Author Archive for Ce Eshelman

Nowhere But Up From Here

Dear Parents,
I wrote some of this in response to another parent whom I love dearly but could not really help in the end.  This morning on my walk (yes, I do walk 5 miles a day these days) I was thinking about her and me and you.

Every Parent’s Struggle

I believe your struggle is my struggle, is every parent’s struggle.  Our children’s traumatized brains make the struggle visceral and often so concrete it is hard to breathe, as though concrete is sitting on our chests or we have swallowed a brick or two whole into our guts.  As ironic as this language is going to sound, my personal goal is to learn to let go of that heavy, toxic attachment to the outcomes that I feel heavy inside my heart and body.
I want to experience the lightness of love in every cell which, for me, entails knowing that I am not in charge of the universe or my children. When I get quiet enough, I can.  My young adult daughter accuses me of not accepting her as she is in the vitriol only a wounded, angry child can.  She is right about that. I am hooked, stuck even, on her living closer to my values.  That is something I don’t require from any other person in order for me to give acceptance and love.  But for her, I am constantly pushing her to make better choices and wiser decisions.  Of course, I think that will lead her to a more fulfilling life which is what I want for her.  She, on the other hand, feels only the pressure of expectation and the weight of her own shame in the face of my inevitable disappointment when she doesn’t live up. The feelings devastate her and she is wounded over and over and over.

Acceptance Is Love

I am learning to accept “what is” and to stay loving. I am also learning to accept and love without conflating those with an obligation to help; because helping my children without an attachment to the outcome is proving to be a problem for me.   I feel kind of “addicted” to trying to help them, too.  Loving and helping are not the same.  I am just now really teasing these two things apart, and I have to in order to get myself further down the parenting road.
Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Like love, help is either conditional or unconditional.  I personally need only help in the way I would give a gift–unconditionally.   If I give a birthday gift to someone, I am never concerned over what they do with it–that is the nature of gifts, right?  What my children do with my gifts is really none of my business.

Today, I am working to give only those things that I can without an attachment to the outcome–that includes my time, energy, efforts, influence, money, cars, housing–even acceptance, and love.  That is my current daily life meditation.  It is getting easier with practice, but letting go turns out to be as painful as walking barefoot across a landscape of nails just the same.
Love matters,
Ce

 

NEW WEBINAR: 6-Week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar, August 1 through September 7, 2017.  Register here.

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here.

UPCOMING GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! 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. Free child care provided.

READ MY BOOK: 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.

 

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

Day After Daddy’s Day Hangover

Dear Parents,

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I hope you are doing well after the kid overdose on Father’s Day.  Dads, I hope you got good and celebrated and you are spending today nursing your kid hangover.  What will you do for yourself today?  That is always the question.  If you aren’t taking care of yourself at least half as much as you are caring for your children, you are going to burn right out and unlike dead light bulbs, you cannot get a new you from the box in the hall closet. Put yourself on the Honey Do List.  Your “honey” wants that for you, too.

Love matters,

Ce

NEW WEBINAR: 6-Week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar, August 1 through September 7, 2017.  Register here.

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here.

UPCOMING GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! 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. Free child care provided.

PURCHASE MY BOOK: 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.

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

Register Today: Webinar to Support Adoptive Parents

Dear Parents:

Reminder, if you are thinking about signing up for the upcoming webinar, get registered while the price is right.  The early registration fee for the 6-week course is $149.00. After July 1, 2017, the fee will be $199.00.  The beauty of a webinar is that you can attend from anywhere: home in your jammies, while on vacation, at Starbucks, even in the gym.

6-week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar 

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

This 6-week webinar is designed for busy parents (as if there are any other kinds) who cannot make it to a brick and mortar, Sacramento, CA based training, and who need effective information and knowledgeable support for weathering the turbulent waters of raising children from difficult beginnings of attachment breach, neglect, and other abuse traumas.

Who Would Benefit From Attending this Webinar

Parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers of traumatized children, adoptive children, foster children, and kinship placed children.  Even if you have had therapeutic parenting education before, you can never have enough support on your journey raising children who do not respond positively to traditional parenting the way you are expecting.

How It Works

Each instructional webinar is one hour long with an option to spend an extra 15-minutes in a live Q & A. The instructional webinar will be held Tuesdays from 10 am to 11:15 am.  On Thursdays of the same week, there will be a one-hour facilitated discussion support webinar to for all participants to talk freely about the content of the prior webinar and application to your own personal family lives.

Weekly Webinar Content Breakdown

  1. Tuesday, 8/1/17,  10 am to 11:15 am: The Brain’s the Thing: The Developing Brain on Trauma

Thursday, 8/3/17, 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 8/8/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Regulation Is Key: Difficult Beginnings and Regulation Tools

Thursday, 8/10/17, 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 8/15/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Your Parental Attachment Suitcase: All About You

Thursday, 8/17/17 10 am to 11:00 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 8/22/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Trust-Based Parenting: Building Your Environment

Thursday, 8/24/17 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 8/29/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Trust-Based Parenting: Strengthening Your Connection

Thursday, 8/31/17, 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 9/5/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Trust Based Parenting: Using Correction Correctly

Thursday, 9/7/17, 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Closure Support Group

What Will This Cost?

The early registration fee for the 6-week course is $149.00.  After July 1, 2017, the fee will be $199.00. Downloadable materials will be available for each class and recordings will be made available for participants who cannot make the actual date and time of the webinar.  At this time, the Q. and A. portion of each webinar will not be recorded, nor will the content of the support groups be recorded.  If you want to gather your friends and/or family members together in one room for each webinar, you are welcome to do so at no extra charge.  It helps when everyone in the family is on the same page and when your friends are using the same strategies you are. The more the merrier.

If you are ready to reserve your webinar spot, register here.

Love matters,

Ce

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here.

NEXT GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! 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. Free child care provided.

Get your specially discounted copy of 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.

Follow us on Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

Cyber Safety: Oxymoronic

Dear Parents:

Cyber security seems downright oxymoronic to me.  Is there such a thing these days?  Well probably not, but cyber is a fact of life, so we all better get hip if we are going to stay up on the cyber wave our children are surfing.  Children are targeted 35 times more often than adults for identity theft alone. Kids, especially emotionally vulnerable children and teens who have weak attachment glue and trauma brains, are particularly susceptible to cyber shenanigans, conflict, bullying, and victimization. Don’t wait to get informed and don’t wait to put safety parameters around your children’s cyber access to a social life that is way off the grid and outside the boundaries of healthy living.

One Can Never Unsee Some Things

I am suddenly recalling the memory of a close-up shot of an erect penis showing up on my cell phone about fifteen minutes after one of my children asked to borrow it for a quick text to a friend.  Oh no, there that image is again.  Can’t unsee it.  My child was 12 at the time.  Start way earlier to stem the tide, but it is never too late to put the brakes on total cyber freedom.

Test Your Text Chops

Do you know what half of these things mean?  If you are lucky, your children fail the test, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June is Cyber Safety Month, by the way.  Look what a great resource I found at BARK.

Finally, here are two cyber safety links: 1) for parents and 2) for teachers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love matters,

Ce

NEW WEBINAR: 6-Week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar, August 1 through September 7, 2017.  Register here.

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here.

UPCOMING GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! 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. Free child care provided.

PURCHASE MY BOOK: 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.

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

Unlikely Torch Runner

Dear Parents,

Many of you look to me for hope and inspiration along your child-rearing journey, and I am such an unlikely repository.  Still, I try to carry the light.  Can you see? I am standing on my tippee toes holding the torch above my head.  I’m holding it high though many times I am standing far below in the shadows. The light can hardly touch me in my own journey.

Projective Identification Is A Thing

The last couple weeks I have been bumbling along the dimly lit path of raising my own adult children from difficult beginnings.  Once again, my attempts to help my grown children are being perceived by them as applying unbearable pressure; pressure to be something they are not; pressure to live the way I live. Sometimes I feel side-swiped by projective identification where I am seen as the bad mother who took them against their will, and they experience themselves as unwitting victims of my unreasonable expectations.

Adult Children From Difficult Beginnings

I have struggled with this for the last 3 years in particular, as my children have become adults.  My wanting them to finish school; my wanting them to seek work; my wanting them to live in a home; my wanting them to drive safe cars; my wanting them to speak the truth; my wanting them to use my resources to help themselves into independence; all my wanting for them is experienced as stressful and strangely unachievable–the bar is too high.  My daughter in anger says, “The more I accept help from you and try to shape my life under your rules the more f***ed my life comes and I will never forgive you….”  These words stab at my heart more than any knife she might have wielded.  Her way of thinking about me makes my head spin around on my neck.  Is she talking about me?  Good old codependent mommy, me?   And, yes, she surely is.

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I tell myself what I often tell you: our children have their own trajectories.  No matter how much I try to help, they have their own trajectories.  I cannot help them because they want to do it their own way. That way is, in my wizened opinion, the hard way.  My children demand they take the hard way no matter how easy I think it could be with my help.  Life is just not easy for them.  Try as I might, I simply cannot make it otherwise.

Repeat After Me:  They Have Trajectories of Their Own

All that is left for me is to accept their decisions.  I do not get to help.  They require getting the life they want on their own. This is my lesson to learn.  They have trajectories of their own.  I am scared for them and they have trajectories of their own.  Have I repeated that enough so that my own ears can hear? Probably not.

Stay strong, my dear friends, for sometimes the night is long and the horizon seems forever in the distance. Your safety, love, and security are all you really have to offer.  Your children have to find their own ways with and sometimes without your help.

Love matters,

Ce

NEW WEBINAR: 6-Week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar, August 1 through September 7, 2017.  Register here.

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here.

UPCOMING GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! 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. Free child care provided.

PURCHASE MY BOOK: 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.

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

Are You Secretly Afraid Your Child…Is Going To Go To Jail Later In Life?

Dear Parents:

Are you secretly afraid your child is jail material in the making?  When my children were growing up, my fears were not that secret.  As a matter of fact, here is a litany of things parents say:

You will go to jail for that kind of thing when you get older.             You are acting like a criminal.            Stealing is a crime.                        Jail is in your future if you keep this up.                  People are behind bars for doing what you just did.                                         Are you trying to go to juvenile hall?                    This is criminal behavior.                 You are behaving like a thief in our home.        This will get you in jail.                        Keep this up and I will call the police on you.             I am calling the police on you.                   You can’t get away with this forever.                 Eventually, you will go to jail.

I’m pretty sure I said much of this over the 20 years I spent raising my children.  I wish I had realized how afraid for them I was and how my fear expressed this way was not helpful to my goal:  supporting my children to feel loved and become the best they could be in life.  Ouch, being that off base is painful.

The Things Kids Tell Thier Therapist

And I was so off base.  You know how I learned about the impact of my fearful comments on my children? I learned by listening to other parents’ children talk about their parents in therapy.  Children would tell me how terrible they felt that their parents didn’t believe in them, and how they thought they would never amount to anything.  Other children told me they were going to jail anyway, so nothing mattered.  Still, others shared that their parents had been telling them they were going to jail for as long as they could remember. They said they were afraid they were going to jail because they could not stop some of the behavior their parents told them was criminal.   My heart has broken a hundred times for my own children while sitting in the room with other parents’ children.

Every parent I meet is me in different clothing, and every child I meet is mine.  That is why I do what I do. I learned a lot from my mistakes.  I really want you to learn from them, too.  Otherwise, my learning will end with me. My kids are grown.  If yours are still hovering around your living room, you have a chance to make a course correction.

Fear Is A Cancer

If you have heard sentences come from your own mouth like the ones above, identify the fear behind your words.  Admit just how much your child’s behavior scares you.  Soothe yourself.  Fear lives in the darkness and grows like a cancer.  Bust your fear out of the secret space and into the light. Tell yourself the truth. Your children have been harmed by their circumstances. Their brains are different.  They need your encouragement, your belief in them, your faith, your love.  They need you to champion the good instincts inside them.  They need you to grow their inner light.  They need light shined on them in positive, healing ways to find the path to their higher brains and higher roads.

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Oh the Places You Will Go

Take the high road with your children.  See them as though they are in need of comfort, safety, soothing and guidance. They need training and compassion rather than your fears and admonitions.  They will become what you tell them they are.  It makes sense then to tell them they are on the path to becoming honest, thoughtful, compassionate, trustworthy, successful, and loving.  Tell them what you want them to become and they have a much higher chance of grabbing that brass ring.

Love matters,

Ce

NEW WEBINAR: 6-Week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar, August 1 through September 7, 2017.  Register here.

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here.

UPCOMING GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! 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. Free child care provided.

PURCHASE MY BOOK: 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.

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

Therapeutic Parenting Hacks #9 and #10 Loving Kindness Meditation and Practice

Dear Parents:

Finally, the last two one-minute Therapeutic Parenting Hacks are done and ready for “doing” viewing. If you haven’t seen all the videos, you are welcome to watch them at your leisure on my youtube channel.  If you are ready for the pee-assed-de-resistance (yep, I really did spell it that way because I don’t know French but Mamma Google said it was really spelled this way: piece de resistance with accent marks which I also don’t know how to type), here is Hack#9 and Hack#10. They go together. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed watching this series as much as I enjoyed making it!

Love Matters,

Ce

NEW WEBINAR: 6-Week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar, August 1 through September 7, 2017.  Register here.

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here.

UPCOMING GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! 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. Free child care provided.

BUY MY BOOK: 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.

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

NEW Webinar! Introducing A 6-week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar by Ce Eshelman

Dear Parents:

You might like a booster to the previous Therapeutic Parenting Training you had at The Attach Place, or you may need a different format in order to make it happen at all; then again, you might have friends you think could benefit from a Therapeutic Parenting Training but they live outside Sacramento.  Whatever the need, here is a chance to get a support group and Therapeutic Parenting Course all wrapped in one.  Feel free to forward this email to someone who might be interested.

6-week Interactive Therapeutic Parenting Webinar 

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

This 6-week webinar is designed for busy parents (as if there are any other kinds) who cannot make it to a brick and mortar, Sacramento, CA based training, and who need effective information and knowledgeable support for weathering the turbulent waters of raising children from difficult beginnings of attachment breach, neglect, and other abuse traumas.

Who Would Benefit From Attending this Webinar

Parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers of traumatized children, adoptive children, foster children, and kinship placed children.  Even if you have had therapeutic parenting education before, you can never have enough support on your journey raising children who do not respond positively to traditional parenting the way you are expecting.

How It Works

Each instructional webinar is one hour long with an option to spend an extra 15-minutes in a live Q & A. The instructional webinar will be held Tuesdays from 10 am to 11:15 am.  On Thursdays of the same week, there will be a one-hour facilitated discussion support webinar to for all participants to talk freely about the content of the prior webinar and application to your own personal family lives.

Weekly Webinar Content Breakdown

  1. Tuesday, 8/1/17,  10 am to 11:15 am: The Brain’s the Thing: The Developing Brain on Trauma

Thursday, 8/3/17, 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 8/8/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Regulation Is Key: Difficult Beginnings and Regulation Tools

Thursday, 8/10/17, 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 8/15/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Your Parental Attachment Suitcase: All About You

Thursday, 8/17/17 10 am to 11:00 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 8/22/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Trust-Based Parenting: Building Your Environment

Thursday, 8/24/17 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 8/29/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Trust-Based Parenting: Strengthening Your Connection

Thursday, 8/31/17, 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Discussion Support Group

  1. Tuesday, 9/5/17, 10 am to 11:15 am: Trust Based Parenting: Using Correction Correctly

Thursday, 9/7/17, 10 am to 11 am: Facilitated Closure Support Group

What Will This Cost?

The early registration fee for the 6-week course is $149.00.  After July 1, 2017, the fee will be $199.00. Downloadable materials will be available for each class and recordings will be made available for participants who cannot make the actual date and time of the webinar.  At this time, the Q. and A. portion of each webinar will not be recorded, nor will the content of the support groups be recorded.  If you want to gather your friends and/or family members together in one room for each webinar, you are welcome to do so at no extra charge.  It helps when everyone in the family is on the same page and when your friends are using the same strategies you are. The more the merrier.

If you are ready to reserve your webinar spot, register here.

Love matters,

Ce

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here.

NEXT GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! 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. Free child care provided.

Get your specially discounted copy of 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.

 Follow us on Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

Wonder Woman Bracelets

Dear Parents:

Yesterday, I was in a Theraplay session with a mother and her pre-teen daughter.  They were drawing on each other, as directed by their therapist–hehehe.  I love my job.  Anyway, the daughter drew these really cool designs on her mother’s forearms–wrist to elbow–that resembled Wonder Woman’s bracelets.

Wonder Woman (And the Male Equivalent, Whomever That Is–Captain America Maybe?)

Remember those?  Wonder Woman uses them sometimes as arm shields against evil weapons of the enemy.  And sometimes she just stands there looking all wonderful in them with her hands posed on her fabulous hips or crossed across her fabulous chest armor. I was thinking how great it would be if all parents of traumatized children had Wonder Woman arm bracelets to protect from the projective anger we inevitably receive from our children.

Oh, The Projection Of It All

You know what I mean?  When venom spews and spit flies; when hurtful insults zing and rants strike out; we parents could pull up our Wonder Woman shields to ricochet them off and effortlessly toss them aside. Nothing penetrates.  No harm done.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

That’s how we can be in the moment of a flipped lid, tantrum. We need to shield our tender hearts from the slings and arrows of outrageous projection. It is not about us, so we need to stay strong, shield, and shake it off–just like Wonder Woman and Taylor Swift.

I hate you–Zap!  You’re fat–Ka-Pow You’re stupid–Ka-Boom!  I wish you never took me–Fling!  You’re a stupid a**h***–Wham!    

Take Heart And A Little Sense of Humor

It’s important to have a little fun with the wild and wooly times.  If you don’t, you are in danger of getting a zinger right in your kisser. That kind of sounds nasty, but you know what I mean.

Love matters,

Ce

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9am to 4pm.  Register here.

NEXT GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6pm to 8pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827. Free child care provided.

Get your specially discounted copy of 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.

 Follow us on Twitter @lovingradkids and @Attachmenthelp or Facebook.

3 Ways to Tell If You Are Triggered By Your Kids

Dear Parents:

All of us get dysregulated at times when we are engaging with our children.  If you don’t, then you are a unicorn.  There is annoyance and frustration with present events, and then there is reactive projection from unresolved past transgressions.  Relationship damage is caused when your reaction soars way beyond the seriousness of the infraction.

Measured or Triggered

Here is a typical situation:  Johnny, for the 4th time this week, has left his bike in the driveway, so that you are inconvenienced, again, on your way home from a long day at work.  You have to get out of your car and move the bike before you can drive into the garage.  Here are two responses to consider: 1) You are pretty darned annoyed by the situation and after taking a breath you decide Johnny needs to lose the privilege of riding his bike for the rest of the day or even the week (if that makes sense in the context of the situation), and 2) Upon seeing the bike, your blood pressure spikes; you feel like a bull rushing a red cape. Blind rage takes over. You jump out of the car and throw the bike out of the way before slamming the car into the garage. You are fighting mad, running things through your mind like: He is so f***ing disrespectful; he never listens to anything I tell him; he doesn’t care about me at all; I’m so tired of this; he is self-centered and irresponsible; where the hell is he–because he’s toast.

The former response is measured in response to the repeated misplacement of the bike and the frustration of not being able to effect change; the latter is likely a triggered reaction that far outstrips the seriousness of the crime.

Justifying Triggered Reactions Is Dangerous

Before you go justifying the second response as appropriate to the weight of the crime, let me say this: Cool your jets–your lid is flipped.  For traumatized, attachment challenged (and even attached) children, leaving a bike in the driveway every day is fairly normal.  Having to talk with a child about something over and over is typical parenting.  A kid not thinking about your eminent arrival home is usual. I grant you that traumatized, attachment challenged children’s behavior differs from normally attached children’s behavior in intensity, duration, and frequency that would make the most securely attached parent tested to the nth degree. Your reaction, however, is triggered and you are projecting a world of emotional baggage onto this traumatized child’s act which is making it seem heinous, untenable, and deserving of your swift, wrathful intervention.  That’s your problem, not your child’s.

3 Ways to Identify Being Triggered

You Feel Wronged Beyond Belief:  If you feel hurt and personally wounded by the behavior of your child, you are likely triggered into projecting something from your past.  This is also known as personalizing.

You Feel Self Righteous: If you only see how right you are and how wrong your child is, your self-righteous indignation will likely lead to an intimidating, hostile stance with your child. This is a big sign you are triggered.  Intimidating a child is a form of emotional child abuse.

You Feel Life or Death:  When a bike in the driveway leads you into a fuming fit; when a bike in the driveway has you feeling like you are going to split a gut if this doesn’t get resolved right now; when a bike in the driveway, has you feeling like your child is getting away with murder; when a bike in the driveway, has you jumping into action like you are chasing a proverbial bad guy down the streets of Baltimore, a la The Wire, then you are triggered and projecting the feelings from another intense time in your life onto the present situation.

When Triggered, What?

Dan Seigel, a renowned attachment researcher, says you have to name it to tame it.  If you are having any of the three triggered states listed above, stop:

  • Name it.  “I am triggered.”
  • Do not speak to your child from this emotionally triggered place.  “I need to calm down.”
  • The Attach Place

    The Attach Place
    Center for Strengthening Relationships

    Talk to someone else about your feelings first.  Beforehand, make a mental list of three people you can trust to listen and who will not fuel your reaction. “I’m triggered and having a flood of mixed feelings.”

  • Regulate.  Get your lid back on. “I need to breathe, take a walk, take a shower, go for a run, talk to a friend, get a hug, make a cup of tea, write down my feelings…”.
  • Formulate a plan.  “I’m going to talk reasonably with Johnny about my frustration, problem-solve for change, and give measured consequences for being irresponsible with his bike. I am going to care empathically about his feelings when I give him the consequences.”
  • Let it go.  Let it go.  Let it go.  I assure you; the bike will show up in the driveway again. Since you can predict it, you can prepare for it.  If you cannot stop justifying and rationalizing the magnitude of your upset, then you need help from a therapist to heal some of the wounds getting triggered and projected onto your child.  Your baggage does not need to be carried by your child who likely is carrying baggage of his/her own.

Love matters,

Ce

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9am to 4pm.  Register here.

NEXT GROUP:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6pm to 8pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827. Free child care provided.

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