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Reflections from #ECECircleTime 

An ongoing series of informational, educational, funny and honest entries​ by Melody McGuire.

How my childhood trauma influenced my parenting and ECE career...

My Journee´  #001

 February 4th, 2022


Trauma for most of us, begins in childhood. These traumatizing experiences can range from neglect & abandonment, to extreme verbal/physical abuse. Although most of these traumatic events are never directly to the brain, it is most affected. 


Our perspective and idealogical beliefs are results of a culmination of our past. 

All of our experiences- good and bad, help shape who we are and how we think. This is why early childhood education is important to me because we help cultivate future adults. 


I recently recalled how a traumatizing childhood memory, would later come full circle and help me make better choices as a parent. As a young child, I did what all children do: explore your curiosity, laugh, play and scare your parents in the process. 


But one particular time, my child-like ways upset my then stepfather and I was severly beaten. No child should be punished for being a child. Too young to process these things, I somehow blamed myself. 


Older, I reflected on how traumatizing that experience was and I vowed to never physically punish my children. That moment shifted my childhood and possibly the course of my life, leaving severe negative emotions towards it. I knew a parent, I couldn't possibly bring myself to allow my children to feel what that felt like. There had to be a better way. 




 

Three decades later, (that line alone requires wine) I became a mother of two gorgeous girls who help me grow in every way, daily. While they we still very young, I never thought much about spanki​ngs because a serious tone of voice was all I needed to get their attention.


But, parenting like life, is unpred​ictable. It all came to a head one day and sent me back down memory lane. It was a moment of truth, that when faced; created a space for growth in my person and parenting.


Although we spend considerable time telling our kids to be quiet, we all know it's time to worry whenever they actually are. It was just another day of adulting; stress from balancing work, home and kids. I had forgotten how quiet it was. 


I ironically, was racing through the house in an attempt to keep it in order. When I took a moment to stop, realizing I heard nothing; I ran to her room. When I entered the room I had just fully cleaned moments before, she and everything she could reach was covered in petroleum jelly. 


The stress from the day came crashing down on me at once. Overwhelmed, I felt myself becoming angry and on the edge of an outburst. Then, it all came back. I saw in her, a little me. So beautiful, so innocent and just curiously exploring the world around her. I couldn't blame her, she did nothing wrong. The pictures highlight the fact that I took a second to regroup and laugh, rather than make this a bad memory for her. 


Children don't deserve to be punished for our past, our lack of discipline or for exploring the world around them. The trauma I suffered is mine and not hers to endure. That was one of many lessons I took from it, along with a better perspective on giving kids the freedom to learn.This is imperative for the best outcome for any child. 


That experience, helped me as a parent and in my career as a ECE provider. It has allowed me to see things not only as we paint them as adults but through the eyes of those most important to the future of the world, the children. Please take the time to consider how events from your childhood could be affecting the efficacy of your parenting or professional career. Especially, if you work in an early child environment.  


Thank You, Melody McGuire.