So basically, if a child has a history of abuse, neglect or trauma, that child is less able to connect with people. But "recovery of function recapitulates the development of function." We take away the child's need for aggression and violence (survival skills) by meeting their needs and giving them a "voice." A study on babies in the 1960's, Infants in Institutions, revealed that if a child's cries are not met consistently in the first 30 days of life, that child will lose their "voice." The design in nature is for a child to whimper and a caregiver to respond. Those responses are saying, "yes" to the child. We say a thousand "yeses" to a little one in the first two years of life before we have to say our first no. These yeses are what build trust. They learn that when they have a need, they have a loving caregiver that will meet that need and they are not "alone." For a child that did not get all those "yeses", it takes months/years of intense therapeutic mentoring and support to bring them from a hard place to healing and trust.
When I talk about "attachment" that includes behaviors such as: trust, self-efficacy, self-worth, sensory competency, social/emotional competency, brain development and brain chemistry. The basics are not naturally "installed" in children from hard places so it becomes the privilege of the caregivers to help them recover their sense of connection through concentrated and purposeful bridge building to their true self.
Let me leave you with this bit of truth: there is no child that cannot heal when we intentionally remember what they missed and try to give it to them. Having an understanding of a child's early development will serve to help you bring them back on line b/c if a child's brain isn't mentored by a loving adult, they do not have the capacity developmentally to "act their age." You have the body, brain and beliefs to deal with when you are looking at their behaviors and those roots go all the way back to their beginning. The only options a child from hard places thinks they have are: Fight, Flight or Freeze. So as their parents we need to sustain a committed and invested interest in their progress toward holistic healing.
Like I have said before, I will have to break up what I learned from the conference into several blog posts that build on top of each other. This one serves as a foundational understanding of where parenting children from hard places begins. My next post will give more information on how to parent knowing that your child has a limited receptivity to things.