When children fall or get hurt, when they are scared, they frequently cry. How can we encourage them to “just cry it out”? How often do we feel relief when we cry, particularly after the loss of someone we have deeply cared for? And, what about hugs? How can we hug our kids, when they need the comforting assurance that we are there for them in this painful moment? How do we convey to them that the painful feelings they are having is normal after what they have lost? It is challenging in our litigious culture to provide closeness and human contact for our hurting children; however, it is the greatest contradiction of providing perceptual safety to children. To be held by a safe person is to be comforted; and yet, we must be very cautious with touch with children who have experienced hurtful and negative touch. The reassurance of a hug, while in grief, says more than most words can ever say.
Excerpt from THE 3-5-7 MODEL, A PRACTICE APPROACH TO PERMANENCY, Stories of Hope & Healing for Children, Youth and Families, p. 40.