Hope for Struggling Teens

By October 13, 2017The Struggle is Real

One of our learners struggled this week. Lies. Fighting relationship. Refusing support. None of it easy. The thoughts I put on paper the night before kids arrived are still true today.

“Tonight sleep will not be easy. We are finally beginning again.

Excitement. Anxiety. Hope.

Sadly, for kids who have experienced hard things, hopeful excitement is often missing.

Teens who are dealing with developmental trauma, depression, and anxiety–our students at Adora–are in fear mode. The portion of their brain they use most often is the amygdala.

The amygdala, sometimes called the animal brain, is the survival center of the brain. In order to survive, anxious teens live in fight, flight, freeze, or faint mode.

They arrive in fear mode. They arrive ready to fight. They arrive frozen–giving little or no participation in the activities. Or maybe they don’t arrive; they cut class–flight.

Survival strategies are often visible due to high anxiety, depression, and fear. It looks like defiance. It looks like laziness. It looks like a battleground between adult and teen.

At Adora, we see the anxiety. We see the survival strategies. As a team, we set the boundaries to create safety for our students. Trauma Healing-Based Learning is full of physical activity to help settle brain chemistry and create calm. Gentle voices and soft eyes are practiced by each staff member. Trust and relationship building are key to each activity.

We stay close. We wait. We are present in each moment.

Yes. We are excited about learning. We are even more excited about the relationships we will develop with kids and families. There is struggle. There is anxiety and fear.

Through God’s Law and His Grace, through safety in trusting relationships, teens can find success. Relationships with families can be rebuilt. The Savior can change hearts.”

There is hope!

 

by Gail Prutow