One defense mechanism that people of all ages use is building up walls and in young people and children, these walls can seem impenetrable. The hardest children to communicate with are often those who have built the thickest walls to protect themselves, but realizing that they could be hiding deep rooted wounds behind these walls is a great way to begin chipping away at their personal armor. In a comfortable and trusting way, doing away with this armor can help you to help the child to finally heal, and to become open to trust and communication once again, but finding these wounds is a job that should not be taken lightly.
In all species on the earth, vulnerabilities are protected, and this is no different with humans. When you have a physical injury, you’ll cover and protect the weakened area with a bandage or some other type of covering, and this is no different with emotional or psychological wounds as well. In young people who may not have found the correct coping mechanisms yet, building these walls or this armor is their first defense in making sure they’re not hurt again, but they don’t realize that hiding the wound is actually stopping it from properly healing.
When helping a child to finally free themselves of their armor, building a solid foundation of trust is necessary. The young person should know that they’re safe while talking with you and while in your presence, so they can finally feel free enough to rid themselves of their emotional armor so you can help them to heal their own personal wounds. Once their armor is off, the real healing process can begin, and they should understand that this is a process that will help them more greatly than they have ever imagined.
There is no healing when a wound is kept constantly covered up, and finding wounds underneath emotional armor is difficult when they refuse to be exposed. When reaching young people and helping them to let down their walls, it’s always important to keep these vulnerabilities in mind and to treat them with the gentlest care, just as you would with a physical wound.