How We Heal Our Children’s Broken Hearts by Jessica Gammell-Bennett
Over a period of eight weeks, our son went from a sweet boy who liked to give hugs and kisses to one who yelled at us in anguish, hit us, and spit in our faces. We would later learn that the children in his preschool continually spit in his face, hit him as he tried to crawl away, and on one occasion, pushed his face into the water of a kiddie pool.
Garrett was 2 1/2 when this happened, and he just turned three. The children were 3 and 4, and they were siblings. Many people have expressed shock and disbelief that children so young could engage in bullying. However, according to Henry D. Schlinger, Ph.D., director of the applied behavior analysis program at California State University at Los Angeles, bullying behavior begins at three years old, the age when children have the cognitive ability to know better.
When we learned this, we took him out of school. And thus began our journey of healing our son’s PTSD. In the beginning, he would rage, at times banging his head against a table. And then he would cry. He was full of anger and sadness. We knew we had to heal his pain, not only for him, but also so that it would not be passed onto others.
In six months, we have taken him from being unable to eat or stay awake, to raging and crying constantly when he was awake, to having his health and sweetness return, and now, his power. He has now grown another three inches and gained five pounds, so he's really back to where he needs to be physically, emotionally, and dare I say, spiritually.
This is the plan we came up with for his healing:
1. Swimming and bathing in salt water:
There’s a reason the ancients flocked to the Dead Sea: salt heals all wounds. It facilitates healing, is physically and emotionally detoxifying, and clears our energy. We have a salt water pool nearby, and Garrett instantly relaxes when he gets in. For the bath, we put two cups of detox salt in the tub.
2. Communing with nature and animals:
Our back yard has big, beautiful trees, lots of birds, and backs up to the woods. We also walk and ride our bikes in the local walking trails. After even a short time in nature, Garrett and I are both more serene. He also likes to lay on JJ, his standard poodle, and that always puts a smile on his face. The unconditional love of an animal is an emotional safety net for children.
3. Connecting and venting:
We have realized that “time outs” only serve to isolate our son during this critical phase of his healing, so we do “time ins,” where we sit with him (usually in his bedroom) and allow him to vent his anger in appropriate ways, and then, when he’s ready, we talk about what he’s feeling. We have also taught him to throw his stuffed animals, scream it out, and “push his anger out” by taking a deep breath, then pushing his anger out with his exhale. We usually end up laughing by the end.
Ever felt the energy of unity at a concert? And the high that ensued? Singing and dancing both increase connection and help us release toxic emotions. Music is a form of sound healing. It doesn’t have to be singing bowls or chanting. Any music that both you and your child enjoy will do.
5. Building their vocabulary of emotions:
The number of children’s books that talk about emotions have exploded in recent years, making it easy to start building their vocabulary of emotions early. Talking about how they’re feeling, as well as how we are feeling as the parent and why, helps children to feel validated and build their capacity for empathy.
Within the system of Reiki are tools for physical and emotional healing that heal the pain itself so that the behaviors that manifest because of the pain disappear. Anyone can learn basic Reiki in a weekend. You can find a teacher near you here.
Homeopathy was determined by the Swiss government to be as effective as pharmaceuticals, with no side effects. We have successfully used homeopathic remedies specifically designed for releasing anger and sadness. The homeopathic remedies we used with Garrett were aconite, which is a great remedy for fear, and staphysagria, which is great for anger.
Our son’s healing is a process that requires patience on all of our parts, but we are encouraged when we see progress. He now allows us to hug him again, and his behavior is improving as he unlearns the behaviors that he adopted from the other children.
We have reason to hope he will make a full recovery: yesterday, he said “You know Mommy, my heart was broken, but you’re putting it back together!” So it is possible to heal a broken heart. And that’s what we all must do. If we want to evolve as a society, indeed, as human beings, we all must heal our broken hearts.
Jessica is a Spiritual Teacher, Writer, and Visionary. After a fifteen-year illness, she was able to heal herself holistically and have a child. She teaches that by healing ourselves and our children, we will heal our world. She and her husband have chosen the conscious parenting path to raise their sensitive, spirited son.