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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

ROUTINE AND THE TRAUMATIZED CHILD

Most of us know that ROUTINE can be key in helping a traumatized child remain regulated... Out of the ordinary days, unplanned activities, schedules shuffled, and no specific routine can wreak havoc on their little hearts.  Yet sometimes, especially during the summer months, it cannot be helped.

We can keep a symbolic schedule, but we are not doing school full time, camps come up, the lake is there calling our name, and we have more visitors.

For a child with a trauma background, dysregulation can creep in quickly and without warning, as they feel a loss of control.... Picture a cat in water. :) You may try to get the cat out of the water, they desperately WANT you to, but they may scratch you on the way out.....

Our day was sort of like that the other day.  I think Alli just needed a release. She held it together pretty well when I was at camp with the girls. It was the first time we had not been together. I talked with Daddy, Anna and Alli every night...  but I was gone.
When we got home, the month of no school began and everybody was getting back to normal, minus a schedule.
THEN, we had company over 3 nights in a row!  That is something unusual for us.  So, yesterday was a bit of a "fall apart" day for all of us!
I think we were all a little dysregulated!  Exhaustion set in, I raised my voice when trying to get a room cleaned out and guest bed set up in case we need it for John.  That went over like a lead balloon. :(
We all took a break and everything seemed fine.

Then, last night, it was time for family worship.  Alli is usually excited about it. Today, not so. It is the one thing we DO keep a schedule for. Maybe that confused her, since everything else is off....

She said, "Why are we doing this today?" "What if I DON'T WANT TO!"  When asked her to sit quietly,  she  began to argue.... to have the last word.... to get her point across!   I could see that we needed to step back and not head straight into a storm.
So, instead of sitting in my chair, and instead of asking her to come and sit with me, I went and sat with her.
After we finished singing, Daddy wanted to discuss Sunday's Sermon and explain it a little more.  I played with Alli's fingers and helped her find her place in the scripture and I could feel her body begin to rest... and then, she whispered in my ear...."I'm sorry mommy."  I smiled, and we all relaxed and enjoyed listening to daddy for a few minutes.  At prayer time to volunteered to pray and all was much better.

I don't think she understands why she gets so dysregulated, any more than I understand why I got dysregulated trying to prepare a room..... it just happens sometimes.  And it is wrong.

Our new norm has kicked in full force and I actually have a happy girl this a.m. :)  I think now that she realizes it is summer and some things remain the same, and some things don't, she'll be ok, and won't feel like the cat thrown in the water. :)

I can see where I should have prepared her more for what summer was going to be like. I was so worried about leaving for camp, I did a good job of preparing her for that, and forgot about the rest of the month.
I think she is really going to be able to enjoy the summer..... so far, she has played BARBIES non stop, as well as playing outside.

I guess the next step will be to prepare her for the school year.... LOL

2 comments:

Annie said...

I wish I could come live with you, and watch and learn. I am really radish myself lately.

From childhood, probably, I am tuned to summer being time at home. Unfortunately, our new pastor expects me to work....not full-time exactly, but "light". Well, I don't have a heart to work at all! So every day I am struggling with how much I'll stay home, how much I'll go to work - as well as trying to fit in everyone else's "stuff" - Sergei's drivers' ed; Anastasia's tennis, Maxim's counseling, MY counseling....and yesterday there was a staff meeting thrown in. I literally feel sick inside over it. I know I need a schedule or at least to time myself, something - Could you come be my mommy? I feel like I need one.

Mike and Christie said...

Annie, you schedule sounds grueling! I so would love to visit with you and sip tea! :)

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