Childhood is a nostalgic time for people. We often idealize what life was like before the obligations of adulthood, but the reality is that everyone goes through painful experiences. Whether it involves physical, psychological, or emotional pain, children aren’t 100% shielded from life’s hardships. Painful events can be caused by adults in the home, school, or other environments.
Working with a child who has been hurt may seem like a difficult undertaking, but research shows that children can be healed after experiencing misfortune or traumatic events. According to research from the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, children who learn resilience are better able to bounce back from adversity.
Resilience is the ability to look for positive outcomes even when negative factors seem more prevalent in their lives. One of the best ways for children to develop resilience includes a reliable and strong relationship with a caregiver, adult, or mentor. Not all children have such a person in their lives, and they may recoil when they meet a person who cares about them enough to try to assist them during their trials.
Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell mentions additional ways to help children who have experienced suffering. She suggests starting rituals for children. These don’t have to involve religion or another philosophy, and can include dance, the arts, and other avenues that allow children to express who they are.
She also suggests teaching children to have more self-awareness about their bodies, called embodied awareness. With this process, children can learn to identify how their bodies feel their trauma.
Other ways to help children out include helping them introduce their boundaries and teaching them to trust their instincts. Many children are often belittled when expressing their opinion, but healing children who’ve experienced hardship means encouraging them to trust themselves.