• Preparing a Child to Respond to and Benefit from Trauma

    530865_10151272252868588_352764938_nIf the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has reminded us of anything, it’s that trauma and tragedy are part of our world. Try as we might, we cannot always protect ourselves or those we love.

    My best friend and colleague Wanda grew up in challenging circumstances. Her parents were sent to prison when she was barely seven. Despite the best efforts of loving relatives, Wanda became “lost” in a complex system of care where she was sexually, emotionally, and physically abused again and again. Her story is one of tragic horror. She developed complex post-traumatic stress disorder and a wide array of common coping mechanisms.

    But her story is also one of resiliency.

    Wanda went on to become a highly successful executive producer within the media industry. In one of our recent presentations, a psychiatrist asked her how she survived. She cited first the influence of her grandfather, who gave her a strong sense of self-esteem, hope, faith, and belief in his unfailing commitment to her. Secondly, she mentioned a wider circle family members who reinforced those things in her life.

    Psychologist Dr. Thomas Brunner talks about how to prepare children for trauma and build resiliency into their character. He believes five elements are crucial. In this blog post we’ll touch on the first two:

    • Build self-esteem and insight. Tell your kids what is valuable about them, not what about them makes you feel valuable. Teach them how to like themselves, control their emotions, and respond to their world, rather than react to it.
    • Build a sense of hope. Teach your children to see their world through a positive lens. Even the most negative experiences can be reframed positively. For a powerful example, watch the movie Life Is Beautiful.

    Your goal as a parent is to help your child develop skills they can use for a lifetime that will teach them how to use and leverage challenging experiences, not just tough them out

2 Responsesso far.

  1. Niroj says:

    I am in total awe of your courage and stntgreh and I will be following your blog. I’ve not experienced abuse myself but every other woman in my life from friends to family has. It’s a subject that is very close to my heart. So, I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be rooting for you.

    • admin says:

      Thank you so much for your support. Unfortunately, far too many lives are ravaged by abuse. Our goal is to offer help and support.

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