It’s never easy for a child, who’s been through significant trauma, to step into a home they’re unfamiliar with. Oftentimes, it only deepens their traumatic experience. It might leave you wondering, “Is there any way to provide a healing environment for this child?” The answer is, yes. Here’s why…
You’ve been asking and we listened! We are thrilled to welcome our good friends, David and Jayne Schooler from Back2Back Ministries, to the show today. They bring valuable insight and in-depth expertise to the discussion. Today we are talking about how to provide a healing home for children who have been deeply wounded.
Notes and Quotes:
[shareable cite=”Dr. David Schooler”]’We have found that working with traumatized children requires a different set of skills and understanding.’ [/shareable]
“I was a pastor for many years, and…I had many people come to me as their pastor and sharing their needs, concerns, and sufferings with me and I have found repeatedly that what they are suffering from now, as adults, have deep roots in unresolved childhood trauma. That is why it is so important to deal with the trauma as early as we can, because it will follow us through our lifetime.” – Dr. David Schooler
[shareable cite=”Jayne Schooler”]’We didn’t know what we didn’t know.’ [/shareable]
“Wounded Children” are children who experienced trauma or neglect early in life. This has affected every part of them. We have to respond to them in a different way because of their trauma history. We can think of it as CUTS:
Practical Ways to Provide a Healing Home
- Examine expectations
- Move from “Consciously Compassionate” to “Competent Caregivers”
- Embrace the journey of learning
- Realize that kids from hard places need a conducive environment and time
- Consider your own “CUTS” history and emotional health
In a recent survey of Adoptive Moms
77% reported they live in chronic rage
77% reported feeling isolated from family and friends
50% are on medication
93% have thought about running away
14% have considered suicide
In light of these statistics, what can parents do?
- Realize that kids from hard places are “depleting people”
- Find and put into place “resource people” – a circle of support
- Become TBRI-informed and trained
- Ask for help
- Look at the emotional thermostat in your home
What about consequences and discipline?
- You can’t punish disregulation
- There are consequences and we can help them come back into calm
- Don’t respond to misbehavior in a way that creates more separation or causes anger or fear to increase
- Their behavior is their voice
- Ask calm questions to find the unmet need
- They aren’t a bad kid behaving badly, they are a wounded kid speaking from a place of trauma
- Don’t get caught in the cycle of reacting to the behavior
“There is a correlation between my connection with my child and my emotional tolerance of their behavior” – Dr. Gordon Newfield
- Maintain relationship then deal with behavior
Last thoughts for the parent with little hope today
There’s no easy answer but all children can experience some level of healing. It takes time. Get resourced. Find some ways to infuse joy into your life. We have to make decisions to participate in restorative practices for ourselves. Realize that we will suffer, but there is a redemptive purpose behind it.
Resources and Links:
Refresh Gatherings for Foster and Adoptive Parents and Families
Road Trip for Foster and Adoptive Dads
Dr. David and Jayne Schooler have been both foster and adoptive parents. Both David and Jayne are recognized nationally and internationally as speakers/trainers in the field of trauma, adoption and foster care.
David holds a Th.D. in pastoral counseling. He has served in the pastoral and counseling ministry for over 40 years. He currently serves as counselor and pastoral care for Back2Back Ministries in Mason, Ohio. Much of his current focus is on working with adults who have a lifetime impact of early childhood trauma.
Jayne is a national and international trainer in the field of trauma, adoption and foster care. Jayne is the author/co-author of eight books in field of child welfare including: Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Parents and, Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past. She holds a Master’s Degree in Life Issues Counseling.