I have been thinking a lot lately about trauma informed care and education from a Christian perspective. The secular world discusses trauma with a bent towards the person who experienced trauma as being a victim. The Christian perspective says the person who experienced trauma is a survivor. The survivor is victorious because Romans 8:28 says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” God is in control. He is sovereign.
These thoughts, of course, come from dealing with our little lady and the secular educational and therapeutic systems in which we are engaged. I live differently than those systems prescribe. I have faith in Jesus. That means I know where my help comes from; it comes from the Lord.
The secular educational and therapeutic systems have some good to offer, certainly. However, their foundations rely on “self” and teaching the child to conform (or give-in) to worldly systems. At the moment, I am not feeling like the secular systems are respectful of our Christian perspectives on parenting, discipline, and family. We believe that respect is important. We believe in consequences for actions. We believe that it is best to hold tight to boundaries and not give in when a little lady is pushing with all her might. We believe that consistency is important.
We believe it is ok to tell a kid to “knock it off” when they are out of line. In fact, it is kind to do that. It is ok to take a time-out and get ourselves under control. It is just fine to tell a kid that they may not call and adult a nasty name, kick her, or threaten her. If our little darling does do this, she will have a consequence. We have a corner with her name on it.
The secular world says that this outburst is the trauma talking, so we must walk on eggshells around our kiddo. Let her get it out. Let her try to get herself under control. I say, “YES, it is the trauma talking,” but we must respond to her in a different way. It is OK to say, “Child, you are victorious over all that has happened in your life. You are a survivor. God has a plan and a purpose for you. He is in control, so you don’t have to be.” It is good to acknowledge that what happened was horrible. It is better to follow that up with a charge for her to pick up her mat and follow Jesus. Her healing comes from Him. Her peace comes from Him. Prayer is a good course of action, too.
The secular system encourages reward charts and prizes. Our kid eats the reward charts. Seriously. We want her to learn to be motivated intrinsically. It is really a heart issue. What does she desire, and why? For a kid with Reactive Attachment Disorder, they desire chaos. They desire to be in control. To spin the world out of control because that feels best to them. This begs the question – how can we encourage her to develop a heart that is chasing after Jesus instead of chaos; a heart that wants to love, and not wound; a heart that wants to listen instead of furiously scream at anyone in range?
I can tell you it isn’t created with external reward. It isn’t created by yelling. It isn’t created by mere consequences. It is grown from a tiny seed through encouragement, love, ridiculous consistency, and adults modeling a walk of faith. We must also hold a hard and fast line on what is right and wrong. She will not learn that without a ton of guidance. All of this is impossible on my own. I must rely on faith to walk this walk with her. It is just too big and too difficult without God.
Peace and love to you all!