Friday, September 23, 2011

Leaky Cups...Part One.

I love metaphors. My favorite metaphor I use with parents is that of the leaky cup.

I usually will  have a pitcher full of water and several cups- some with holes and some without. I pour water into all the cups showing the difference of how some cups are able to remain full longer and others are not. Proceeding to ask them what they noticed, this is the discussion we have:

Parents are very much like pitchers of water who are constantly pouring (pouring, pouring, and pouring) into the cups of our children. Some days our children are more leaky than other days and always seem to run on empty. Other days they are able to maintain being full with little help from us. 

Each hole in a child's cup represents their challenges that they carry around that day. It could be challenges anywhere from being called a name at school and feeling discouraged- to abuse and trauma in the home.

As a therapist my job is to help facilitate the healing of these holes as much as possible. The healing comes from within the child- not a mere patch that I place to cover it up. BUT throughout this process (and forever) it is the caregiver 's job to continually be filling the cups at home in between sessions. This will encourage the child to feel a better sense of security and heal.
Side note: I let them know that not every hole will be completely closed through our time together. Some holes are so deep and severe that there may always be a small hole and could take years to get to that place. This is to remind the parents that there is not an immediate miracle cure for each child. Regardless, it is up to the caregivers to acknowledge and accept their responsibility in providing them with the nourishment and also understanding that some kids have naturally leakier cups then other kids.

Then we recap:

"What are ways your child's cup is being emptied?"
When they are feeling tired, hungry, scared, lonely, embarrassed, ignored, or hurt.

"How is your child's cup being refilled?"
When they are feeling loved, fed, encouraged, nurtured, comforted, and feeling connected.

Now here is an additional question to think about:
"What happens if as a parent we have a leaky pitcher?"

This is where I encourage individual counseling if needed or taking time for self-care.
It is VITAL to you and your children to have a full reservoir of water.

Okay speaking of is Friday...time to go play. I will continue Part Two about the signs of a child with an empty cup real soon!

Don't forget to refuel. Happy Weekend!

Besitos, xoxo

P.S. How do you stop and "refuel?"
 (read about mine below in the comments)


  1. I refuel by: Bikram Yoga, running, art journaling, soul collaging, playing with little man, date night, walking down town, bubble baths, reading, and writing in this blog!!!

  2. I refuel by taking walks, most of the time by myself, but I enjoy going with my husband as well. I refuel by playing guitar/singing/writing. I refuel by talking with my sisters, my friends, and most especially, God.