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.
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.
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.