Jun 13

Intermountain moment: “I love that little tornado!” with ML Rutherford

Parenting a child with emotional disturbance or another mental health issue, being a foster parent, and adopting a child from a trauma background… all of these can seem like living in tornado alley! (view the video and you’ll understand the reference!)

I am so thankful for my friendship and partnership in mission with ML Rutherford, our Residential Operations Manager in Helena, Montana. A while back we sat down and talked heart-to-heart about the difficulties that face parents and care givers of those children who have such a turbulent emotional world that it inevitably escapes their little mouths and bodies in a torrent of pain and hurt. While directed outward, this explosion of hurt and pain is the expression of their own deep sense of shame and unworthiness.

Knowing this is at the core of a child’s violent outbursts is helpful, but it doesn’t make the bruises and pain any less real. Being a parent for whom that rage and emotion is often focused on is HARD. Many on the outside who haven’t experienced it cannot fully understand or perhaps don’t care to.

That’s why it is SO important that Intermountain includes the family system in treatment and brings parents together for “LIFE Days” (LIFE = Learning through Integrated Family Experience). As we hold another LIFE Day this week, I am so grateful to work in a therapeutic setting that doesn’t just see the kid as the one who must be fixed or healed, nor is it the parent who is the problem. At the root of all these issues that draw families to us is the trauma and retraumatization that deeply wounded people experience. So, as these parents gather to learn and to “find their tribe” of others going through the hard work of parenting and caring for a child with emotional special needs, pray for all who “live in tornado alley” and have accepted their children as they are and working to be the family they know they can be.