Brains that fire together, wire together: Children heal in family relationship that are based on attunement, nonjudgement, and structure. Children act badly because they feel badly about themselves, their world, and caregivers. Traumatized children will re-act out their trauma inside of themselves despite their outer circumstances. You can rewire a child’s brain by allowing them to have new, positive experiences. This requires parents to focus on attachment as well as behavior. When they are in the middle of a meltdown, try to “connect, then re-direct”. Use short, concise words oozing with empathy. Once the child is calm, engage (don’t enrage) the child’s thinking brain to come up with ways they can “clean up the mess” that has been made. There is no shame in this scenario. Just learning how to repair a relationship and build connections. If forgiveness needs to be asked for or given, help the child go through the steps with you or another person. Have them write, draw or act out what “yucky” thought they were thinking and then come up with opposite, more positive thoughts.
Brains are malleable and experience dependent: This may sound confusing but it is a hope-filled statement! No matter what your child’s trauma, he or she can heal. Malleability means flexible and plastic. It can repair through new, healing experiences. Our brains are also experience dependent which means that if they learn negative ways to think and act (surviving), then they can re-learn positive ways to think and act (thriving). This may require that we turn down the sensitivity of the “fight and flight” system in the brain that sees everything as a threat or potential harm. This is why children sabotage good things in their life. They don’t believe they deserve it. We can change this perspective by teaching them how to repair after a rupture (disconnection) through forgiveness and “cleaning up our messes” and by learning who God creating them to be. Our “orphans” have orphan mentality that must be rewired. When we are traumatize, we believe lies about ourselves that are inherently negative. Take these thoughts captive and replace them with new ideas about who they are as “son’s and daughters”.
Get more information on holding a trauma-informed, attachment focused, and faith-based seminar for your organization or association by contacting Ron at firstname.lastname@example.org