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Give your child voice

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I have worked with children all over the world. I've been with children in orphanages in Romania and Ethiopia and Rwanda. I've been with children in foster care all over the US. I've been with children in residential treatment facilities. I've been with children in elementary schools. I've worked with kids in the courts. I've been a mommy. I'm a grand mommy. In any of those situations, there are seven gifts I'd give to any child if I had the power to give it to him. The first gift I'd give to every child is a voice. Biologically, one of the most profound changes that happens to a mother's brain when she's pregnant is the body primes her to hear. There are dramatic changes in the somatosensory region of the brain that has to do with hearing. Moms are primed biologically to hear every little whisper, every little sound, every little sigh their child makes. As a parent bringing a child from a hard place, the best gift that you'll give to them is a voice. That will be things like giving them full attention when they talk, “I'm listening; tell me what you need.” That will be things like embracing what they have to say. That will be things like giving them opportunity to express themselves in writing and drawing, in words. Myriad ways as complex and as vastly different as your families but in every way, when that child speaks, you can stop and come front and center to listen. That child will learn that their voice matters, that their need matters, and that they matter to you. Research conducted as early as 1950 by Yale pediatricians published data that documented the fact that when children are small, when babies are newborns, if no one comes when they cry they stop crying within 30 to 60 days. This is the experience many of us have in orphanages where there are large rooms of children and no sounds. They have learned they do not have voice. A child who has no voice and who has no safe person to talk to, that child will use alternate strategies. They include aggression, manipulation, control, and violence. If I want to take those tools away from a child, I need to give them the most important tool and that is the knowledge they have a voice with me. One of the things we discovered after the bombings in World War II in Europe, in London, where the bombing strafing had been daily, day after day after day after day. What we discovered was that the children were in the streets playing following the bombing. Now the mothers were sitting at the kitchen table, they were drinking tea and talking about the story of the bombing over and over again. They told how terrifying it was when they couldn't find their child and they were too far from the shelter. The dads were in the pubs and they were talking about it, how they didn't know where their wife was or their youngest son was at work. The children were in the streets, they didn't have as much language as the mothers and daddies. So all over London it is said that children sat in the rubble picking up pieces of buildings and re-enacting dive-bombing over and over and over and over and over. And in this way, they gave voice to their fear. They gave voice to their terror. They gave voice to their need to tell the story. If we can be a vehicle to empower our child's voice, we will have begun their journey of healing.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 55 seconds
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 0
Posted by: jenfridley on Feb 13, 2018

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