Parenting and Caring for Traumatized Children

Mike Berry over at Confessions of an Adoptive Parent writes a little about what’s involved in parenting — and caring for — a traumatized child.

When we first became parents, 15 years ago, we thought we had a healthy understanding of how to parent. We thought we knew how to discipline, how to enforce consequences, and even how to get our point across. In 2004 a little girl and boy came to live with us through foster care and, soon after, became a permanent part of our family. When the little girl turned 7 I caught her in a straight up lie. When I asked her why she lied, she just stared at me. So, logically, I continued to question her…and question her…and question her. This caused her eyes to start darting around the room. She wouldn’t look at me. Only a worried look on her face.

In my short experience doing this ministry, I have learned two things. First, that trust is the most important thing you can cultivate with a child or young person coping with and trying to recover from trauma. They don’t trust easily, and many have experienced anger or displeasure that has ended in violence or abandonment.

Second, which is more important than trust because it is the foundation of trust, is not letting go. That commitment, to be there regardless, makes trust possible, and from trust, can emerge the ability to help children appreciate the consequences of their actions without having it become an existential issue for the child or young person.

They have a podcast, which I will probably give a listen to.


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