Friday, July 17, 2015

Tips To Get Your Child With Trauma Talking

        Getting our children to talk is like pulling teeth, teeth that aren't loose mind you, painful, time consuming and messy. Most of their talking issue's stem from trauma. They don't have a solid sense of self (I will go into that in another post) so they are unable to separate and identify their feelings. Most of their feelings come out as anger, defiance, stubbornness or what we call acting dumb (I will write another post on this). I am writing this post for myself as much as anyone because I tend to forget the different methods of getting a child to talk when we are in the thick of a "I won't/can't talk session.

  Using puppets or stuffed animals makes it easier for a child to talk because it doesn't feel so close and personal. I will have my teddy say to my child's stuffed lion, "It looks like you are feeling _________ today, can I help you?" Or I may say, "It makes me feel sad when my friends are sad. I want to help you feel better. Can you tell me why you are sad so I can help you feel happy again?" 

   I wrote about using jounals in another post. Those journals have acquired a lot of miles in the past two months. They get pulled off their shelf almost daily and occasionally several times a day. I am trying to change the mind set from "journals are a consequence" to "Writing in my journal helps me feel better." Sometimes if a child won't talk they will write. Those are the easy fixes and don't happen very often.

When there is something bothering a child and they need to talk so they can feel happy, we sometimes will tell them to do jumping jacks, run laps or jump on the trampoline. Physical exercise works wonders! If a child is really "out there" and refuses to run or jump, we sometimes turn it into something silly. I will chase them around the table until they are laughing or we will see who can jump the highest or run the fastest. I make sure to make a big fuss over how much faster they are than I am. Once they are laughing and having fun they are sometimes willing to talk.

  Another tactic that often works is when I say, "When I was a little girl ___________ made me feel sad, scared, worried etc. I wonder if that is how you feel." This works when you know what is wrong but the child hasn't been able to identify what is bothering them. A similar idea is to say, "I knew a little boy/girl who had__________ happen to them and they felt so __________. I wonder if that is how you are feeling."

Sometimes our children are simply being stubborn. Does that happen to anyone else? Sometimes a motivator works in these situations. I will set the timer and lay a piece of candy or a sticker on the counter and tell them they may have it when they have told me what is bothering them. You have to be careful with this though because my children soon expected to be rewarded for talking. Because of that, this is usually one of our last ditch attempts.

  Other times cuddling them and reading a story or having a tickle fest will get them talking. I found this book and sometimes we will pull it off the shelf and read it together then talk about how holding hurt feelings inside make us feel scared and alone.

  Give your child something with protein, a spoonful of peanut butter will do. I learned that tip from another adoptive mom. You can follow her blog here. A glass of cold water and a bit of protein are sometimes all it takes for our children to open up and start talking.

Please share any tips you use to get your child to talk about their troubles, I am always looking for new idea's.

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