“Oh he will bounce back, he’s only 5, he can’t really know what’s going on.”
The family system is so important to the growth and development of children. Our understanding of this can contribute to a child’s overall sense of safety. When a child feels safe, a child can learn, love and grow.
Know that a breakdown in the God given family for a child is devastating. Children are resilient, no doubt. But like a demonstration I do in my trainings, children are much like a ball. They CAN bounce, but only if someone puts the bounce into motion. And when putting a ball into motion, you must understand HOW that ball will bounce by investigating it’s dynamic.
When seeking to know a child, know the simplest of things like who they live with. Try to get a handle on their at home routine. What time do they go to bed at night? Who cooks? Where do they eat? How many nights a week are they away from home? All of these things and more make up the dynamic of a child. Their family and the values in their family are intricately woven into every behavior.
As you listen and learn, don’t judge. Just absorb and develop a compassionate heart for the child who is gone “doing” things 4 nights out of 5. Or empathize with the child who lives out of a bag because mom and dad have shared custody. Or extend mercy to the child who cooks her own meals because her single mom is trying to make ends meet while dad is in Iraq.
There are so many different components to a child. And know, that a child does NOT compartmentalize his/her life. It’s all one big ball of colored rubber bands. Help them to sort them out, and love them through it. As you unwind them a little at a time by showing them your love, they will bounce forward into this world instead of all of your ministry!