Everyday more and more children become the silent victims of the opioid epidemic. They have become a witness to their parents drug use, their parents criminal activity, their parents engagement in sexual acts, or even watch their parent die. Can you imagine that—watching your mother die!
Some of these parents are on probation which could lead them down the road of multiple incarcerations, staying clean periods and then abusing drugs. All too often this unfortunately becomes their life
But for our children, their world becomes very unstable and emotional. Being removed from their home, visits in jail/prisons become the norm for them. All this turmoil can leave them with so much sadness, trauma, anxiety and anger.
Take a minute and think about your weekly schedule, some of us can be so busy with our days that we run out of time. Now imagine being seven-years-old and this is your weekly schedule:
Monday: School, visit with mother at jail/prison and then bed
Tuesday: School, trauma therapist appointment and then bed
Wednesday: School, visit with dad at jail/prison and then bed
Thursday: School, mobile therapist comes to work with you on your behaviors as you are angry at your parents for breaking their promise to not go back to jail once again. Other people may also be there to visit with you and see how you are doing.
Friday: School and maybe you can have some play time or maybe you will have a visit with your siblings that you haven't seen in a while.
Children without childhoods: This is just a glimpse into their week and it doesn't include any transitions to another foster home, a new school, a hearing or a meeting they need to be at or maybe a doctors appointment. This has become their world! So what does this mean for all of us? Be understanding to a child's world in which they are trying so hard to just survive, if you see a child struggling--hold out your hand, if they are misbehaving find out why-it may be the trauma or anger that they have been holding on to for a long time, and lastly be there for them, take them for a walk and just listen--you may be surprised from what you hear!
A training on Self-Focus was held with CASA Volunteers and staff recently. This training was presented by Salene Cowher, CASA Board member and Psychotherapist. Salene presented on how to be mindful of how stress and frustrations are affecting you and how to quiet the "noise." And that letting go does not mean giving up and the importance of self-monitoring. It was a fun and greatly needed training!
All of our county school districts have recognized the impact of childhood trauma on educational success, and have begun the process making trauma sensitive practices a part of school culture.
We hope that all school districts recognize the impact childhood trauma has on a child's learning experience and will develop the necessary steps that will lead to their success!
"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned."
~ Maya Angelou