by Ashley Bennett, Director of Trauma-Informed Care
When my boys first came to me, they were several grade levels behind academically. Their records indicated they had missed a substantial amount of the previous school year and from what I could tell, homework and school tasks were probably not things that were focused on at home. They struggled with staying regulated in the classroom, which led to behaviors, which led to way too many phone calls from the school. Honestly, as I think back on this season of our life, the phone ringing in the middle of the school day became such a trigger for me.
Academics had always been an important part of my life and I wanted to raise good students. I wanted to catch my boys up, give them the skills they didn’t have, and help them to be successful. And it was a good goal to have. Helping a child succeed academically will always be a great gift.
It’s just that there was another great gift I needed to give my boys first.
I needed to give them a safe home life. A consistent home life. A nurturing home life. An adult who saw them.
And this was not a lesson they would be able to learn overnight but would be home work we would have to practice together for the months (and years) to come.
A child living in fight, flight, or freeze and a child without a safe adult to come home to simply doesn’t have the brain space to learn his multiplication facts or state capitals. His brain is always in protection mode, trying to keep himself safe.
There simply isn’t room for academics when you don’t feel safe.
Maybe you have recently welcomed a new child and you’re starting out a new school year together and aren’t sure what to expect. Maybe a child who has been with your for awhile, still really struggles at school, and you’re looking for new ways to support him. Maybe you are at the point where you have realized that the control battles over school work are just simply not worth the damage it is causing to your relationship.
Whatever led you to check out this resource, I am glad you are here. School is important and helping your child succeed academically is a good goal. I’m grateful your kiddo has you in his corner.
This resource is meant to come alongside you as you navigate the complexities of school with your child and give you a new lens through which to see a few things; like those after school meltdowns and home work struggles. It’s here to be a resource for you as you navigate your child’s anxieties and regulation needs and give you some new ideas for ways to meet these needs.
This resource may be a good start for you, but each child is different and has unique ways that their story shows up for them at school. If you want a safe place to discuss ways to help your specific child, don’t hesitate to reach out to your County Director as we’d love to walk through this alongside you.
Here’s to a more regulated & connected school year!
Check out our full back to school resource here.