This content is very useful for foster carers, adopters and professionals as the themes relate to parenting and living with children who experienced – maltreatment and/or neglect and/or frequent changes of carers. There are many metaphors, examples and diagrams which can be used to understand trauma and explain its impact to adults and children.
Most articles below appeared in Adoption Today, the bi-monthly magazine of Adoption UK, a charity which supports adopters before, during and after adoption
The articles are roughly grouped by content. Some have audios to download.
Early intervention is cost effective and morally right. First published in April 2008, this article demonstrates the cost benefit of early intervention. Although the actual costs have changed the principles are equally valid today. A decade later the child in this case study did not have a good outcome.
THIS ARTICLE IS VERY RELEVANT NOW AS THE ADOPTION SUPPORT FUND IS BEING CAPPED.
Trauma comes in different sizes and intensities. This article offers both a metaphor and formula for measuring trauma. Quantifying damage can help explain why children behave how they do and why early intervention, truth telling and understanding is vital.
Invisible wounds don’t stop hurting
By comparing and contrasting two different parents (including “a mother like Alex”) the challenges of parenting attachment disordered children becomes clear. Both the financial costs and emotional costs are compared.
Child abuse victims need more than just our shock and horror
Newspaper articles brings child abuse into “normal peoples” lives. Sympathy is not enough. Repair, healing, truth telling is needed to future proof children.
Facebook: direct contact with no safeguards (Part 1)
First of two articles published in 2010 exploring the threat of Facebook, whats happening plus the link to identity, teenage angst and loss of control when birth family enter adopters homes via the internet.
Facebook: The Shame and the Shadow (Part 2)
Adopted children need an enduring safe place to grow, create a solid sense of self and to melt the pervasive shame their early maltreatment created. The need for therapeutic reparenting and truth telling is explored.
TOXIC PARENTING & TOXIC SHAME
The impact of toxic parenting
Based on Susan Foreward’s 6 categories of toxic parents (inadequate, controlling, alcoholic, physical, sexual & verbal abusers,) this article steps into the childs shoes and highlights the distortions it creates plus tools for healing.
John Bradshaws model explains how the “wonder” child can be contaminated by trauma and toxic parenting. The different developmental stages of children (based on Erik Erikson’s model) is explained with impact of deficiencies.
FUTURE-PROOFING: WHERE HINDSIGHT MEETS FORETHOUGHT
Helen reflects on the different interactions between “normal” and “traumatised” children with their families at a festival. Trust, responsibility, therapeutic reparenting and prioritising the need of children.
Neglect as a traumatic experience. Sensory triggers, metaphorical shrapnel, trauma triggered behaviour, bubble wrap and need for coherent narrative.
Mind your language
Words have a big effect. Examples of how to be clearer with your communication to assist your child achieve better outcomes and reframe events.
What do you and they really need for Christmas?
Christmas brings heightened expectations, so focus on childrens enduring needs not short term wants . and yes that may disappoint some adults – including your family. Plus glorious ‘gifts’ others can give you and the family.
Audio: Need for Christmas mp3 – to follow
Jigsaw of truth: why, what and how
Children need to know their history, it shapes how they see themselves, hence key to their identity. Life story ‘work’ must honour the child’s somatic (body) experiences and memory.
FRESH PERSPECTIVES, TOOLS, FLOW, VALUES
Valuing our needs
Our needs and values affect our motivation and behaviour. Children whose early developmental needs were not met have an emptiness inside. Often their ‘nonsensical’ behaviour is a window into their inner turmoil and deficits, if we can read the cues. Maslow and Barrets models illustrate the concepts.
Increase the flow with a SUD
Being in the flow is a useful state. Reduction of anxiety by increasing skills and a method of measuring “Subjective Units of Distress” which can help children callibrate hurt, pain and trauma. (Part 1 of flow articles).
Are you a boiled frog
Maintaining ones identity is vital to keep self concept strong. Boredom stems from repetition of events, even being stolen from. With sufficient skill; flow is possible. (Part 2 of flow articles).
Criteria for matching a child to a new set of parents is often vague and subjective. We need robust measurement and techniques that will enable placements to last.
Why are these children any different?
Written primarily for teachers this article explains why and how children who have experienced maltreatment and neglect have a legacy of trauma which impacts their ongoing life