Author Archive for Ce Eshelman

Lagging Skills of Behaviorally Challenging Children

Dear Parents,

lagging skills, behaviorally challenging children, attachment challenged children

I just finished a training on Advanced Regulation Skills for parents of behaviorally challenging children from difficult beginnings.  By “advanced” I meant beyond techniques.  Regulation strategies like jumping on a trampoline, doing some jumping jacks, taking a fast walk with the dog, or spinning on the lawn work for ongoing sensory, emotional, and cognitive integration.  Children need to be doing this kind of thing every two hours no matter how they are feeling.

Advanced regulation skills are all about looking at how parenting activates regulation/dysregulation, how activated attachment styles of parents activate survival brain behavior in children, and really using our brains to investigate the areas of lagging, delayed skills in our children that lead them to “flip their lids” on a regular basis.

Often, parents, I have written about looking at your own personal narrative from birth forward to begin to make coherent pieces of your past that may have been pushed aside in order to move forward and survive the chaos.  Once you take a peek at the past, grieve, heal, and re-evaluate some of those early scripts about yourself and life, you can be freer to accept the reality of parenting behaviorally challenging children without creating the same wounds in them.

Just as often, I have written about learning and using a consistent therapeutic parenting model to allow your safety and predictability to wage war against the fear that is core deep in your child.  This is a truly invaluable step that can get drowned out in the heat of a moment by your insecure early attachment style rising up and sweeping the safety and security right out from under the tentative emotional stability of your children.  You must do your own work to understand yourself and what you are bringing to every interaction with your child.

Right now, I would like to open your eyes, if they happen to be closed, to the fact that our children from difficult beginnings are likely to be emotionally delayed by so much stress hormone (cortisol) to the prefrontal cortex (executive brain function) that their focus is mostly on survival and little on the nuances of being a fully human “being” in a family and society.

“Lagging Skills” is a Ross Greene concept.  If you have read The Explosive Child by the same author, then you already know what I am talking about.  Unfortunately, it is easy to get bogged down in what feels like too much information to make use of the gems in that work.   Even his great website, www.livesinthebalance.org, can feel overwhelming because the materials, while free, are daunting to parse, especially when you have a child who will not let go of your leg or, the opposite, has to be supervised around every corner 24/7. Broken down, lagging skills are gaps in knowledge/life skill.

Problem: Sarah has difficulty getting out of bed for school in the mornings.

Lagging Skill: Difficulting transitioning from one state or mindset to another.

Solution:  Empathize with your child’s difficulty.  Listen deeply with caring.  Let me say that again with emphasis: Listen deeply with caring. Together, investigate the problem from your child’s perspective.  Share the problem from your perspective.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Collaborate: Work together to come up with a solution that works for both of you.  Get agreement to try it; and then, try it.

Encouragement: Specifically acknowledge success.  In failure (the face of persistent lagging skill), go back to the beginning without disappointment, frustration, or anger to empathize with trying and not being able to master it.  Do step one, two, three again.  Don’t give up.  Be safe.  Be predictable.  Don’t give up.  Be safe.  Curb your frustration.  Don’t give up.  Be safe.

Don’t give up.  It takes 400 repetitions to create one new neuropathway.  Don’t give up.  Keep going.  How many repetitions have you really done?  I mean it.  If you are on the tenth rep and not succeeding, you have 390 reps more to go.  Yep, it’s that hard.  If you start today, in a year or so this problem with be solved.  If you give up at 10 reps, you will be fighting this problem well into your child’s adulthood.  Don’t give up.

Love matters,

Ce

Upcoming Events Calendar (Click Here)

RESERVE YOUR SPOT: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on May 5, 2018 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here or on our website!

FRIENDS OF AUTISM:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. April 21st, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs and 8-10 yrs. groups. The 5-wk group will be $125 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  New groups will begin again in June 2018.  Click here for more information.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on April 11th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

 

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

   

 

Oprah Dances on The Table About Trauma Informed Care–Yes!

Dear Parents,

I bow down to Oprah.  On CBS Good Morning America today she said she would dance on the tabletop to get people to pay attention to the impact of trauma on the developing brains of children.  If Oprah says it, people will listen. Sunday, March 11th, 2018, she will be airing a 60-Minutes special where she interviews Dr. Bruce Perry on the impact of trauma that you are no stranger to because you are living with it in your home every day of your life in the brain/heart/body complex called your child.

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I am deliriously happy myself that Oprah is talking about trauma-informed care because she is sharing it in exactly the way it should be–trauma-informed.  She knows the impact of trauma from the inside out because she came from difficult beginnings and she does a great job explaining the truth about how trauma is shaping the lives of our children and our society overall.

I hope you catch the 60-Minutes interview but more importantly, I hope you encourage teachers, grandparents, friends, ministers, and anyone with ears to tune in so they can be part of the trauma-informed revolution in their own homes and circles of influence.  We all need to be about getting the word out so our children can receive the support they need in all the agencies, classrooms, organizations, worlds they frequent.

Our children need to be understood by everyone not from a place of “what is wrong with you,” but rather from an insightful place of “what happened to you.”  Simple, but profoundly different meanings that change the focus of approach to dysregulation and disturbing behavior that comes from it.

Love matters,

Ce

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW CLASS: Advanced Regulation Skills for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings. This class is provided by Ce Eshelman, LMFT for parents of children from difficult beginnings who know the basics of therapeutic parenting and want advanced skills on creating regulation for themselves and their children at home/school.  Come dressed to actively learn. March 24, 2018   9:00am to 12pm   $20.00.  Register Here.

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on May 5 from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. March 16, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs and 8-10 yrs. groups. The 5-wk group will be $125 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  New groups will begin again on March 31, 2018.  Click here for more information.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on March 14, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

   

 

Adopted Kids Are Not Predestined Killers

Dear Parents,

In this day of shootings, mass and otherwise, I want you to consider that the fearful behavior of our children from difficult beginnings is not the same as “killing others,” and we parents often conflate the two.  We do that because we are afraid.

Frankly, society has something to be afraid of.  Attachment challenged children who do not receive appropriate, therapeutic intervention, who are also met with abusive, neglectful, avoidant caregivers over the course of their childhoods can grow up to be poorly regulated adults who commit crimes against humanity, amongst which killing is one.  Prisons are indeed filled with attachment challenged criminals.  These grown-ups were children raised by biological parents, relatives, institutions, foster parents, and adoptive parents. Many were misdiagnosed early and mistreated with parenting punishments, poorly conceived mental health interventions, institutional abuse and, ultimately, criminal restraint–locked facilities, grueling treatment programs, brutal wilderness programs, and finally prison.

Foster and adopted children can be mistreated by misguided or abusing carers, as well as any other child can; therefore, an adoptive child can become a criminal, even a killer.  Foster and adopted children are not predestined; they do not start out that way, and they rarely end up that way. Some do. Most don’t.

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

When your attachment challenged child lies, steals, hoards, threatens, runs away, hits, screams, and bites, treat it all with a “fix-it” ticket, not a federal indictment. These are lower brain survival skills of traumatized children. When the dysregulated, impulsive acts become better mediated by that part of your child’s brain that governs executive function, survival skills subside and positive, attachment chemistry grows.  The trick is to stay in the longterm, therapeutic parenting game with regulation, patience, and love until the new skills are accessible by your child.  This will take many years.

A big part of appropriate mental health intervention for attachment challenged children is the strengthening of health and mental wellness of the carers.  If all carers received adequate respite; if all received help for their own dysregulation and attachment wounds; most foster and adopted children would heal with therapeutic parenting and wellness practices alone.

Adopting a child does not mean you are bringing home a killer.  Don’t let fear or other people’s fear cause you to fear your child.  Your fear begets fear in your child.  Your child’s fear keeps all the positive things from coming online in the heart and brain of your child.  Felt emotional and physical safety is the key to healing.  Be the key, the emotional and physical safety your child needs to heal and grow into the person you know lives inside.

Love matters,

Ce

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW CLASS: Advanced Regulation Skills for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings. This class is provided by Ce Eshelman, LMFT for parents of children from difficult beginnings who know the basics of therapeutic parenting and want advanced skills on creating regulation for themselves and their children at home/school.  Come dressed to actively learn. March 24, 2018   9:00am to 12pm   $20.00.  Register Here.

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on May 5 from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. March 16, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs and 8-10 yrs. groups. The 5-wk group will be $125 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  New groups will begin again on March 31, 2018.  Click here for more information.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on March 14, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

   

Upcoming Events

Hello Parents,

It has been a while since I posted.  I’ve been busy in the office and out of the office providing training on Therapeutic Parenting, Attachment, and Trauma-Informed Classrooms and Afterschool Programs  Contrary to my own belief system, I cannot do it all and still have time for my own wellness.  Posts had to suffer. This is a quick update for those in or near Sacramento.

NEW!

Advanced Class: Emotion Regulation for Parents/Children

Friendship Skills Improv Group (5-7 yrs)

Social Skills Improv Group (8-10 yrs)

One Day Attachment and Trauma-Informed Therapeutic Parenting Training

On-Going!

Monthly Adoptive Parent Support Group (Open to Everyone Every 2nd Wednesday of Every Month)

Other Upcoming Events Calendar in Sacramento…

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. March 16th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

      

Type A Parenting Begets Stressed Children

Dear Parents:

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Sometimes we parents are seriously Type A toward our traumatized children.  We are forever working our kids to be better, be focused, be kinder, be organized, be mature, be motivated, be “normal.”  Wha?  Our kids by definition are working as hard as they can to figure out how to feel safe in their own skins in their adoptive families. This thing called family life is complex and filled with emotional landmines.

From where your child began, stop and notice how far s/he has come. Give yourselves a little break from bettering every moment. Slow down. There is time.  Every imperfection is not an emergency.  It just feels like it.

Lift your head up from the grindstone.  It’s nice up here.

Love matters,

Ce 

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. February 16th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs group. The 5-wk group will be $120 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  New groups will begin again in March, 2018.  Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on Valentine’s DayFebruary 14th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

      

 

 

           

When Your Hurt Child “Hates” You

Dear Parents:

Things like this are never easy to hear; unfortunately, you are in the designated hot seat to be the target for:

I hate you.

I hate everything about you.

I wish you never adopted me.

I want to kill you.

I am going to kill you in your sleep.

I hate you and I always will.

 

And then there are the variations on a theme:

I hate how you chew.

I hate your face.

I hate your voice.

I hate how you talk.

I hate your stupid dog (now this is a low blow.)

Shoot, you just wanted to give this child a nice home and a loving family, right?  

Now what?

Blow a big bubble, step inside it, and fill it with empathy for your child’s obvious emotional pain and distress.  Invite a village to surround your bubble, so you have the support you need to do it.

You might think I’m kidding, but I am not.  Empathy in the face of your child’s hatefulness is the ultimate cure.  You have to give empathy over and over and over to your child in order for your child to internalize it as healing salve on a wounded heart. Your anger, punishment, consequences, fear, cut-offs, rejection, dismissiveness, dread, coldness, personalization, and avoidance will feed the cruel wounded beast that has taken up residence there.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I read somewhere that empathy is the opposite of cruelty. That struck a chord with me.  When my empathy tank is on E, I find myself behaving in subtly cruel ways toward my child. You already know I am not a perfect parent, so be sure to look deep at your own behavior.  You have to name it to tame it, as Dan Seigel would say.  We parent are never justified in being cruel or mean to our children, even if they have been that way to us.

Personally, I shame with discreet facial expressions.  I ignore by reading instead of engaging. I am matter-of-fact and I speak in a flat voice. I withhold eye contact. I am not proud of these things and I work hard to keep my empathy tank on F, but I want to be honest about them so maybe you can look at your own subtle ways.

Our children are not just reactive. They are specifically reactive to us.  Sometimes we are actually doing things that keep the hate alive and not doing enough to heal the pain within.   The solution is incredibly simple and amazingly hard at the same time. Open your higher self to your child and only share your lower self with friends who can understand and be soothing to you.

Over time…   Over time…   Over time, healing occurs.

Love matters,

Ce

 

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. February 16th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs group. The 5-wk group will be $120 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  New groups will begin again in March, 2018.  Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on Valentine’s DayFebruary 14th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

 

 

 

 

                                              

 

A Bite of Mindfulness Everyday

Dear Parents,

Mindfulness is the new, old, buzz word.  Still, more and more research is showing that daily mindfulness has a real impact on brains for the good.  Eastern cultures have known these benefits for thousands of years.  Our children from difficult beginnings have very busy brains–like you don’t know that, right? I image you are thinking “No way, Ce, are my kid(s) going to be quiet on demand for even a minute.”

To that, I say, “You might be surprised.”  First of all, we are talking about one minute to start.   And at the top end, we are looking at 5 to 10 minutes total.  Daily mindfulness practice is setting new neuropathway tracks for focus, attention and personal agency over unruly emotions.  The promise is worth the price.  Which wolf are you feeding?

Be sure when you begin any mindfulness practice with children from difficult beginnings that you are trauma-sensitive about it. Our kids often cannot tolerate the way they feel inside, so closing their eyes for a minute can be wildly overwhelming.  Hint:  that is why they are so busy in the first place.  Here are some ideas for modifying usual mindfulness practices for traumatized children.

  • Use your child’s imagination. Keeping their eyes open, ask them to imagine what their toes feel like from the inside.  No one can do that, but it is mindful to try.  Tip:  when they think they can feel them, then ask them to notice how their ankles feel from the inside.  Don’t do this for longer than a minute.  Tomorrow.  Ask for the inside of a different body part. Of course, this will only work for a bit and then you will need to switch it up with a new practice.
  • As a family, do this little rap and sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor together.  Then, ask everyone to simply rest eyes on the ball/object that is placed in front of them.  Yes, all parents in the house sit criss-cross applesauce.  That is fun to watch in and of itself. https://youtu.be/4NIEUX55hSk

  • In the spring, go lay out on the grass and look at the sky.  This can last a very long time without effort.
  • Get the Headspace app on your phone and let your children watch the one-minute body scan animation, which is free.  Watch them go into a full body mindfulness state instantly. Some children will really enjoy this.
  • Look online into investing in HeartMath. This is a well-researched method for getting your child’s breath and heartbeat in sync.  Turns out this is very healing.
  • Each day, pick a two or three minute YOUTUBE video on mindfulness for kids to watch with you.  If you have a Smart TV or Apple TV you can show it on the big screen.  You can also watch it on a laptop or your phone.  This is a good reason to look at a screen.  Here are just a few I like:

Go in there, parents, and teach mindfulness to your little wild cats by “being it” together. Be creative. Be light about it. Have fun.

Love matters,

Ce

P.S. Today is Week 2 of Friendship Improv Group for 5-7-year-olds If you want your child to learn friendship skills, drop me an email to reserve a spot in the next one coming up in March.

Yesterday’s Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place was great!  Don’t miss the next one: February 16th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

 

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs group. The 5-wk group will be $120 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  New groups will begin again in March, 2018.  Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on February 14th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

 

 

 

 

                                              

 

 

Push Back Against the Social Machine: Confront Your Inner Sheeple

Dear Parents,

If you frequent The Attach Place much, you know I am single-handedly on a crusade to significantly reduce the use of screens with children from any kind of beginnings, difficult or otherwise. This is in no way an attempt at shaming you for using screens or allowing your children to have screens.  We are all frogs in the same slowly boiling pot.

Full disclosure, I love my gadgets.  I have an iPhone, Mac, iPod, and iWatch.  I can GPS track my children and husband anywhere on the planet at any given time.  I know how much I walk every day, and I know how many calories my husband burns each day.  My phone tells me how many minutes it will take me to drive to my office as if it knows that I am on my way there. Frankly, the machine does predict my habits and is rarely wrong.  From the coast of southern Italy, I found I could see my dogs napping in my U.S. living room, and I could also see when my employees entered the office while I was gone.  I actually know what the office cleaners do if I bother to look at my phone when it chimes in the middle of the night because, apparently, that’s when my office cleaners clean–who knew? The machine knows. There is not a single text, email, phone call, time to stand, or time to deep breathe that is not transmitted to me via haptics on my wrist.  I am wired.  I really do love my gadgets.

Just writing that scares me and embarrasses me a little because being this wired is out of integrity with what I know.  I do not need all of this. I know I can live without it because I lived most of my life without it–that’s how old I am.  I admit that I simply like dinking with it.  This is also what I can admit:  I let my gadgets get in the way of my relationships.  I am willingly a “sheeple.”

What I am wanting you to do, as a parent, is question your inner sheeple.  It feels like pushing an electronic bolder up a hill, even for me who only has my own fascination with electronics to contend with.  Still, I feel compelled to continue sounding the clarion alarm.  I believe following social screen norms is destroying the fabric of our families, our connections to ourselves and our children, and even the structure of our brains.

The research is already in–screens significantly reduce the quality of our human relationships.  Actually, they reduce our human attention spans altogether. They act like addictive substances on the brain’s reward system.  Over time, children and adults are replacing human relationships with electronic ones–Facebook over face to face connection becomes the easy, go-to alternative.  We are reducing our natural uplifting neurochemicals by engaging in non-human interactions as replacements for the real deal. Electronics interrupt human engagement and attunement and create distance between spouses and conflict between parents and children.  Most of all, regular repeated use rewires every single person’s brain, no matter who you are or how much you resist. Everyday life becomes a little duller and unexciting when compared to the ever-present blue screens with bright lights and lightning-quick, effortless interactions.

Being “truly human” is becoming harder.  Empathy is strained.  Logical reasoning is more and more illogical.  Family ties are less binding.  Real experiences are giving way to manufactured electronic alternative realities.  Normal curiosity and physical activity in children are being anesthetized by electronic child occupiers.  We are losing something very important in our society–the wonderful satisfaction of love and connection to others in our families and in the greater community.

Right now, I think this is mostly a first world problem.  Developing countries need electronics to catch up and bring them into the global realm.  I get that.  Electronics are not evil.  They are not even intrinsically bad for people.  Being a marketplace sheeple is the part I’m talking about–voluntarily following social screen norms despite what you know is ill-advised.

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As a parent, I know you are struggling with this.  Every parent is.  Some of you have already significantly reduced screen access in your homes. However, many of us have given way to the pressures of social norms and our children’s protestations of “Everyone else has….”  That’s what I did when my children were younger and the outcome for my adult son, in particular, has had a long-lasting impact on his personal motivation and overall life. I want to encourage you to know the facts.  Put them in front of your protesting children.  Stand your ground.  You need parental controls. You cannot trust children to moderate, modulate, or measure their use. Take your electronic power back.

Here is my pledge. I am going to take my power back, too. I am taking a 30-day Sheeple Challenge–nothing as severe as the “Kill Your TV” movement, because there is a place for electronics in our lives. I’m going with something more reasonable. I’m putting my screens on the charger when I walk through the door at night and that is where they will remain until I leave the house.  If the phone actually rings, I may answer it though I probably won’t.  I am going to make my iWatch a simple watch and turn off all those intrusive haptics.  I am not going to use my computer when there is a living, breathing person in the room, except for essential work-related things.  I will not use my screens for entertainment or pseudo-personal connection.  Some of this will be simple.  Some of it truly hard.  I’m up for getting my integrity back.

What will you do?  Take the challenge if you dare.  And, I am daring you.

Love matters,

Ce

P.S. The first 5-7-year-old groups went swimmingly yesterday.  A good time was had by most and how to make new friends was the topic of the day.  Looking forward to next week.  If you want your child to learn friendship skills, drop me an email to reserve a spot in the next one coming up in March.

Don’t forget this week’s: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. January 19th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

 

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs group. The group will be $20 per session, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  Groups will begin January 13th, 2018.  Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on February 14th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

 

 

 

 

                                              

 

 

 

Parenting Children Is A Character Builder, For Sure

Dear Parents,

My friend and colleague, Jennifer Olden, LMFT, told me she learned this stuff from me, but she flatters me.  Anyway, she is also one of my writing partners, so I get to read some of her stuff once in awhile.  Today, I received this little essay about parenting her perfectly attached, trauma-free, biological children.  Reminded me, parenting is a wild ride no matter the circumstances.

I am an AMAZING mother

  by Jennifer Olden

Yesterday at the Barrio, our local coffee shop, my 3-year-old, Sam, played Legos independently for 45 minutes while I chatted happily with a friend. 
 
An acquaintance approached and said, “Wow, I don’t want to jinx it but your kid is so well-behaved.” 
 
I responded, “It’s because I’m an AMAZING mother.” 
 
In truth, Sam’s ability to focus and play independently is more about his personality than my mad skills as a parent.  It’s easy for me to see the tenuous relationship between my parenting and his behavior at the coffee shop but when my eleven-year-old daughter was his age, I couldn’t separate the two at all.
 
My sweet daughter is very sensitive.  It’s her strength and I can see that now, but when she was two years old I didn’t recognize the blessing.  Her tantrums are seared into my mind.  For example, I remember the meltdown at the community pool because I brought the wrong bathing suit.  She screamed, cried, and rolled around on the grass.  I remember my hot shame and the overwhelming feeling of failure.
 
I *know* there were parents and grandparents in the vicinity watching her and watching me and thinking, “Wow, your child is poorly behaved.  What have you done?” 
 
I asked myself the same questions: What have I done?  What is wrong with me?  What is wrong with her?  
 
I didn’t know that I was asking the wrong questions.  In a situation like this there are only two questions a bystander or I should be asking:

1) Are you Ok?
2) How can I help?

I wish I could reach through time and put my arm around my previous self and stop asking the questions whose business is it to assign blame for the suffering.  I wish I could orient my mind to the simple and earnest stance of compassion and concern.  So much of life is out of our control. 
 
Sam is basically happy because he’s basically happy and it’s not my genius, or failure, or supreme mental health, or stellar parenting, or top notch abilities as a therapist, or the undeniable fact that I’m a domestic goddess.  It’s just him.  It’s how he plopped onto the planet—a chubby baby packed with joy.  Good for you, Sam.
 
I wish I could go back to that scene at the pool when my first born was crying and screaming in histrionic fits of discontent because of the wrong bathing suit and yell at the woman looking at me from across the pool.
 
I’d yell, “It’s not my fault, expletive, expletive, expletive.  We are sensitive about all things.  It’s our strength and source of compassion.  Why don’t you help me load up my car because as you can see I’m going to have to carry a screaming two-year-old and it’ll be difficult to also pack up the towels and toys and leftover fruit snacks and fishy crackers?  We are made of pure sunshine—my daughter and I—so you should take heed and help us out.” 
 
That would be satisfying. 
 
But I didn’t realize what I now know so I scurried to the car, face red from the sun and embarrassment, and cried alone.    
 
Are you ok? How can I help?  Me too.  That’s what I needed and still need. 
 
Don’t compliment me on my son’s behavior.  I am not in control of it.  I’ve influenced and impacted all three of my children but they have their own soul and life story.  I am here to help them live it as fully as possible; that’s the true meaning of secure attachment.   –The End, The Beginning

Love matters,

Ce

We have joined the 21st Century so you can now book online for The Attach Place:  

 

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

NEW!  5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs group. The group will be $20 per session, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  Groups will begin January 13th, 2018.  Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on February 14th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

Reminder: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. January 19th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

 

                                                  

CAFA CAMP Registration–Reserve Your Spot Now

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Dear Parents,

Check this FREE CA CAFA Family Camp out.  You need this more than you realize.  Register today.

Love and Fun Matter,

Ce

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th, 2018 from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

JANUARY GROUPS ARE OFFICIALLY FULL!!!!!  Register today for the next session.   5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs group. The group will be $20 per session, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  Groups will begin March, 2018.  Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on January 10th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

Reminder: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. January 19th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Daily inspirational reading for those who sometimes find it hard to keep hope alive. There is hope for healing.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.

FOLLOW US:  Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.