When traumatized kids are having times of whickity-whickity-whack, all of the basics tend to go out the window.
Those basics then become painful for us to do. Sometimes they are nauseating. No one can ever explain to you what it feels like. Knowing you NEED to hug your kid 10 times a day, but this is the same child who has violently pushed you away with every breath … it’s not normal and it. is. not. easy.
I get it. If no one else in your life gets it, my friend, I GET IT. Traumatized kids have a deep desire and need to repel others because they believe they can only trust themselves. They do it, not just with their words, but their very stance … walk … facial muscle tone … breathing. Some of you are thinking, “What the heck, lady?” while others are jumping up and down in front of their screens right now screaming, “Yes! YES! She really DOES GET IT! It’s not just ME?!?!”
Yup. Just the way they walk … or stand. It’s enough to make you go running down the road screaming like a lunatic.
Our kids have such a high cortisol level that their body odor is not “normal.” Don’t believe in the power of our own scents and pheromones? Live with a traumatized child. Unfortunately, their body chemistry is working in the opposite direction of what most of us would want. It’s not typical body odor. It is not immediately repulsive. It’s just a slow constant. I cannot put it into words, but many of you experience it.
So, I realize what I’m proposing today is going to really tick some of you off. Like … really. I am going to ask you to make a one-week commitment to three of the basic tools of attachment … with … YOUR child. Yes, THAT child. The child whose clothes you can’t stand to fold, and you’re not even sure why, but just holding them and looking at them triggers a post traumatic stress reaction to your core.
Yeah … that kid.
And I’m asking for A WHOLE FRIGGIN WEEK just a week. I also expect you to come up with some sort of reward at the end, for yourself. The emotional aspect of love is reciprocal. When you are the only one giving, it chokes the emotional feelings until they are completely dead and gone. Nada. Zilch. Not even a tingle. You need to reward yourself for doing this every day for a week – for giving your child the life-changing medicine they so desperately need, even though it is really difficult and challenging for you to give it to them.
I will be rewarding myself with food. Probably something involving chocolate and ice cream. I will not decide until the week is over, but it will be fattening, and it will be EXACTLY what I’m craving on that day.
Here is the Challenge:
10 hugs a day
10 minutes of FUN attachment-inducing games (involving touch and/or eye contact)
20 minutes of doing something fun YOUR CHILD wants to do
For seven days straight. They cannot lose any of these things – no matter what. They get it every day for a week – no matter what.
Make a chart, if you need to. I have to make a chart. With five kids, it’s amazing how fast the day goes by without meeting therapeutic needs. Ten hugs a day is A LOT. I also am making it a challenge so I WILL DO IT! I’m not super human. I don’t want to do this. I still have the hurtful things that were done and said over the past 30 days swirling in my head. I need accountability. Congratulations – you’re all my accountability partners. We need the refresher. I need the refresher. I know I need it, because I hate the idea so very much.
So, comment that you’re doing it with me, if you want. More than that, blog or journal about the week. I would love to link to any of your posts next weekend. Tell us how it goes, what you hate, what you discover, what you see in your child, etc. I’ll do the same.
The comment section is also a great place to list ideas for the 10 minutes of bonding activities – finger play games, clapping games, stare contests, relay races holding things forehead-to-forehead, etc.
Here we go …