The Ghost of Christmas Past

The Ghosts of Christmas Past Post-Institute-window-of-tolerance-ability-to-self-regulate

Every year, as you might struggle through this season of wonderment, joy, and stress, you may find moments of redefining yourself, no matter how challenging it may be or has been in Christmas past.

This redefining of yourself has the carryover effect of helping others redefine themselves, your children, for example.

I recall one Ghost of Christmas Past, where we ended up with four grown men carrying our seven-year-old adopted son (one man on each arm and leg) as the boy kicked and screamed bloody murder. He appeared so out of control that one man asked if we should call the sheriff or just take him to the hospital? I was embarrassed and ashamed of my son for this public display of drama.

I refused. “let’s take him in the house and just let him go”. Being a student of Bryan Post just added to my burden. I should know better. Finally, love broke through, and I could help him regulate by letting him just sit and play with his toys by my side for a few minutes. All was well. It was a miracle. My shame and embarrassment were not.

As I thought back to the triggering event, I realized it was me, ole’ dad using his strong arm technique of “do it or else” when asking him to stop playing with his toys and go to lunch. It was such a small thing and should never have happened if I had “had my Bryan on.”

Just thinking back on this brings a wave of shame. It was nothing or should have been nothing. An opportunity to sit with him for a few minutes, love him, play with him for a bit, then help him transition and gently move forward to lunch. You may be familiar with children having a difficult time with transitions. Kids with trauma histories seem to have an even harder time with this.

It was this massive failure on my part that helped me to redefine who I wanted to be. This was a confession of how I failed, not my son. The memory of it has taught me more than I can appreciate. I will never forget it.

Being trauma informed starts with us as adults and parents.  We need to delve into our own stories, the blueprints of our early life, understand where our beliefs come from and examine if they have value in how you raise your unique child.

Remember, your child is not you, and you are not your parents.  You have permission to create a peaceful, loving home, that understands the unique needs of your child.

— David Durovy

David is a husband, father, foster parent, adoptive parent, trauma informed, ever growing writer and contributor to The Post Institute.  You can also find him at