Large and small childhood traumas

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Large and small childhood traumas

So when your child has a little owie, like they've fallen and scraped their knee, or something a bit more traumatic like major surgery or maybe a grandparent or family member has passed away, one of the most powerful things we can do is help them tell a story. What's important is that we talk about the details or the events that have taken place as well as the emotions or the feelings around the circumstances. And when we do this, we allow our child to deal with the emotions and understand what happened so that they're not flooded by the emotions but they're also not cut off by it. So for instance, this even works well with a 6 month old who's maybe sitting on the floor and has fallen over and bumped her head. I would walk over to her, scoop her up, that hurt didn't it? Pat her, comfort her, like our instincts tell us to do. And then I would say, let's tell the story of what happened. You were sitting and you fell over and you bumped your head. Ow that hurt. And then mommy came over and picked you up and comforted you. And this is the kind of thing that can be so powerful. When our children get older we can make homemade books to tell the events that are troubling to them and their feelings about them. Including things that are coming like starting a new school or moving or things that might be difficult. Telling a story that makes sense either through a homemade book or just in the moment can be a really powerful way to help our child deal with difficult things.

See Tina Payne Bryson, PhD's video on Large and small childhood traumas...


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Tina Payne Bryson, PhD

Psychotherapist & Author

Tina Payne Bryson, PhD, is a psychotherapist at Pediatric and Adolescent Psychology Associates in Arcadia, California, where she sees children and adolescents, as well as provides parenting consultations. She is the school counselor at St. Marks Episcopal School in Altadena, CA, and a Developmental Consultant to Camp Chippewa for Boys. She speaks to parents, educators, and clinicians all across the country. Dr. Bryson earned her PhD from the University of Southern California, where her research explored attachment science, childrearing theory, and the emerging field of interpersonal neurobiology. Her best-selling book The Whole-Brain Child (co-authored with Dr. Dan Siegel) gives parents practical ways to transform difficult moments into opportunities for children to thrive.  Dr. Bryson has written for a large number of publications, most recently the PBS series “This Emotional Life.”  She lives near Los Angeles with her husband and three children.  

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