Monday, June 06, 2011
Being there for THAT Moment
I finished Bruce Perry's, The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing yesterday. Wow! What an amazing book full of insights about the brain and kids and all kinds of other stuff.
One of the things that I'm taking with me from the book is the idea of a vicious cycle and a virtuous cycle. He is comparing several of the kids that he worked with and asking why some of them seemed to turn around and head in the right direction while others seemed to have more and more things added to their lives as time went on that headed them further and further down a path of dysfunction.
In speaking about kids who start out with trauma or neglect before the age of three (which describes most if not all of my kids), he says that some overcome it and some don't and that we are never really sure what things are going to trigger a shift from the vicious to the virtuous cycle. He says that sometimes only one statement given at the right time by the right person can cause that shift.
With some of our kids it just seems as though they aren't getting it and that the choices they make are taking them farther and farther away from emotional health. Others seem to be making progress -- some more slowly than others.
One of the other things that he mentioned was the need for repetitive and consistent routines -- something that we have tried to do throughout our parenting. There is healing of the brain in those things.
He also mentioned that even with healthy developing children, there are those key moments which can lead a child in one direction or another. He mentioned a child who hears from a teacher that he is gifted in art, believes it, pursues it, and eventually becomes an excellent artist. That one comment began a series of choices and other comments that lead upward.
I don't necessarily feel like I'm a good parent. And I don't know that I personally have done enough to help the brains of my kids heal. But possibly there is that moment when things click and the cycle changes from vicious to virtuous. And I want to be there for that moment.
Even if it doesn't come, I'd like to be here just in case. And it's my contention that the likelihood of that moment happening is increased exponentially if a child is in an adoptive home with committed loving parents who are providing that stability and routine -- and those potential moments in time that can change lives.
So if you're feeling a bit frustrated today -- just remember, today could be the day that something you say or do clicks - that moment in time that shifts one of your kids from one path to another or begins them on a new path...
So join me as I attempt to live today -- engaged in it fully -- with the intention of being there for THAT moment -- just in case today is the day.