Dear Friend or Family Member Who Doesn't "Get It,"
You are receiving this letter because you are someone we love and value as part of our family.
Parenting children is one of the hardest tasks we can take on as humans and doing so in the best of circumstances has many challenges. We have had challenges and have tried always to put them before God and wait to receive His guidance and then commit ourselves to following that direction.
We don’t pretend that we have always done the best job of that nor that we always acted in a Godly manner. We will answer to our creator for our mistakes, just as anyone else will have to.
One of our greatest challenges, parenting in our unique situation, is the fishbowl effect of it. Our family’s challenges are often played out in more public ways than others’ may be. With that brings the opportunity for those other people to watch and formulate an opinion without necessarily having all the facts. Those ill-informed opinions in and of themselves may be harmless (we don’t believe
they are – they negatively affect relationships) if not acted on. When they are acted on, at the least they cause pain and hurt feelings, at the worst they undermine our parenting and do harm to our child.
What we ask is this: “let no word proceed from your mouth but what is profitable for building up.”
- Understand that the decision you are judging is not yours to do so.
- Understand that we laid it before God and are acting on the guidance we received.
- Understand that we don’t know what will happen next year or even the next minute, but we are being obedient in this minute and leaving the future to God.
- Lastly, understand if you cannot do this, we will have to pull back from our relationship with you.
A Trauma Mama
Shared with permission
Other good letters:
A letter to grandparents of children with RAD - written by a grandmother
Letter to friends and family hosting holiday parties
Preparing the school (and others) for your child - includes lots of links to good articles
Trauma-informed approach for teachers and other team members
Other good letters and articles are in this post about School.
And this post about Holidays, Birthdays, and Other Traumaversaries
The Frozen Lake Story
"In order to understand what an unattached child feels like, one must understand his perspective. Imagine that you are the young child who must cross a frozen lake in the autumn to reach your home. As you are walking across the lake alone, you fall suddenly and unexpectedly through the ice. Shocked and cold in the dark, you can't even cry for help. You struggle for your very life, you struggle to the surface. Locating the jagged opening, you drag yourself through the air and crawl back into the woods from where you started. You decide to live there and never, never to return onto the ice. As weeks go by you see others on the ice skating and crossing the ice. If you go onto it, you will die."
"Your family across the pond hears the sad news that the temperature will drop to sub-zero this night. So a brave and caring family member (that is you, the parent!) searches and finds you to bring you home to love and warmth. The family member attempts to help you cross the ice by supporting and encouraging, pulling and prodding. You, believing you will die, fight for your life by kicking, screaming, punching and yelling (even obscenities) to get the other person away from you. Every effort is spent in attempting to disengage from this family member. The family member fights for your life, knowing you must have the love and warmth of home for your very survival. They take the blows you dish out and continue to pull you across the ice to home, knowing it's your only chance."
"The ice represents the strength of the bond and your ability to trust. It was damaged by the break in your connection to someone you trusted. Some children have numerous bonding breaks throughout their young lives. This is like crashing them into the ice water each time they are moved, scarring and chilling their hearts against ever loving and bonding again." By Nancy L. Thomas
From a fellow Trauma Mama:
Applications are now being accepted in the position of family support personnel.
Think I am doing it wrong? Think you could totally do it better? Now is your chance!! Hop on board for this opportunity to make the difference in a family you think just isn't cutting it!
- -The ability to cut through the bull shit from both child and professionals
- -The ability to put your own feelings, hurt, etc aside to unconditionally love a child who lets you know you are not enough for him.
- -Must be able to remain calm when asked the same question for literally the 1000th time, or the 100th time today. Literally. Like really, seriously, he knows the answer but he is gonna ask anyway.
- -The physical ability to bend over backwards as needed in order to put the needs of one small child who has been seriously damaged before your own and everyone else's (Just kidding, thats nuts, stop asking me to!)
- -The ability to feel like you are doing it all wrong and it is only getting worse and still keep chugging away with a damn smile on your face and love in your voice.
- -The amazing ability to discern when a child really can't or is just pretending he can't
- -The ability to diagnose conditions that doctors can't seem to agree on and create an appropriate treatment plan
- -The acceptance that 1/3 of your paycheck will be cut, because obviously he needs therapy, fidgets, the right food, a LOT of replacements clothes, bed, sheets, and toys
- -The ability to remain calm when he breaks, tears, or otherwise ruins said clothes, beds, sheets, and toys, because he didn't realize it would break when he pulled it, picked at it, or bent it that far and he just wanted to see
- - The knowledge and skills to assess his academics and life skills, write an IEP, and implement it because, sorry putting on his pants using the button even though he is about to size out of pull on pants isn't an academic need, and we swear he is on grade level
Duties to include:
- -The mad skill of being able to remain calm when your child is sweet talking someone into giving them something and then telling you how easy it is to control kids
- -night waking
- -making sure nothing is stolen, broken, or hoarded, while still allowing him a full room of stuff and every trinket they buy his compliance with at school, appointments, etc. because otherwise you're mean.
- -Dropping everything and every feeling to be therapeutic because he needs it now, even though you just worked all day and got yelled at by three people and you just want to crawl into bed and sleep for hours (See first duty)
- -Letting harsh criticism roll off your back because this kid will act completely different when other people are around
- -Diplomatically explaining why this kid can't be treated like other kids to every person you interact with several times
Ok, I'm mostly kidding, but seriously, if you want to judge, step in our shoes for a minute.
- -Wiping, washing, scrubbing, monitoring and damn near militaristically overseeing all manner of hygiene.