RE-parenting children with adverse Childhood Experiences
For my entire working life, I have proudly felt associated with a profession that offers support to family in their time of need. I qualified as a social worker in 1992, having worked as unqualified social worker for many years with children who had experienced adverse childhood experiences now known as ACE, and childhood trauma, separation and loss.
I have always been passionate about supporting better outcomes children and have been part of thousands of children’s journey of being looked after. I am still in touch with some earlier children now in their 40’s who say I made them believe in themselves which tells me what I offered them helped them.
As a parent of 3 children, 2 birth children now adults, and our youngest who was adopted in 2014, I now encounter the chaos and lack of therapeutic interventions for families like us in a system that does not understand the amount of time it can take to heal from childhood trauma.
My youngest did not have a secure or safe adult for her formative years which has had a lasting impact us all. Thankfully my therapeutic training and social work background did prepare us for the complex challenges of reparenting a traumatised child using the things I had learned in my 34 years and by being a therapeutic parent.
I am grateful that I thankfully have places to talk out what’s happening in my home and have many peers who I can turn to for help. This support is invaluable in my life. Along with the alternative therapies I use daily to support us all. Homeopathy, Massage, Reiki and wholesome food are all invaluable in my life.
I hear the experiences of many other adoptive families who do not feel able to challenge the system or the insensitive responses of the involved professionals and this saddens me greatly.
I feel compelled to say, we should always challenge a lack of empathy and never ignore or accept inconsiderate responses from any representative about our needs or the needs of our children. Particularly when these lead to ill judged comments which do not support the lived experiences or therapeutic needs for families in needs or minimise the impact on our children who have historically experienced neglect, harm, abuse and are still finding their feet after these adverse childhood experiences which really do leave their mark on them and their ability to thrive.
It is important we continue to challenge professional practice and speak up for the children we are attempting to reparent EVERY DAY! Our children whose past continues to show up in everyday behaviours and the discord and disordered attachments we try to overcome. And we continue to offer our versions of secure adults’ attachments to enable them to overcome these ACE experiences .
It is important that we do not settle for poor services after a child is placed and continue to ask for the support that we deserve and need. It is also important not to feed a perpetual failing service by not asking for what we know can make a difference to our lives and speak up for what this is. By doing so, we will be better resourced to re parent our children despite the challenges our children’s have encountered in their formerly disordered life stories.