“I love you no matter what, and you’re staying, regardless.” Those are powerful words Paulette spoke in the No Matter What Families video, What Do My Child’s Behaviors Mean? Sometimes you may just feel like giving up. Or that you are not enough. When I was deeply struggling in parenting my adopted sibling group, my mom would tell me, “Just wait, they’re going to change, just like that.” Well, she was right. Things got better as my husband and I continually educated ourselves on trauma and when my kids could see they weren’t going anywhere. However, it wasn’t “just like that.” It took years and years to build trust, and the effects of trauma linger even as they enter their teen years and adulthood. But we are always there for them, as Paulette says, no matter what.
Paulette is a foster, adoptive and biological mother. She speaks from her heart and has done the work to be the best parent she can be for the children in her care. She is always reflecting on her actions and has learned to focus on what is behind the behavior. She shares that “once she learned” and “when she understood,” she changed her parenting style to meet her children where they were. It might not be where we want them to be, and behavior improvements can be slower than we may like, but our job is to help our children feel safe and loved, no matter what.
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Many of our Coalition resources came to mind as I watched Paulette’s video. If you have had the same kinds of experiences as Paulette, you might want to check out the resources below to help you understand the behavior of the children in your care.
- Do you have snacks readily available, but the child in your care still “steals” or hoards food? Do they eat and eat and eat until they feel physically sick? Watch Beyond Picky Eating to understand what could be driving this behavior.
- Does your wallet regularly have small amounts of money missing? Does the child in your care deny taking a toy from a sibling even though you saw them walk away with it and found it hidden in their bedroom? Our online course Lying & Stealing: Why They Happen and What You Can Do and our webinar Lying as Trauma-Driven Behavior can help you understand how trauma drives these behaviors and how changing just a few things about the way you parent can make a child feel safe.
- Children who have experienced trauma will present behaviors that can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Our Virtual Resource Kit: Looking at Challenging Behaviors via a Trauma-Informed Lens is a collection of resources that will help you understand how trauma and fear are the foundation for negative behaviors.
As always, we are here to support you on your parenting journey. Contact us at 414-475-1246 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your specific questions or concerns. We will help you find the resources that best fit your family.