Author Archive for Ce Eshelman – Page 2

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.

 

 

What are the Signs of Separation Anxiety in Adults?

When you hear the term “separation anxiety”, you might naturally think of young children being separated from their parents as they go to daycare or start school.  This can be an understandably upsetting experience for a child that only knows life with his/her parent.

 

You might be surprised to learn that adults can also experience a form of separation anxiety, although it is much more commonly identified in children.  How can you tell if you or a loved one is experiencing this psychological condition?

 

Although adults might not cry or show outward signs of distress as children do, they’re actually struggling with similar fears and feelings of anxiety when they must separate from a person or persons they’re attached to.  What, exactly, is Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder (ASAD) and what are the signs?

 

What is Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder?

Most of us experience feelings of sadness and loss when we are separated from a loved one for a long period of time, but ASAD is more pronounced, producing a strong, negative emotional reaction any time a person is separated from the one they’re attached to, such as a spouse, a child, or a close friend.  This psychological condition revolves around feelings of intense anxiety when separation of any length occurs, even if the other person is merely going to work or to the grocery store, for example.

 

Katherine Shear, MD, a Columbia University professor of psychology who has spearheaded research pertaining to ASAD, revealed in a 2006 study that that more adults than children suffer from some form of separation anxiety.  While childhood Separation Anxiety Disorder is estimated at 4.1%, respondents to a national mental health survey showed that ASAD affects approximately 6.6% of adults.

 

Even more interesting is that 77.5% of cases started in adulthood, as opposed to carrying over from childhood separation anxiety.  80% of ASAD cases were found to begin under the age of 30, in the late teens or 20s, and the condition seems to affect more women than men.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Adults

While most adults won’t start kicking and screaming when separated from a loved one, even if they suffer feelings of anxiety, ASAD can worsen and become debilitating if left untreated.  It manifests as feelings of anxiety that may center on the fear of harm or loss.  Those who suffer from ASAD often harbor a strong belief that “something bad” is going to happen to the person they’re attached to whenever they’re not together, and this is the source of their separation anxiety.

 

In time, these intense feelings of fear and anxiety can begin to affect patterns of behavior.  People suffering from ASAD may feel the need to be in constant contact with the person they’re attached to, calling them throughout the day and even rushing to wherever that person is to make sure they’re okay if they don’t answer phone calls or other communications immediately.  They may feel the need to participate in activities they don’t like just so they can remain close to the other person, giving up their own hobbies and sacrificing other relationships in the process.

 

When separated from the person they’re attached to, those with ASAD may find it difficult or even impossible to function because they are so preoccupied with worry and fear.  They may experience social withdrawal, extreme sadness, and even panic attacks when separation occurs, and in some cases, the stress can manifest as physical symptoms like digestive upset, headaches, and other aches and pains.

 

The main characteristic in diagnosing ASAD is the level of impact it has on a person’s life.  If the separation anxiety significantly impairs the ability to function for a period that lasts more than six months, the condition likely qualifies as ASAD.

 

Treating Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder

The treatment for ASAD is similar to treatment for other anxiety disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy and possibly supplemental therapies like family therapy, group therapy, and so on.  In some cases, medications that treat anxiety or depression may be helpful.  However, the first step toward finding a pathway back to a life free of fear and anxiety is to diagnose adult separation anxiety.

 

With help from a reputable organization like The Attach Place, which focuses primarily on strengthening relationships, adults and families can address the issues holding them back from having loving and fulfilling relationships.  Learn more by calling 916-403-0588 or requesting information online.

Not Bad Seeds

Dear Parents,

Kids who have been traumatized by maltreatment or by witnessing maltreatment of others have highly developed coping mechanisms.  They are often very serious adapters and adjusters.  Behaviors like aggression, lying, opposition, shutting down, manipulating, stealing, nonsensical chatter, distraction, sneaking, hoarding, lethargy, refusal, and low motivation are all examples of adaptive coping strategies.

Be very, very careful not to label your children as “bad seeds” because they use everything available to them to survive long after the need to be on “survival mode” has ceased to exist.  Survival mode is hardwired and takes years to rewire into “safety mode.”

Fight Fear

What you do in the face of all that behavior matters.  Fear can drive us to tell our kids they are liars and will go to jail someday.  Fear can drive us to tell our kids they are acting like whores.  Fear can drive us to tell our kids they have no conscience.  Fear can drive us to tell our kids they are just like their low life birth parents. Fear can drive us to do and say things we are ashamed of thinking and saying.  Acting out our fear in those ways further wounds our previously traumatized children and in no way does it change their survival mode behavior.

Parent by a set of principles to keep you on the high road:

Be Respectful
Be Loving
Be Understanding
Be Safe

Make sure you are a shiny beacon of safety when you parent your child. Safety is the ultimate solution to moving your children out of survival mode and away from negative coping strategies. To be a safe parent you have to find a way to quell your own fears.  Fear puts you into survival mode.  No one feels safe then.

I know you are scared for your children.  Find a way to surrender it to the Universe, your higher power, the greater good, God, or whatever else you can find to put your faith in.  Your child needs your love, not your fear.  You have to manage your own survival behaviors to help your children manage theirs.

Love matters,

Ce

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

 

 

For more information, click here.

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

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.

 

 

In This Home

Dear Parents,

A.D., in our Adoption Support Group, sent this to me today and I ordered two on wood for the office, but I realized I could send you a copy and you could have a mini version at home to remind you of everything I have been teaching you.  It is almost as though I wrote it, but I didn’t!

IN THIS HOME

WE ARE TRAUMA-INFORMED

WE CONNECT BEFORE WE CORRECT

WE STAY CURIOUS—NOT FURIOUS

WE UNDERSTAND BEHAVIOR IS

COMMUNICATION

WE BELIEVE IN CO-REGULATION

THAT KIDS REGULATE

OFF THE ADULTS IN THEIR LIVES

WE THINK CAN’T—NOT WON’T

WE EMPATHIZE WHEN SOMEONE

IS FLIPPING THEIR LID

WE BELIEVE IN

RESTORATION—NOT PUNISHMENT

WE BELIEVE THAT RELATIONSHIPS BUFFER STRESS

AND BUILD RESILIENCE

ALL OF US NEED ONE ANOTHER ALWAYS

RESILIENCE MEANS

WE SEE YOU… WE HEAR YOU…

WE ARE WITH YOU…

Download This PDF Now

Or Buy One On Wood Here

Love matters,

Ce

Local Area Events:

September, Friday the 20th & Saturday the 21st, 2019, Attachment Parenting Strategies for Strengthening Attachment with Hurt and Traumatized Children Presented by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Open to the public with registration.

Click here for more information.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TorSDynsg9TMIIPgAMFgscXr0sPCpLxA/view?usp=sharing

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Coming soon!  Open enrollment for Love Matters Parenting Mastermind–an Online Therapeutic Parenting Membership for all of you living with children experiencing Complex Developmental Trauma who want to sharpen your skills and become an expert in the healing of your child.

Where are you along the therapeutic parenting success path below? How can this mastermind community support you?

Love Matters Parenting Success Path

If you haven’t already, reply here with the word “Mastermind” in the subject line, so you don’t miss out on registration details.

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, June 12th, 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.

 

 

Summer Activities for Healing Children

Dear Parents,

I know you were hoping I would put out a list of preplanned local activities you could easily snatch up and run with, but you all live in vastly different areas so that would not be helpful to everyone. In most cities and towns (in the U.S. anyway) there are publications just for parents about kid activities and camps in your area.  Definitely pick up a copy for your summer planning.

By summer activities, I am suggesting that you do some novel things that you may not feel you can get to the rest of the year because of school.  Novelty is the way into a brooding, wounded child’s heart.  So, this is about winning back the heart of your traumatized child in case you lost some of your heart cred during the homework, school behavior struggle all year long.

Inexpensive Summer DIY Activities

Go fishing.
Make a picnic basket and eat it at the river.
Sleep in a tent in the backyard or even the front yard.
Make a fire pit and roast marshmallows.
Go geocaching (Google it).
Find a nature walk nearby.
Walk the dog in unfamiliar dog parks.
Hike a bit to a stream and go swimming.
Dine under the stars and lean back to see what is up there in the night sky.
Build a fort in the living room on hot days or outdoors if you can.
Bake stuff together–cookies, mini fried pies, pizza.
Birdwatch.
Squirt the kids with the hose while washing the car together.

What?  You say you want more…?

Name some wildflowers.
Plant a mini garden or a big one and tend to it all summer long.
Build a birdhouse, dog house, kid house, bench, fort, wooden toys together.
Paint flowers on your backyard fence.
Family weed pulling day, with ice cream sundaes at the end.
Invite a few friends over for Root Beer floats.
Put a puzzle together (might take a while).
Spa Day at home with the whole family (Moms and Dads, too).
Pick berries. Make cobbler.
Urban hike through a cool city.
Go to a kid’s museum.
Walk on a beach.
Listen to a concert in the park.
Make homemade, experimental fruitsicles.
Have fun doing anything, even chores.

Your kids might grumble some about the effort involved in having fun together.  Don’t let that stop you.  The memories will be made for a lifetime of stories around the Thanksgiving table. Send me back some I might have missed that you already have planned. Others will benefit from your creativity.

Love matters,

Ce

Local Area Events:

September, Friday the 20th & Saturday the 21st, 2019, Attachment Parenting Strategies for Strengthening Attachment with Hurt and Traumatized Children Presented by Ce Eshelman, LMFT.  Open to the public with registration.

Click here for more information.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TorSDynsg9TMIIPgAMFgscXr0sPCpLxA/view?usp=sharing

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Coming soon!  Open enrollment for Love Matters Parenting Mastermind–an Online Therapeutic Parenting Membership for all of you living with children experiencing Complex Developmental Trauma who want to sharpen your skills and become an expert in the healing of your child.

Where are you along the therapeutic parenting success path below? How can this mastermind community support you?

Love Matters Parenting Success Path

If you haven’t already, reply here with the word “Mastermind” in the subject line, so you don’t miss out on registration details.

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, June 12th, 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.

 

 

THRIVE Therapeutic Parenting Mastermind Membership coming soon!

Dear Parents,

THRIVE Parenting Mastermind Membership is coming soon.

I am so excited and super hard at work creating this online support community for all of you who are living with children with Complex Developmental Trauma.  Where are you along the THRIVE parenting success path below? How can a THRIVE community support you?

THRIVE Parenting Success Path

If you haven’t already, send me an email with the word “Mastermind” in the subject line, so you don’t miss out on registration details.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

SIGN UP HERE: Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held July 2019  from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Stay tuned for the exact dates.

Girl’s Empowerment Group (ages 9-11): Begins in July from 1:00pm to 2:30pm for four weeks–$30 per session.  Ce Eshelman, LMFT and Andrea Kersten, B.A./B.S. will be using art and improv to create relationship skills for making and keeping friends.

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 ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  CLICK HERE to join our monthly  Adoptive Parent Support Group, June 12th, 2019.  Childcare provided 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. Open to the public.

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.

Hey Peeps: How Awesome Is This?

Dear Parents:

Click here for a wonderful surprise.  Yay, world, for recognizing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) as a reality!  It’s what we live with every day in the form of our beautiful traumatized children.  

COMING SOON…

Therapeutic ParentingAdoptive Parents

 

Complex Developmental Trauma, Complex Trauma, Be looking out for my upcoming THRIVE Parenting Mastermind Support Circle launch.  THRIVE Parenting is a monthly therapeutic parenting membership to get up-to-date treatment information, therapeutic parenting information, coaching, and community connection/support with other parents for raising your child(ren) from difficult beginnings.

All this for the price of one therapy session. What?  You can’t beat it. You know you are the best therapist for your child, and you also know how hard it is to get the support you need to be your most informed, regulated self. I am so excited to bring this experience to you online, so you don’t need a babysitter–Woot!

If you want to be sure to get registration news, you can send an email to ce@attachplace.com with the word “Mastermind” in the subject line and I will make sure you get THRIVE dates and specifics.  Looking forward to THRIVING together.

Love matters,

Ce

Recognizing and Addressing Separation Anxiety in Your Child

Recognizing and Addressing Separation Anxiety in Your Child

Being a parent is an incredibly rewarding, challenging, bewildering part of life. And you wouldn’t have it any other way. Even so, the first time you leave your child with a friend or drop him off at pre-school can be heart-wrenching. You’ve been together every single day and night since he was born and let’s face it; many parents are just as broken up as their three-year-old.

However, when a child exhibits more than the “normal” level of angst, there could be a concerning separation anxiety issue in the works. Let’s look closer at this common component of childhood and how to best address it in your family.

Separation Anxiety Explained

While it is quite normal for toddler-age children to be anxious when separated from their parents, if the behavior persists into school-age years the child has most likely developed separation anxiety disorder (SAD). Typical worries about being apart from their parents cling to the child long after the separation.

For example, many children develop fears that some kind of harm will come to their family; perhaps a car accident or a terrible injury. The child may think she will be hurt or if her parents are late picking her up, she could have a very real belief in her mind that they abandoned her.

Anxious children with cell phone access can make the situation far worse by calling or texting their parents multiple times a day just to receive that short moment of reunion, even if it is only through a device.

SAD Has Its Place in Childhood Development, if it stays in Place

Although it is very difficult to handle in the moment, separation anxiety is normal in traditional stages of development and it is not a bad, terrible thing that must be eliminated at all costs. A very young child has no idea how to navigate the great big world around them, much less understand and accept being parted from the people who have always been there, taking care of them.

As children grow and develop mentally, it ideally gets easier to handle these new situations. But for children with persistent anxiety challenges, it simply doesn’t get easier and invades many parts of their lives.

An especially difficult time saying goodbye at the bus stop might evolve into full-on panic attacks. Or, if a child manages to get through the initial physical separation, mental distress kicks in and presents a significant barrier to participating in everyday activities. The child might be petrified about starting school and being “alone” with all those other kids or if he crosses the threshold to school, he might shy away from traditional learning activities, playing sports, or even attending a classmate’s birthday party. 

Separation Anxiety in the Home

Of additional concern is the element of separation anxiety not being limited to outside locations. Anxiety and over attachment can also be present at home, where some children follow one or both parents everywhere they go in the house or are very afraid to be left alone in their rooms at night.

They have a hard time sleeping and often sneak into their parents’ bed because it is a comfortable and safe place. When visitors stop by, anxious children will often cling to a parent like a shield, hiding behind familiar safety, or they might flee and hide in another room altogether until the distress of being parted from their parents becomes too great.

How to Recognize Separation Anxiety

Several common behaviors are typically present in children with SAD and recognizing the signs as a parent is tremendously helpful in managing the issue.

  1. Consistently asking to be picked up from school instead of riding the bus. Skipping out on school or social activities.
  2. Difficulty falling asleep, afraid to sleep alone, or can’t sleep without a parent nearby.
  3. Struggles with goodbyes.
  4. Complains of health issues like headaches or stomachaches.

How to Handle It

With some determination and care, there are proven steps to take to ease separation anxiety and help your child gain confidence, including:

  • Practice separation in small doses.
  • Develop and practice brevity with goodbyes
  • Set up a routine and use it daily.
  • Praise your child regularly as she improves with separation.
  • Don’t stall during goodbyes. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Don’t give in with scenarios such as sleeping in your bed.
  • Try to make new surroundings familiar.

For more information on separation anxiety or to discuss your options, contact The Attach Place today at (916) 403-0588.

The Secret To A Happy Life With Traumatized Children

Dear Parents:

What Is Your Favorite Form of Suffering?

Yep, you read that right.  Every day, I spend quite a bit of time talking to suffering parents of children from difficult beginnings and working to support them to pull their chins up, stay in the parenting long game, and buoy out of the traditional parenting traps of power and punishment.  Personally, I rarely feel suffering in the face of the shenanigans my children can produce and despite the grief and pain I encounter in my work with parents and children.

Anti-Depressants Do Not Stop Suffering

Full disclosure, being genetically predisposed to large mood swings, I take medication to keep me out of suicidal major depression.  What medication does for me is it keeps me inside the normal range of emotion.  Medication, however, does not keep me from suffering the feelings of fear, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness.  I stay out of suffering those with a personal commitment to live my life fully every day.  When I lost my mother in a car accident as a teenager, I made a vow to live every day as though it were my last.  That was well before the pop songs were written. That vow shaped my adult life, so I have a fairly well-developed muscle for being happily alive.

Fear, Loss, Less, and Never

In my experience, most people have favorite forms of parental suffering that fall around four concepts: fear, loss, less, and never.

My child is going to prison in the future if I don’t get his/her behavior under controlFear  

I adopted a child that can’t be part of the family life I always wanted–Loss

Other people get to have reciprocal relationships with their children, and I don’t–Less

My children are never going to have normal lives–Never

I’m not saying don’t feel your feelings.  Do feel your feelings, even share them with yourself, a loved one, or therapist.  The sentences above are not feelings, they are thoughts that produce feelings. If you get stuck in that feedback loop, you will find suffering.

Here is the secret to a happy life with children from difficult beginnings:

  1. Feel your feelings for about 2 minutes tops, then bust the thoughts behind them for what they are (bad habits) and focus on some things you appreciate (good habits).
  2. Find gratitude for the very thing you are suffering over.
  3. Find your favorite form of suffering–fear, loss, less, never—and bust it, replace it, repeat the replacement, recycle.
  4. Vow to live your life with less suffering and more abundance of spirit for living.
  5. Realize that you are playing the parenting long game.  Parenting is right now for the future.

I know Buddha said, “Life is Suffering,” but I think he meant everything changes so don’t cling to any one thing.  To me, that is where the hope lies.  Accept, let go, live.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

SIGN UP HERE: Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held May 11th, 2019  from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Stay tuned for the exact dates.

Girl’s Empowerment Group (ages 9-11): Registration Closed. Begins April 13th from 1:00pm to 2:30pm for four weeks–$30 per session.  Ce Eshelman, LMFT and Andrea Kersten, B.A./B.S. will be using art and improv to create relationship skills for making and keeping friends.

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 ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  CLICK HERE to join our monthly  Adoptive Parent Support Group, May 8th, 2019.  Childcare provided 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. Open to the public.

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.

May 11th Therapeutic Parent Training

Dear Parents:

Mark your calendars for our upcoming Therapeutic Parenting Training.

Traditional parenting cannot heal the wounded hearts of traumatized children. Therapeutic parenting can.

This adoption and trauma-informed training will help you find your way with a comprehensive approach to parenting children from difficult beginnings.  The workshop will cover the following topics:

  • Complex Developmental Trauma vs. Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • Brain-based Parenting Strategies
  • Impact of Attachment Styles on Parenting Attachment-Challenged Children
  • Conquering Parental Reactivity
  • Zones of Regulation
  • Trust-based Relational Intervention (TBRI)–Empowering, Connecting, Correcting
  • Parenting with P.A.C.E.

Get support, information, coaching, and understanding of what you are experiencing as a parent.

Who Should Attend?

You, if you are a relative, caregiver, guardian, or adoptive parent of a child(ren) from difficult beginnings—maltreatment, neglect, trauma, attachment breach, drug exposure, difficult pregnancy, and/or birth trauma.  This is the help you have been looking for, especially if you have tried everything.

May 11th, 2019   10am to 4pm

Light lunch provided. Bring your own special diet lunch.

Registration required. Cost is $100 per person. No tickets will be issued, but a spot will be reserved for you. This training can be reimbursed by CALVCB.

THIS WORKSHOP IS PROVIDED BY CE ESHELMAN, LMFT, CERTIFIED TBRI PRACTITIONER.

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

SIGN UP HERE: Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held May 11th, 2019  from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Stay tuned for the exact dates.

Girl’s Empowerment Group (ages 9-11): Registration Closed. Begins April 13th from 1:00pm to 2:30pm for four weeks–$30 per session.  Ce Eshelman, LMFT and Andrea Kersten, B.A./B.S. will be using art and improv to create relationship skills for making and keeping friends.

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 ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  CLICK HERE to join our monthly  Adoptive Parent Support Group, May 8th, 2019.  Childcare provided 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. Open to the public.

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.