I think now more than ever it is important for us to reflect on trauma, as a society. There is no denying that every child, in the world right now, was likely impacted by Covid. And if you look at societies in the past, very few generations have made it through without some collective trauma. Therefore, I think it should be assumed that pretty much everyone on this planet has and will experience something traumatic.
So although we don’t purposefully walk into trauma, or expose our children to it, we also will need to live within the reality that trauma will more than likely exist in our children’s lives and in our own and in all the lives of all the people they encounter in their life. We all experience trauma. It seems to be part of the human experience.
This can be a grim thought but really it makes what Peter Levine says even more poignant;
“Trauma is not what happens to us, but what we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.”
EMPATHY is the cure for trauma
EXPRESSION is the cure for trauma
SAFETY is the cure for trauma
We cannot prevent all tragedy from happening in our children’s lives but we can provide empathy and a safe place for our child to express their big and confusing thoughts and emotions.
My 8 year old was saying the other day “when is Covid going to be over?”
I said “I know! This Covid thing is awful! I’m really sick of it too.”
Then he said “If Covid is still here in 2022 I’m just DONE! I’m done!”
I said “I get that. It will be here in 2022. Because that’s in 2 weeks.”
Then he said “argh!! When is it going to be over? Is it going to be here in 50 years?”
I said “I don’t know. I hope not.”
Then he said “why would God make a virus like Covid?”
(Tough one for me because I’m agnostic and he believes in God and I believe in his right to believe… maybe he knows something I don’t 🤷♀️)
I said “I don’t think it is God. I don’t know why the virus is here.“
Then he says “why doesn’t God just make it go away?”
I said “I don’t know. We don’t know why God does a lot of things.”
That was it, we hugged. He got to process his thoughts and feelings. I validated, answered questions honestly and trusted in his ability to process the information he was asking for. These are complex topics but we can get overwhelmed by wanting to make sure our child is NOT harmed… so we go into “fixing mode.” Instead… slow down, listen, validate, hold space and empathize.