Children learn most from what we do. Try to treat yourself as you would a good friend. Looking after yourself is the foundation for looking after others and maintaining those key principles of playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy, when the going gets tough.
When we prioritise relationships and connection over compliance, our children learn that they are loved for exactly who they are.
Connectedness has the power to counterbalance adversity.
There is great comfort in understanding that trauma is not the event itself but the experience of the event. A child can find recovery & hope for the future when they have caring adults around them who help to make sense of their experience.
When together we explore what has happened in a safe and loving way, it enables the child to let go of fear, shame and self-blame. Gives them confidence that it’s ok to reach out & we will be there.
When a child feels supported by us, trauma loses its power to isolate, silence and hurt. Loving relationships are everything – healing happens in connection.
Creating and sharing stories that help our children make sense of their lives really does help to reduce stress and anxiety. Helping them to recognise and name their thoughts and feelings, can create some distance between the emotion and the intense feelings and associations that go with it. As Dr Dan Seigel so helpfully and succinctly puts it – what’s shareable is bearable, and you’ve got to name it to tame it!
Walking side by side with our most precious children. Making tracks that trace a journey through challenges and joy and everywhere in between. Their path towards healing becomes less hard & lonely when we walk it kindly together. And when we do, we leave their world a little better, for having experienced it with them.
When you feel you are not enough, may you be surrounded by those who love you. May they carry the hope for you.
When a child is traumatised in relationships with those who should keep them safe, it creates a great sense of confusion and shame. It’s terrifying for a child to acknowledge that the adults they love have hurt them so badly, and so they are more likely to blame themselves. The pain and shame of relational trauma can lead to a fragmenting of the emotional experience from the reflective experience – the ability to think about what happened – in the child’s attempt to not feel so bad.click here to read more
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
Loving a child with relational trauma can be tough. It’s hard to keep giving when your child fears being parented. It takes courage to show that you want a relationship with your child when they are so emotionally defended against it.
Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Loving deeply is turning up and keeping on giving, even when the rewards are small. You don’t have to be perfect; you just need to hold the hope that one day your child will let the love in. That one day your love will be their strength.
If you have a copy of Billy Moffle’s Straight Lines, you might have noticed that it is dedicated to a teacher, Roy Mapplebeck. He was the teacher at primary school who made a difference.
He encouraged my love of reading and storytelling & I remember listening enthralled, to The Hobbit in his class. He was enthusiastic, creative & kind, putting hours into helping us to stage plays & musicals, leading our gym lessons by example – he could turn a very impressive cartwheel – & rummaging with the best of us at the school jumble sales.click here to read more
Connection with others is so important & it’s something that children with relational trauma find hardest to achieve. Never underestimate the power of your empathy & acceptance in helping a child connect with you.
When you have trust & connection, everything else starts to fall into place. There’s less need for correction when your child is motivated to be in relationship with you.
Think of empathy & acceptance as being the sunshine that helps the flower of connection blossom & grow.