September 2022 Newsletter – 3 Steps for School Anxiety, Autumn Can Trigger Grief, & Kinship Month

Welcome to the September 2022 edition of the Childhood Trauma Newsletter! This month we will cover kinship care, children’s grief, school anxiety, mitigating factors of trauma, and pet loss. Wow, that’s a lot!

Kinship care awareness

September is National Kinship Care Month. Kinship care families form when a child is unable to live with their parents due to safety issues like abuse and neglect. Still, they include informal relationships when mom or dad cannot care for their children due to mental health issues and substance use. By definition, kinship care is any relative or previous connection, like a family friend, who takes care of a child when they cannot live with their biological parents. Sometimes child welfare is involved, but often they are not.

In the United States, there are approximately 2.6 million grandfamilies (grandparents raising grandchildren). The relationships are often referred to as “invisible foster care” because kinship families do not receive the same mental health support and financial resources as licensed foster families in the United States. You can learn more by visiting grandfamilies.org.

Children are grieving

All children who experience developmental trauma from family separation, foster care, and adoption are grieving. Even if there wasn’t physical death in their family, they still grieve heavily for the loss of meaningful relationships and what “could’ve been.” They are grieving for a lack of safety. A lack of understanding. Today is a great day to check in with these children and acknowledge their grief. It’s also helpful to recognize YOUR grief today. Caregivers take on vicarious trauma and suffering, but they may have lost a relationship with their biological children due to the opioid crisis, incarceration, or mental illness. Take a five-minute break from whatever you are doing and send loving thoughts to someone you miss, light a candle in their honor, or write a letter to them to save in a special place.

September Trauma Tips

Three steps for school anxiety:

Keep an eye out for the following symptoms of trauma this fall:

Mitigating factors following trauma:

This month will be a challenge for all of us as we return to school. Expect the first month to be a mixture of intensified emotions. As a parent, I’m no different than you. I text my husband a three-page rant of frustration when I can’t calm my child. In those moments, I know that none of us have this parenting thing all figured out. As hard as I try, I often fail to implement the exact knowledge I share with you. I’m not here to give you all the answers because I certainly don’t have them, but we can keep trying. Keep trying until we find what works, and remember that your relationship with the child is the most critical resource for healing childhood trauma!

No matter how much support we give children, it won’t be successful unless the adults in their life are emotionally regulated. So if you find yourself with a break from caregiving once summer ends, take time for yourself! Go to therapy, try acupuncture, make art, write that story, buy a beautiful journal and fill it with your ugly thoughts. Get the pressure released from your body in some way.

It is my greatest wish that we have a peaceful and productive school year, and I pray that our country can find a solution to the disturbing amount of trauma and vicarious trauma in our communities.

Resource of the Month:

In August, a Facebook post of mine regarding infant mental health was on FIRE and continues to spread daily. It turns out you have a lot of mutual interest in healing and preventing early childhood trauma, beginning in utero. Infant mental health is also a focused passion of mine. While doing research, I learned about the work of Janet A. Courtney, Ph.D. She developed First Play Therapy, a treatment for infant trauma. I am fascinated by her work! Please take a moment to check her out. (No affiliation, just sharing resources I find helpful.)

New Podcast Suggestion:

The Mandy Mae Johnson Podcast

Episode 27: “Children Can Trigger Our Old Trauma w/ Beth Tyson.”

Listen in as Mandy and I share about the trauma of divorce from a first-hand perspective. My parents divorced when I was two, and we lived 8 hours apart. I share what it was like for me as a child, how it impacted my mental health as an adult, and what helps prevent additional trauma so children can move forward after divorce and family separation. Mandy is a blended family and is raising four children! I tip my hat to her.

Trauma Champion of the Month: Mathew Portell

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by this month’s Trauma Champion, Mathew Portell, Director of Communities at PACES Connection and founder of the widely respected Trauma-Informed Educators Network on Facebook. It turned out to be a conversation filled with laughter for a heavy topic like childhood trauma! Not that we take it lightly, but that we have to give space to ourselves and others to laugh amid the pain. We got really open about our struggles as parents, how trauma shows up in us, and what we can do to help children recover from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). If you want to learn more about us as parents and trauma advocates, watch/listen to our podcast episode HERE on youtube or HERE on apple podcasts.

Mathew is currently in Australia presenting on trauma-informed education! He is spreading this message globally and creating change for millions of children impacted by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Upcoming Events:

On a personal note…

This weekend, we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog and family member, Neko. She was 16 and I honestly can’t remember my life before she existed. Labor Day weekend is also the anniversary of my mother’s sudden death. Neko came into my life following my mother’s death and provided me with the healing and hope I needed during a time of despair. She was my unofficial therapy dog and my absolute best friend. She even walked down the aisle at our wedding back in 2014. She will be missed enormously, and we will love her forever. Pet loss can be traumatic for children. However, if you are caring for an elderly pet, you can do things to help you prepare for this loss. Here is a list of resources that might help you and your family cope with a pet’s death.

Lastly…

If you are interested in trauma-informed mental health training or consulting for your group or organization, please learn more about my services at bethtyson.com/services.

I want you to know you are not alone in your journey to cope with childhood trauma. You got this! For additional support, please visit my social media accounts or join my private Facebook group, Emotiminds.

If a friend forwarded you this email, you can subscribe to this newsletter on my homepage, BethTyson.com.

With grief, hope, and love,

Beth

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