Archive for wisdom for adoptive children

Ten Therapeutic Parenting Principles to Snack On

Dear Parents,

Here are 10 Therapeutic Parenting Principles; not the only 10 Therapeutic Principles because there are many more.

10 Therapeutic Parenting Principles

  1. Be safe parents to attach to.  Safety over compliance is important in therapeutic parenting. Keep your faces and eyes soft.  If you are upset, give yourself a time out to someplace kid free until you can get your soft face back.  If the child insists on talking, insist on space for yourself first.  If the child badgers you, sit silently and read a book.  Offer the child a seat beside you. Promise to talk when you have calmed down.  This models affect (emotional) regulation.
  2. Punishment does not work.  Consequences do not work.  Emotional discussions do not work.  Rejection does not work.  Threatening does not work.  Spanking, hitting or physical force does not work.  Time out in isolation does not work.  Reasoning with a dysregulated child never works. So what works, you ask?  Emotionally regulated parent(s) using soft-eye nurture, empathy, engagement, and structure works to create the safety necessary to attach which is necessary for positive behavior change.
  3. Stop yourselves from talking, talking, talking to the child.  This will create tuning out, blank stares, and dissociation.  “Please remember that plastic can’t be microwaved, honey.”  “Thank you for quickly stopping and doing what I asked you to do.”  “Would you speak loudly please, or I won’t be able to answer you otherwise.” “When you are ready to finish your chores, then we can get on with the fun part of the day.”
  4. Be on the same page with your co-parent.  Use wait time to decide what to do.  Consult each other before making parenting decisions.  It is okay to say, “Something will happen, though I’m going to talk with Mom or Dad before deciding.”
  5. Stay calm.  Respond calmly and quickly only to real (not imagined) safety concerns that impact siblings, Mom or Dad, pets, or others. You can include property in this, but be careful. Sometimes “things” become more important than the heart of the child and that will not work long term.  Use appropriately measured restitution for property destruction instead of emotional punishment or consequences. Have the restitution discussion only when all are emotionally regulated.
  6. Do not follow, lead.  Your child needs you to be the leader.  If there are choices to give, you initiate them and you give them with empathy and understanding.  This is the kind of structure and nurture an attachment challenged child needs to feel safe.
  7. Avoid saying “no.”  This is very difficult.  Find a way to say yes.  “Yes, you can play with friends, when we come back from the store.”  “Yes, you can have candy after dinner.”  If badgering ensues, instead of ramping up your voice and thereby the emotional stakes, be a calm, broken record “Yes, after dinner.  Yes, honey, after dinner.”   Another way not to have to say “no” is to ask the child what s/he thinks the answer is?  Ignore most negative behavior.  You get more of what you focus on, so focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want.  Ignore the rest. Appreciate, compliment, and thank the child for behavior you want.  Give these things in a neutral tone rather than an exuberant tone.  Good behavior creates BIG anxiety in challenged children because they fear they will not be able to keep it up (as they think they are inherently bad somehow and it is only a matter of time before they do bad behavior).  These kids sabotage themselves, so avoid big build up to going places, seeing someone special, or getting to do or get something great.  The child will find some way to mess up the experience.  This is due to a number of internalized messages, but largely excitement dysregulation, anticipation anxiety dysregulation, and internalized negative self-concept dysregulation.  Operative word–dysregulation.
  8. Wait for regulation. Process situations with your child only when everyone is emotionally regulated.  If one of you gets dysregulated during a discussion, simply say, “Let’s stop for now and finish this conversation later when we can all be calm.”   Almost nothing requires a talk RIGHT NOW.
  9. Play, be silly, and laugh together.  Play is extremely important with challenged children. Use the therapeutic principles in Theraplay by Booth and Jernberg–Structure, Engagement, Challenge, and Nurture.  Stay away from winner/loser games.  Try not to keep score even if the game usually is scored.   Be lovingly physical.  Roll around on the floor together and switch up the play when the energy gets too high or too low.  Traumatized children get dysregulated by fun, too. That doesn’t mean they should never have it.
  10. Give lots of hugs and kisses on your terms.  It is okay to give them on the child’s terms, too; however, not only on the child’s terms.  If this is a problem and it often is, then get your therapist’s support for ways to change the dynamic.

Feel free to pass this along to any parents you think are struggling with trauma manifesting in their children.  Bottom line:  Most parents of traumatized children need the support of an attachment-based, trauma-informed therapist or team of trauma-informed professionals, and lots of respite.

For every ten principles, there are 10 more. You have plenty of time to grow.

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.

 

 

THRIVE Therapeutic Parenting Mastermind Membership coming soon!

Dear Parents,

THRIVE Parenting Mastermind Membership is coming soon.

I am so excited and super hard at work creating this online support community for all of you who are living with children with Complex Developmental Trauma.  Where are you along the THRIVE parenting success path below? How can a THRIVE community support you?

THRIVE Parenting Success Path

If you haven’t already, send me an email with the word “Mastermind” in the subject line, so you don’t miss out on registration details.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

SIGN UP HERE: Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held July 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): Begins in July 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, June 12th, 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.

The Secret To A Happy Life With Traumatized Children

Dear Parents:

What Is Your Favorite Form of Suffering?

Yep, you read that right.  Every day, I spend quite a bit of time talking to suffering parents of children from difficult beginnings and working to support them to pull their chins up, stay in the parenting long game, and buoy out of the traditional parenting traps of power and punishment.  Personally, I rarely feel suffering in the face of the shenanigans my children can produce and despite the grief and pain I encounter in my work with parents and children.

Anti-Depressants Do Not Stop Suffering

Full disclosure, being genetically predisposed to large mood swings, I take medication to keep me out of suicidal major depression.  What medication does for me is it keeps me inside the normal range of emotion.  Medication, however, does not keep me from suffering the feelings of fear, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness.  I stay out of suffering those with a personal commitment to live my life fully every day.  When I lost my mother in a car accident as a teenager, I made a vow to live every day as though it were my last.  That was well before the pop songs were written. That vow shaped my adult life, so I have a fairly well-developed muscle for being happily alive.

Fear, Loss, Less, and Never

In my experience, most people have favorite forms of parental suffering that fall around four concepts: fear, loss, less, and never.

My child is going to prison in the future if I don’t get his/her behavior under controlFear  

I adopted a child that can’t be part of the family life I always wanted–Loss

Other people get to have reciprocal relationships with their children, and I don’t–Less

My children are never going to have normal lives–Never

I’m not saying don’t feel your feelings.  Do feel your feelings, even share them with yourself, a loved one, or therapist.  The sentences above are not feelings, they are thoughts that produce feelings. If you get stuck in that feedback loop, you will find suffering.

Here is the secret to a happy life with children from difficult beginnings:

  1. Feel your feelings for about 2 minutes tops, then bust the thoughts behind them for what they are (bad habits) and focus on some things you appreciate (good habits).
  2. Find gratitude for the very thing you are suffering over.
  3. Find your favorite form of suffering–fear, loss, less, never—and bust it, replace it, repeat the replacement, recycle.
  4. Vow to live your life with less suffering and more abundance of spirit for living.
  5. Realize that you are playing the parenting long game.  Parenting is right now for the future.

I know Buddha said, “Life is Suffering,” but I think he meant everything changes so don’t cling to any one thing.  To me, that is where the hope lies.  Accept, let go, live.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

SIGN UP HERE: 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): 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, May 8th, 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.

May 11th Therapeutic Parent Training

Dear Parents:

Mark your calendars for our upcoming Therapeutic Parenting Training.

Traditional parenting cannot heal the wounded hearts of traumatized children. Therapeutic parenting can.

This adoption and trauma-informed training will help you find your way with a comprehensive approach to parenting children from difficult beginnings.  The workshop will cover the following topics:

  • Complex Developmental Trauma vs. Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • Brain-based Parenting Strategies
  • Impact of Attachment Styles on Parenting Attachment-Challenged Children
  • Conquering Parental Reactivity
  • Zones of Regulation
  • Trust-based Relational Intervention (TBRI)–Empowering, Connecting, Correcting
  • Parenting with P.A.C.E.

Get support, information, coaching, and understanding of what you are experiencing as a parent.

Who Should Attend?

You, if you are a relative, caregiver, guardian, or adoptive parent of a child(ren) from difficult beginnings—maltreatment, neglect, trauma, attachment breach, drug exposure, difficult pregnancy, and/or birth trauma.  This is the help you have been looking for, especially if you have tried everything.

May 11th, 2019   10am to 4pm

Light lunch provided. Bring your own special diet lunch.

Registration required. Cost is $100 per person. No tickets will be issued, but a spot will be reserved for you. This training can be reimbursed by CALVCB.

THIS WORKSHOP IS PROVIDED BY CE ESHELMAN, LMFT, CERTIFIED TBRI PRACTITIONER.

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

SIGN UP HERE: 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): 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, May 8th, 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.

Trajectories Of Their Own

Hello Parents,

We work so hard to impact that early wiring in the brains of our children from difficult beginnings.  Maybe too hard sometimes, because our children have trajectories of their own.  We do our best.  They do their best.  The rest is up to the Universe.

We Are Not In Control

I do not say this lightly.  I say it honestly.  We cannot control the outcome of our children’s lives.  We just can not.  They have a trajectory of their own.  I respect that.  And I encourage you to have compassion for them, for you, for the journey.

Growth Happens

Every time I felt hopeless when raising my children; when all seemed fruitless and futile, in time there was growth.  There is always growth.  It was not always in the way I wished or in the way I thought would be the best, but growth did happen over time.

Sometimes we parents have to let go and let God or the Universe or the Light or life’s trajectory.  We are not really in control.  We never are.  We can only do our best with what we have at the time.  In retrospect, there is sadness for how little we once knew.  That’s okay.  That’s life.  You can’t know what you don’t know.

Be Compassionate

Be gentle with yourselves, dear parents; be compassionate for your efforts, for your child, for the trajectory that is their own.  It is bittersweet, I know.  My salvation has been in accepting my children’s journey and separating them from my own.  They are truly different from me and just perfect as they are.

Acceptance Is Healing

I love my kids.  Do they live the lives I would have them live?  Not really.  I wish much more for them, and I accept them as they are.  They both appreciate me for that, I think.  I see them becoming more and more comfortable being loved by me.  Maybe that is the first step for them in learning to love themselves.  I hope so.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar

SIGN UP NOW: 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, May 8th, 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.

 

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.

Throwing in the Towel

Couples Blog

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships, LLC

Dear Parents, Sometimes I wonder where cliches come from.  Usually, I know what they mean, but I am not always sure from whence they sprang; hence the title.  Does throwing in the towel have something to do with surrendering in war?  Boxing maybe?  Mama Google says the latter, “When a boxer is too beat up to continue, his coach throws a towel into the ring to signal that the fight is over.”  Oh, apparently one cannot throw one’s own towel into the ring; someone else does it for said one.  Well, the title of this blog only kinda works then.

When Life Creates Movies

A day or so ago, I watched Instant Family and sadly resonated with the husband and wife scene in the bedroom just after the three kids come home as fosters.  I think they were effectively throwing in the towel and by the end of the tirade, they had grabbed it back again.  I certainly did that a zillion times over the two decades of raising my children.  As far as I know, there isn’t a cliche for grabbing the towel back again, but that’s the part I loved. The part where some deep commitment, I think core human attachment, kicked in and brought me back to reality. Yep, I signed up for this.

Then There Is Life

Sunday, I had breakfast with my 23-year-old daughter.  She had her partner and their almost two-year-old son, my grandson, with her.  The baby is from difficult beginnings.  His parents are both grown-ups with Complex Developmental Trauma.  The little guy was pitching a fight all over the place, not to mention flinging the hash browns and mac and cheese at everyone who walked by.  I was sucked into a time warp when my children were his age and twice as dysregulated.

The distress on my daughter’s face was palpable, while her partner had lost his temper repeatedly until he fell silent playing on his phone.  Personally, I was completely calm and empathic with all of them in a way I was never truly able to be 20 years ago.  Of course, I would be headed home in an hour to a quiet house filled only with dogs.  It’s easy to be regulated for a couple of hours.  Still, I was filled up with love right then when an old, familiar wish barged in–a bittersweet wish that I had known at the beginning of my parenting life what I know now.

Be as therapeutic as you can muster with your children today, my friends.  They will grow up, and they need all the empathy and understanding you have in your bones to get there.  That, of course, involves having empathy and understanding for yourselves, as well.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Attention Is A Need

I work with a number of children who annoy for attention. Attention is attention to them regardless of whether it is positive or negative.  Some attachment challenged children have difficulty being vulnerable enough to seek attention in a pro-social way.  To do that would be to admit that s/he has emotional needs in the first place. And some are simply habituated to seeking negative attention.

My son has mastered the art of ridiculous questioning to get my attention. For example, “Mom, I’m wondering why it is that I really like to go to those swim parks? Why do you think I like them so much?”

Out of the blue from another child, “One time when I was visiting my grandmother’s farm the dog farted so loud the cats ran into the barn.”

Another child asks, “Can you see air?”

And another, “I noticed cats have big eyes.”

My son, “Mom, I didn’t know you were home.  Are you home now?”  

Again, my son, “Mom, why do I like cauliflower that way and not the other way? And, “The worst thing to call a teacher is Mrs. P.”

Really?

Instead of giving the “go away from me” look of annoyance or the ridicule that might easily roll off your tongue (like it wants to from mine), pull your child (big or small) in for a hug or a close-up of soft eyes with a “love bomb” smile.  This is all that is needed:  I love you–now run along, Sweetheart.  Anytime you want my attention, come ask for a hug.

Attention is a need. Nothing else. Resist the urge to be sarcastic, mean, ridiculing, or angry.  Honestly, our children need our attention.  Give it to them more when they need it, and the non-sensical crazy stuff will decrease.

Love matters,

Ce

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, January 9th, 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.