The RIGHT ways to help a family heal
No, we may never look like the neighbor’s neurotypical family whose kids were loved and cherished since birth. The scars of trauma will always be there. However, peace, healing, and the ability to function as decent humans (and as a family) are still possible! Yes, it’s also possible to even find joy in the journey, too.
I realize that is a pretty bold statement! It’s true, though. My family is living proof of it. We were once deemed one of the most difficult and hopeless cases in our state. We are definitely not that anymore.
The Purpose of Pillars
Technically defined, a pillar is a strong, slender, upright column that provides crucial support and helps holds a building up. There is never only one pillar in a functioning structure, though. They work as a team with the other pillars to each carry part of the load. If one pillar fails or becomes weak, the weight of the structure is distributed to the other pillars.
Here’s the catch, though. If too much weight is carried by any one pillar, or if the pillars are too far apart, or if some of them are missing, the structure will sag and eventually collapse. In order to properly support the weight of an entire building, each pillar must be of equal size and strength and there must be enough of them in place to properly distribute the load.
Healing a family affected by complex trauma, mental illness, or prenatal substance exposure works much the same way. If certain key elements, or pillars, are in place, healing will happen for ourselves and for our kids. If they aren’t, or if they aren’t equally balanced or not strong enough themselves to carry the load, things will sag and will eventually collapse.
Pillars of Healing
I’m a firm believer that the bulk of healing for ourselves, our kids, and our families happens at home, not in a therapist’s office. Yes, our kids will still need proper treatment from qualified providers, but it isn’t something that can be forced. They have to be ready for it and willing to participate in the process before it will be truly effective. In addition, the providers must be expertly trained specifically in treating whatever issues your child struggles with. Unfortunately, those types of providers don’t exist in every community.
What does exist, however, is you! Given the right tools, skills, support, and information, combined with doing things in the right order and helping the right person first, healing can and does happen for our kids and our families…even if you don’t have great mental health resources in your area.
Let’s talk about what those “right” things are. These are the true pillars of healing that will make the most difference for everyone!
The Right Person
This may surprise you, but the right person to help first isn’t our struggling kids. It’s MOM! This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned on this journey of parenting severely traumatized children.
You see, we moms are the hinge pin of the family. We are the ones who do all the things and take care of all the people. We moms are the ones who set the tone in the family, even though it often feels like our kids are the ones doing it. Lucky us, we moms are also the ones who get the brunt of all the special stuff our struggling kids can dish out.
It is essential that we know how to manage all of this without sinking ourselves in the process. If there is nothing left of us, we have nothing left to give. There will also be no one left to take over for us when that happens.
The Right Order
Contrary to common belief, learning therapeutic parenting isn’t the first step in healing! While yes, therapeutic parenting is important, it is very hard to do and downright impossible to sustain if the family is stuck in constant crisis mode and/or Mom has become traumatized herself by all the chaos.
Before any of the therapeutic stuff will stick for the long haul (or even be effective in the short run), we’ve got to calm the chaos and get MOM out of trauma mode! Neither of those things will happen with wishful thinking. It is imperative that we take specific steps and do things in the right order, especially as they relate to safety, in order to make all the pieces connect and work together.
The Right Information
There is a lot of information floating around in Cyberland about trauma and parenting traumatized kids. Some of it is really good. Some of it is woefully outdated, and some of it is just plain wrong and will ultimately do more harm than good. We want to make sure you have solid, up-to-date information about the specific conditions your child is dealing with and that you understand those conditions well enough yourself to be able to explain them to a 10-year-old kid, an 80-year-old grandma, and a resistant school district!
The Right Support
Finding buddies who are in the trenches with you and get your life is great. In fact, they may well save your sanity! However, our trench mates don’t usually know how to help us actually get out of chaos simply because most of them are still stuck in the thick of it themselves. In order to move forward and make real changes that stand the test of time, you will likely need help from someone who can validate your experience, understands all the complex dynamics and demands that come with of parenting an extremely difficult child, knows how to help you get out of trauma mode, can guide you through the rough spots, and can lead you down the path of healing for yourself and your family.
The Right Tools and Skills
Our special kids need special parenting. Run of the mill won’t work. What works for your neighbor or your sister’s kids probably won’t work either. Our kids need specialized therapeutic parenting that is designed to help them heal, keep their brains calm, and learn to trust themselves and their parents.
That type of parenting doesn’t come naturally to most of us. It’s a learned skill that takes a lot of practice! Most of our parents also need healthier coping skills, effective communication and relationship tools, and the ability to take MUCH better care of themselves than they have previously been doing.
You don’t have to do it alone!
In fact, trying to do it all on your own is much more likely to lead to failure than success. That isn’t what I want for you. Nor do I want you do have to learn things the hard way like I did when I tried to do it alone.
Parent Coaching is all about helping you learn and practice all these right things. It’s about helping you build those pillars of healing, climb out of chaos, restore peace and hope, and help you gain the tools and skills needed to do your job! Parent Coaching can also help you reverse the effects of burnout, find your own light again, and create real and lasting change in your family.
Here’s the best part! You don’t have to go anywhere in order to participate. If you’ve got internet access and a device with a camera, you’re good to go. You can participate right from the comfort of your own home (or wherever else you may happen to be) and get real help for yourself and your family.
No, the process isn’t always easy. Yes, it does require commitment, hard work, and investment. But it also WORKS!
If you’re ready to take the leap and do what it takes to make those right things happen and build your pillars of healing, I can help you do it. All it takes to get started is scheduling a completely free, no-obligation Parent Empowerment Session. Let’s figure out together if parent coaching is the right fit for you.
Schedule a FREE Parent Empowerment Session!
A Parent Empowerment session is a complimentary consultation session. We'll meet via video conference and spend about 60 minutes together looking at your unique situation, how the chaos is affecting everyone, and determine how or if Parent Coaching can help you turn things around, restore peace and order to your home and family, and reclaim the hope and joy you long for.