BRAVING: V is for Vault


Anything of great value should be kept in the Vault. The sacred trust we build with our children has several aspects to it. What’s in your Vault?

The first time I heard the term Vault when referring to keeping someone’s confidences was on a Seinfield episode a few decades back. The term seemed to capture the essence of honoring the trust that existed in the friendship. I see the Vault as a place to hold what is sacred but to also explore so you are certain that what you treasure is for your child’s highest good.

When it comes to our children, what exactly should go in the Vault? I have a few ideas. The first that comes to mind is an Uncompromising Respect.

This may mean that you will not talk about your child in front of the child. It may feel good to share a behavior episode with a friend but if the child ends up appearing less than his best self in the story, it is best to save that topic for a time when he is not around to overhear.

Parents tend to sometimes make light of a difficult situation in retrospect when confiding in another adult. The problem is that if the child overhears this kind of reporting there is a definite mixed message. “Maybe what I did was really funny and not a mistake! Sounds like dad changed his mind.”

If we want to maintain our clear expectations regarding behavior with our children, we have to stay consistent in all the messages that we send. Ambivalence is confusing and will encourage the child to test the limits again just to see if they are there.

Imagine overhearing a trusted friend talking about something that you said or did and finding it amusing as you overhear from the next room. I’m certain there might be confusion and offense taken.

Finding teachable moments in daily life is another way to bring respect into the role of parenting. Discipline can be seen as teaching and in approaching it this way, the relationship is nurtured rather than strained.

Your love and Vision of your Child’s Best Self can be stored in the vault and taken out on days when there might be a tendency to forget and see only the challenges.

As children form their personalities there are many changes along the way. Emotional maturity often lags behind cognitive development so that even if your child is very bright she may still not be able to cope with some of the disappointments and difficulties in life without some compassionate guidance.

When we hold that vision of the best self the child can be, we can remind her and guide her back to a more temperate emotional zone.

Unconditional Love is the commitment to hold the child in the highest regard possible. In Anodea Judith’s book Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self the task of the young child is to develop autonomy and with it, self-esteem.

When love is conditional and used as a reward or punishment, it puts the child at odds with himself. “He can have love by cooperating and giving up his Will or he can have autonomy by risking rejection and losing Love.” This practice sets up conditions for low self- esteem or rebellion. Can your child be loved and still have a will of her own?

If you see that you have hidden away fears of your child’s inadequacy, discard them from the Vault. If we respond to our children’s fears with our own fear we just reinforce it. If your child is frightened of a new situation, it’s wise to express empathy but keep your own doubts to yourself. That means managing your facial expression and making sure that your reassurances are well founded and clear.

Make a plan to ease into change and implement it so the child can do a trial run before walking in to new circumstances. This might mean visiting a new school or watching a new dance class for a short time before your child is actively participating. Doing this will soothe both of you.

If you are rattled by your child’s response to changes or new situations, talk it over with another adult. It’s not unusual for children to have a period of adjustment in new circumstances and your calm reassuring manner will help the transition go smoothly. When you have Courage, your child will trust your judgement and it will instill its positive force in your child.

If you have dreams for your child’s future be sure to consider your child’s unique personality and feelings about it all. Support and guidance for your child’s own personal dreams is a gift that every parent can give.

A terrible strain can be placed on the relationship if the parent wants to create a “Mini-Me”. These dreams should be discarded to serve the child’s highest good.

I have seen situations where a musically inclined parent demanded that the children had music lessons at an early age. Practice became a power struggle after a time and the parent demanded that the children adhere to a demanding schedule. In this case music has lost its charm and the parent/child relationship is at odds.

As much as we want our child to learn about commitment there also has to be a balance. We need to consider their feelings and also understand that our children are their own persons. As a parent we are to nurture and support the child in ways that encourage the emergence of a unique individual.

So to summarize, the Vault should hold Uncompromising Respect, Unconditional Love, a Vision of your child’s Highest Self, Courage and the intention to nurture and guide your child’s Dreams for his or her life.




About The Author

Lois Olson

Founder of The Montessori Children's House Inc. Laramie, Wyoming Montessori Primary Certification 1973
Systematic Training for Effective Parenting facilitator certification
Thirty eight years of experience working with children ages 3-6
Twenty five years facilitating parenting groups
Ten years facilitating teacher training
B.A In Psychology