Author Archive for Ce Eshelman

Releasing Control to Teens Recovering from Trauma

Family Therapy
Dear Parents,

There are two vastly different phases to parenting–the first ten years and the second ten years.   In the first ten years, we spend all of our time teaching, coaching, reminding, supporting, protecting, correcting, ad nauseam.  Our job is creating a foundation for the rest of their lives–say please and thank you, don’t hurt people, brush your teeth, wear a coat in winter, don’t wear a coat in summer, take pride in your work, and on and on.  This is their foundation.  We do that for our children.

The second ten years, we must learn to control ourselves and our honed lecturing and reminding skills.  The second ten is all about releasing our control and allowing our teens to learn from their own choices, successes, mistakes, and missteps.

I can hear the gasping now.  My sixteen-year-old acts eight half the time.  How in the world can I release my control to him?  Well, that is the art of parenting an attachment challenged, traumatized teen.  It is an art to progressively release control and let our teens make the mistakes necessary to grow in maturity.  (You can substitute pre-frontal cortex here for maturity, if you like.)

Few 16-year-old kids recovering from complex trauma can manage the responsibility of driving, for instance. That’s okay. Show that you are truly interested in them learning to drive.   Let them know, humorously of-course, that you are particularly invested in giving up your taxi job.  Also, let them know that taking responsibility for managing their rooms, chores, school work, and friendships will show you that they are ready to, dare I say it, drive.

That’s why it is important to give up reminding, cajoling, lecturing, coaching, and insisting the way you might have in the first ten years. He knows. She knows. Teenagers know everything.  Let her prove herself and let her fall on her face, too.  He might be twenty-two before he is close to ready to drive, but it is his responsibility to show you he can manage self-care, personal responsibilities, commitments, chores, and relationships.  By releasing control, you say, I believe you can do it…show me.  Through this process, teens learn that freedom, access, and privilege are directly correlated with their own actions.

Remember, I said second ten because that is how long you have to practice progressively releasing control for them to get to responsible adulthood.  I am not going to scare you here with talk about the third ten years.  Baby steps.

It takes a lot of faith to begin to release control.

 Remember, your love matters!

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

The Attach Place Local Community Upcoming Events


Join The Love Matters Parenting Society Membership–a Therapeutic Parenting process to Thrive.

Everyone is welcome to join the free public Love Matters Parenting Group on Facebook

HIATUS: NO SUPPORT GROUP until further notice. ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP is taking some time off.
If you would like ongoing support, you might be interested in joining The Love Matters Parenting Society above.  Those who are doing it are really getting what they came for.  Check it out.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place.
Open to the public. Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $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 A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: 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.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

No Fear

Dear Parents,

My traumatized children never seemed to express fear in the early years after coming home with me.  They took big physical and relational risks, broke all rules, and seemed to be unmoved by my ire.  I came to know this as traumatic dissociation because the longer I lived with them the more I saw that they were afraid of almost everything.

Eventually, the feelings of fear must be uncovered to engage life with appropriate amounts of risk-taking and caution. My children have work to do in this arena.  When my daughter calls in tears about how scared she is to be on her own, I soothe her.  My son still glazes over to avoid his fears.  There is more processing to be done for them to emerge feeling safe inside themselves and in the world.

The upshot is this: Felt safety needs to be our parenting goal for our children, so they can face forward without fear and with love in their own lives. No easy task.  No fear.

Love Matters,

Ce

The Attach Place/Local Community Upcoming Events Calendar…

Join the Love Matters Parenting Society Membership…
Love Matters Parenting Society for a THRIVING Life with Children from Difficult Beginnings. Check it out.  You are going to love it, I promise.

While the Love Matters Parenting Society membership is closed to new members right now, you can join the free public Love Matters Parenting Group on Facebook until March 2020 when the membership opens again.  

HIATUS: NO SUPPORT GROUP until further notice. ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP is taking some time off.  NO SUPPORT GROUP until further notice. If you would like ongoing support, you might be interested in Love Matters Parenting Society above.  Those who are doing it are really getting what they came for.  Check it out.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $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 A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: 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.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

 

 

 

Can I Leave My Traumatized Child Home Alone, Ever?

Hello Parents,

A common questions I get asked…

When Can I leave My Child Home Alone?

Every parent wants to know—when is it ok to leave my child at home alone? Whether you and your spouse just want to enjoy a date night or you’re hoping for a quick kid-free trip to the grocery store, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions before you head off.  Assume nothing.

Here are 4 questions to consider:

1. At what age is it LEGAL to leave my child home alone?

A lot of states have age minimums. A lot of states don’t

But you know as well as I do that the chronological age of the child does not tell you a thing about the emotional age of a child recovering from complex developmental trauma. So while we should most definitely take into account the state’s legal guidelines, be sure to consider all 4 questions on this list before heading out without the kids.

As it stands, only 3 states have a legal age limit for leaving kids at home, while 10 others have an age “guideline.” The reality is, if a child is reported to be unattended, local Children’s Services will be the ones to determine whether that child was left inappropriately—even if there isn’t a strict law in place.

While the law is a helpful resource, one thing is certain, you have to make sure your child is ready no matter what the law says.

2. What signs does your child show that indicate they are ready for the responsibility?

Think for a minute about your child’s overall sense of judgment.

  • Do they willingly follow house rules without reminders?
  • Do they generally make good decisions and understand the consequences of poor decisions?
  • Do they demonstrate good impulse control?
  • Are they problem solvers?
  • Can they follow a set routine?
  • Are they generally aware of their surroundings or do they have tunnel vision at times?

Many children recovering from traumatic childhood experiences will not be able to be left alone at home ever.  It is just a fact.  And many will be able to be left early on because their impairment is limited or resolved.

Leaving a child at home is a super-duper big deal and it needs to be a good decision for all involved.

Does your child WANT to stay at home alone? If your child struggles with fear, anxiety, nightmares, etc., staying at home alone might not be something they’d like to do (even if their peers want to).

By answering the questions above honestly, you can have a good sense if your child is ready for this type of responsibility. And, if they aren’t, you can identify areas for growth and make a plan to help your child demonstrate mature behaviors for the future.

3. What skills are needed before leaving your child home alone for the first time?

Once you’ve determined that your child is behaviorally mature enough to be left alone, it’s time to make sure they have the appropriate skills required to function on their own.

The beauty of preparing a child to stay home alone is that you’re simultaneously giving them the skills to be a competent, responsible, capable adult.

Take a look at this list and see if your child has the necessary skills to fly solo in your house.

Does your child…

  • Know how to make a snack?
  • Know who to call in an emergency?
  • Know basic first-aid and where the first-aid kit is located?
  • Know where the fire extinguisher is located and how to use it?
  • Know full name, address, and 2 phone numbers of emergency contacts?
  • Know parents’ full names?
  • Know how and when to call 911 and what information to give the dispatcher?
  • Know how to operate the microwave?
  • Know how to lock and secure doors?
  • Know what to do if someone comes to the door?

If you can confidently say “yes,” to each of the above questions, that’s a good sign your child is prepared to function at home for a short period of time without you.

Still not sure if your child has the appropriate skills? 

4. Is it better to leave an only child home alone or is it better if there are siblings?

This question can only be answered on a case-by-case basis, but there are a few guidelines to consider when determining whether or not it’s best to leave siblings at home together.

First of all, just because a child possesses the skills and behaviors described above to stay safely at home, doesn’t mean they’d be as successful with a sibling around.

Think of “adding a sibling” as “adding another ball to juggle.” Sure, as individuals, they can take care of themselves, but when given a new distraction or a new task to manage, can they do both?

Furthermore, if sibling rivalry plagues your household, then leaving the kids at home together probably isn’t the best choice.

Either way, here are a few thoughts to consider before you decide if they’re better together or better apart…

  • How long do you plan on being gone?
  • What are the ages of the kids?
  • Can they work collaboratively without one child “taking charge”?
  • Have they consistently modeled appropriate behavior with each other?
  • Do they use appropriate conflict-resolution tools?
  • Do they physically harm each other in conflict?

As with everything in parenting, this takes time. It’s important to ensure your child feels confident when staying home alone by themselves before you add a sibling to the mix.

Important tip for leaving siblings home together: Don’t put one in charge of the other—that’s a recipe for sibling competition and resentment. Instead, give each child a specific task—one is in charge of making lunch, ones’ in charge of cleaning up, the other selects the movie, etc. That way they are working as a team for the success of the afternoon alone.

Action Plan for Leaving Kids at Home

What do you do once you have made the decision to leave your child(ren) home alone?

Test run for sure. For your first time away, don’t plan on being gone for longer than 15 to 30 minutes.  Hardly time to go the post office, right?  Right.  Also, hardly enough time to burn the house down either.

Before you leave, make sure any and all hazards are locked up. No matter how much you trust your child, you’ll have greater peace of mind knowing you’ve left them in a safe environment. Here are just a few items to be sure you’ve secured:

  • Guns
  • Alcohol
  • Medications
  • Knives

Next, it’s time to run through some scenarios. Does your child know what to do if:

  • there’s a small fire in the kitchen?
  • the smoke alarm goes off?
  • there’s severe weather?
  • a stranger comes to the door?
  • someone calls for a parent who isn’t home?
  • there’s a power outage?

Lastly, lay out some simple ground rules and have them posted for a reminder.

  • No friends allowed over
  • Don’t open the door for anyone
  • No stovetop cooking
  • Complete chores
  • Never tell anyone you’re home alone—even friends—and don’t post on social media
  • Finish homework before technology/TV time
  • If there’s an emergency, call 911 FIRST, and then a parent
  • Don’t leave the house.

Final Thoughts

I get it—there are a lot of factors to consider when you leave your kids at home. The last thing you want is them to reenact Macaulay Culkin’s performance in the classic movie, Home Alone.

I hope this is helpful.

 

Love Matters,

Ce

The Attach Place/Local Community Upcoming Events Calendar…

Join the Love Matters Parenting Society Membership…
Love Matters Parenting Society for a THRIVING Life with Children from Difficult Beginnings. Check it out.  You are going to love it, I promise.

While the Love Matters Parenting Society membership is closed to new members, you can join the free public Love Matters Parenting Group on Facebook until March 2020 when the membership opens again.  

HIATUS: NO SUPPORT GROUP until further notice. ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP is taking some time off.  NO SUPPORT GROUP until further notice. If you would like ongoing support, you might be interested in Love Matters Parenting Society above.  Those who are doing it are really getting what they came for.  Check it out.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $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 A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: 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.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

 

 

 

Back Talk–My Fav

Dear Parents,

I know back talk is not your favorite thing about parenting children, nor is it mine.  Since I do it, I’m not sure why I dislike it so much, hmmm.

Here are a few tips about Back Talk for you to, as my friend Kiki says, “marinade in.”

Back Talk is like Ping Pong.

You know this, of course: If we are playing ping pong and you serve the ball to me – and then, I hit it back to you – we would have a game going, right? Back talk is a lot like that. If you “serve up” a remark and I hit back with, “Don’t talk to me like that, missy!” or any other “verbal volley” – it’s GAME ON!

On the other hand, if you served the ball to me – but I let it drop and busy up elsewhere – then, you wouldn’t have anyone to play with, right? It pretty much ends the game, which equals NO FUN, NO POWER, NO ENGAGEMENT for disrespectful behavior.

Of course, there would be the chase down the player who left the game game to entice the player back to the table. That is where your stealth gamer skills come in—regulate yourself, Mama/Papa Bear. Think of back talk as a game of ping pong. If your child talks back and you respond with a reprimand or a threat – or show any frustration at all – you’re IN THE GAME. That equals maladaptively getting attention, engagement, the gift of your energy, and power and puts your child in control. “YAY! I’m winning… I pushed “mom/dad buttons…” This is the way to feel good…” BUT – if your child serves up a little back talk, and you just let it land with a thud and don’t “hit back” – just let it fall to the ground, there’s no game. No control. No power in their words. If this works, awesome! It works with children from secure beginnings and might actually work with some of our children, so try it first.

For Children Experiencing Complex Developmental Trauma:

Your child might feel (not necessarily “think”), Well, that didn’t end up satisfyingly. This is boring. Who wants to fight alone? Or, your child might feel (not necessarily “think”), She is abandoning me, she doesn’t care about me, she won’t even talk to me. I have got to do something to get her back in the game. This is where a stealth gamer like you in the most therapeutic parenting ping pong way says only with your eyes, “I love you.” Once they realize you won’t reward the behavior with a volley response – it’ll get old, not fast, but over time.

ISN’T THAT LETTING HIM/HER GET AWAY WTH BACK TALK?

This is a hard one because most parents think alike: There is NO WAY I’m going to let her get away with talking to me like that! S/he cannot disrespect me. I truly get you. But remember the objective in the first place…a maladaptive attempt to get your engagement, attention, struggle. I know in TBRI, there is the “Say that with respect…” script, but that is not intended to be used for back talk, so don’t be fooled by engaging because you will be feeding the ping pong beast. When you “let the ball drop,” you ARE in charge. And in a clear way, you are sending the message: “Nope. This is NOT a game we’re going to play.”

While it may seem a bit off at first, what you’ll soon realize is that it keeps you in the stealth gamer role in terms of what behavior you’ll accept and allow. But, your job in the moment is to avoid getting hooked into playing the ping pong game – and giving a payoff to their power struggle. This may take nerves of steel, but you got ‘em, right?

Breathe, regulate.

The next time your child lobs some back talk at you – let it land and keep on doing whatever you were doing, including walking nonchalantly away, saying something like, “Oh, I need to check the calendar for what’s next.” Don’t engage at all and see what happens. You must ignore the behavior; that means no energy whatsoever sent to the child–zero, nunca, no negative facial expressions, huffs, quick about-faces or disapproving energy. But DO NOT IGNORE THE CHILD, because they cannot handle the feeling of abandonment when you do. This is key.

I think it is a good idea to share in advance how you plan to respond to impolite back talk in the future. You do want your children to know what to expect and how to interpret what you are doing. Okay, try to trust me on this and give it a whirl.

You might find, as I did, that you have a bad response backhand swing that keeps the ping pong game perpetual.

There will be more about stomping out Back Talk for good in the Love Matters Parenting Society, and this is a good start.

Love matters, when more than love is required,

Ce

P.S. You got this.

The Attach Place/Local Community Upcoming Events Calendar

Today is the Last day to register for the Defending the Cause TrainingUp Conference.

Use this code MEM19 to get a $10 admission discount.  You can get great info and refreshers on supporting your children. See you at our table there–you can get a Love Matters wrist bracelet/stickers, too. https://allevents.in/rocklin/2019-training-up-conference/200017391859227

August 28th the Love Matters Parenting Society opens its doors…
Love Matters Parenting Society for a THRIVING Life with Children from Difficult Beginnings. Check it out.  You are going to love it, I promise.

ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:   Adoptive Parent Support Group, September 11, 2019.   Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm in The Attach Place office. Open to the public.  Free childcare provided.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $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 A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: 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.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

 

 

 

Another Online Group? Yep, A Really Good One, But I’m Biased

Hello Fellow Travelers,

In preparation for my upcoming Love Matters Parenting Society monthly online membership, I just opened the doors for online support for anyone who wants to hang out with some pretty cool people.  I mean myself, one staff member, and Karyn (whom you won’t know until you join the group).

Starting new things from scratch is kind of like throwing a party and no one coming.  Oh, that just brought up some very old, painful feelings from my junior high days.  Ick-y.

Anyway, I digress.

You are invited to join the open-to-the-public  Love Matters Parenting Group on Facebook.  Who wouldn’t want to talk to an attachment and trauma therapist and other incredible parents when the going gets tough?

See you in the group.

Love matters,

Ce

P.S. Hey, will you spread the word and invite some of your peeps?  I really would love to have a robust group of people who are intentionally raising their traumatized children.  Like I have begun saying, “Come for the content and stay for the company.”

 

Consequences, Hmmm, for Children from Difficult Beginnings

Dear Parents,

I am often asked, “When can we use consequences with our child?  You want us to be teaching and supporting brain change, we get it, but when is the brain ready for consequences?”  My first response, Children from difficult beginnings cannot make sense of consequences until they experience felt safety from the inside out.

And then, my second response–for one thing, consequences can be effective when a consequence can be imposed without a flipped lid, red zone, blow out that lasts for 5 hours.  That’s a good sign.

When you feel your attachment is strong with your child because you have done so much excellent attunement, bonding, and relationship building.

If you are going to impose a consequence, there are some things to keep in mind.

When I studied with Jane Nelson of Positive Parenting some 30 years ago, she called these the 5 Rs and they are spot on.

Respectful:  Never deliver a consequence when your lid is flipped, so your higher brain is in charge of your presentation.  Always use clear, kind, matter-of-fact words, that have compassion in them.  “I see you are choosing to miss your Kindle time tomorrow” in response to your child not stopping Kindle time when asked.

Related: If you can’t relate the consequence to the negative behavior, then a consequence is probably not the right intervention.

Reasonable: There is no room in a consequence for “shame, blame or pain.”  A child will learn nothing about the problem behavior if the consequence is delivered in the form of punishment.  Consequences are reasonable in time, duration, and intensity and punishments are unreasonable in that they create shame, blame or pain.  Children do not need to hurt to learn.  Thank goodness, right, or Spanish class would have been seriously abusive for many of us.

Revealed:  Before you level a consequence, let the child know what the consequence is.  Did you see that word “before”?  If you didn’t know you would go to jail for robbing a bank, everyone would be tempted to do it and half of us would.

Repeatable:  When you give a consequence, make sure you ask the child, “Please tell me what you heard, honey.”  It always needs to be repeated back to you for understanding and brain wiring.  If the child refuses to repeat it back, then probably time to stop the thing that is causing the consequence for a few months.  What?  Yep, put that scooter right in the rafters for a few months if you child refuses to repeat back the consequence of riding it in the street.  Your child is not mature enough for that activity right now.  Try again in a few months.  Will a fit be pitched?  You bet your sweet high tops there will be a red zone reaction.  That’s okay.  You are the parent and you need to act like a parent.  Giving the same privilege over and over to misbehavior and refusal is the definition of insanity.  Blowouts, whining, begging, name-calling, breaking things, etc. should not end in the child getting her way.  You are putting a pin in that behavior if you cave of the next time she wants something you don’t want her to have.

And there you have the quickest, easiest lesson on using consequences well. 

Just one last reminder, if leveling consequences using the 5 R’s isn’t working, consequencing is the wrong intervention.

Love Matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Look what is coming at the end of August…August 28th to be exact–Love Matters Parenting Society.  Don’t miss this. Come for the content and stay for the company.

https://www.lovemattersparenting.comLove Matters Parenting Society for a THRIVING Life with Children from Difficult Beginnings

UPCOMING In-Office ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:   Adoptive Parent Support Group, August 14, 2019.   Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm online. Open to the public.  Free childcare provided.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.attachplace.com

 

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: 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.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

 

 

 

 

Take the Are You Ready To Adopt? Quiz

Dear Parents,

I made this little quiz to encourage people to sign up for my mastermind in August, but I thought I would send it to you for fun since most of you have definitely adopted already and don’t need a quiz to remind you.

I took the quiz myself from the perspective of where I was when I started the adoption process with my children 20 years ago.  Ha, had to laugh out loud when I got my own results.  I’m sure you can guess what mine was if you know me even slightly.

Take the Quiz Here

I hope you are having a terrific, trauma-informed, summer Tuesday.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Look what is coming at the end of August…August 28th to be exact–Love Matters Parenting Mastermind.
Love Matters Parenting Mastermind for a THRIVING Life with Children from Difficult Beginnings

UPCOMING In-Office ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:   Adoptive Parent Support Group, August 14, 2019.   Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm online. Open to the public.  Free childcare provided.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $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 A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: 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.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

 

 

 

7-Reasons Parents THRIVING are Essential for Healing the Hurting Hearts of Traumatized Children

Dear Parents,

Children who have been harmed by early neglect, abuse, and/or abandonment have dysregulated brains from the start.  To heal a brain with complex trauma, parents have to be nearly always prepared to ebb and flow as loving role models and co-regulators.  Here are 7-reasons why creating a THRIVING life for yourself matters to the quality of healing for your child from difficult beginnings.

  1. Parents who know how to take care of themselves physically with daily exercise are giving themselves a regular neuro-cascade of positive, naturally occurring, happy chemicals to THRIVE on. When a parent regularly exercises, the body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain that reduce the perception of pain. Dopamine and serotonin are impacted for a feeling of happiness, and stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are decreased. When parents feel well-being and happiness, are less stressed, and have relief from aches and pains, children feel more stable and secure. Insecure children need that feeling every day to repair their toxic stress from childhood abuses.  Bodies THRIVE on exercise. I’m not really telling you anything new, am I?
  2. Likewise, parents who eat balanced meals—carbs protein, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water–of organic (when possible), fresh fruits, raw and cooked vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats are providing the best fuel for their bodies and their brains. They are sick less often and teach by example how to eat for a THRIVING, healthy lifestyle. I know you already know that.
  3. A parent who gets small doses of respite every day (cup of tea on the porch in quiet for 15 minutes) and longer respite weekly (date night, theater, dancing) is creating a THRIVING mindset from which to show love and compassion, over a parent who is exhausted, compassion weary, and always on parent duty 24/7 365. Preaching to the choir now.
  4. Sleep is restorative to the body, mind, spirit. THRIVING requires early to bed, early to rise sleep habits (unless of course there is an atypical schedule in which sleep is even more important for daily repair and resilience). 7-9 hours of sleep for the average adult is the sweet spot. Positive sleep hygiene is contagious, and children need rested parents. Duh.
  5. THRIVING is skin deep. Human skin is on average about 20 square feet. When we are touched, receptors called Pacinian Corpuscles just under that 20 sq. ft. are depressed, releasing a signal to the brain. Actually, the signal heads straight to an important nerve bundle called the vagus nerve, which has tendrils that spread out throughout the body to many internal organs. The heart is one which can be positively impacted in that touch slows it down and decreases blood pressure. Even hand-holding or gentle hugging results in decreased cortisol, our stress hormone. A gentle massage can release oxytocin, a neuropeptide, that promotes feelings of devotion, trust, and bonding. Loving touch lights up the same part of the brain as does sweet tastes and pleasant smells. Parents who touch and are touched THRIVE.  Intuitively, this is pretty obvious, save all the fancy words.
  6. Playing is the antidote to adulting. While children need playtime with adults, adults need playtime for themselves to delight in the festivities of feeling child-like. Many adoptive parents are on their second round of parenting. A child-like spirit keeps a parent THRIVING well into older age.
  7. Mindfulness is the act of being present in the moment. Buddhists know through practice and science has shown that mindfulness increases the sense of well-being, restores the spirit, de-stresses the body, creates joyful connectedness, and focuses the mind on right now. Mindful parents are able to hold perspective when their children cannot. They personalize less the slings and arrows of raising children who are hurt and hurting.  Mindfulness is the nectar of a THRIVING life with children from difficult beginnings. If only one can “remember to remember” to be mindful.

If you’ve got this down, congratulations for living a THRIVING life.  That is no easy task and you should celebrate all your accomplishments and how you are significantly contributing to the healing of your traumatized child(ren) by thriving yourself. You are AH-MAZING!

If you are having just a little bit of trouble finding your way out of survival, give yourself a break. You are amazing, too. Raising hurting children is one of the hardest things you will ever do, and it is hard to THRIVE without serious support.  Not to mention it helps to be taught effective therapeutic parenting skills, right?

Really, I should know.  When I brought my children home, I couldn’t believe how exhausted, depleted, and resourceless I felt. I was truly just surviving.  It took me quite a few years to find the answers to parenting my children, while not only saving myself but by becoming vibrant and alive with children from difficult beginnings—THRIVING.  My mission is to share the way with parents everywhere.

You and your love matter,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Look what is coming at the end of August…August 28th to be exact–Love Matters Parenting Mastermind.
Love Matters Parenting Mastermind for a THRIVING Life with Children from Difficult Beginnings

UPCOMING In-Office ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:   Adoptive Parent Support Group, August 14, 2019.   Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm online. Open to the public.  Free childcare provided.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $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 A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: 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.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

 

 

 

Parenting Adopted Children: Nonsensical Lying Makes Sense

Dear Parents,

Nonsensical lying makes sense. It really does if you understand the internal workings of children who come from difficult beginnings.

Nonsensical lying is triggered by exactly the same things that trigger emotionally dysregulated meltdowns–PURE FEAR, a pervasive sense of fear of the unknown, fear of authority, fear of change, fear of danger, fear of vulnerability, fear of being “in-trouble,” fear of feeling shame, fear of abuse, fear of being out-of-control, fear of giving up control, fear of deprivation, fear of powerlessness, fear of loss, fear of abandonment, fear of dying–fear of you. Fear.

When your child lies to you,  assure your child that you are a safe person to tell the truth to, and then be a safe person to tell the truth to. Oh yeah, that is the hard part. We parents usually have as much hard work to do on responding to our children’s lying as our children do.

Children do not stop lying because of punishment. Fear of punishment will cause more and more intricate, insistent lying.

A Story

My daughter is 23 years old. She still lies to me when “caught” doing near anything that she believes will cause me to disapprove of her. Even if I am not asking, she will lie to me prophylactically. It’s kind of incredible.

She is an adult now, so I rarely care what she does; when she does it; where she goes; or who she sees. I really don’t care. It’s not my life, and she will have to experience whatever consequences life dishes up, as a result of her choices.

Now that we are both older, ha, we can talk more honestly about lying. Yesterday, after a ridiculously elaborate lie, I told her that lying to me is wasting her energy.

She stopped in her tracks, tears in her eyes saying, “Mom, I just really want so much for you to be proud of me.”

Hugging her, I am so very proud of you, sweetheart. Nothing you can do will make that go away. I’m your mom.  I love you.

I know, Mom, but I’m so afraid in this horrible, deep achy way in my chest–it actually hurts– that one day I will break you, and burn my bridge with you forever, and you’re all I’ve got.  My life is so f’d up and I can never seem to get it right,” she continued through rivers of tears.

I know you are afraid. It’s painful for you because you did lose your birth mom. I know you don’t think you can trust love, especially mom love.  So, I will keep telling you forever that you can’t break my love. You can break the bank, but not my love. We both had a good laugh, because that is so tragicomedically true, and her tears stopped.

I am going to keep working on being safe enough for you to be honest with.

“I’ll work on being less afraid, so I can tell the truth,” she said.

The Moral

Dear parents, this girl will lie to me before the sun sets today.  I could make some serious Benjamins betting on that in Vegas. As much as she wants to tell me the truth, her body-deep, pre-verbal fear from early childhood trauma squeezes the air out of her chest and she feels like she might die–burn the bridge to the only true love she has ever had. Boom, lie.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Look what is coming at the end of August…August 28th to be exact.

For more Mastermind information, click here.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $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.

UPCOMING ONLINE ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:   Adoptive Parent Support Group, July 10th, 2019.   Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm online. Open to the public.  If you would like a link to the webinar, reply to this post with Adoption Support Group in the subject line.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: 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.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.

 

 

 

Ten Therapeutic Parenting Principles to Snack On

Dear Parents,

Here are 10 Therapeutic Parenting Principles; not the only 10 Therapeutic Principles because there are many more.

10 Therapeutic Parenting Principles

  1. Be safe parents to attach to.  Safety over compliance is important in therapeutic parenting. Keep your faces and eyes soft.  If you are upset, give yourself a time out to someplace kid free until you can get your soft face back.  If the child insists on talking, insist on space for yourself first.  If the child badgers you, sit silently and read a book.  Offer the child a seat beside you. Promise to talk when you have calmed down.  This models affect (emotional) regulation.
  2. Punishment does not work.  Consequences do not work.  Emotional discussions do not work.  Rejection does not work.  Threatening does not work.  Spanking, hitting or physical force does not work.  Time out in isolation does not work.  Reasoning with a dysregulated child never works. So what works, you ask?  Emotionally regulated parent(s) using soft-eye nurture, empathy, engagement, and structure works to create the safety necessary to attach which is necessary for positive behavior change.
  3. Stop yourselves from talking, talking, talking to the child.  This will create tuning out, blank stares, and dissociation.  “Please remember that plastic can’t be microwaved, honey.”  “Thank you for quickly stopping and doing what I asked you to do.”  “Would you speak loudly please, or I won’t be able to answer you otherwise.” “When you are ready to finish your chores, then we can get on with the fun part of the day.”
  4. Be on the same page with your co-parent.  Use wait time to decide what to do.  Consult each other before making parenting decisions.  It is okay to say, “Something will happen, though I’m going to talk with Mom or Dad before deciding.”
  5. Stay calm.  Respond calmly and quickly only to real (not imagined) safety concerns that impact siblings, Mom or Dad, pets, or others. You can include property in this, but be careful. Sometimes “things” become more important than the heart of the child and that will not work long term.  Use appropriately measured restitution for property destruction instead of emotional punishment or consequences. Have the restitution discussion only when all are emotionally regulated.
  6. Do not follow, lead.  Your child needs you to be the leader.  If there are choices to give, you initiate them and you give them with empathy and understanding.  This is the kind of structure and nurture an attachment challenged child needs to feel safe.
  7. Avoid saying “no.”  This is very difficult.  Find a way to say yes.  “Yes, you can play with friends, when we come back from the store.”  “Yes, you can have candy after dinner.”  If badgering ensues, instead of ramping up your voice and thereby the emotional stakes, be a calm, broken record “Yes, after dinner.  Yes, honey, after dinner.”   Another way not to have to say “no” is to ask the child what s/he thinks the answer is?  Ignore most negative behavior.  You get more of what you focus on, so focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want.  Ignore the rest. Appreciate, compliment, and thank the child for behavior you want.  Give these things in a neutral tone rather than an exuberant tone.  Good behavior creates BIG anxiety in challenged children because they fear they will not be able to keep it up (as they think they are inherently bad somehow and it is only a matter of time before they do bad behavior).  These kids sabotage themselves, so avoid big build up to going places, seeing someone special, or getting to do or get something great.  The child will find some way to mess up the experience.  This is due to a number of internalized messages, but largely excitement dysregulation, anticipation anxiety dysregulation, and internalized negative self-concept dysregulation.  Operative word–dysregulation.
  8. Wait for regulation. Process situations with your child only when everyone is emotionally regulated.  If one of you gets dysregulated during a discussion, simply say, “Let’s stop for now and finish this conversation later when we can all be calm.”   Almost nothing requires a talk RIGHT NOW.
  9. Play, be silly, and laugh together.  Play is extremely important with challenged children. Use the therapeutic principles in Theraplay by Booth and Jernberg–Structure, Engagement, Challenge, and Nurture.  Stay away from winner/loser games.  Try not to keep score even if the game usually is scored.   Be lovingly physical.  Roll around on the floor together and switch up the play when the energy gets too high or too low.  Traumatized children get dysregulated by fun, too. That doesn’t mean they should never have it.
  10. Give lots of hugs and kisses on your terms.  It is okay to give them on the child’s terms, too; however, not only on the child’s terms.  If this is a problem and it often is, then get your therapist’s support for ways to change the dynamic.

Feel free to pass this along to any parents you think are struggling with trauma manifesting in their children.  Bottom line:  Most parents of traumatized children need the support of an attachment-based, trauma-informed therapist or team of trauma-informed professionals, and lots of respite.

For every ten principles, there are 10 more. You have plenty of time to grow.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Look what is coming at the end of August…August 28th to be exact

For more Mastermind information, click here.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public.  NEW DAY: Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks. This is a  monthly social group for the youth; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. There will also be occasional fun field trips, like bowling, ice skating, roller skating, etc. A donation of $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.

UPCOMING ONLINE ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:   Adoptive Parent Support Group, July 10th, 2019.   Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm online. Open to the public.  If you would like a link to the webinar, reply to this post with Adoption Support Group in the subject line.

GIVE A BOOK OF SUPPORT TO A FELLOW PARENT ON THE ADOPTION JOURNEY: 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.  Buy from Amazon or order a discounted copy here.