Often when a family has hit rock bottom with a child, the last thing parents have space for is to try something new. Even harder is to try something that is so counterintuitive. To the skeptical observer, trust-based parenting tools may seem permissive and the opposite of what parents so often want kids to understand which is cause and effect. However, felt-safety comes before cause and effect thinking just like walking comes before running. Felt-safety is tricky because parents often know that their child is safe, but the key is that the child has to feel safe. Providing felt-safety for kids from hard places can feel ridiculous to rational adults.
Here is some encouragement from real life experience if you’re feeling exasperated:
My kiddo is not capable of understanding cause and effect right now. [Needing] healing in her brain and inability to trust are preventing that. She can’t get it even if she wants to. Restitution type stuff ended us in the darkest place we’ve ever been. Even when it was calmly handled. She felt like her failure and lack of worth we’re being thrown in her face confirming what she already knew. Even though we were loving her through it and calmly proceeding and told her of her worth and our love constantly. The fear and failure was happening 24/7 making cause and effect impossible (I can say that [because] were 5 yeas in and have literally exhausted cause and effect type stuff). What has worked has been our trauma therapist, trained [in] TBRI, giving us tools to help regulate her when she lies, yells, gets violent etc. It did not seem to be working at all at first, but four weeks in I can see her brain is already starting to heal in a way that we have not experienced in 5 years. She had no remorse or any desire to do anything asked of her or change her behavior at all for any reason. Today she woke up smiling (unmmmmm this is a COMPLETE miracle) and told me she doesn’t know what’s happening but she doesn’t feel afraid all the time. For her to communicate more than 2 words in 3 Days without them being screamed at us is HUGE. For her to have clarity to share this was even more of a miracle. Her brain is getting a break from the fear, [so] she [can] start to understand things better. This was just our experience. I wanted to share because I was personally hitting rock bottom trying everything with nothing working for sooooo long. Also our daughter is 15.
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