After recovering from my slightly humiliating melt-down in the parent group, the conversation moved on again, with parents sharing more of their lives and struggles. We talked about trauma and our children’s experiences that affect their attachment to us. We talked about empathy, and how important it is to remember the core of our children’s behavior, which so often is fear.
This is such an important key to parenting our traumatized kids. I know it is fear that drives so many of the chaotic behaviors we see; I can feel it in Dimples. When she was little and she raged I would hold her close and rock her; sometimes I would say comforting words. When words made her more upset, I prayed silently and tried to keep myself very calm and regulated. I did a lot of deep breathing in those days.
Empathy is essential to healing; we have to remember our children’s histories and know that sometimes they really are doing the best they can. They have suffered so many injustices and been harmed in so many ways.
So often Russ and I say that if there weren’t other children to protect, this would be a much different scenario. We can handle a lot of stress and struggle, but what causes us the most pain, is Dimples’ suffering combined with the suffering of our other children. It’s like a swirling cloud of pain moving through our home.
After the parent group, we joined our children for lunch. Dimples had already gotten her food, but she stood alongside us in line while we got ours and then we all sat together. This was an unexpected and sweet gesture and we were both touched by it. We made sure to tell her how kind it was that she waited to eat with us.
Following lunch we did a fascinating exercise with a group of other families. I’ll share about that tomorrow.
Thanks so much for reading.