Neurobiological Reasons For Negative Behavior

Dear Parents,

There are real neurobiological explanations for the behaviors you live with when you bring home a child who has been traumatized and abandoned in the early years. These explanations are about the wiring of your child’s brain processes that govern trust/mistrust and the core brain systems that drive control, hypervigilance, dysregulation, self-centeredness, and lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse.

Therapeutic parents are tasked with keeping their own lids on when encountering all the behavior that pushes them away, rejects safe and loving parenting, keeps them only close enough to satisfy basic needs while refusing help, opposing “no”, and resisting change.

Your children are ultra-sensitive to your slightest nonverbal disapproval, anger, and rejection.  They are lightning fast at sensing trouble and even faster at dissociating from any feelings that might be painful or might even be comforting–because pain of losing comfort is as bad as the pain of never having it.  It’s the same actually.  Pain is pain.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

These brain systems are onboard prenatally and continue to sponge up data pre-verbally, implicitly, about the safety of the caregiver and the environment long into infancy and beyond. Therapeutic parents and attachment therapists have a job to do: be safe all the time, so these wounded children have half a chance to heal and recover from their “safety blindness.”

Using consequences, taking things away, spanking, threats, anger, withdrawal, rejection, shame, loud voices, or even flat faces are all triggering for the negative bias ingrained in the traumatized brains of our children.  That’s the tip of the iceberg.

Be the safety your children are afraid to see in the world and bring it slowly into their world view.  Over and over, it sounds like this: Did you notice I didn’t hurt you when you broke that glass? You can trust that you are safe with me.  You can trust me.

Love matters,



Our monthly Adoptive Parent Support Group is every 2nd Wednesday of every month from 6pm to 8pm at 3336 Bradshaw Road, Ste 175, Sacramento, CA 95827. Child care provided at no cost. Sign up at

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Our next 9a-5pm Trust-based Therapeutic Parent Training will be on January 7th, 2017. 2017!!!

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