I realized that it has been several months since I have blogged. I find myself writing on the facebook page, Challenging Children much more regularly. I think it is because I know I have an instant audience and oftentimes fairly instant feedback. However, it is here that i can expand my thoughts. As I wind down on the two year contract that I have had providing home-based services to DCS families (I have been re-upped for another contract cycle), I want to reflect on what I have learned about families and the children they sign on to parent. And also, what I learned about educators and school systems and tolerance or intolerance for children with challenging behaviors.
I have learned how important repetition is in truly learning something. And I am referring here primarily to adults. It is very difficult to understand how deep the effects of trauma go; difficult to comprehend that providing a child with the stability of a family (who really wants to care for and about a child), and a home that is safe from any physical harm, is not enough. It isn’t saying love isn’t enough, because if love is truly non-judgmental, non-conditional, and very importantly does not demand reciprocity, it is enough. Most people, who take children into their homes whether through fostering or adopting, do not understand that these children often lack the ability to return love. But it doesn’t mean that this will always be true. They are a bit like bottomless vessels or at the very least vessels with pin prick like holes where what we pour in seeps out. They desperately need to feel safe…safe to be who they are right now. And for parents to truly provide that kind of safety, means opening oneself up to being kicked, slapped, spit at, screamed at…and that isn’t always metaphorically speaking.
I stated that repetition is important for adults to truly learn where these children have come from and what they need from the adults who are charged with caring for them and teaching them. And what needs to be repeated over and over, is the understanding of the effects of trauma on brain development. And the role that the brain plays in a child’s behavior. Also, what needs repetition is how very important it is to understand our own triggers, what and how the caretakers react in stressful situations. If the adults can understand themselves and know how to calm (regulate) themselves, they can become a calming, safe space/place for a child. Understanding ourselves as adults, help us to be caring, loving, non-judgmental caregivers.
Stay tuned for more in the weeks to come.