Little people with big feelings:
Children are vulnerable little people with big hearts and minds who look to their family members and loved ones for nurturing, caring, and support. Hurting children, unfortunately, show up in spaces angry, and combative, muddled with confusion about the world around them. Many times their innate emotional brain acts more like a snake or a lizard, responding to their fight/flight/freeze response. Their brains are primed to respond this way due to the nature of past hurts. “Hurting people hurt people”, is a saying that rings true for all humans, especially children. As a parent, one of the hardest things to manage are the emotions around your child who is always angry, disconnected, and overly introverted making it hard to know what they are feeling inside.
Here are just a few lessons that you may find helpful:
Lesson number 1: Stabilize yourself in all the ways you know how. Children pick up on anxiousness/emotions from adults around them. If adults are ok, many times the chances of children being ok increases;
2: Be present… really present, both emotionally and physically. Tuning and tapping into the emotions of your child/children;
3: Let them know you’re there and aren’t going anywhere;
4: Help them label their emotion. Many times children are confused by how they are feeling and acting;
4: Practice empathy, forgiveness, and grace. Communicating to them that the behavior is not ok, but that you will help them by finding helpers for them;
5: Reach out to build a team of helpers. You can’t do this alone. Find a trauma therapist who can help your child re-process their traumatic events. Many parents work through life with a team of people who are like-minded and can help their children work through their traumas. It truly takes a village;
6: Connect with their teachers/mentors/coaches, and let them be part of the solution.
Below is a great video that you may find helpful as you help navigate through a difficult time with your child.
By Anka Roberto