As a parent to someone who feels anxious and can be easily triggered to anxiety, safe spaces become really important. In our world these include my Mums kitchen, my Dads car, our living room, particularly the sofa, the woods, in a caravan, on the beach and most of all in each others arms.
Non safe spaces include, ironically, hospitals, police stations and social services offices. Pubs and anywhere involving alcohol are tricky as are family or friends gatherings which include small babies.
What can change an unknown space into a safe one for us is often the spaces in people’s minds. If they have open minds and can understand and empathise without much trouble then a scary space can quickly transform into something much less threatening .
It is often the inability of others to have space within a way of thinking that causes our young ones stress, whether adopted or not. Schools in particular can really help if they provide a calm “safe space” to be used when children are anxious, angry or upset, which most children are at some time.
When dealing specifically with trauma and extreme anxiety, a safe space is a place where not only do people believe the anxious person, but also allow for many different expressions of that anxiety without punitive judgement or fear.
Sadly in our care institutions, including many schools, this level of open mindedness is for some reason far too rare.
It was the discovering of this sad fact and through the personal experience of “dangerous” spaces that led to us start a support charity based upon the provision of safe spaces for traumatised children. We can provide a safe environmental space but most importantly we hope to provide openness in our minds, ears and responses for individuals to fit safely within.