One of the most talked about breakout sessions
at Hope at Home 2012 was Greg Haswell's talk on "Speaking Life Into
Your Child." This resonates with every parent, adoptive or not. but oh
how life-giving it is to parent our children from hard places this way.
This is worth your time to listen to!
“I would like to make a hearing for the fatherless child that is right here. In America. In your town. Maybe even your next door neighbor. It is time we see the fatherless right in front of us. To take that a step further, we can no longer step over the gang members dying in our streets, the teenage pregnant girl who is deciding if she should keep it, or trafficking victim that is robbed of her life and innocence. We can no longer step over the fatherless child in the ditch – in the name of justice – to send aid to another country.
Loving your neighbor means loving the person right in front of you. Justice is not justice unless it helps the person right in front of you. In the eyes of God, there is no favoritism. The scales of justice are balanced: the international orphan and the fatherless child next door are equals. But from my observation the scales of justice have been tilted, heavily in favor of the international effort – the children in Africa, China, Haiti, or Mexico. The scales of justice are imbalanced.
The need is right in front of us. We are called to see the fatherless. We are called to join our Creator, as John Ronald writes, to be subcreators – co-laborers with Him in protecting, providing for, and defending the fatherless. It is time we see the fatherless in our community – in our backyard, and to love our neighbor by doing something about it.” John Sowers
Healing trauma in children means creating safety for the child. It also requires caregivers to become sensitive to the child's sensory reactions. When we know or suspect that a child has been traumatized, we can help children communicate their distress both with and without words. The quality of eye contact, facial expression, posture, gesture, timing and intensity of response can soothe even a child too young for words.
What does my child need?
1. Understanding the Divorce
Your child needs to have an age appropriate understanding of the immediate circumstances. Children tend to live fantasies and we need to help them separate their fantasies and fears from reality.
2. They need to be allowed to remain children.
It isn't the child's responsibility to become the man of the house or take on the Mommy's role. This doesn't mean it will not be necessary for everyone to work even more as a team, but the child should never try to or be allowed to fill their parents shoes.
3. Deal with losses, anger, and feelings of guilt.
Children must not only deal with the loss of a parent from daily life; they must also come to grips with the loss of an intact family. They may experience deep anger or resentment toward their parent for ending the marriage and even toward the one who wasn't able to keep it together. After-all, they have been divorced too. They often feel guilty and wonder if they are to blame. Your child needs to be able to speak to you or someone aout how they are feeling and assured and reassured that they are not at fault, and that their anger is normal. They need to be taught how to release that anger appropriately through proper communication and with someone they trust and feel safe with. They DO NOT need to be made to feel guilty if they would rather talk to someone other than their parents.
4. Deal with the finality of the divorce.
Children can and will hold onto fantasies for years. To a child divorce can be more difficult than death because there is always the hope of reunification. Parents can reconcile, but a child does not think in the abstract. They need to know it is final. If later a reconciliation takes place then the child will have other important issues to work through; such as another divorce happening, rejection etc. For the time being the divorce is final and they need to adjust to daily living without the other parent in the home.
BOTH parents need to help their child understand that they are loved and they can love. Praying with your children and teaching them their identity is found in God's love for them.