Friday, November 14, 2008

Healing the Past

Family - these are the people who are supposed to meet our needs when we are young and love us - no matter what. They care for us when we’re sick and offer help when we need a hand. Not everyone has grown up with this kind of supportive family relationships. Some of us did not get our needs met. We didn’t feel loved or respected. So, because of childhood experiences, one thing some of us know for sure is that family is not the place to ask for help.

Once we enter into adulthood, there are times when our “family of origin” issues surface. We may carry hurt and disappointment from the past into the present. Sometimes a child’s behavior triggers an old memory or a feeling. If we are not careful, our reaction may be unintentionally hurtful.

In order to relate to children in healthy ways, we must make sure that we are doing the recovery work needed to heal the past. We don’t always have the opportunity to do this directly with the people involved. But we can work hard to separate ourselves from those times so that our relationship with children is not affected by our family history.

In addition to doing our own healing work, we can learn how to communicate effectively with children. We can learn about their needs and set reasonable expectations for them. We can also create a network of supportive friends who are there to help. Even when we have not had positive role models during our growing up years, we can do our best to be supportive adults for children today.

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