Archive for Complex Developmental Trauma Symptoms

From Dysmaturity to Maturity with Neurodiverse Children

Dear Parents,

One of the realities of raising a neurodiverse child from difficult beginnings is the ever-present challenge of dysmaturity.  That word may be new to you because it is a medical term used to describe a neonatal condition where the baby’s brain has not developed at a typical pace in utero.  Most people prefer to use the term “immaturity” when talking about their children, but I think “immaturity” doesn’t imply brain development, but rather a momentary behavior, such as “My husband can be so immature when it comes to sharing housework.”  This implies that he is otherwise a fully functioning adult man who acts like a teenager when it comes to taking the trash out.

No spouse feels terrible grief about a husband’s behavior when making a quip like that.  Usually kidding or, even if serious, there is no deep well of shame over the situation in the way we, parents, often have; shame when explaining the dysmaturity of our neurodiverse children who chronically display lagging skills; and agonizing bewilderment when regressive behaviors occur in the midst of a group of neurotypical peers.

I remember my 15-year-old son learning to ride a small two-wheeler bike around our neighborhood.  Yes, he was learning to balance at 15, not 7. He would regularly come in with skinned body parts from falling off his bike.  He would also regularly come in saying children chased him and bullied him when he was riding by their houses.  It was only after much discussion that I discovered these were 7-8 year-old-boys. The discussion broke my heart.

My son wanted nothing more than to be a typical boy and yet only found little children to play with who ended up being mean to him. His dysmaturity showed up at some point and then he became fodder.  They had him riding away in true fear. He could have gotten off his bike and stood up because his height alone would have caused them to turn tail—but he didn’t.  He was too scared of these children, half his chronological age, to realize how much bigger and older he actually was.

I used coaching, role play, encouragement, and empathy to help him understand what was happening and to learn how to defend himself by simply standing his ground.  It wasn’t simple for him.

We often rehearsed before he left the house and we debriefed when he came home.  We circled back to the same material many times over the course of two years until he matured in a spurt one day and told me he got off his bike and yelled “Shoo!” at the children chasing him.  He was so proud and triumphant.  I was happy for him, though inside my heart still ached for how hard his dysmaturity was for him.

I wish I could tell you that he never cowered again after that momentous day, but that would be a Sandra Bullock movie.  His life was and is not a movie.  It does have a happy middle though.  Not the story I would have written for him, but one that he is happy with now at 23.

When your child spurts and sputters to get a story out, hides behind a chair instead of playing at a birthday party, growls, hisses and barks during a playdate, tips the board game over when losing, or only finds younger children to play with, take heart. Steel yourself. Regulate. This is not shameful, hopeless, or bad behavior; it is dysmaturity.

Your children need empathy, repetitious coaching, concrete examples, rehearsal, patience, circling back for review, celebrating wins, and you doing your own self-care, so you don’t lose heart on the journey from dysmaturity to maturity.  They do slowly grow.  Our job is to make sure their esteem is intact as they do.

Love Matters,

Ce

P.S.  Join our Love Matters Parenting Society Membership–a Therapeutic Parenting Membership for Thriving While Raising Children from Difficult Beginnings.
Go to www.lovemattersparenting.com to read all about it.

Everyone is welcome to join our free public Love Matters Parenting Group on Facebook

HIATUS: NO SUPPORT GROUP until further notice. ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP is taking time off.  Let Jen know at jen@attachplace.com if you would like to be notified when the support group upstarts again.
If you would like ongoing support, you might be interested in joining The Love Matters Parenting Society above.  Those who are participating are really getting what they came for.  Check it out.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place.
Open to the public. Every third Monday from 5:30 to 7 pm.  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.

 

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.

No Fear

Dear Parents,

My traumatized children never seemed to express fear in the early years after coming home with me.  They took big physical and relational risks, broke all rules, and seemed to be unmoved by my ire.  I came to know this as traumatic dissociation because the longer I lived with them the more I saw that they were afraid of almost everything.

Eventually, the feelings of fear must be uncovered to engage life with appropriate amounts of risk-taking and caution. My children have work to do in this arena.  When my daughter calls in tears about how scared she is to be on her own, I soothe her.  My son still glazes over to avoid his fears.  There is more processing to be done for them to emerge feeling safe inside themselves and in the world.

The upshot is this: Felt safety needs to be our parenting goal for our children, so they can face forward without fear and with love in their own lives. No easy task.  No fear.

Love Matters,

Ce

The Attach Place/Local Community Upcoming Events Calendar…

Join the Love Matters Parenting Society Membership…
Love Matters Parenting Society for a THRIVING Life with Children from Difficult Beginnings. Check it out.  You are going to love it, I promise.

While the Love Matters Parenting Society membership is closed to new members right now, you can join the free public Love Matters Parenting Group on Facebook until March 2020 when the membership opens again.  

HIATUS: NO SUPPORT GROUP until further notice. ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP is taking some time off.  NO SUPPORT GROUP until further notice. If you would like ongoing support, you might be interested in Love Matters Parenting Society above.  Those who are doing it are really getting what they came for.  Check it out.

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. 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.

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.

 

 

 

Parenting Adopted Children: Nonsensical Lying Makes Sense

Dear Parents,

Nonsensical lying makes sense. It really does if you understand the internal workings of children who come from difficult beginnings.

Nonsensical lying is triggered by exactly the same things that trigger emotionally dysregulated meltdowns–PURE FEAR, a pervasive sense of fear of the unknown, fear of authority, fear of change, fear of danger, fear of vulnerability, fear of being “in-trouble,” fear of feeling shame, fear of abuse, fear of being out-of-control, fear of giving up control, fear of deprivation, fear of powerlessness, fear of loss, fear of abandonment, fear of dying–fear of you. Fear.

When your child lies to you,  assure your child that you are a safe person to tell the truth to, and then be a safe person to tell the truth to. Oh yeah, that is the hard part. We parents usually have as much hard work to do on responding to our children’s lying as our children do.

Children do not stop lying because of punishment. Fear of punishment will cause more and more intricate, insistent lying.

A Story

My daughter is 23 years old. She still lies to me when “caught” doing near anything that she believes will cause me to disapprove of her. Even if I am not asking, she will lie to me prophylactically. It’s kind of incredible.

She is an adult now, so I rarely care what she does; when she does it; where she goes; or who she sees. I really don’t care. It’s not my life, and she will have to experience whatever consequences life dishes up, as a result of her choices.

Now that we are both older, ha, we can talk more honestly about lying. Yesterday, after a ridiculously elaborate lie, I told her that lying to me is wasting her energy.

She stopped in her tracks, tears in her eyes saying, “Mom, I just really want so much for you to be proud of me.”

Hugging her, I am so very proud of you, sweetheart. Nothing you can do will make that go away. I’m your mom.  I love you.

I know, Mom, but I’m so afraid in this horrible, deep achy way in my chest–it actually hurts– that one day I will break you, and burn my bridge with you forever, and you’re all I’ve got.  My life is so f’d up and I can never seem to get it right,” she continued through rivers of tears.

I know you are afraid. It’s painful for you because you did lose your birth mom. I know you don’t think you can trust love, especially mom love.  So, I will keep telling you forever that you can’t break my love. You can break the bank, but not my love. We both had a good laugh, because that is so tragicomedically true, and her tears stopped.

I am going to keep working on being safe enough for you to be honest with.

“I’ll work on being less afraid, so I can tell the truth,” she said.

The Moral

Dear parents, this girl will lie to me before the sun sets today.  I could make some serious Benjamins betting on that in Vegas. As much as she wants to tell me the truth, her body-deep, pre-verbal fear from early childhood trauma squeezes the air out of her chest and she feels like she might die–burn the bridge to the only true love she has ever had. Boom, lie.

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Get Your Own Complex Developmental Trauma Symptom List

Hello Parents,

While many of you are well-versed in the symptoms of Complex Developmental Trama, I’ve been getting a number of calls lately from parents and therapists asking me questions like:

“Is this behavior normal?”

“Is this reactive attachment disorder?”

“What is this?  Part of normal development or something else?”

If you have questions about some of the things you find yourself coping with related to your child from difficult beginnings of attachment breach and abuse/neglect trauma; or if you have family or friends who need some help understanding the things you are working so hard to quiet with therapeutic parenting, you can download below or forward this post on to someone who might want to know.

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 in April 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Stay tuned for the exact dates.

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, March 13, 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.