When I first heard about trauma-informed care for child care professionals, my mind instantly thought of children who had been seriously injured and needed to be rushed to the emergency room for some serious help. I thought of a child who had life-threatening injuries who may succumb to their injuries.
Little did I know that trauma-informed care for child care professionals is about children who have had traumatic experiences within their home environment, or places that are supposed to be safe for them around people who are supposed to love, nurture and care for them.
I have learned that trauma for young children may not only be physical, but it can also be mental, emotional, social, and affect children all the way into their adulthood.
Trauma for young children can have a lasting affect on them if it is not recognized and addressed. If not recognized and addressed, children may be labeled as being bad, uncontrollable or having ADHD.
When a child is labeled with these names, the child often is placed on medication that he or she has to take daily to try to control or prevent the behavior.
The effects of the medicine from my experience keeps a child from focusing, and sometimes children are so drowsy that they don’t know what is going on around them.
As I started learning about trauma in children and the effects that it can have on a child, I was relieved. I was relieved to know that when I told parents or guardians that I did not believe their child should be on medication because of the interaction that I and other child care professionals had with the child, I was correct.
I knew that there was a missing piece; I just did not know what it was at the time. I can now reflect on what I know as a child care professional to do all I can to support the child and their family in getting them the help that they may need. I am so glad that there are other options available that do not include further traumatizing a child by labeling them, threatening them, making them feel bad about who they are, putting handcuffs on them, etc.
In conclusion, I would like child care professionals, parents, caregivers, guardians and anyone who comes in contact with a child that they would consider to be a bad child to look past their behavior and see a child who needs to be loved, cared for and nurtured.
Malisa Marlow is the owner of Destined for Greatness Preschool in Lakeland. She has been in child care for 15 years and loves working with children and their families.