Brain-based parenting is one of the true keys to helping our complex, attachment challenged children become family kids.
Children with complex trauma and attachment breaches usually have reactive, stressed out brains. They have very little access to their pre-frontal cortex, even when perfectly calm. That part of the brain is responsible for good judgment, organization, rational thought, language skills, cause and effect thinking, moral reasoning, and information recall.
Now toss some stress into the mix. You know, surprise her with a sudden change of plans. Tell him to quickly get ready for school. Tell her do her homework with you or by herself without you. Gently explain that his friend doesn’t want to play with him anymore because he doesn’t like being spat upon. Challenge her to start that big project right now. Shout, “Take the trash out!” Give him an angry face. Throw away a piece of trash/treasure from under the bed. Confront her with a chore done poorly. Hug him without his permission. Tell her to change her too short skirt. Hint about a surprise. Remind him that Christmas is coming. Nicely tell her to turn the TV off two minutes before the end of the show, and on and on.
If you were a brain-based parent, you would start all conversations with a request for a few deep breaths and a gentle reminder that nothing is wrong, that you are going to tell him something and he is not in trouble. After that, you would say, “Ready?” Wait for the all ready sign then slowly explain what comes next. “We are going over to Grandma’s house instead of to Uncle Tom’s house.”
I can hear your exasperation from here. Really? Are you kidding me? Do you realize that I have things to do, places to go, and no time for dilly-dallying? I know. I know.
If you think slowing down to talk your child through the changes of every day life is like watching ice melt on a busy day, then consider the alternative. How much time does it take to get any kind of positive movement from your child once the stress hormone (cortisol) has kicked in, the pre-frontal cortex has gone off-line, and you have to resort to chasing him around the house, tackling him and making him put hisdarned shoes on now! Fearful, raging, tantrums ensue. Tick tock. The clock did not stop and now you are an hour late (at least).
Two-minutes of proactive, brain-based parenting, can prevent hours of reactive, brain-based fall-out.
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place provides a monthly, no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month. Next group is November 11that a NEW time–5:30 pm. Join us. Online RSVP each month required when you need child care.
The Attach Place offers an 8-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course every other month. Our next course dates areDecember 5th and 12th, 2015. Sign-up by calling 916-403-0588 x1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans. Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.
Take time for explaining, training, and listening to complaining.