Children (and adults) who have been through great trauma often have issues that last for years. These include:
- FEARS-a never ending struggle to answer “Why me?” and lack of ability to face problems. This causes a person to ignore, procrastinate, refuse, and undermine every positive experience in life.
- UNWORTHINESS-Feelings of never being good enough, always believing one is inferior and inadequate. This person never feels they can please themselves or anyone else.
- PERFECTIONIST-Part of feeling unworthy; this causes a person to strive for unreachable goals, to never make a mistake and no position is high enough. This person is in constant denial and usually alienated from almost everyone else who cannot meet their high standards.
- DEPRESSION-Inability to see a positive outcome or to experience genuine emotion
- SENSITIVITY-Responds to most every person and statement by being defensive; believes everyone is looking at or talking about him/her and seeing a failure.
- NO SELF ESTEEM-Does not believe in him or herself and allows any influence to carry him along because he feels he does not matter anyway. Low or no self esteem destroys lives, dreams and relationships. A person with little to no self esteem never really feels loved. What a sad and tragic way to travel through life.
What can we do to help our precious little ones?
We can and should let them know they are not responsible for the situation they are placed in. Whatever happened to cause a break in the parental bond was done TO them, not BY them.
We can teach them to forgive the parent who chose self over them. Forgiveness does not mean restoration. It allows one to release the bond of resentment, hurt and confusion even if the person being forgiven never becomes aware.
Spirituality is an important part of healing damaged emotions. A personal relationship with God allows a person to know unconditional love and acceptance. A firm foundation grows where once there was quicksand. Pain surfaces often and the child or hurting adult knows she is not alone, but safe on solid ground.
Seek professional help when necessary. Many times children experience horrific situations before they come to live with us. Issues that arise from sexual or physical abuse are beyond the scope of the ordinary grandparent. It is okay to admit when we are in over our heads. Child therapists and psychologists are highly trained in these matters.
We can and should create a calm, uplifting, safe home for our grandchildren. An environment filled with chaos and confusion breeds the same, especially in one whose emotions are already damaged and on edge. Let them know this is their home; never refer to home as mine but as ours. They pick up on these little things and over-think them.
Always be gentle and loving. Children bring and cause stressful situations. We as Recycled Moms must learn to respond and not react when something is broken, wrong, or upset. I am reminded of the Bible and the Fruits of the Spirit. They are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Ephesians 5:22-23) If one is a believer in the Bible or not, these are great character qualities to seek and hone.
Love them unconditionally as Christ loves us. Tell the child they can never do anything that will cause you to stop loving them. Let them know your love is not dependent upon their behavior but upon the fact that they exist. It is enough and all else is just being human.
This is a very deep and serious subject, not one easily solved with a blog post. However a journey begins with one step and this may be your starting point. I wish you success, blessings and strong, happy children who will become productive and happy adults.