We Are Not Broken Just Bent

Published on 27th February 2017

We're not broken just bent

I spent 2 years as a foster carer before I adopted my son in 2011. What struck me with looking after 9 children over that time was how resilient they were and how well they functioned in society considering the challenges they had had. I in no way want to diminish the neglect or abuse they had suffered. Nor am I saying that they dont have challenging behaviours. Many do. What I am saying it that these children in the words of this song by PINK are not broken just bent

Just give me a reason,
Just a little bit's enough
Just a second, we're not broken
Just bent we can learn to LOVE again.
Oh, it's in the stars,
It's been written in the scars on our hearts
We're NOT broken
Just bent we can learn to love again.

I truly believe that we colour the outcome of our interactions through our percerption, beliefs and attitudes. I recently met some adopters who attributed their childs behaviour to his genes thereby limiting him to him to a present and a future where it would be impossible to change. Whilst the jury is still out on this one, much behaviour is learnt not inherited.  Think of speaking a language. You tend to speak the language of the people you are surrounded by but this is not inherited.  Think of Pavlovs dogs. They learnt to salivate when a bell was rung because Pavlov had trained them to associate bell ringing with food. This is called conditioning and can be un-learnt. 

So next time you label your childs behaviour in your head (be it disruptive, manipulative, upsetting, controlling):

Stop and think about the positive intent behind it

notice whether you are interpreting it or perceiving it correctly and

think about how you can help your child adjust to realign them. They are not broken, just bent. 


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"As a relatively experienced adopter, many years in to a stressful journey, with a complex child, living with challenging, sometimes extreme behaviour, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. What could it do for me that the other numerous training courses, variety of groups and forums have failed to achieve over the years? I wondered if the course might be geared towards prospective or new adoptive parents, rather than the more battle weary amongst us. I could not have been more wrong! "

- Gill Maddison -

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