Go ahead, call me a broken record. At nearly 60-years-old, play is not my first or second language. I have to work at it, and I am still prone to seriousness. Boo-hoo. I know for a fact I myself am happier when playful, but it wasn’t done with me as a child, so I had to learn it as a parent. This might be true of you, too. Or, if play does come like rain used to in Spring, then you may be suffering under the misconception that attachment challenged and traumatized children are so naughty that you have to be serious in order for them to know you mean business. Otherwise, you might think, your children could grow-up into mass murderers or anti-social, ne’er do-wells. There is true terror in that thinking.
A mean task master, fear often scares the play right out of most parents of adopted children. While adoptive parents are known to post lively, deliriously happy and grateful comments on Facebook, let this not distract from the underlying realities inside most attachment and trauma challenged relationships–chaos regularly oozes from under backyard fences, around window sills, and through carefully locked exterior doors. The wounds of childhood abuses last a childhood and adoptive parents are on the front lines doing triage and in the background doing the healing. Who has time for play?
That is my point really. You must make the time to play every day of your child’s life, without exception, because that is the healing language of children. Play is not just a little thing you do when you can squeeze it in. It is the whole shebang–the one true natural therapy.
Play is a biological imperative hardwired into children that sustains them while their bodies grow and their brains learn to handle the conflicting feelings produced by the slings and arrows of budding adulthood4.
Parents, if all you do differently is amp up your smiling face, throw on more laughter, and find the silly deep within your core, you will be applying some of the best naturally occurring salve available for what ails the wounded heart of your child.
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The next 8-hr. Trust-based Parent Training is scheduled in June (TBD) from 12 noon to 4 pm. $200 per two person couple. Childcare available for $30 each day, second child $10 additional. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will register you.