Tools For Coping

toolbox
I wrote in my last post that I was going to discuss different tools that have helped our children cope behaviors that are most likely due to past trauma and neglect.

1. Permission to have a quiet place.

Holidays can be very stressful and fearful for some children.  They may be masking it on the outside really well, but underneath they are about to fall apart.  This would describe one of our sweeties.  She will face things boldly, yet fall apart not long after the event is over.
We have given permission for her to go and take a break away from what is happening with loads of family over.  She just needs to say, “Mom or Dad, I’m going to be in my room for a little bit.”  That is it.  It is a message that she needs some down time, and it has worked REALLY well; 10 or 15 minutes and then she is back!

2.  Self Talk

For a child who suffers with deep shame, they may get things fixed in their little mind that they really don’t deserve to be loved and therefore, you don’t really love them.  They may go through bouts of fear that family doesn’t care for them.
And it may cause them to panic a little, which then causes them to lash out.  Without understanding what is going on in their mind, it can be quite confusing for parents.

Several years ago, I had a real panic attack.  I had been given some bad news about my health and it scared me.  While I was in the grocery store, I felt myself getting light headed and very fearful. I actually thought I was dying and checked for a pulse.  I couldn’t find one.
I was really panicked by then on the inside, but keeping my outward composure as I looked through the meat department.
Suddenly I thought to myself, this is ridiculous. If I TRULY had no pulse, I wouldn’t be looking at meat, and I would most certainly not be pushing this basket and thinking all these things!  I began to talk myself out of it.  Get ahold of yourself. You are just scared.
Reality is, you are fine and you need to breath properly, go home and rest.

That is exactly what I did, and the panic went away.

I have taught my girls to do the same thing.  If your mind is telling you that you are not loved, tell yourself that it is NOT true. YOU ARE LOVED and cared for!  Tell yourself you need to calm down and give mom a hug.  Then tell mom what is going on.
This tool has worked fantastic!

3.  Right Brain Activity When the Left Brain Can’t Focus
There are times when stress takes over during school time.  It is hard to think in a new language, read in a new language and be in your left brain trying to solve problems in math.
For a child with trauma, it can be overwhelming sometimes. They start to shut down and literally cannot concentrate.  We have found that if we switch over to something different like art, clay or music and exercise the right side of the brain, that gives the left side a little time to rest and refresh itself.  Then, concentration comes back and we can get back to studying.
Also, reading to them instead of having them read can be very helpful and give them some rest.

4.  Permission granted ahead of time… ASK TO BE ROCKED!
If our girls want to spend time, NEED time, are feeling insecure about something, they can ask to be rocked.  We have rocked them all and they still love it.
I will stop what I am doing and rock them.  It is soothing and comforting.

more to come…..

Comments warmly welcomed!

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