On our first trip to the beach after the recent adoption of four siblings ,the suburban descended into the tunnel. I turned towards the children to check anxiety levels- visible precursors to meltdowns. The underground/underwater tunnel was a new experience for the newbie Guires. The question looming in my mind? Was it a trigger? What would it bring to the surface?
Everything was quiet. We continued into the dark, cool, depths. Eldest son began a monotone tale of his pre-orphanage life. Youngest son and daughter whimpered and held my hand.
When a hurt child is confronted with a trigger, he can’t hold it together anymore. Whatever is buried deep within will come out one way or another. If it is not released verbally through confession, it will release physically. Hurt children tend to release pain through behaviors. Recognizing these behaviors and meeting the child where he is and understanding where he has been gives us parents an opportunity to connect.
When eldest son shared a chapter of his story- his past from his perspective, I was able to connect with him on a deeper level. I could read another chapter in book of his life. Life is not a linear event with each of us being parallel lines. It is a series of intersections. The more we intersect; the more connected we are.
Connecting with our children during a meltdown requires sacrifice. During the tunnel revelation, I wanted to shutdown and have my own panic attack because I don’t like tunnels. Instead, I focused on holding the hands of whimpering little ones and connecting with eldest son.
Don’t be too impressed, I have indulged in many meltdowns, but that’s another post!
On my newbies first day to homeschool co-op, my brave bee-catcher boy had a meltdown in class, “I want my mama!” and teacher delivered him to me. I had a baby on one hip, another attached at the arm and I wrapped bee-catcher boy into the fold.
I had many moms advising me to detach my children and ship them off to class or Sunday school, children’s church, etc.. Why? How does that even make sense? The goal was to attach to these children.
When teens rebel, dye their hair blue, pierce and tattoo themselves, cut themselves, drink and do drugs, experts say it is a cry for help. I say they stopped crying out a long time ago. They are trying to self sooth and handle the pain on their own at this stage of the game. They are in the silent years-lost without any hope of connection. Not that connection is hopeless, they have lost hope. It’s like the eerie silence of the orphanage nursery when babies shut down.
“Healing sprouts up all around you when you change your way of operating from protecting your rights or correcting others to connecting with others. You model it for your kids, and then they spread the connection virus to others. It becomes a way of life that promotes healing versus the old way of disconnection that robs your soul of the nurture from others that is so needed for healing.” – Steve Arterburn
To be continued…… Watch for Part 2!