As parents we strive to create a safe haven in our home and establish an environment of love and normalcy. This is a process that may take years. For our children, letting go of old beliefs of unworthiness takes time.
As they engage in negative behaviors that arise from traumatic histories, or from grief, we may be challenged to maintain our feelings of connection. But it is in these times of difficulty that it is most essential that we hang in there, demonstrating our commitment for the long run. When they are behaving most outrageously, is when they most need reassurance that we are not going anywhere.
It may appear as if our children are driven to show us that nothing can ever be normal because they see themselves as damaged or because feeling loveable is so foreign to them. Our job is to enfold them into normalcy, to assist them in releasing their belief that they caused or deserved their past. Only through our acceptance and their own, will they be able to move forward, to forgive their past and embrace a more optimistic and healthy self-image. This will help them begin to see themselves as normal—by the only standard that counts: their own.
Christina found her safe haven at school. Our children spend much of their time there, so it is imperative that school works to support our efforts. A teacher has the opportunity to really shape or undermine our child’s healing.
How does forgiveness relate to these ideas? By holding a mindset of forgiveness, for ourselves and others, we engage in an attitude of learning from mistakes and working towards solutions and wholeness.