Helping a child work through past trauma and learn to trust again is not necessarily the easiest of tasks. Once you have gotten him or her past it, however, the smiles and trust are well worth all the time and effort. While each child is different, there are some general things that each one will need in order to heal.
Sensitivity. You need to be able to determine exactly what emotions the child is feeling. Often these kids hide their feelings and it is necessary to help them give a name to the emotions and learn to deal with them.
Responsiveness. Let the child know you understand their feeling and do something that will help alleviate the difficult emotions. By responding with a comforting gesture, you help the child learn the feeling can be dealt with effectively.
Follow the child. Trust that the child will know when he is ready to move forward. Don’t try to force anything that may cause him to feel threatened by you. It will take time.
Share emotional events. Being able to see you feeling the same emotions will help the child understand it is okay to feel and express his own. Let them see you laugh, love and even cry.
Create a safe haven. Many of these children have never felt safe and secure. Give them a place within your home where these things are a normal part of the environment. Let them know you won’t hurt or desert them.
Patience and love. Let the child know that love is not a sometimes thing but is readily available regardless of the situation. Be patient with the steps backward and help them know you still love them.
About the Author
Laurie Colton is the owner of A Is 4 Adoption, a licensed and bonded California adoption facilitation center. Laurie and her dedicated staff are committed to answering all of your questions and concerns for adoption in California. She believes in providing all the necessary support to adoptive parents so that they make an informed decision and easy transition. She endeavors so that no parent will ever face the same pitfalls that she did while adopting her daughter.