Archive for parenting with shame

One Wish

Dear Parents,

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I woke up early ready for work, but even I have no clients at 1:30 in the morning. This has given me plenty of time floating around in the realm of “If wishes were horses…”.  I rather pride myself on living without regrets.  I try always to choose my path, even when the Universe deals me a different hand.  When that happens, I choose that one for lack of other options and by way of ensuring my motto–no regrets.  That is a legacy given to me by the Universe when my mother died in a car accident when I was a teen.  She was relatively young then, and I coped by thinking, “She was old and lived plenty life.”  Now, ten years older than my mother was at that time and, unlike my mother, I have the luxury of seeing my children from difficult beginnings through to adulthood. I do not regret the time I spent in this endeavor, though it proved harrowing for me, because adoption is clearly a choice and never an accident.  No regrets.

No Regrets. Regrets.

Well, shocker, it turns out I do have a regret, the regret that I didn’t know at the beginning of being a parent what I know now.  This is what I know:  nothing, nothing is more important than being loving and accepting.  No spilled juice on the white carpet, no chewed Easter sweater, no dirty f-word, no sneaking around the house for grandma’s special chocolates, no lying for no reason, no running off, no disrespect, no survival behavior or selfish act is more important than showing love and acceptance.  I mean that.

The Role of Approval and Disapproval In Parenting

I had a very hard time not using approval and disapproval to correct my children.  That’s how my mother parented and I had no idea that there was any other way.  Approval came with a dose of smiling, acknowledgment, and praise while disapproval came with a serious helping of furrowed brow, disappointment, and shame. Even though I was a hugely successful student, I failed in the “relationship with parents” department.  It seemed I fell on the furrowed brow side of things most of the time and no ribbon, award, or trophy outweighed the heavy burden of shame.

Sadly, I dished up the same bitter medicine for my children which caused them to be forever seeking my approval, fearing my disappointment, and feeling not good enough and shameful for it.  That was not the legacy I was hoping to pass on.

One Wish

This is my one wish: I wish you to be a healing parent who can give acceptance, understanding, and empathy to your children while applying limits, boundaries, and structure when they need it.  I think that is one definition of love.

The only way to be that parent is to separate yourself from the actions, reactions, and behavior of your children and see it all for what it is–survival brain, alive and well, in your harmed child.  Regulate your own fear, anger, frustration, and tiredness, so you can keep this perspective in mind as you navigate the choice of adopting a hurt and hurting child.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

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): Sorry 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, April 10th, 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.

If Shame Is Your Middle Name

Dear Parents:

Shame has a tendency to well up around parenting attachment challenged, traumatized children.  These are the thoughts of shame: I’m not good enough.  I’m a bad parent.  I can’t do this.  I don’t feel loving. I’m angry all the time. I have no patience. I hate how I am. If you are swimming in shame, you may need some help finding your vulnerability and compassion for yourself.  Some of our children have difficulty accepting parenting and we have difficulty accepting that it isn’t our fault. The shame often doesn’t come directly from parenting. Likely it started in your childhood.  It just gets big and overwhelming when your own children are added to the mix.   It is never too late to reclaim your childhood.

If this sounds like you, check out a little reading.  Brene Brown is my favorite.  She has a blog (doesn’t everyone have a blog?) You can watch her on TED (not everyone has a TED Talk.)  Read her book. Go to a local workshop based on her work. Join a support group based on Daring Greatly (her book.) She is all the rage.  You could be part of a movement.  The no fear, no shame movement.

Get a little inspiration here:

You can go to therapy, buy a workbook, find a 12-step.  What you probably ought to avoid? Avoidance.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar (Click Here)

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

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. May 18th, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to Andrea@attachplace.com so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $5.00 will be accepted for food and supervision if you are able, but please don’t let that be an attendance barrier because the group is FREE.  ASD kids need a social life and this is a great way to make it happen.

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

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 13th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827.

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

Mea Culpa

My blogs have been irregular for the past few weeks.  Mea culpa, I am sick with a common cold and in a work/bed/work/bed cycle. How a cold can take me down when my kids cannot is a mystery to me.  It is what it is.  Still, I am sorry to be hit and miss with YOU. Hope the rest of this makes sense.  My head is a big red balloon.
 
Recently I read a quote by Bryan Stevenson that struck a chord. “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” When I was a child it felt like my torso was really an ever expanding bucket filling up with shame.  Only recently, one of my colleagues helped me expel through EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a trauma reduction therapy) the last drop of childhood shame from the bottom of that bucket.  Free at last.
 
My parents used shame freely.  They never realized their message was distorted inside of me.  I learned that I was shameful; the functions of my body were shameful; my human desires were shameful; and, my childhood lack of self-restraint was shameful. That didn’t leave much to feel good about except being smart and pleasing my parents, which I found I had a hard time wanting to do. I was an attachment challenged child raised with traditional parenting strategies–plenty of shame, smarting smacks across the face and butt, angry punishments, and a lot of disapproval.
 
As you blog readers know, I wielded my own traditional parenting at my children when I first adopted them.  I still grieve my ignorance.  
 
In my bones I have  known my troubled children were more than the worst things they had done (something my husband had trouble grasping.)  In my opinion this is one of the most loving things you can do as a parent: forgive your children every day for the worst things that they did yesterday. Your children are more than the worst things they have done, and your forgiveness will allow YOU to parent them with the end in mind, rather than from the troubled place you find them at any given moment. 
A question for YOU to ponder:  if my parents had known I was going to grow up into the person I am, do you think they would have spared the shame and bathed their child instead in love and acceptance?  I know for a fact carrying that shame bucket did not make me the person I am today.  I am who I am despite the heavy weight of it.
What kind of parenting does your hurting child deserve?
 
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo 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 September 9th at 6pm. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required only if you need child care.
The Attach Place offers a 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  every other month.  Our next course begins in October.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
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.

Shame and love are mutually exclusive.