Children from hard places have altered belief systems.
What is one firmly held belief you have? Stop for just a second and think of one. Got it? Good. What would it take me to convince you that your belief isn’t true? Could I? Could I in a two hour period? How about a week? A month? A year?
Beliefs — an altered belief system, or the lens through which they see the world. “Some children, in fact, refuse reward systems. They refuse to be involved in a system that challenges their negative view of the world. They may find rewards anxiety-producing. Systems also force them to accept responsibility for their actions. And, while children may be shame-filled, they typically have a difficult time accepting responsibility following early years filled with neglect. They react to having to accept appropriate amounts of guilt”(Nurturing Adoptions). They may think, I would rather have everyone give up on me; it’s easier.
Every Child who comes to us through adoption/foster Care Has a History.
We must remember that each child that comes in that door has a history. That includes a culture that may be greatly different than the one that we live in our own homes. We can’t expect these kids to maintain the same beliefs about themselves and about the world around them. We may truly believe that each child that comes in that door is precious. That doesn’t mean they believe that.The child’s history and the impacts of that history often work together to shape many of the child’s most deeply held beliefs. This includes beliefs about parents, caregivers, teachers, ministry leaders, relationships, themselves and you.
Some common beliefs for kids who have had trauma are:
People don’t help me because I’m not worthy.
If I am lovable, someone wouldn’t have treated me this way.
Everyone is going to leave me.
I’m the bad kid, I might as well act like it.
Remember abuse and neglect. Abuse says I don’t like you, and Neglect says You don’t exist. These become firmly held beliefs.
Key to remember-In order to help children from hard places begin to change their deeply held beliefs, they will need to consistently experience the truth of what they are being told, not simply hear it.
Want to hear more about the fourth B Affected by Trauma – Beliefs? Listen to Episode of Positive Adoption and be sure to download your free printable resource -“How Trauma Affects Kids.”