Attachment Awareness, Trauma informed and ACE educated frameworks for understanding individual behaviour, challenges within society and preventative strategies are embedded well within all my work now and I spend a lot of time training and speaking on these areas across all sectors, nationally. However, there is an emerging underpinning narrative that must be made explicit if we are really serious about being part of the solution and not the problem.
I am keen to be part of a broader conversation about changing the narrative around what I can only describe as ‘blame the mother.’ Our society’s background noise is never so vicious as when it is hanging the coat of blame when the mother remains so readily available for it to do so. And we wear it well! I’m not saying that fathers don’t have a whole heap of other obstacles to overcome but when it comes to blaming the parents, it is the mother who feels the sharpest edge of this often brutal knifing. If we allow the knowledge and information that we have now to continue to feed that often unspoken ripple of judgement about ‘the mother’ then we run the risk of not making the best use of the knowledge we have at all!
There are no spaces where this blaming and shaming does not take place; peer groups, intimate relationships and community groups all feed this story. Then there are schools. I’ve been in enough staff rooms and playgrounds over the years to have heard enough ‘I blame the mother’ stories to fill a book. It doesn’t get any better when specialist provision is required; Social Workers, CAMHS all can add to this story as professionals arrive with their view firmly in place before the first conversation has even happened! We also mustn’t forget the media, the police and the court rooms. It is everywhere. I think to some degree or other we are all capable of falling into this way of thinking, that judgement itself might be part of the human psyche giving us the scope to try and understand other people and make sense of them. But without awareness, without acknowledging our own lens through which we view the world and the perceptions that we have, we are not going to help, we are going to hinder.
In starting a conversation I am reflecting upon an opportunity for us to talk more widely about:
- Not every child who presents to us with challenges and difficulties has grown up around challenges and difficulties. In other words, there hasn’t always been trauma experienced by the child who appears as though they have experienced trauma
- Most parents are doing their absolute best with the challenges that they have
- Some things are just life and the interplay between who we are, the experiences we have and the community around us shapes us in the most strange/beautiful of ways
- We carry the trauma of the generations before us within us and we know little about that yet (epigenetic explorations) which is why some things don’t make sense
- It is not a level playing field. Poverty, as an example and our responses to it feed into everything; the education we can provide, the food we can offer, the extra curricular support we can purchase, the experiences we can have. With all the will in the world love, safety and attachment will provide more resilience but they cannot counter the impact in a broader sense and the continuing divisive media onslaught on the working poor
- We are social beings so we cannot be viewed outside of our environment. ACE education really helps us understand this in a compassionate way
- There is a not a ‘normal’ with everything else sitting outside that, requiring a label and needing to try and achieve ‘normal’ at all costs. The diversity of how humans experience and live in the world around the globe is vast. There really is no normal
- Being trauma informed and ACE educated supports the view that we can be kinder generally. By adopting a different way of being, we don’t need to separate humans into boxes as needing something different. We can just acknowledge that for whatever reason, the person in front of us is struggling right now and we can either add to that or not
- Most things can be solved with compassion, kindness and a well supported and well functioning eco-system
- Not everything has a reason, and not everything has an answer.
Here’s to broadening the conversation, creating a better society for our growing children, our recovering adults and our delivering services.