Archive for Marriage and Attachment Challenged Children

Kindness Transmission Processes

Sometimes I am astounded by the kindness of my children.  A couple days back from vacation I came down with a virus.  Nothing terrible, just ugly to listen to and look at.  

When my son sees I am under it, he immediately says, I’m sorry you are sick again Mom.  I will do anything you need.  Do you need something?  Can I help you?

When my daughter hears I am sick after visiting her house (7-hour round trip) where my sleeping grandbaby had a virus, she says, Mom, I am so sorry you are sick.  I should have told you before you came here that she had a virus.  I love you, Mom, so much. Thank you for visiting.  It meant so much to me for you to see my new home. I miss you.

There were so many years when I was called upon to be kind in the face of anger, rage, rejection, assaults.  Mostly I managed to do it, though not always. This is the payoff.  My children are kind adults.  What more could I really ask for?

Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly, no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is November 11th at a NEW time–5:30 pm.Join us.  Online RSVP each month required when you need child care.
The Attach Place offers an 8-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course every other month.  Our next course dates are December 5th and 12th, 2015. Sign-up by calling 916-403-0588 x1 or email attachplace@yahoo.com.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Kindness translates well into the future.

Harassment For The Greater Good

It has been a long time since I wagged my index finger in your face.  Today is the day.  Take time for yourself. Have YOU made every effort to find respite for yourself that includes an overnight?
To quote a famous tennis shoe, Just do it.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is August 12th at 6pm. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
The Attach Place is offering a weekend workshop for couples on July 18th and 19th, 9am to 5pm each day, to help you create the loving relationship you want and deserve.   Jennifer Olden, MFT and Certified Emotionally Focused Therapy Supervisor, will conduct a two-day Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop.  For more information, call Jennifer at The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships 916-403-0588, Ext 3.
The Attach Place offers a 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  every other month.  Our next course begins August 22nd and August 29th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Respite is the key to long-term regulation.  Get some.

The Great ChildCare Hunt

I am really empathizing with those of you who cannot keep a good child care worker in your homes to spell you from the demands of therapeutic parenting. 

 

I had this problem early on when my kids were little, hanging from the chandeliers, but finally found the best thing ever, my adult step son, to take the job for 8 or so years.  Can you believe that?  Every weekday and some weekends for eight years!  When I look back on it, I owe my sanity to that young man who nearly lost his own some days while backed into a corner at knifepoint.  True story. He never quit.  He did not quit me or them.  I have the biggest appreciation for him.  Words cannot cover it.

 

As of late, it has been hard for me to keep a child care worker for our parent training events and our monthly parent support nights.  I keep peeling them off one by one.  There is no shortage of people willing to try; however, there is a limited supply of willingness to come back.  I know many of you know this story.

 

Today, I am on my umpteenth round of solicitations on Care.com. I’m glad I have that resource.  Overnight I have a new crop of bright-eyed helpers in my inbox thinking they have what it takes to step into your shoes for a few hours once in a while.  I hope this let’s YOU know that raising attachment challenged children is nothing like raising attached children.  Nothing–no matter what well meaning people say, All kids are like that, and such.  

No, no they aren’t.

Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is July 8th at 6pm. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
The Attach Place is offering a weekend workshop for couples on July 18th and 19th, 9am to 5pm each day, to help you create the loving relationship you want and deserve.   Jennifer Olden, MFT and Certified Emotionally Focused Therapy Supervisor, will conduct a two-day Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop.  For more information, call Jennifer at The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships 916-403-0588, Ext 3.
The Attach Place offers a 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  every other month.  Our next course begins July 25th and August 1st, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

 Hire someone with a special needs background, pay them what they are worth to you, and send them to a Trust Based Parenting Training.  I spent a lot of money on childcare over the years.  It was well worth it for the respite.

Love Matters Bootcamp Day 2–Owning Your Own Sh#*t

Love Matters Bootcamp–Day 2 starts with “owning your own crap.” I have suddenly become very PC.  What is bugging me is my problem. 
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My son enjoys talking to me a lot of the time.  He is doing nothing wrong, but it bugs me; therefore, it is my crap, not his.  When I get crazy irritated, it is my irritation.  He isn’t making me feel anything. I am responsible for taking care of myself, and, as a mother, helping my son see how his desire to talk can be annoying to others who are not in the listening mood.  His talking is not the problem, per se. My not taking care of myself is.
 
The solution might be managed entirely by me, entirely by him, or by collaboration.  If I were to handle it in a vacuum, I could walk away every time I am not in a listening mood or I could announce that I am not in a listening mood the second I realize it.  On my own, there is no way to make him stop talking or to have better social skills.
 
If he managed it entirely, he might stumble upon a social cue that could help him read the listener better, so he knows when enough is enough. He could decide he doesn’t like talking to me and never speak to me again. Then again, he could have some kind of sudden spring into maturity realizing that everyone is not interested in his every thought–we know that is not likely to happen.
 
If we collaborate, I could ask for what I need from him–some non-talk together time.  I could suggest we divine a signal to help him see that I am not in a listening mood.  I could help him see the social cue every time I am giving it.  If he has trouble observing the cue, I can go back to resolving the problem on my own–leave the room.
 
Making talking the problem is the problem.  Ownership is the answer.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

If I’m bugged, it’s my bug.
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Coercive Therapy

I read an article this morning about a psychologist in Oregon who primarily treated Reactive Attachment Disorder diagnosed children who lost her license and is being held accountable for wrongful doing after an 11-year-old child committed suicide.  I don’t know the intimate details of the case, so I am not writing this to you to say shame on anyone, her or the system.  I am writing this to you to say that treatment of children with attachment challenges is tricky and needs to be very thoroughly thought through.  
 
Be careful what advice you take.  There are coercive therapies still being readily practiced that have been deemed harmful to children. In the early years of having my own children I sought advice from many experts and the prevailing treatment for RAD was coercive.  I subjected my own children to recommended interventions, such as strong sitting for too long, forced calisthenics for punishment, therapies that demanded my children scream that they hated me, and lots of pointless hard labor.  I did this for about two years before my heart just couldn’t keep going.  
 
I made my children afraid of me through this coercive treatment.  I honestly had no idea what else to do and I followed the prevailing wisdom of the therapist I was seeing.  Actually, I sought many therapists who did this form of therapy and I did some myself. There is one popular book I still see parents come to me with that I have to dissuade them from using.  Every time I ask them not to use the interventions, they say…”But they work.”  Coercion works in the short run, but it causes long term-negative effects.  Trust me on this.
 
Over the years, I learned other ways of intervening with love and structure, empathy and understanding.  It is both harder and easier in the long run.  I had to repair much of the damage my early interventions caused, like fear and hatred in my children toward me. I did that to them, and I will be forever remorseful about it. YOU can know I have made my amends, but it doesn’t undo the damage to our relationships. 
 
Sometimes good therapies are used punitively.  Beware of your own desire to punish with perfectly fine interventions.  For example, it is okay to ask your children to sit by you until they calm.  It is okay to keep them safe by holding them until they can regulate.  What isn’t okay is using these things when you are angry and when you want to scare and control your children just because they are naughty and willful.  This is the tricky part.  It is not healthy for children to be able to hold all the power in a family, so a fine line is necessary.
 
Here is a link to what is called The White Paper on Coercion in Treatment that sets forth the standards for treatment of attachment challenged children.  It is long, about 12 pages, but an essential read in order to protect your children from misguided harm by therapists and by yourself.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is April 8th. Come join us.  Online RSVP each month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

The truth is hard to bear sometimes. 
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Know-It-All

This morning my son woke up about 2 minutes before his ride for school was to show.  Instead of popping up and getting clothes on, he ran toward the kitchen to take his meds like he always does. 
 
Whoa, whoa, you have two minutes to get dressed, Goof-ball.  Get dressed first and grab your meds on the way out the door!
 
Goof-ball stopped in his tracks, deer in the headlights style, then reluctantly (and very slowly, I might add) turned back toward his room.
 
In my infinite know-it-all condition I was thinking, This kid has no prefrontal cortex access to logical thinking.  
 
Off-handedly, I asked him, “Why do you think it is so hard for you to make a little change that would help you do something more efficiently–like get out the door on time?”  I wasn’t really expecting him to tell me his prefrontal cortex is underdeveloped.  As a matter of fact, I have no idea why I persist in asking these kinds of questions. One might wonder about the capacity of my pre-frontal cortex.
 
He said, “I don’t like change.  Change scares me, so that’s why.”
 
Huh, wrong part of the brain, Ms. Know-It-All.  He is all limbic all the time. Of-course, that IS the reason he has so little access to his neo-cortical functions.  
 
Ta-Da! Ms. Know-It-All retakes her slim lead in the I Know More Than An Eighteen Year Old Game we play around here.
 
Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

Change is scary for our kids, even tiny changes in the daily routine.
The Attach Place Logo Next Trust-based Parent Course is planned for March 28th and April 4th.  Save the date.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to sign-up for Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Once Upon A Time

Everyone needs to make sense of their lives.  Our children especially need to understand their own stories.  Until they do fully, tell them stories.  Once upon a time stories…  I remember when stories…  Moral of the story stories… Happy ending stories… I’ll start and you add-on stories… Alternative ending stories… When I was little stories…  My grandfather stories…  Hero stories… Good vs. Evil stories… Tell me a story about your day stories…  When you were a baby, I bet stories… One time stories… Bedtime stories… Daytime stories…  Story for the sake of stories stories…
 
Children love stories, whether you make them up, repeat a few, co-create them, imagine them, write them, share them, re-tell them, or listen to them.  Do more of what your children love.
Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

Children love stories.
The Attach Place Logo Next Trust-based Parent Course is planned for March 28th and April 4th.  Save the date.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to sign-up for Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

Practice Regulation

Attachment breach and abuse in the first two years of life almost always instills an inability to self-regulate emotions in a child. Providing emotion regulation is one of the fundamental functions of a mother or caregiver for a newborn baby.  That looks like consistent caregiving in the form of meeting a baby’s survival needs to be soothed, dry, full, and safe.  Separation from a birth mother or abuse by a mother or other person in this formative time prevents the child’s emotion regulatory system from developing properly, which can cause regulation problems for a lifetime.
 
As adoptive parents or parents of children from difficult beginnings, our job is to understand, teach and practice emotion regulation with our children.  When we do this, we help develop parts of the brain that are underdeveloped.  We can literally create new neuro-pathways in the brains of our children.  Cool, right?
 
So, resist the urge (and the headache) to keep your child calm “all the time.”  Instead, at regular intervals (practice every day), purposely get your child excited with sensory stimulation, then help your child calm down. That is what is needed. Being calm all the time will not teach your child to self-soothe.  In a playful manner, amping up and calming down, over and over, is the way.
 
Ready, set, go play.  Fall down, calm down, and start again.
The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships


Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

Practice makes perfect neuro-pathways.

NOTE: If you are planning to sign up, please go ahead and do it because I think the space will end up being limited this time around. The next REVISED Trust-based Parent Training Course in Sacramento, CA is scheduled for January 24th and January 31st. Register here.  If you have been through this course in the past, you will be getting significantly more hands on experience than ever before.
 
Please share freely.  Your community of support can sign-up for their own Daily YOU Time email by clicking here.

Let’s Get Real

Over the course of raising children there are some contributions we make, right? All parents make them, attachment challenged or not.

I donated two leather couches, the walls (including quite a bit of drywall) in four different houses, window screens, window panes, window sills, bathroom mirrors, more carpet than I care to tell you about, too numerous to count glasses and plates, pans, cabinet hinges and doors, car seats, various bicycles, skateboards, dining room tables and chairs, mattresses, furniture of every kind really, musical instruments, computers, DSs, smartphones, iPods x6, video cameras, and a number of precious jewelry items that I loved with both sentimental and actual value.

That was stuff. It was my contribution. I let it go, after grieving for some of it. Now it doesn’t matter a bit. Time has erased the significance of the stuff and left me with a lesson learned.

The other night my husband broke several crystal glasses reaching for a water glass in the darkness of our kitchen. I am so grateful I know that stuff doesn’t matter more than love. When he came back to bed, I was only concerned that he escaped injury. There was a time I would have been upset about losing my stuff.

In ten years from now the stuff you get upset about losing to the rearing of your children will be meaningless. I am not saying that one should not value and be respectful of hard acquired comforts. I am saying that they are not as important as they seem, when put up against the value of saving the heart of a child.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

Tend to the heart of the matter.

 

 

Love Matters Scholarship Fund can use your contributions. Click here for more information.

The next Trust-based Parent Training Course in Sacramento, CA is scheduled for January 24th and January 31st. Register here.

Please share freely. Your community of support can sign-up for their own Daily YOU Time email by clicking here.

 

Certainty

When you can see your child’s behavior as motivated by hard-wired, complex trauma; when you can see her need for control as self-soothing, and a bid for security and certainty; and when you can see that behavior as fear, deprivation, and attachment panic, you are moving past the usual interpretation of disrespect, defiance, passive aggression, and meanness.  When you do that, you are a powerful healing agent in your child’s life.  
 
Love Matters, Ce
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Focus on one thing that you enjoy about your child.  What you focus on, you get more of.