The True Strength of Children
How often have we heard, “Children are resilient”? As Dr, Bruce Perry says, “Children are not resilient; they are malleable.” (Of an object, malleable means “able to be changed in shape by force or pressure”; of a child it is used to mean “impressionable, adaptable”.)
Not too long ago it was believed that trauma was relatively inconsequential for children, as they were thought to “forget it”, or “get over it”. As Dr Perry points out, of course they “get over it”; what other choice do they have?
With the advent of the historic Adverse Childhood Experiences Study by Felliti and Anda, it became obvious that childhood traumas cast long shadows.
The good news is that children do have special strength that may often be invisible to an adult viewpoint…
Children and adults see and experience the world quite differently. Children lack the mental and emotional development and depth of experience that adults have. They also lack the often extensive array of troubling experiences linked by triggering events that adults have built up over the years.
We know now that childhood trauma causes later harm. The parallels revealed in the ACEs Study are unmistakable. What to do about it? Adult ideas can blind us to the true strengths of children.
While children ideally have protection from most severe events by their parents and care-takers, there is no use to try and protect them from the memory of something bad, after it has happened.
Those memories are there to stay – conscious or subconscious – unless and until we take effective steps to free children from their effects. You may have heard or read the limiting beliefs of some professionals who will tell you, in various words, that children cannot process trauma effectively. Don’t believe it!
The good news is children can be champions at making use of Traumatic Incident Reduction. In fact they have less fear and less urge than adults to repress painful memories, once they understand that we can do something effective to take the pain away. Children are willing participants in the work and they achieve lasting results faster than most adults can believe is possible. Precisely because they do not have the decades of experience and the layers of hurtful memories interlaced with triggering events, children can reach end points quite quickly. Free from the burden of a traumatic memory, a child can use the energy and attention thus released to live grow and learn.
If you want help for a child you know, use the find a practitioner link.
If you wish to help children using Traumatic Incident Reduction, Take the first level TIR Workshop, followed by the specialized TIR for Children training. See the link for information on available training.
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