When children experience trauma or neglect, it can be overwhelming to try to help them cope with it. You may wonder how you can possibly know how they feel, what they’re thinking, or what they need.
For caretakers of struggling children, there are six ways to help them build resilience and cultivate a positive outlook on life in spite of the challenges they face. Read on!
#1: Develop Strong Relationships
One of the most important things for kids in crisis is to know that they’re not alone. Encourage them to build strong friendships with other kids, especially those who can relate to what they’re going through. Help them curate relationships with trusted adults so that they feel cared for.
Not only will this give them a sense of community; it will also teach them the skills they need to consider other people’s feelings and interact well socially.
#2: Encourage Emotions
Allow children to express their feelings. Give them words to describe how they feel so that they can communicate their emotions without acting out. Praise them for expressing their hurt, anger, and sadness through words instead of negative actions.
#3: Strive for Consistency
For children in these situations, trust is a fragile thing. If you say you’ll do something with them, make sure you do it. If you ask them to be honest about their feelings, be prepared to respond calmly and with love, no matter what their feelings are. Help them to learn that you are a safe place – that you can be trusted to do what you say you will do.
#4: Have Patience
One child’s reaction to trauma may be very different than another’s. There’s no trick of the trade when it comes to helping kids process their life struggles, which means you’re constantly adapting and reevaluating everything. Be patient with them as they work through their feelings. Expect moments of difficulty, and prepare yourself to engage them with a patient heart.
#5: Educate Them on a Healthy Lifestyle
Some kids may not know how to live a healthy, happy life. Talk to them openly and honestly about drugs, alcohol, smoking, and sexual promiscuity. Discuss the risks associated with each one and how the consequences could affect their lives. Teach them about eating healthy foods, exercising, and how taking care of your body can offer so many benefits. But most importantly, demonstrate these things in your own life. Lead by example!
#6: But Most Importantly, Jesus
Many children who come from difficult domestic situations do not see their own value. They may have actually been told that they are worthless or unloved. Teach them about the love of Christ, and how He created them to be exactly who they are because He has big plans for their life. Tell them about how Jesus loved them so much, He died for them.
If you have a question for one of our staff members, or you’d like more information about the Alabama Freewill Baptist Children’s Home, contact us today. We’ll respond as soon as we can!