Today I'm excited to share what I've been reading
and how it has helped me take root and bloom!
I lucked into this colorful parenting treasure by Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young as a Twitter-chat trade and am I ever grateful that I did. The whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking that I wish I'd have had this as a resource when we were parenting our children through their formative years!
As its readers travel through the chapters, Bloom encourages us to teach, educate and inspire rather than to punish and put consequences on our children. It points us to the thoughts and feelings behind errant behaviors and asks us to look at the child through a new lens, a calmer, gentler parenting lens, to see the whole child and take a new look at what is going on in his/her brain that might be causing the undesirable behaviors that we want to help them grow through and change.
At the end of every chapter, there are pages of things that you can say, think and do, to help you through life's parenting challenges like separation anxiety, hitting, biting, morning mayhem, grief and loss. This three-pronged approach printed on these colorful pages can be cut out and kept close for reference during those emotionally-loaded times when words of wisdom escape us.
I experienced so many a-ha moments as I turned the pages through this epic newcomer, but my strongest connection has to be this nugget from the chapter on trauma: "This child is not the problem. The problem is the problem."
And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story: This week I've been experiencing some tough trauma responses to a somewhat random trigger from this past weekend. And it has been horrible. I've felt that hyper-arousal and hyper-vigilance that I first experienced four years ago following the trauma of that head-on collision all over again. I've been lost, crawling out of my skin, feeling like I'm not safe, feeling like I don't belong, needing to get away but having no clue where I'm trying to go. It's really throwing me way off and sucking the joy right out of me. And I'm an adult with life experiences that tell me that I am safe and that I will be okay, with skills to help others through those very same feelings. I can do a pretty good job of hiding it and making it through. But what if I were a traumatized child in a classroom going through similar stuff and acting out?
This is where Bloom comes in.
I love this reminder about trauma from the authors:
Conventional discipline appeals to the cognitive part of the brain. This is not where trauma lives. Traditional discipline will do nothing to change behavior that is driven by trauma. (p. 192)
It's hard to not think I'm the problem,
especially when I'm feeling how I feel.
I take comfort in and draw hope from knowing that it's
what happened to me that's the problem.
And that this, too, shall pass
as I use my therapeutic resources
to journey through this trauma response
and get to the other side. Over and over again,
if that's what it takes.
Another poignant reminder in this ground-breaking gem is that
we don't have to be therapists to help students do the same,
to navigate through their behavior challenges,
to find calm,
and to thrive.
And though this guide for care providers
is targeted at anxious, angry, and over-the-top kids,
I enthusiastically recommend it as a rich resource to help
any and all kids Bloom.
Check out this book;
you (and your kids) will be glad you did.
Thank you, Wendy and Lynne, for helping us
shape, nurture and grow such beautiful flowers
in the amazing garden we call life.