Drop the Focus on RED: Go For Regulation

Dear Parents:

“Nothing works!  Nothing works! When my kid is in “red,” nothing works!”  This is a constant parental complaint leveled at me in a tone more like a disdainful, incredulous affront when I am teaching parents how to understand what is happening to a child’s brain during a blowout, and what needs to be done (or not done) in the moment of it. And that angry taunt, Nothing works!, is exactly what I am trying to tell parents.  When your child is dysregulated into RED survival blowout mode, nothing works.  Parents must do a whole bunch of other things to get the needle to move just a little off tilt that will manifest sometime down the road.  Delayed gratification is required.

Therapeutic Parenting is the Long Game

Therapeutic Parenting is the long game.  The short game is all about the dance and working with “What Is.”  If a blowout “Is,” then you go with pure loving safety.  There will be blood-curdling screams.  Holes find their way into previously pristine walls.  Good stuff is smashed.  That is a fact of life with children from difficult beginnings.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

You Get More of What You Focus On

Nothing works in the short game for stopping a child from being RED*.  Stop worrying so much about stopping the red and start working on finding the GREEN, maintaining the GREEN, returning to the GREEN from the YELLOW, getting up to GREEN from BLUE.  That is where the learning is.  Enough time in “green” over the course of your child’s day will beget fewer and fewer times in “red.”  That’s it.  Nothing works to stop red in its tracks.  Nothing.  Red must be waited out, cooled off, calmed down.  Instead of focusing on red, start facilitating yellow to green, blue to green, and green to yellow and back again every day, every way that you can.  One day, red will be just another color of the rainbow.

Love matters,


*If these colors are unfamiliar, look for Zones of Regulation information and begin to use that model.  It is a good one.

NEXT CLASS:  Therapeutic Parenting Class for Foster and Adoptive Parents is scheduled for June 24th, 2017 from 9am to 4pm.  Register here.

Join our monthly Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on June 14th, 2017! Open to all parents/caregivers at no cost. Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6pm to 8pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827. Free child care provided.

Get your specially discounted copy of 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.

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