Are you a parent or caregiver to a child who has experienced trauma, or came from a hard place? Do you love someone who has been through a traumatic event?
If you have, your heart may be filled with so many deep emotions, it could feel overwhelming. When your loved ones hurt, YOU hurt. You’re their protector and their guide. But, you’re not perfect, and at times you may feel at your wits end, not knowing how to help.
And If you’ve ever felt this way, I want to first say to you…
You’re not alone, because you’re human… But the way you parent will look very different from others because of one very specific factor: Your precious child has experienced or witnessed a terrible situation, where they felt scared, confused, or powerless.
Trauma is defined as an emotional response to a terrible event.
As a parent, you want to shield your kids from the chaos going on in the world. But with the increase of widespread traumatic events (like a school shooting, or a natural disaster), or the ongoing struggle of an adopted or foster child who experienced trauma in his or her early years of life (even in utero during a traumatic pregnancy or birth)… it can seem overwhelming – even impossible – to protect your kids.
When you’re at your wits end, you may not know how to help your child when they’ve experienced trauma.
You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be present and willing.
Oftentimes, therapy is the only place parents think their kids can begin to heal. But by following these two Trauma-Informed Care considerations, you can begin creating that space for your kids TODAY.
Many times, parents are overwhelmed with their kids “acting out”, or “withdrawing”, reactions from trauma. Remember, your child may be in survival mode, & they don’t know how to make sense of what they feel.
Help your child regulate through connection.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m scared, I don’t always know why. Help your kids begin to “name it” so they can “tame it – When we wrap words around how we’re feeling, it’s not so all-encompassing anymore.
In their book “Whole-Brained Child”, Seigel & Bryson talk about helping kids connect their “left brain” (logic functions) with their “right brain” (emotion functions). That’s very simplified, but what it means is helping your kids understand the facts, as well as their emotions, and then helping them understand they are safe with you.
Help regulate through “name it, tame it”.
Ok Carly, so how do I actually do this in real life?
You are a GOOD mom. A GOOD dad. CHANGE takes TIME. Being consistent, gracious (to yourself) and compassionate (towards your kid) will make a significant difference in the long haul.
Helping a child heal from trauma (especially when you’re at your wits end) can be hard. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be present and willing.