What NATA DAY is Not!

Sons 2014By:  D Craig Peterson

NATA Day is coming June 19th. Let me tell you what it’s not.

It’s “not a” day to be alone. All families need support. Wear a blue ribbon and tell others what it means.

It’s “not a” day to be angry. Sure, go ahead and vent if you need the emotional release. But don’t let the anger about your child’s behavior stop you from connecting. In other words, hate the mental health challenges but the love the child. Many parents have learned to separate the two.

It’s “not a” day to forget about your personal needs. Let’s face it – parenting is hard work. But parenting a child with early trauma brings 24/7 demands. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. Everyone needs a self-care plan.

It’s “not a” day to wish attachment trauma away. Although the problems are invisible to many, they are very real and more common than the general public realizes.  That’s why awareness is essential. How about showing one of the for NATA Day films in your home and inviting friends and family. (I’ve seen both The Boarder and My Name is Faith. Both have a validating message. The same goes for Dark Matter of Love and Once Upon a Mountain.)

It’s “not a” day to be blamed for your children’s challenges. The “blame game” never does anyone any good. At the end of the day, families and professionals must work as a team. Each brings unique gifts.

It’s “not a” day to give up on schools. Trauma-sensitive teachers, classrooms and entire buildings are becoming more and more common. And yes, the right fit can make all the difference for our kids. When they feel safe and less anxious, the possibilities are endless.

It’s “not a” day to be silent. All parents and caregivers need to be heard. They know their children best and need a seat at the treatment table – whether an attachment-focused therapist in the home or an attachment-focused therapist in a residential treatment facility.

It’s “not a” day to lose hope. All children can heal. Some just take longer than others. And since the journey can be long and exhausting, don’t lose sight of your destination. One step at a time! If a period of regression occurs, stay the course.

It’s “not a” day to lose your effectiveness. Therapeutic parenting makes a difference. It always has and it always will. If you need help with your skills, don’t be afraid to ask. Find a parent mentor who can offer some tips and point you in a new direction without judgment. Even the best parent can become better.

And It’s “not a” day to sit on the sideline. Now is a great time to join the Attachment and Trauma Network and be part of the movement. You’re only a click away from membership.

So now that you know what it’s not, the rest of the day is yours. Make NATA Day count!

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