Archive for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

The Little Things

Dear Parents,

Yesterday, my son–now 22 years old and living nearby in a supportive housing program for people with mental health issues–texted me this: “Mom can I git dentst?” 

I texted back, “Yes, call the dentist office on the corner near your house.” 

He responded, “K, wel, I thnking I go out for a walkng and jus goin, cus  I not good calling.”  

“Sounds good, here is your insurance ID # in case you need it.”

“K thky, by, lov ya,” he signs off.

Now this exchange may sound really disturbing to you, but to me it is lovely and I am so proud of him.  This is progress for a young man who has functioned at about half his age nearly his whole life due to extreme abuse, neglect, and abandonment before he was two years old. 

That abuse is impacting his entire life.  He went to a public school for only 1.5 years before he had to be placed in residential care for safety reasons– he stabbed his 1st grade teacher with a sharp pencil and later came at me with a very big butcher knife. He simulated raping his older sister every time he saw her.  He was a scary, pint-sized 6-year-old.

My son always attended a special day school.  He never worked at grade level, and he never went to a friend’s birthday party. He never attended a school dance, football game, or class trip to anywhere.  He didn’t graduate or even get a certificate for High School despite attending until he was 20 years old.  He lives on social security now, and will likely never work for a paycheck. 

Turns out he is very happy and pleased with himself for living on his own with just a little support.  He cooks for his housemates once a week, again with a little help with measuring from an older resident.  He is known as one of the smartest guys in his house because he can help everyone a little with their technology woes. Did I mention this? He is happy.

His text is evidence of prefrontal cortex development.  First, he recognizes he needs a dentist.  Secondly, he reached out for help and accepted my suggestion (a big deal) that he can handle it himself (also a big deal). Lastly, he understands his limitation with phone calls and finds an alternative solution instead of giving up (eventually being in great pain and maybe losing a tooth).  The cherry on top–he signs off with love to me (finally feeling connected to his mother which is a super big deal to both of us).

Watching him notice that the pain in his mouth is a toothache, ask for help, have insight about his limitations, and take initiative to find solutions–priceless.

Never give up parents.  Hope springs eternal.  No matter how deep your own sadness or disappointment about your child’s journey, your child will eventually unfold his/her own personal potential.  What else is there? 

Love matters,

Ce

NOTE: If you are planning to attend The Attach Place Therapeutic Parenting Class on February 2nd, 2019 from (10am to 4pm, be sure to sign up or drop an email (info@attachplace.com) to let us know you are planning to attend.  Or register here.  CALVCB accepted.

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held February 2nd, 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register 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.  NEW DAY: 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 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.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group, February  13th, 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.

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 get a discounted copy here.

 

 

 

 

 

He Says Hateful Things

Dear Parents,

“He says hateful things,” reports a parent expressing vehemently that her child possesses a kind of deep badness.  I get it.  It feels like that when repeatedly a child’s face is screwed up in an angry fist of emotion and the words are dripping with ugliness no one ever wants to hear from the mouth of a child.  Indeed it is nasty and forceful. It is shocking and unbelievable.  From a different vantage point, I have to admit that it is a pretty good weapon to keep back a perceived threat.  Unfortunately, the threat, in this case, is a parent trying to make a connection, hold a line, set a limit, provide guidance, and establish authority.  All those well-meaning parental behaviors threaten the control, autonomy, and agency of a child who thinks he is 100% responsible for saving himself from past, present, and future harm.

When your child misinterprets your parental intentions as threatening, she balls up in a corner, runs wildly away, or fights like hell to stop you in your tracks.  It feels confusing and distressing to parent a hurting child in those moments.  Spitting fight may seem like the worst, but a child collapsing in a corner can be equally disconcerting to parent into wellness.

Your child from difficult beginnings of attachment and abuse trauma is actually afraid deep in the core of the mind/body complex.  If the fear could talk, it might sound something like this, “I am the only one who can keep me alive…I must have control of every aspect of my life…No one can be trusted to care for me, but me…People hurt me, leave me, lie to me, scare me, humiliate me, and abandon me…No one is safe…I need to keep up my guard.”

What if cells in your body, feelings in your chest, and thoughts in your head pulsed with urgent, flashing, survival signals regardless of what reasonable things were being said to you from your parents?  Could you trust anyone?  Would you take a risk to surrender control? Might your ability to distinguish safe from unsafe become distorted?  When all the fiber of your being says unsafe, would the circumstances of a home, parents, siblings, rules, expectations, and everyday challenges convince you that you no longer needed to be in control?

Parenting children from difficult beginnings takes a different kind of parent–a parent schooled in the ways of trauma and attachment.  After the education, comes the coaching and support necessary to keep a parent on the path of healing the broken trust of their child.  It is challenging to unlearn all a parent unconsciously absorbed from being parented in childhood.  It is nearly impossible to ignore much of what might have been taught by educators about typical logic and control parenting strategies.  It is akin to betrayal to shut out the advice from trauma uninformed family, friends, teachers, counselors and even neighbors.

Little by little, a parent of hurting children has to become a warrior parent lovingly persevering to mend the trust of the child in ways that others find culturally unacceptable.  That is a part of the adoption journey, too.

Love matters,

Ce

Upcoming Sacramento Adoption Community Events

Capital Adoptive Families Alliance 2018 CAFA Conference

Saturday, September 8, 2018 

9:30-11:15 Understanding Your Child’s IEP. How to advocate before, during and after the meeting. Attorney CHRISTIAN M. KNOX of Ruderman & Knox Law firm brings over 20 years of experience working with and advocating for special needs children, including as a legal representative for Sacramento County foster children. She has also served as a Special Education Hearing Officer and as an attorney representing children and families in Special Education hearings throughout the state of California.

11:30-12:30 Legal Services of Northern California Liza Thantranon, Managing Attorney and Regional Counsel for Health, will present how to access mental health services including how to overcome common barriers and how Legal Services of Northern California can help.

12:30-1:15 Lunch provided

1:15-2:45 Stories from the Trenches–Adoptive Parents share their stories and answer questions about Transracial adoption, dealing with challenging behaviors, WRAP, challenging the school district, and more. Laura Stillmunkes, Kori Tomlin, and Abby Johnson

Location: River Oak for Children, 5445 Laurel Hills Dr. Sacramento Time: 9:00-9:30 a.m. check-in 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. conference
Cost: $25 a person includes lunch No childcare available
To register: www.capadoptfam.org Questions: kim@capadoptfam.org (916) 834-3700

Capital Adoptive Families Alliance was formed by adoptive parents in the Sacramento area to support one another through the challenges of childrearing, educate ourselves about the issues our children face, and advocate for them in finding needed services.

Working with Kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders And Other Neuro-Based Challenges: A training for caregivers, child welfare professionals, mental health providers, and school and community personnel

FASD is underdiagnosed and many adoptive parents have no idea their child may have it as other diagnoses have overlapping characteristics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Registration 8:30
Training 9:00-12:00
Presented by Barb Clark, Master Trainer

Location: Sierra Forever Families
8928 Volunteer Lane, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: 916-368-5114
RSVP: Kim@capadoptfam.org

Hosted by Sacramento County Community Champions Network and the North American Council on Adoptable Children

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar (Click Here)

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on September 15th, 2018 from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. 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. September 21st, 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.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on September 12th, 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.

 

Fully Immersed in Back to School–Fear for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Dear Parents,

Back to school is back to fear.  The everyday excitement of putting on the new shoes, tees, and backpacks is met with the normal fear of new classrooms, new teachers, new students, new expectations, new routines, new systems, and new things to learn.  Then, BOOM, Dysregulation Nation!  I never heard that on Schoolhouse Rock when I was growing up, but I experienced it every school year with my own kids like a Big Hair Metal Band, huge and hovering right over my house. I have no idea what my children were hearing, but whatever it was it was plain scary for all involved.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

These thoughts regularly ran through my mind: Will he make it through the day?  Will she steal other kids’ lunch?  Will he bite someone, or run off the playground?  Will they get kicked out of the afterschool program? Will I have to leave work?  Who can I get to pick them up?  Is that call from the school?  Will my daycare quit? What am I going to do? 

Yep, I was completely self-absorbed in my own survival brain.   It took a few years before I woke up to the real need–creating a safe world for my children.  Doh! Once I realized how I could positively impact the back to school Dysregulation Nation, I felt empowered to actually help my children in their daily lives.  Little by little, the Big Hair Band faded back into the 80’s where it belonged.

Here are a few back-to-school tips:

  1. Be your child’s advocate at school.  S/he needs you to do that so the behavior the teacher and principal are staring down every day is seen as fearfulness, not badness. Trauma is a thing.  If your school staff think trauma in the past is past, then get them a book to read on how early childhood trauma of attachment breach and abuse changes the actual DNA of a child.  That’s a fact.
  2. Be a compassionate transition maker.  Transitions flip the brain into survival mode.  If it isn’t predictable, then it’s scary.  Even if routines are predictable, there is a hidden fear that it will become unstable, unpredictable, and, therefore, life-threatening–scary.
  3. Your relationship with your child is more important than homework–my little pet peeve.  If there were one thing I could eliminate from your child’s daily life, it would be homework.  Since I can’t, how about you do it?  If your child’s lid flips over homework every day, ask him/her to sit down for 5 minutes after snack and work on it.  Then be done.  If it doesn’t get done, oh well.  Get it accommodated right out via a 504 Plan or IEP.  Relationship over compliance is a pretty good mantra.
  4. Empower your child with regulating resources at home, before school, in the classroom, after school, and at bedtime.  The best resource is a regulated you.  Do your own self-care.  Seriously. Be mindful that your approach to everything related to your child impacts your child’s brain.
  5. Have fun every day with your child.  Play, play, play.  Regulation is a side-effect of play. Why does back to school have to be all about work?  Children will work the rest of their lives when they get out of school.  For these years, let their memories be of fun with their family.  Growing up isn’t only about lessons–school lessons, piano lessons, tutoring lessons, soccer lessons, life lessons, etc.  Growing up is about experiences.  Go play.  You will be so very glad you did because you will be able to maintain your influence when you need it as your children grow older and life does dish up some hard lessons.

Hope that helps.  Steady on, dear parents, the race to the end of the year is on.  Remember, it was the tortoise, not the hare that won.

Love matters,

Ce

Upcoming Sacramento Adoption Community Events

Capital Adoptive Families Alliance 2018 CAFA Conference

Saturday September 8, 2018 

9:30-11:15 Understanding Your Child’s IEP. How to advocate before, during and after the meeting. Attorney CHRISTIAN M. KNOX of Ruderman & Knox Law firm brings over 20 years of experience working with and advocating for special needs children, including as a legal representative for Sacramento County foster children. She has also served as a Special Education Hearing Officer and as an attorney representing children and families in Special Education hearings throughout the state of California.

11:30-12:30 Legal Services of Northern California Liza Thantranon, Managing Attorney and Regional Counsel for Health, will present how to access mental health services including how to overcome common barriers and how Legal Services of Northern California can help.

12:30-1:15 Lunch provided

1:15-2:45 Stories from the Trenches–Adoptive Parents share their stories and answer questions about Transracial adoption, dealing with challenging behaviors, WRAP, challenging the school district, and more. Laura Stillmunkes, Kori Tomlin, and Abby Johnson

Location: River Oak for Children, 5445 Laurel Hills Dr. Sacramento Time: 9:00-9:30 a.m. check-in 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. conference
Cost: $25 a person includes lunch No childcare available
To register: www.capadoptfam.org Questions: kim@capadoptfam.org (916) 834-3700

Capital Adoptive Families Alliance was formed by adoptive parents in the Sacramento area to support one another through the challenges of childrearing, educate ourselves about the issues our children face, and advocate for them in finding needed services.

Working with Kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders And Other Neuro-Based Challenges: A training for caregivers, child welfare professionals, mental health providers, and school and community personnel

FASD is underdiagnosed and many adoptive parents have no idea their child may have it as other diagnoses have overlapping characteristics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Registration 8:30
Training 9:00-12:00
Presented by Barb Clark, Master Trainer

Location: Sierra Forever Families
8928 Volunteer Lane, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95826
Phone: 916-368-5114
RSVP: Kim@capadoptfam.org

Hosted by Sacramento County Community Champions Network and the North American Council on Adoptable Children

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar (Click Here)

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on September 15th, 2018 from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. 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. September 21st, 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.

Our 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.  The new groups are in full swing  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 September 12th, 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.

 

The Parent Is The Responsible Party

Dear Parents:

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I know I have said this before, but it bears repeating:  Parents, not therapists, are the healers of their children’s attachment and trauma. That is a big responsibility, isn’t it?  Yeah, the word “parent” should be replaced by “guarantor” or something like that.  Maybe “responsible party.”   I say it not as an obvious reminder that your children are your responsibility.  I know you know that.  I’m saying it because I want you to be perfectly clear that therapists, no matter what they think, are not the healers of attachment and trauma in your child–you are.  What therapists can do is support parents to be the Full Spectrum lighting; the Guerilla Glue; and the Neosporin, as it were, to the slings and arrows of painful childhood wounds.

To be the responsible party, you will have to take full responsibility for taking the best care of yourself possible.  Raising your child is a long journey into the dark night of the soul and the bright light of epiphany. Take a serious look at your own trauma, your own story, your own wounds from early life. Up your empathy for yourself, and then for your child.  Become an expert in how a traumatized child experiences parents and how you can become soothing to the dysregulated survival brain your child possesses.  Get respite–rest, relaxation, and recreation.  If your love and empathy are blocked, get unblocked (that is the hardest part).  Love deeply from the inside out.

That is my best encouragement for today my friends.  You can do this.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar (Click Here)

SPECIAL REPEAT: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on July 14th, 2018 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register here or on our website!

Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on July 14th, 2018 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. 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. July 20th, 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 August 4th, 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 July 11th, 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.

 

 

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.

Upcoming Trauma Informed Schools Conference

Dear Parents,

Teachers are a big part of our children’s daily lives.  Often our kids come home at the end of the school day explosive after holding it together with all their might.  Sometimes, they are reacting all over the school, all day, every day.  In Sacramento, there is an upcoming Trauma-Informed Schools Conference.  Start now lobbying teachers, principals, and school counselors where your children go most days to attend.  This is as much a needed as sensory input every two hours for children from difficult beginnings.  Only a trauma-informed person knows that little tidbit.  Isn’t it time classroom teachers and principals in our country became aware that there is more going on behind all the dysregulated behavior than “bad parenting” and “spoiled children”?

Click below for all the details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love matters,
Ce

Also, Jen Nguyen, LMFT, is officially the mother of two girls–Aria was born on May 6th, 2018. All are doing very well.  Yay!!!   During  Jen’s attachment leave,  direct your inquiries to ce@attachplace.com and feel free to schedule online at: http://the-attach-place.reservio.com.

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!

FRIENDS OF AUTISM:  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 May 9th, 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.

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

   

 

 

 

Lagging Skills of Behaviorally Challenging Children

Dear Parents,

lagging skills, behaviorally challenging children, attachment challenged children

I just finished a training on Advanced Regulation Skills for parents of behaviorally challenging children from difficult beginnings.  By “advanced” I meant beyond techniques.  Regulation strategies like jumping on a trampoline, doing some jumping jacks, taking a fast walk with the dog, or spinning on the lawn work for ongoing sensory, emotional, and cognitive integration.  Children need to be doing this kind of thing every two hours no matter how they are feeling.

Advanced regulation skills are all about looking at how parenting activates regulation/dysregulation, how activated attachment styles of parents activate survival brain behavior in children, and really using our brains to investigate the areas of lagging, delayed skills in our children that lead them to “flip their lids” on a regular basis.

Often, parents, I have written about looking at your own personal narrative from birth forward to begin to make coherent pieces of your past that may have been pushed aside in order to move forward and survive the chaos.  Once you take a peek at the past, grieve, heal, and re-evaluate some of those early scripts about yourself and life, you can be freer to accept the reality of parenting behaviorally challenging children without creating the same wounds in them.

Just as often, I have written about learning and using a consistent therapeutic parenting model to allow your safety and predictability to wage war against the fear that is core deep in your child.  This is a truly invaluable step that can get drowned out in the heat of a moment by your insecure early attachment style rising up and sweeping the safety and security right out from under the tentative emotional stability of your children.  You must do your own work to understand yourself and what you are bringing to every interaction with your child.

Right now, I would like to open your eyes, if they happen to be closed, to the fact that our children from difficult beginnings are likely to be emotionally delayed by so much stress hormone (cortisol) to the prefrontal cortex (executive brain function) that their focus is mostly on survival and little on the nuances of being a fully human “being” in a family and society.

“Lagging Skills” is a Ross Greene concept.  If you have read The Explosive Child by the same author, then you already know what I am talking about.  Unfortunately, it is easy to get bogged down in what feels like too much information to make use of the gems in that work.   Even his great website, www.livesinthebalance.org, can feel overwhelming because the materials, while free, are daunting to parse, especially when you have a child who will not let go of your leg or, the opposite, has to be supervised around every corner 24/7. Broken down, lagging skills are gaps in knowledge/life skill.

Problem: Sarah has difficulty getting out of bed for school in the mornings.

Lagging Skill: Difficulting transitioning from one state or mindset to another.

Solution:  Empathize with your child’s difficulty.  Listen deeply with caring.  Let me say that again with emphasis: Listen deeply with caring. Together, investigate the problem from your child’s perspective.  Share the problem from your perspective.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Collaborate: Work together to come up with a solution that works for both of you.  Get agreement to try it; and then, try it.

Encouragement: Specifically acknowledge success.  In failure (the face of persistent lagging skill), go back to the beginning without disappointment, frustration, or anger to empathize with trying and not being able to master it.  Do step one, two, three again.  Don’t give up.  Be safe.  Be predictable.  Don’t give up.  Be safe.  Curb your frustration.  Don’t give up.  Be safe.

Don’t give up.  It takes 400 repetitions to create one new neuropathway.  Don’t give up.  Keep going.  How many repetitions have you really done?  I mean it.  If you are on the tenth rep and not succeeding, you have 390 reps more to go.  Yep, it’s that hard.  If you start today, in a year or so this problem with be solved.  If you give up at 10 reps, you will be fighting this problem well into your child’s adulthood.  Don’t give up.

Love matters,

Ce

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 May 5, 2018 from 9 am to 4 pm.  Register here or on our website!

FRIENDS OF AUTISM:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. April 21st, 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 June 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 April 11th, 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.

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

   

 

Oprah Dances on The Table About Trauma Informed Care–Yes!

Dear Parents,

I bow down to Oprah.  On CBS Good Morning America today she said she would dance on the tabletop to get people to pay attention to the impact of trauma on the developing brains of children.  If Oprah says it, people will listen. Sunday, March 11th, 2018, she will be airing a 60-Minutes special where she interviews Dr. Bruce Perry on the impact of trauma that you are no stranger to because you are living with it in your home every day of your life in the brain/heart/body complex called your child.

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I am deliriously happy myself that Oprah is talking about trauma-informed care because she is sharing it in exactly the way it should be–trauma-informed.  She knows the impact of trauma from the inside out because she came from difficult beginnings and she does a great job explaining the truth about how trauma is shaping the lives of our children and our society overall.

I hope you catch the 60-Minutes interview but more importantly, I hope you encourage teachers, grandparents, friends, ministers, and anyone with ears to tune in so they can be part of the trauma-informed revolution in their own homes and circles of influence.  We all need to be about getting the word out so our children can receive the support they need in all the agencies, classrooms, organizations, worlds they frequent.

Our children need to be understood by everyone not from a place of “what is wrong with you,” but rather from an insightful place of “what happened to you.”  Simple, but profoundly different meanings that change the focus of approach to dysregulation and disturbing behavior that comes from it.

Love matters,

Ce

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW CLASS: Advanced Regulation Skills for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings. This class is provided by Ce Eshelman, LMFT for parents of children from difficult beginnings who know the basics of therapeutic parenting and want advanced skills on creating regulation for themselves and their children at home/school.  Come dressed to actively learn. March 24, 2018   9:00am to 12pm   $20.00.  Register Here.

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on May 5 from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. March 16, 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 on March 31, 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 March 14, 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.

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

   

 

Adopted Kids Are Not Predestined Killers

Dear Parents,

In this day of shootings, mass and otherwise, I want you to consider that the fearful behavior of our children from difficult beginnings is not the same as “killing others,” and we parents often conflate the two.  We do that because we are afraid.

Frankly, society has something to be afraid of.  Attachment challenged children who do not receive appropriate, therapeutic intervention, who are also met with abusive, neglectful, avoidant caregivers over the course of their childhoods can grow up to be poorly regulated adults who commit crimes against humanity, amongst which killing is one.  Prisons are indeed filled with attachment challenged criminals.  These grown-ups were children raised by biological parents, relatives, institutions, foster parents, and adoptive parents. Many were misdiagnosed early and mistreated with parenting punishments, poorly conceived mental health interventions, institutional abuse and, ultimately, criminal restraint–locked facilities, grueling treatment programs, brutal wilderness programs, and finally prison.

Foster and adopted children can be mistreated by misguided or abusing carers, as well as any other child can; therefore, an adoptive child can become a criminal, even a killer.  Foster and adopted children are not predestined; they do not start out that way, and they rarely end up that way. Some do. Most don’t.

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

When your attachment challenged child lies, steals, hoards, threatens, runs away, hits, screams, and bites, treat it all with a “fix-it” ticket, not a federal indictment. These are lower brain survival skills of traumatized children. When the dysregulated, impulsive acts become better mediated by that part of your child’s brain that governs executive function, survival skills subside and positive, attachment chemistry grows.  The trick is to stay in the longterm, therapeutic parenting game with regulation, patience, and love until the new skills are accessible by your child.  This will take many years.

A big part of appropriate mental health intervention for attachment challenged children is the strengthening of health and mental wellness of the carers.  If all carers received adequate respite; if all received help for their own dysregulation and attachment wounds; most foster and adopted children would heal with therapeutic parenting and wellness practices alone.

Adopting a child does not mean you are bringing home a killer.  Don’t let fear or other people’s fear cause you to fear your child.  Your fear begets fear in your child.  Your child’s fear keeps all the positive things from coming online in the heart and brain of your child.  Felt emotional and physical safety is the key to healing.  Be the key, the emotional and physical safety your child needs to heal and grow into the person you know lives inside.

Love matters,

Ce

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW CLASS: Advanced Regulation Skills for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings. This class is provided by Ce Eshelman, LMFT for parents of children from difficult beginnings who know the basics of therapeutic parenting and want advanced skills on creating regulation for themselves and their children at home/school.  Come dressed to actively learn. March 24, 2018   9:00am to 12pm   $20.00.  Register Here.

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on May 5 from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. March 16, 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 on March 31, 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 March 14, 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.

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

   

When Your Hurt Child “Hates” You

Dear Parents:

Things like this are never easy to hear; unfortunately, you are in the designated hot seat to be the target for:

I hate you.

I hate everything about you.

I wish you never adopted me.

I want to kill you.

I am going to kill you in your sleep.

I hate you and I always will.

 

And then there are the variations on a theme:

I hate how you chew.

I hate your face.

I hate your voice.

I hate how you talk.

I hate your stupid dog (now this is a low blow.)

Shoot, you just wanted to give this child a nice home and a loving family, right?  

Now what?

Blow a big bubble, step inside it, and fill it with empathy for your child’s obvious emotional pain and distress.  Invite a village to surround your bubble, so you have the support you need to do it.

You might think I’m kidding, but I am not.  Empathy in the face of your child’s hatefulness is the ultimate cure.  You have to give empathy over and over and over to your child in order for your child to internalize it as healing salve on a wounded heart. Your anger, punishment, consequences, fear, cut-offs, rejection, dismissiveness, dread, coldness, personalization, and avoidance will feed the cruel wounded beast that has taken up residence there.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

I read somewhere that empathy is the opposite of cruelty. That struck a chord with me.  When my empathy tank is on E, I find myself behaving in subtly cruel ways toward my child. You already know I am not a perfect parent, so be sure to look deep at your own behavior.  You have to name it to tame it, as Dan Seigel would say.  We parent are never justified in being cruel or mean to our children, even if they have been that way to us.

Personally, I shame with discreet facial expressions.  I ignore by reading instead of engaging. I am matter-of-fact and I speak in a flat voice. I withhold eye contact. I am not proud of these things and I work hard to keep my empathy tank on F, but I want to be honest about them so maybe you can look at your own subtle ways.

Our children are not just reactive. They are specifically reactive to us.  Sometimes we are actually doing things that keep the hate alive and not doing enough to heal the pain within.   The solution is incredibly simple and amazingly hard at the same time. Open your higher self to your child and only share your lower self with friends who can understand and be soothing to you.

Over time…   Over time…   Over time, healing occurs.

Love matters,

Ce

 

Upcoming Events Calendar and Other Things in Sacramento…

NEW DATE: Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on February 17th from 9am to 4pm.  Register here or on our website!

Tell your friends: Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. February 16th, 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 group. The 5-wk group will be $120 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  New groups will begin again in March, 2018.  Contact Ce at Ce@attachplace.com for more details.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on Valentine’s DayFebruary 14th, 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.

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