10 Reasons Why You Need to Understand Trauma and Its Effect on Your Family. Resilience Is Possible With a Plan in Place and Knowledge to See You Through.
Judging by the fact you are on a site called PreparednessMama, I’m going to safely assume you are a planner or at least feel a desire to be one. Preparedness is based on making plans: emergency plans, planning a kit, planning a garden, and so on and so forth. I live for planning and checklists, and those sweet moments when my plan runs like a well-oiled machine.
What makes these moments so sweet, my friends? They are rare, and plans almost never actually do come together without a bit of work on our part!
I was invited to speak at a preparedness fair in Lake Oswego, Oregon this week. I love speaking! Love it! I’ve spoken many times on preparedness topics – from canning to emergency kits, and lately, I’ve written a lot about preparing with kids here on the website.
This time I’ve been asked to speak on the topic I’m most passionate about but few enjoy hearing about; helping kids cope with trauma. It seems that we like the clean topics, the ones we can control and package up with a bow. These make us feel empowered.
The idea of trauma, especially when our kids are involved, feels like getting punched in the gut. It’s coming face to face with being powerless. We can’t control when, where, or what that traumatic event might be happening. And we know little about preparing for its psychological effects.
The truth is we are all unprepared for trauma, life made, man-made, or nature made.
Trauma and Children
I began studying about trauma in 2011 with an emphasis in children. I dug into research papers, reading and, gathering information and sources from everywhere. I thought I’d figured it out. But like most students seeking higher education, God decided I needed an internship, even some hands-on practical learning. My husband joined the military.
Shortly into my husband’s deployment, I had a profound realization while holding a crying child in my arms in the middle of the night. My family was showing the symptoms of trauma! I watched a daughter deal with regression and another deal with anger.
I’ve spent countless nights soothing nightmares, and wiping tears. I’ve had conversations with therapists and I’ve experienced the cognitive fog and inability to concentrate that comes with a brain high on stress. Yes, even I was struggling with trauma.
I watched and I learned how to navigate the messy waters of a family coping with trauma and stress. Sometimes we made mistakes, okay even frequently, and sometimes we made good strides in coping. The truth is I’m still learning and we are still trying to cope. It’s a daily battle of redefining ourselves.
Talking it out can help us understand trauma
A lot of research has come out since I began my journey. I’ve learned a lot from friends who have opened up their hearts to share their wisdom and struggles dealing with their trauma. All together I’ve experienced a shift in my understanding, compassion, and approach to dealing with trauma.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is the vital importance of understanding trauma and the principles of resilience and coping. I’d like to invite you to learn with me and from me on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, from 5-7pm PST I will be doing a Facebook LIVE of the presentation. You can comment with any questions you may have or anything you’d like me to cover in more depth and Friday I will have as many answers for you as possible. I’m really excited to interact with you on a different platform.
Until then let me leave you with a few ideas why you need to understand trauma.
10 reasons why you need to understand trauma
- Everyone encounters stress and trauma in their life, even children.
- You can’t control everything that happens to you or your family.
- The skills for healthy coping are the very skills that mitigate trauma’s effects.
- Practicing now means you’ll be proficient when you need the skills the most.
- Developing the skills to see you through trauma is a step outside your comfort zone. Take the step now while you still have a comfort zone.
- Trauma is based on each person’s perception of the event just as much as the actual event. You have some control of your perception.
- Children are affected by trauma twice; first through the event and second through how the adults in their lives react to it. How would they fare from your response?
- Trauma alters the neurological pathways and processes of the brain. With the right tools and consistency, you can rewire it.
- Learning the symptoms of trauma means you can recognize the need for intervention and support.
- You need these skills as much as your children.
We are obsessed with making preparations and planning here at PreparednessMama. But we also believe Mike Tyson is right, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Coping with trauma skills are what you will need the most after a bit of life, mother nature, and the next disaster takes a few jabs at you.