We live closely with our children. Other than a spouse, no one is more intimate in our lives than our little ones. But how well do we really know what is going on in their minds? We are Recycled Moms and Kinship Caregivers but sometimes forget they are Recycled Kids. Just as we lived through a trauma that brought them into our lives, they were in the middle of that emotional and often physical war. That leaves a deep impact, a post traumatic stress they must learn to cope with. Counseling and therapy help of course, but as each human being has a personal responsibility, our precious kids have to use the tools we give them and work it all out inside themselves.
The natural changes in personality that occur as children age is another concern. These must be guided in the way we want them to go so morals, values and character are not compromised. King David said of God in Psalm 16: 28, “You make known to me the path of life.” So we parents, grandparents and caregivers must open the eyes of our children to the life path before them. Everyone, regardless of circumstances, can have a happy, productive and successful life.To so guide a child, we must know who they really are, what they think about, like and dislike and what they want for themselves.
Some ways to do this are very simple. Habitually spend quiet time with each child. Take him or her to the park, sit on the bed at night, ask questions and patiently wait for answers. Do NOT use this time to reprimand, point out consequences or anything negative at all even if a comment surprises you. This is trust time.
- What was the happiest moment of this day for you? This allows you to know what the child sees as positive.
- What concerns or fears did you experience? Something we thought the child understood may have been an uncertainty in her life.
- Who is your best friend? Why? What do you admire in this person? We will know what the child looks for in a friend and what draws them to people. This knowledge can be utilized to protect the child from undue influences.
- What do you want to do when you are grownup? IF the child does not know, we can draw out their talents, gifts and skills to offer options and present to them a view of future success in a chosen profession.
- Is there anything you want to tell me, any secrets or fears you want to let out? Let the child know he can always tell you anything no matter how serious you feel it is. Do not promise to remove all consequences but do promise to support him and never judge or condemn him.
- If you could change anything at all about our family and lives, what would you make different? This allows the child to vent hidden frustrations, tensions, sibling issues or other matters that may concern her.
- What has hurt you the most in your life? Usually this is a friend who gave a cold shoulder or something simple, yet the answer may surprise you. Perhaps it is the fact that the child feels neglected or in other ways needs more from you.
- What things would you like to change about yourself? How can I help you do this? These changes are often eye-openers that let you know the child’s secret insecurities and fears.
- What is your favorite food? Which food do you dislike most? These seemingly ff questions are vital because we can use the information to provide that favorite or to make certain that most hated food never shows up on her plate.
- What makes you feel loved? Surprisingly, this may be a hug or a note in a lunchbox. It may be a beloved, bedraggled sleep toy, a pet or knowing that God is watching and is protecting always.
Regardless of the questions or the answers, you will gain a deeper understanding of just who your child really is. Such priceless information is a treasure that we can polish as we help our children grow in their innate positive characteristics and to drop ones that weigh them down and burden them.
Recycled Moms raising Recycled Kids are powerful and loving. We have already come so far on the path with these children, now we have fuel to reach the future hand in hand with them!