3 Reasons Traditional Parenting Doesn’t Work With Kids From Trauma.
Kristin and I both grew up in traditional households, with parents who used traditional techniques in raising us both. There were rules and restrictions, guidelines and boundaries. And if said rules, restrictions, guidelines and boundaries were crossed, BAM, consequences were enforced. No questions asked. From all accounts, these techniques worked. We both grew up to be responsible adults who knew the difference between right and wrong. But, we also never endured significant trauma as children.
And that was the game-changer. When we first became parents, 15 years ago, we thought we had a healthy understanding of how to parent. We thought we knew how to discipline, how to enforce consequences, and even how to get our point across. In 2004 a little girl and boy came to live with us through foster care and, soon after, became a permanent part of our family. When the little girl turned 7 I caught her in a straight up lie. When I asked her why she lied, she just stared at me. So, logically, I continued to question her…and question her…and question her. This caused her eyes to start darting around the room. She wouldn’t look at me. Only a worried look on her face.
She would open her mouth to speak but nothing came out. I’d love to tell you my heart gave way and I stopped. Not the case. I became more frustrated. Finally, I’d had enough and marched her off to her room. The night was over for her. In my mind, she was content with her “bad behavior,” and thus, needed a stiff consequence: time away from others to “think” about it. For several more years I parented this way. If you screwed up, BAM, consequences! It’s how I was raised…so you better believe it was how my children would be raised.