How to Support the Healing of Your Child

I am apart of a powerful women’s entrepreneurial group where we read a book and have a discussion about the impact the book had us. Our first book is Iyanla Vanzant’s Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What Your’re Going Through. This book is an autobiography where Iyanla explores her past trauma and the generational pathology of her family. One of the questions posed by one of the group members was “which adult from Iyanla’s childhood we thought was in the best position to protect her and make everything alright.” My response to the question was  “The adults in her life were not in a position to make everything right as they had never dealt with their issues and trauma. I run across so many families who want us (therapists) to “fix” children when the real issue is the parents. And when I say the real issue is the parents, I mean they have never dealt with their issues and that effects the way in which they parent continuing the passing down of generational issues.” Her response to me was “I see! Wow. Heal the parents which would enable them to support the healing of the child.” I thought, “Exactly! Somebody gets it!”

The first step to caregivers helping their children through issues that require therapy is to first deal with their own issues. One of the statements I make to the parents of the children I treat is “In order for me to help your child, you have to be a part of the treatment. That means there may be times when you have to meet with me alone where we may have to address things from your past that are impacting your relationship with your child. I cannot help your child without also helping you.” Many caregivers do not realize how their past issues have seeped into their current relationships and coping. Ignorance is not bliss! Ignoring what has occurred in your past is the breeding ground for pathology.

Caregivers for the benefit of the children you are raising, please face the issues from your past. Therapy is not for “crazy people” as it has been stigmatized in the past. Therapy is for everyone who is willing to face their past and want to change.

Man and woman holding hands at a table

Close up on a man and a woman holding hands at a wooden table

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#100HappyDays

100 days ago I decided to become apart of the social media phenomenon #100HappyDays! I am happy to report that today I have become apart of the 27% of people who completed this challenged. I became interested when I saw several friends on Facebook posting their happy days. I decided to research and find out what this was all about. I went to the website #100HappyDays where I found the information for the challenge to post something happy from your day for 100 days. The site reported:

“People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

 – Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
 – Be in a better mood every day;
 – Start receiving more compliments from other people;
 – Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
 – Become more optimistic;
 – Fall in love during the challenge.”
 
So i figured why not! What do I have to lose?! I opened an Instagram account (DrShanWalks@Instagram) and started posting. (You can click on the link and go to my page to review my 100 days!)
 
I should also note that I began this quest shortly after getting out of the hospital, being demoted at work, and going on a mission trip a week later. A difficult period to say the least!
 
Today as I look back over the 99 pictures that I have posted, I relived some beautiful moments. I will be the first one to tell you that there were days when it took me 20 minutes to find something in my day to be happy about. But I found on the days when I did not do it, things just did not feel right! I would review the days I missed and post to catch up. I tried to make sure I never got behind more than two days.
 
Finding something to be happy about has carried me through my dark days. At a time when suicide has been pushed in the spotlight again (with the untimely death of comedian Robin Wiliams, RIP), I feel this is a tool that I will challenge clients, friends, and family to use as a coping skill to combat depression.
 
I will say everything on the list that the website developers stated would happen, happen except the falling in love. Darn it! LOL But you know it doesn’t matter that the last one on the list did not occur because I can honestly say that I have been blessed by this experiment. So much so that I think I will keep going. Who knows maybe falling in love is around the corner.
 
Some of my friends have been wondering what I would post for my 100th day. I have this a lot of thought and decided to post a collage of my favorite people and things collected from posts from the last 100 days. So here it is!
100th Day