I’m in the throws of preparing for my FREE Webinar next week (June 23, 2015) on 7 ways of growing resilience in children and wouldn’t you know it, someone else wrote another blog on the subject.. “18 ways to raise a resilient child“. I do like reading other parenting blogs as there’s a lot of good information out there that helps all of us and I love working with like-minded parenting coaches and counsellors.
I thought this particular blog was OK… but missed the mark a little…
It talked about listening, tuning in, staying calm, spending time with a child and so forth but to me all the suggestions should be applied in general everyday parenting and didn’t address the issue of resilience.
What is resilience and why has it become such a buzz word?!
To be resilient means to have the capacity to bounce back without symptoms (see below) after an adverse traumatic event.
It is far too common that we, as a society, miss the obvious signs of trauma in children and don’t give them the opportunity to integrate emotionally and logically what they have seen and/or experience in a healthy way (and avoid the long term impacts).
It’s so important because of the long term of trauma impacts on all of us.
Trauma affects all parts of our development and severely impairs our coping, mental and physical, capacity in life. All childhood development experts recognise the importance and the impact of unresolved childhood trauma on adult life!
Building in resilience into your children after a traumatic event is more than just listening and being available to them.
Unfortunately many parents mistake silence for an indicator that the child is OK. There are signs to look for when your child hasn’t integrated something that they have witnessed or experienced. When the child avoids talking about it, we can interpret that as they are OK. Parents often ask questions like “Are you OK? Do you need to talk about it? How do you feel about it?” and get a push back from the child, parents often feel helpless and just let it be. When helplessness sets in for the parent, children often get platitudes thrown at them instead of connection… “You’ll be OK” “Everything will be all right, don’t worry about it”
Trauma seems to hard to deal with when you don’t have the skills and yet the effects of being exposed to trauma are bubbling away and creating long term damage. And some form of trauma hits us all in our childhood… it’s rare that way haven’t been affected in some way!
A traumatic event in a child’s life can small to us parents. Here are some examples (from little to big):
- Going to school/day care for the first time and not having the emotional capacity for separation from the parent;
- A parent reacting severely, using abusive language and threatening behaviour;
- Being bullied by another child or humiliated by teacher at school;
- Failing at a task/exam/sport event when it wasn’t expected;
- Getting lost/separated from a parent in a public event;
- A loss of a parent, sibling, pet or significant person in their life;
- Divorce – especially when the parents are at war;
- Moving country, interstate and sometimes even house;
- A house fire or car accident;
- Watching the news and seeing a natural disaster or man made terrorist attack;
- Sexual, physical or emotional abuse – experienced or witnessed.
There are so many ways children can be traumatized and there are ways you can respond appropriate that will help restore emotional and physical health.
Tune in next Tuesday (June 23) night to find out how to spot trauma in your child and help them recover and integrate the emotion.
Here’s some of the ways trauma shows up in adults (care of rehab-international.org). Did you know that behind most substance abuse is a childhood traumatic event?