Caring for survivors of trauma starts with kindness and understanding
Children and teens who have experienced trauma have a unique set of needs. Giving these youth the highest quality support starts with kindness and an understanding of how trauma impacts their processing and behaviors.
“Compassion helps us to have more realistic expectations and understand that a child isn’t necessarily being willful or belligerent--he is just trying to survive the best he can within his mental limitations and social understanding.” (The Connected Child)
Youth who have known abuse and neglect need to know that the caregivers in their lives are for them and that they will face challenges together. Here are a few of the trauma-effective strategies based on Trust-Based Relational Intervention that we use in our children's residential center to show our youth how much we care and want the best for them.
Because we have a heart for youth from hard places, we...
Always have water and healthy snacks available so they never have to worry about being hungry or needing to steal food.
Provide structure and safety through routine and supervision because when they feel safe, they are more ready to trust and grow.
Offer nightlights and weighted blankets to make bedtime feel safe.
Learn their love language to help them feel valued.
Include recreation time in their daily schedule to play together and help our kids stay connected to their bodies.
Use music to engage and build relationships.
Come alongside them in the classroom to make it a safe place and show support for their unique abilities.
Provide sensory tools and spaces.
Offer redos so our kids have the opportunity to do it right without shame and learn new ways to get their needs met.
Offer personal time outs when a reset is helpful.
Acknowledge their feelings and teach them new ways of coping.
Care about their bio/foster/adoptive families and desire for the whole family to be successful.
Train our staff in safety and trauma care.
Tell them and show them their true worth in Christ.
Many of these strategies can be implemented in homes, classrooms, church settings, etc. so that awesome kids from difficult circumstances have the supports to thrive in community.