Archive for mindfulness

7-Reasons Parents THRIVING are Essential for Healing the Hurting Hearts of Traumatized Children

Dear Parents,

Children who have been harmed by early neglect, abuse, and/or abandonment have dysregulated brains from the start.  To heal a brain with complex trauma, parents have to be nearly always prepared to ebb and flow as loving role models and co-regulators.  Here are 7-reasons why creating a THRIVING life for yourself matters to the quality of healing for your child from difficult beginnings.

  1. Parents who know how to take care of themselves physically with daily exercise are giving themselves a regular neuro-cascade of positive, naturally occurring, happy chemicals to THRIVE on. When a parent regularly exercises, the body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain that reduce the perception of pain. Dopamine and serotonin are impacted for a feeling of happiness, and stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are decreased. When parents feel well-being and happiness, are less stressed, and have relief from aches and pains, children feel more stable and secure. Insecure children need that feeling every day to repair their toxic stress from childhood abuses.  Bodies THRIVE on exercise. I’m not really telling you anything new, am I?
  2. Likewise, parents who eat balanced meals—carbs protein, fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals and water–of organic (when possible), fresh fruits, raw and cooked vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats are providing the best fuel for their bodies and their brains. They are sick less often and teach by example how to eat for a THRIVING, healthy lifestyle. I know you already know that.
  3. A parent who gets small doses of respite every day (cup of tea on the porch in quiet for 15 minutes) and longer respite weekly (date night, theater, dancing) is creating a THRIVING mindset from which to show love and compassion, over a parent who is exhausted, compassion weary, and always on parent duty 24/7 365. Preaching to the choir now.
  4. Sleep is restorative to the body, mind, spirit. THRIVING requires early to bed, early to rise sleep habits (unless of course there is an atypical schedule in which sleep is even more important for daily repair and resilience). 7-9 hours of sleep for the average adult is the sweet spot. Positive sleep hygiene is contagious, and children need rested parents. Duh.
  5. THRIVING is skin deep. Human skin is on average about 20 square feet. When we are touched, receptors called Pacinian Corpuscles just under that 20 sq. ft. are depressed, releasing a signal to the brain. Actually, the signal heads straight to an important nerve bundle called the vagus nerve, which has tendrils that spread out throughout the body to many internal organs. The heart is one which can be positively impacted in that touch slows it down and decreases blood pressure. Even hand-holding or gentle hugging results in decreased cortisol, our stress hormone. A gentle massage can release oxytocin, a neuropeptide, that promotes feelings of devotion, trust, and bonding. Loving touch lights up the same part of the brain as does sweet tastes and pleasant smells. Parents who touch and are touched THRIVE.  Intuitively, this is pretty obvious, save all the fancy words.
  6. Playing is the antidote to adulting. While children need playtime with adults, adults need playtime for themselves to delight in the festivities of feeling child-like. Many adoptive parents are on their second round of parenting. A child-like spirit keeps a parent THRIVING well into older age.
  7. Mindfulness is the act of being present in the moment. Buddhists know through practice and science has shown that mindfulness increases the sense of well-being, restores the spirit, de-stresses the body, creates joyful connectedness, and focuses the mind on right now. Mindful parents are able to hold perspective when their children cannot. They personalize less the slings and arrows of raising children who are hurt and hurting.  Mindfulness is the nectar of a THRIVING life with children from difficult beginnings. If only one can “remember to remember” to be mindful.

If you’ve got this down, congratulations for living a THRIVING life.  That is no easy task and you should celebrate all your accomplishments and how you are significantly contributing to the healing of your traumatized child(ren) by thriving yourself. You are AH-MAZING!

If you are having just a little bit of trouble finding your way out of survival, give yourself a break. You are amazing, too. Raising hurting children is one of the hardest things you will ever do, and it is hard to THRIVE without serious support.  Not to mention it helps to be taught effective therapeutic parenting skills, right?

Really, I should know.  When I brought my children home, I couldn’t believe how exhausted, depleted, and resourceless I felt. I was truly just surviving.  It took me quite a few years to find the answers to parenting my children, while not only saving myself but by becoming vibrant and alive with children from difficult beginnings—THRIVING.  My mission is to share the way with parents everywhere.

You and your love matter,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

Look what is coming at the end of August…August 28th to be exact–Love Matters Parenting Mastermind.
Love Matters Parenting Mastermind for a THRIVING Life with Children from Difficult Beginnings

UPCOMING In-Office ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:   Adoptive Parent Support Group, August 14, 2019.   Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6 pm to 8 pm online. Open to the public.  Free childcare provided.

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.

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.

 

 

 

Adoptive Children–Precious Still

Dear Parents:

Most of us have held a little baby in the first few months of life, right?  Maybe not our own children, but definitely others’ babies.  Some of us parents did get to hold our own adopted children when they were tiny little balls of miracle.  Remember the preciousness you felt heavy in your arms?  So sweet and joyful, even when you are dog tired the preciousness persists.

Adoptive Parenting Clinic

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Our children from difficult beginnings need to experience their preciousness in our eyes and voice long into adulthood.  Does that sound ridiculous?  It really isn’t.  It takes an entire childhood to recover from the loss of a biological parent and the probable abuses suffered.  Those early assaults to the delight of a child go directly into the child’s sense of self, their opinions about caregivers, and their beliefs about the world around them.

It is only through your daily expression of their preciousness through your easy tone, predictable kindness, soft eyes, sweet face, safe hands and body, patience, and all things that demonstrate your love in action will they heal.  Inside every child, no matter the age, there is a precious little baby.  Sometimes we have to do some cognitive reminders of this preciousness when our children’s suffering leaks out in the form of self-protective anger, survival resistance/refusal, and dysregulated flailing bodies.  Do your best mindfulness work (Dan Hughes calls this Mind Mindedness) to recover your empathy by endeavoring to focus on the hurting baby within, so you can keep yourself safe all the way through their childhoods.

I didn’t say it was easy.  Eh, nope, it is the hardest thing you will do in your lifetime.  It was for me. Carry on, dear parents, take care of yourselves and stay kind.

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!

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.

 

A Bite of Mindfulness Everyday

Dear Parents,

Mindfulness is the new, old, buzz word.  Still, more and more research is showing that daily mindfulness has a real impact on brains for the good.  Eastern cultures have known these benefits for thousands of years.  Our children from difficult beginnings have very busy brains–like you don’t know that, right? I image you are thinking “No way, Ce, are my kid(s) going to be quiet on demand for even a minute.”

To that, I say, “You might be surprised.”  First of all, we are talking about one minute to start.   And at the top end, we are looking at 5 to 10 minutes total.  Daily mindfulness practice is setting new neuropathway tracks for focus, attention and personal agency over unruly emotions.  The promise is worth the price.  Which wolf are you feeding?

Be sure when you begin any mindfulness practice with children from difficult beginnings that you are trauma-sensitive about it. Our kids often cannot tolerate the way they feel inside, so closing their eyes for a minute can be wildly overwhelming.  Hint:  that is why they are so busy in the first place.  Here are some ideas for modifying usual mindfulness practices for traumatized children.

  • Use your child’s imagination. Keeping their eyes open, ask them to imagine what their toes feel like from the inside.  No one can do that, but it is mindful to try.  Tip:  when they think they can feel them, then ask them to notice how their ankles feel from the inside.  Don’t do this for longer than a minute.  Tomorrow.  Ask for the inside of a different body part. Of course, this will only work for a bit and then you will need to switch it up with a new practice.
  • As a family, do this little rap and sit criss-cross applesauce on the floor together.  Then, ask everyone to simply rest eyes on the ball/object that is placed in front of them.  Yes, all parents in the house sit criss-cross applesauce.  That is fun to watch in and of itself. https://youtu.be/4NIEUX55hSk

  • In the spring, go lay out on the grass and look at the sky.  This can last a very long time without effort.
  • Get the Headspace app on your phone and let your children watch the one-minute body scan animation, which is free.  Watch them go into a full body mindfulness state instantly. Some children will really enjoy this.
  • Look online into investing in HeartMath. This is a well-researched method for getting your child’s breath and heartbeat in sync.  Turns out this is very healing.
  • Each day, pick a two or three minute YOUTUBE video on mindfulness for kids to watch with you.  If you have a Smart TV or Apple TV you can show it on the big screen.  You can also watch it on a laptop or your phone.  This is a good reason to look at a screen.  Here are just a few I like:

Go in there, parents, and teach mindfulness to your little wild cats by “being it” together. Be creative. Be light about it. Have fun.

Love matters,

Ce

P.S. Today is Week 2 of Friendship Improv Group for 5-7-year-olds If you want your child to learn friendship skills, drop me an email to reserve a spot in the next one coming up in March.

Yesterday’s Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place was great!  Don’t miss the next one: 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.

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

 

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!

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 February 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.