It’s a valid question for most of us. I don’t know how you were raised, but for me, when it came to “bad” behavior no excuses were made. Tired? Power through it. Stressed? Deal with it. Angry? Don’t take it out on someone else. Those were all very familiar responses to a person’s state of being and any resulting behaviors in the house where I grew up. And guess what, it’s logical, right? Be accountable for the way you treat others and the way you interact with the world.
Now let’s throw a wrench Into that school of thought. For people who have experienced trauma it’s not as easy as bucking up, getting over it, or just letting it slide. It’s now scientifically verified that trauma causes wiring in the brain that remains in place long after the traumatic situation has passed. This means that the physiological response to a situation precedes the intellectual/logical response. In the world of foster care and children from hard places this can mean that the behaviors that caregivers, teachers, authority figures and others may experience are not as cut and dry as they seem.
Becoming aware and educated is a vital part of seeing children from hard places thru a trauma lens. The ability to discern the difference between manipulation and need, defiance and fear, and hyper active vs. hungry can literally make the difference in a child’s life. Avoiding labels that create self-fulfilling prophecies is crucial and opens the door for caregivers to teach effective ways to address the programmed trauma responses embedded in these kids.
This week on the Mamas Well Podcast, Ann Marie Ronsman, the Executive Director of CASA Montgomery County gives insight through her personal experience with her adoptive children and talks about the trauma informed approach she advocates throughout Montgomery County, Texas.