, with a renewed sense of hope & excitement. This story is a beautifully simple tribute to the value of unconditional acceptance & the comfort to be found in attuned relationships.
It is very hard for parents & carers to see their child grieving. The temptation then, is to offer reassurance & distraction & to try to fix the problem. We do not want our child to hurt. This temptation is even greater for those parenting a child with developmental trauma, one who has had many losses & who can easily become overwhelmed by big emotions; struggling to self-regulate or make sense of feelings.
Here we see that when rabbit sits kindly alongside Taylor, it can soothe without words. Taylor cries, rages, plots & laughs & through it all, rabbit remains constant & present, able to stay with the uncomfortable for longer than is comfortable. Taylor experiences rabbit’s acceptance & feels confident then to express themself without censure. When Taylor is given that space to explore & process their experience, they are able to come to their own solutions, without the need for rabbit to offer advice. We learn that connection is forged when we can say, ‘I don’t know what to do, but I’m glad you told me & I’m here with you’.
With a traumatised child, we might need to do more ‘figuring it out’ together, & provide more of an emotional narrative to try on for size, than rabbit needs to do with Taylor, but how much better is it likely to fit, if we have taken the time to listen & understand first? In The Rabbit Listened, we learn that together, rebuilding is going to be amazing.