‘Trauma in Childhood and Building Resilience in the 21st Century’
Brief report from Erika Vink
Understanding hidden trauma in childhood and how we can help to build resilience and heal these children was the theme of the Kolisko medical and education conference. Seven teachers, staff and health practitioners from Motueka and Nelson attended. In total 360 people attended from many countries.
Many children suffer, often unnoticeable, from ‘hidden’ traumas, which are inflicted upon them by living today, in our 21st century modern life styles. There are plenty of characteristics that define ‘modern life’ but one example is screen images that are beyond a child’s comprehension. These stay in their minds, influencing their thoughts and emotions preventing them from being ‘free’, free to develop in their own natural inner way. From Michaela Glockler and Christof Wiechert’s understanding, these images are embedded into the soul.
Resilience is the capacity to overcome experiences. Harm can happen daily and becoming hurt is natural in all our biographies. Resilience is mainly learnt through the educational / life experiences in the first 10 years of life. Students in Waldorf school develop resilience through the following practices, which are equally relevant in parenting:-
- There must be one trust worthy caregiver who is there for the child in their first 10 years of life.
- Every child benefits from an ‘Authoritative Education’ in their first 10 years of life. This means the child is free from making important decisions about their lives, that they are made on their behalf, and that they experience this as ‘someone knows what is good for me’ (Parent or teacher). This transforms into the capacity of self-confidence.
- The child learns from good modelling and good examples, and that it is not good to force a child under the age of 10 to understand what he is learning, e.g. through too much talk or intellectualising.
- Children need to be taught in a way that time becomes a dynamic reality, in which they are totally engaged and have forgotten about (linear) time, ‘the pearls of time’.
- Every child needs to have a surplus of good memories when they leave school, or leave home.
- Children need to experience that their teachers and parents have an authority above them too, a teacher or a guide, esp. teens and young adults.