What #OneCaringAdult Can Do

What #OneCaringAdult Can Do

Every caring adult can make a difference in a child’s life

At the Attachment and Trauma Network (ATN),we hear many stories about parents, teachers, therapists, and other individuals making a difference in children’s lives. It inspired us to choose the theme #OneCaringAdult for our #GivingTuesday campaign. 

The premise for the #OneCaringAdult campaign comes out of the research on resilience. As part of the report from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child shows, the adverse effects of childhood adversity can be counterbalanced. 

These counterbalancing factors include the availability of at least one stable, caring, and supportive relationship between a child and the important adults in his or her life. These relationships begin in the family, but they can also include neighbors, providers of early care and education, teachers, social workers, or coaches, among many others. 

Our ATN Board, staff, and volunteers all have some kind of connection with traumatized children. We understand the difference #OneCaringAdult can make. At the same time, we are very realistic about the challenges faced by traumatized children. 

Every story is unique

Several important factors determine both the effects and healing of Developmental Trauma. These include the child’s age, as well as the type, extent, and repetition of the trauma. All these factors affect the child’s behaviors and ability to heal. In addition, children who never experience a healthy attachment relationship with a primary caregiver find themselves particularly vulnerable. 

We understand that the difference #OneCaringAdult makes in the lives of severely traumatized children may never look the same as for neurotypical children who received consistent care and nurturing from the beginning of life. It is part of our mission to help others understand trauma-related behaviors. This means shifting from the perspective of “What happened to this child” vs. “What is wrong with this child.” Being #OneCaringAdult in a child’s life depends on this paradigm shift. 

As an organization and as individuals, we have all witnessed the difference #OneCaringAdult can make in the life of a child. ATN believes the understanding of attachment and trauma in families, schools, and communities can promote earlier more effective trauma-informed interventions as well as more supports for teachers and parents that are desperately needed. ATN has been on this mission for twenty-five years. It is making a difference, but there is much more to do. 

It’s about relationship and support

We applaud the parents who relentlessly pursue trauma-informed, attachment-focused care and treatments. Those are the parents at the core of our founding mission, and we do our best to support them through online support groups. Not everyone may recognize the difference these parents are making, but ATN does! Tragically, for some children, the early damage is so severe that healing might never be discernible by society’s standards. This happens despite the best parenting, therapy, and medical efforts. We support many who grieve in this realization. 

Beyond those who suffer severe impacts, most of us can name adults who made a difference in our own lives or those of children we love. Their unconditional acceptance and support did help build resilience. Relationships like these are always the primary key to healthy growth and healing. ATN is working to provide trauma-informed, attachment-focused tools to enable adults be the #OneCaringAdult to our most vulnerable children. 

Please support our mission on #GivingTuesday! 

 

Janyne McConnaughey, member of the ATN Board of Directors, is a retired teacher educator and Professor Emeritus who taught every age from preschool to graduate school during her forty-year career. She completed a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, from the University of Colorado—Denver in 2006, with an emphasis in Early Childhood and Math Education. After retiring, and an intensive healing journey for significant childhood trauma, she now devotes her time to writing, speaking, and blogging. Along with Brave: A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma (2018) and Jeannie’s Brave Childhood: Behavior and Healing through the Lens of Attachment and Trauma (2019), Janyne is working on a prequel to Brave which should be available in 2020. She and her husband Scott, are now living in the Seattle area near their children and grandchildren and love exploring the Pacific Northwest.

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During these unprecedented times, ATN is committed to providing trauma-informed, attachment-focused resources.

Join us on this mission to serve children in their families, schools and communities.