‘Kintsugi’ is the Japanese custom of repairing broken or cracked items with gold. Once completed, beautiful seams of gold glint in the item, giving a unique appearance to each “repaired” piece. This method celebrates each items unique history, and emphasises its fractures and breaks, instead of hiding or disguising them. This makes the repaired piece even more beautiful and interesting than the original. It may also make the item stronger, and more resilient to withstanding future knocks and bumps.
It strikes me that there is a similarity between the art of Kintsugi and a concept in the field of developmental psychology known as ‘rupture and repair’.
What is Rupture and Repair?
Dr. Allan Schore has written a lot on this topic. He explains how it is nearly impossible to be completely in tune (or attuned) with our child at all times. Many ‘ruptures’ will occur during our interaction with our child and, provided we are able to notice and ‘repair’ these ruptures, that this process helps increases our child’s ability to tolerate and manage negative emotions as they develop and grow.
Trying our best to stay calm, close and connected to our child during these tricky parenting moments actually helps our child develop resilience and acts as a buffer against those more difficult childhood experiences that they may encounter e.g., the loss of a loved one, a frightening event or even a global pandemic.
So back to Kintsugi. If we think about the cracks in items as the ‘ruptures‘ that occur during the interactions we have with our child, then the ‘repairs‘ we make are the golden threads that we weave into our child’s life to help them withstand the knocks and bumps that they will encounter across the lifespan.
Surely this is one of the most precious gifts we could bestow on our child, and one that will be passed down from generation to generation.
For further information about these ideas please see links below:
Dr Allan Schore talks about the role that ‘repairing the rupture’ has on developing resilience in young children https://youtu.be/cbfuBex-3jE?t=1
Dr Dan Siegel explains how important a secure attachment is when it comes to repairing the rupture in relationships https://youtu.be/_XjXv6zseA0?t=2
This video by the Science of Child Development talks about different types of stress that can help and hinder development https://youtu.be/rVwFkcOZHJw