Somedays is seems like there is no end in sight. Shelter in place began in March, kids stayed home, parents stayed home, some lost jobs or got sick, plans for travel or respite got cancelled, and the hard got harder.
The reality is that we don’t know what this next season will look like and that makes it hard to prepare and set expectations.
So how do we prepare for this next season, when it comes to parenting children who have experienced trauma, in the midst of uncertainty?
Don’t wait for behaviors to escalate. Make sure you are meeting physical needs like healthy snacks and water (every 2 hours). If you have kids who don’t like water, try infusing it with berries to add a little flavor. If you struggle to get kids to eat healthy snacks, try getting them in the kitchen to help cook.
Practice the skills you want your kids to use OUTSIDE of the moment. This means playing games that teach skills such as accepting no, speaking with respect, asking permission, etc. Consider holding a Family Nurture Group to work on these skills.
Consider HOW you Address Behavior
The TBRI concept of ‘Connect Before You Correct’ may seem counter intuitive, but our focus must be on relationship. That doesn’t mean ignoring behavior, but instead focusing on the WAY we correct.
Bruce Perry, a pioneering neuroscientist in the field of trauma, explains a simple way to intervene in behaviors. It is a simple approach, but not always easy. We must start with helping our kids regulate. We can’t simply try to teach a new behavior in the moment correction is needed.
Give Yourself Grace
None of us are perfect parents. We are all dealing with our own disappointments during this time. You will have good days and bad days. You will yell when you don’t want to. You will give a consequence when you should have given a redo. Don’t focus on the things you did wrong. Repair mistakes with your kids. Set realistic expectations for them and for you. Move forward knowing that each day is a chance to get it right. For both YOU and your CHILD.