We are continuing our series on how to respond to common objections to trauma-informed care. A common objection to validation and to considering the adaptive function of behaviors is:
“My mother was always strict with me, and if I disrespected her she would slap me across the head. If I did something wrong you don’t even want to know what she would do. I’m not saying we have to hit the kids, but it was my mother’s strictness that saved me from what I saw on the streets. If we are not strict with these kids they will never learn and we will be doing them a disservice”
Although some of our staff did in fact grow up in the child welfare system, in most cases staff are often referring to strictness within the context of an enduring, loving relationship. This is very different from strictness from a staff member in your 14th placement.
The person with the loving and strict mother always has that voice in their mind, that inner connection, to guide them. The child who has been moved between many caretakers does not have that. In fact, even the rules of behavior may have changed from placement to placement. And the child does not have the image of someone who cares about them.
Along with strictness families often teach the skills necessary to effectively manage the world. They teach you the rules, but also the skills to follow those rules. Those skills include recognizing and managing your feelings, executive functions, self-awareness, and social skills. This is what these kids are missing.
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