"What our children need to know above all else, is that we can bear their pain. No matter how big or scary it is, they want to feel that we are bigger. They will take us to that scary edge again and again until they are confident that we are strong enough to keep them safe, no matter what. They don't want distraction, denial or our attempts to diminish the truth of their experience. They want to be seen, to be heard - to feel understood."
Maria Green, October 2022
Healthy parenting begins at conception. Maternity services and birth practices all have an important place in supporting the healthy development of growing
children. Children can act as indicators of their parents’ unresolved trauma, usually compounded over many generations. Unresolved trauma within a family system is sometimes expressed in
‘behavioural difficulties’ or physical symptoms in children. Conditions such as AD(H)D, eating disorders, OCD, insomnia, bed wetting, social anxiety, violence between siblings and a great many
physical symptoms can be traced back to our parents' trauma biographies.
Every child is hostage to the environment they grow up in. If they cannot get a secure emotional connection to their parents, it is not possible for them to remain with their healthy self - they have to dissociate in order to survive. This results in further disconnection which leads to confusion, pain and distress which can manifest in many different ways. Some children become ‘difficult’ through hyperactive, violent or aggressive behaviour, while others may be painfully shy, introverted or become physically ill.
IoPT demonstrates that when we as parents address our own trauma, our children may benefit from the changing relational environment. With more space to express their feelings, children feel less burdened. As we take responsibility for our own feelings and start to become aware of our survival strategies, we can have healthier contact with our children, who then feel more supported to be themselves. The important first step is to take the focus off our children as the ‘problem’ and instead see their difficulties as symptoms of their hunger for emotional connection. When parents concentrate on the health of their own psyche, they can begin to perceive the innocence of their children as well as their own innocent child self.