I Was Thinking...
As I am working hard to coordinate a Christmas Giving Program for our community, I am being reminded over and over again the importance of meeting people where they are…emotionally.
Because our kids are survivors we often don’t experience their true emotion.
We often experience the techniques they’ve come to count on to feel safe!
Don’t be fooled!
Use your head. Be Realistic.
If your child has suffered loss, lived in poverty, been abused or neglected, been abandoned, lost their primary caregiver, or had to fend for themselves in any way, they have been forced to use self–reliant techniques to get this far!
These techniques run from their core! They are part of the wiring of a brain impacted by trauma! They do not go away if they “try harder". They are not defiant acts!
Sometimes those survival techniques are disguised as over-compliant, self-depriving, perfectionism, and quiet or under the wire personas. Be careful not to miss them. Other times they are not hard to see at all because they are loud and clear, controlling and manipulative and are glaringly present!
Here’s the secret…
Before human beings can trust, participate in healthy relationships, develop self-esteem, learn, etc…, they must feel SAFE - emotionally, physically, and psychologically!
Survival techniques help our children to feel like they are in CONTROL and that feeling of control helps them to feel SAFE!
The behaviors that are so troublesome for us, those behaviors that we take personally, those behaviors we dub as purposeful or defiant are not any of the above. They are simply behaviors that protect our children from feeling vulnerable, out of control and unsafe.
I have HOPE that we can build a consistent, loving relationship based in meeting our children where THEY are no matter what.
I have HOPE that we can let the understanding of the behavior be acknowledged as the true emotion it protects! Then we will be able to more accurately interpret words, body language, choices, affect, etc...
I have HOPE that we can meet our children where they are emotionally and help them to be more successful in relying on us to help them feel “safe”, thereby being a measure of new trust.
I have HOPE that with time and intentional parenting we can give our children the ultimate gift---
A “place” in the world they can truly feel SAFE because they believe they are WORTHY of it!