Repair for Kids: A Children’s Program for Recovery from Incest and Childhood Sex Abuse: Marjorie McKinnon author: Illustrator: Tom W. McKinnon
Many children and young adults endure the stigma of being abused by a friend, family member, neighbor, educator or clergyman. All too often they hide their feelings, keep the secret of what happened locked inside hoping that no one will ever find out and promising the perpetrator they would never tell. But, what happens when the floodgates spill over and the truth behind what happened to these children is revealed? What happens when secrets, lies and betrayals become realities and the child decides to come forward? Will anyone believe them? Will they understand or will they be shunned, cast aside and accused of not telling the truth? Repair for Kids is a resource that can be implemented by parents, guidance counselors, psychologists and medical personal qualified to handle these types of situations. The introduction on page 2 leads the way for parents and adults with how to use this resource and beginning helping the child. Repair: Recognition, Entry, Process, Awareness, Insight, Rhythm: when defined in more detail we learn that R-ecognition means telling the truth about what happened, E-ntry: making a commitment to work on the program regularly. P-rocess: learning the tools and exercises to make us feel better. A-wareness: finding the puzzle pieces. I-nsight: putting the picture together so we can see that it was not our FAULT in any way.
R-htyhm: Becoming our own person, SPECIAL AND WHOLE. The first question that has to be answered is: DO WE WANT TO BECOME REPAIRED????
As the author continues she defines the word Repair to mean: to put back into good condition after damage. Asking a young adult or child if they want to be able to fix what is broken is paramount and their answer might not be so easily forthcoming. First, you need to understand and learn the path of the hurting child as the author explains it on pages 6-8. Bad stuff has happened and at times they are sad and fearful and have no idea where to turn. As Dorothy found her way on the Yellow Brick Road to the Land Of Oz the child that is hurt needs to find his/her own way on their own path using this book and maybe their Yellow Brick Road will make them feel safer as Dorothy’s did at home. But, first the child must understand that what happened is not their fault, it will take time for the hurt to go away so why not go on a magical journey across the Bridge of Recovery?
I know you have no idea how to get there but author Marjorie McKinnon has solved that problem by creating a map to guide on this very special bridge. First stand on the X to get started and then to the land of Recognition, then Entry, Process, Awareness, Insight and Rhythm. When you have completed each step and visited each part listed on the map you must might be repaired. By crossing this magical bridge you will be able to tell your story, feel better when you express what happened to you that was bad and talk about the bad person that hurt you. No more secrets, no more fear, you will be safe and learn how to smile and be happy. Read pages 14-15 to unlock the magic of the bridge, to get started but make sure that someone you trust is taking the journey along with you in order to guide your path and help answer any questions that you may have. Remember: you are no longer alone!
First you will learn the meaning of Recognition as explained on page 16 in detail followed by an exercise that will help you to express how you are feeling: Write down what you are feeling in a daily diary or journal. As you continue to write about what you are feeling each day you might share a happy time in school, a test that you hoped to do better on or even a fight with a friend. But, if you are not sure if you a hurting child read the checklist on page 18 and decide which ones you agree with that apply to you. Remember: before you can fix what is wrong and Repair yourself you have to find out where the trouble spots are and know what is broken
The next step is entry but let me make something clear at the onset you do not complete all of this at once. Take it one step or one day at a time until you have mastered or fee comfortable with recognition do not start entry, which is defined and will be explained to you by the person helping you do these exercises on page 19. Entry involves a commitment, promise or pledge so along with me raise you right hand read the pledge that asks you to promise to keep working until you cross the bridge and feel happy. Next the author describes a crucial step which is Process which leads to gradual changes that will help you get to the to other side of the bridge one step at a time. So, when you read pages 21-23 and see what awaits you, you will be surprised, happy and feel so much better. Wait until you find out what awaits you on the other side. You just won’t believe it!
But, first you have to find your way to the Magic Mirror and find out just who the fairest in the world is and it is not the wicked queen from Snow White it is YOU! Learn what healthy and unhealthy messages are and list some. Tape a picture of yourself on your own magic mirror and tape some special messages that you can copy from the mirror on page 27 or add your own. In case you are stumped check out pages 28-30 for more help. Next, what about having a special diary that where you record your feelings and only you can read them. Write a private letter to your inner child as explained on page 32 and add pictures. One important word that needs to be defined and understood is Shame and children that are hurting often feel embarrassed, ashamed and hurt by someone that was mean to them. Hope to you repair this? Do the exercises on page 38- 44 along with someone that you trust to fully understand how to rid yourself of shame and dealing with qualities that you need to change and others think you should then take a break and do something else.
Whether you are a hurting child who has been sexually, physically or verbally abused these exercises will help you. They can help any child or young adult that has been bullied, made to feel different or has poor self-esteem as the author continues with How to take Care of Yourself by doing the exercise on page 46 and the Attitude of Gratitude on page 47. I love the courage songs and the pamper yourself which is really great. What makes you feel good inside? If it’s a bubble bath then go have one. If it’s popcorn get some. When you need to remind yourself of how special you are look at your magic mirror. Next, learn a very important word: NO! You have the power now sand when someone does or want to do something to do that you don’t want: SAY NO! When your mom wants you to clean you room you should. When a friend asks you to steal candy or cut school say NO! Do the exercise on page 52 for more practice then take a break before learning the meaning of the word Boundaries and doing the exercises that follow. A is for Awareness: being smart and using your hear, thinking things through and there is much more that is explained on page 59 including family systems and what that means on the next two pages. The author summarizes what you have learned on pages 62- 63 and then she asks that you do some special exercises that I think we can all learn from: My Wonderful Qualities and My list of Real Love Qualities. Most important: OUR BODIES ARE OUR OWN AND THEY BELONG TO US! Finally Rhythm is explained and the final exercises: Who am I, My Wish List and finding out what happens when you cross to the other side of the bridge. Guess what grade you will get for doing good work and trying real hard. What happens when you succeed? Find out for yourself when you read pages 74-77 and know that YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL!
This is a wonderful resource that should can be used for children that feel sad, need to feel special, abused, bullied, after the loss of a parent or grandparent or just is made to feel like an outcast in school. Parents, medical care professionals, foster care parents, teachers, older sisters and brothers can use this book to help a child become REPAIRED. They might even try doing some of the exercises together and make it more fun.
A valuable tool and resource for everyone.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer