Inevitably, when working with couples, I end up assisting parents with their children. Besides, that’s what we relational life therapists espouse – evolving the emotional and relational health in the generational line.
On two recent occasions, I reminded disheartened parents that of course, it is difficult for kids to experience trauma – whether it is “Trauma” with a capital “T” or trauma with a lower case “t.” That’s a given.
But it is a worse secondary trauma for no one to help the children process the pain. Adults add to the injury when they deny an event and “move on” as if nothing happened.
I get it. Most of us are well-meaning. There is some fantasy that if we avoid talking about hard things and painful feelings, they will go away. Talking about it will make it worse for the child.
Bluntly, that is bullshit.
It is in the recognition of the reality of the child’s suffering and the validation of understandable feelings from an older adult that the young person has a chance of coming through the trauma less scathed.
Children are resilient. They can survive many horrors. And, it is our job, as the adult, to help them do such with as few emotional consequences as possible.
So, use words. Model. Admit the painful truth. Talk about the distress, the hurt and the fear. They may act like they don’t want to hear it. But you need to say it. And they are listening.
For the rise of your life …