Archive for Reactive Attachment Disorder – Page 2

It Was A Sweet Book Party!

Dear Parents,

Many of you were able to make it to the book launch party on Saturday and I was so happy to see your beautiful faces.  I wanted to put pictures of the party in this post, though all you will see are empty rooms, me and only one of my lovely colleagues.

My husband (very quiet, unassuming, introvert) was the DP (designated photographer) for the day.

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At the start I told him he couldn’t take random pictures because there would be some parents here.  He took that to mean he would be taking pictures of food, empty rooms, and me, plus an office mate here or there.  So cute, he is.

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Despite how this picture looks, there was a lovely group of celebrants and I had a wonderful time.  I hope everyone else did, as well. Wish you all could have been here for the cake because it was to die for.

Thank you for all the love and support.

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Jen Nguyen, LMFT,  being the hostess with the mostess; and baby makes two. The quilt in this picture was handmade for me by two incredible, adoptive parents.

Love matters,

Ce

The Attach Place

The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationship

The next 8 hr. Trust Based Parent Training is scheduled for April 23rd and 30th from 12noon to 4pm.  $200 per couple.  Childcare available for $30 each day, second child $10 additional. To sign up email Jen@attachplace.com and she will register you.

TIME CHANGEMonthly Adoptive Parent Support Group is every second Wednesday of the month from 6pm to 8pm.  Group and childcare are free.
To buy your very own copy of Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents by Ce Eshelman, LMFT, go to Amazon or www.attachplace.com/drowing-hair-fire. Please be so kind as to leave a review on Amazon.  Thank you.

Look At Me, Don’t Look

Dear Parent,

Living with so many young adults diagnosed with complex developmental trauma is, uh, interesting at best, and insane at worst.  I have four of them.  I am immersed in an ongoing study in relationship challenges.  All want my attention about everything. None want my input about anything.

I came home from work tonight with arms hugging bags of groceries, my briefcase and purse slung over one shoulder, and met four people lining up to talk to me.  I hadn’t even managed to put down my stuff.  Even the dogs were dancing around my feet for their greeting and well deserved chewies.

One wanted to talk about her hair.  One, her vegan dinner choice.  Another wanted to “show” me how the two new pairs of pants I bought him fit so well. And the next wanted to ask me something, but ended up just talking.

My hair cut suggestions caused a mini meltdown.  My question about the kind of noodles used to make the vegan dinner were met with blank stares.  The pants boy couldn’t stop following me around telling me that he was amazed that this size fit him so well that I ended up being dismissive.  And finally, the last was appreciative and apologetic for all the others badgering me, without realizing that he was also standing in line the whole time in order to talk to me about what turned out to be nothing.

Two of these kids have been like this since they arrived on my doorstep via the giant CPS stork.  I thought I could heal it all, and some did heal.  Some didn’t.  The best I can do is the best I can do. That is my self-soothing mantra. If you want to borrow it, you can.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love matters,

Ce

UPCOMING HOLD ME TIGHT WORKSHOP

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​Jennifer Olden, LMFT presents a ​“Hold Me Tight​”​ Couples Workshop at The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships in Sacramento, CA on May 28-29th.  If you are looking to improve your relationship​,​ this workshop will teach you how to create a stronger bond, lessen conflict, and increase trust and intimacy.  Based on Dr. Sue Johnson’s model for couples therapy:  Emotionally Focused Therapy.  Proven effective. Research based. ​Read more and register here.

The next 8 hr. Trust Based Parent Training is scheduled for April 23rd and 30th from 12noon to 4pm.  $200 per couple.  Childcare available for $30 each day, second child $10 additional. To sign up email Jen@attachplace.com and she will register you.

Monthly Adoptive Parent Support Group is every second Wednesday of the month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.  Group and childcare are free.
picture of cover
The public is invited to celebrate Ce Eshelman, LMFT’s new book, Drowning with My Hair on Fire: Insanity Relief for Adoptive Parents at an open house with brunch bites and bubbly on April 16th, 2016, from 11:30am to 1:30pm.  RSVP here.  Probably not the best event for children though.
To purchase a book click here or go toAmazon.com. Leave a review, when you can.

 

Without A Well Developed Prefrontal Cortex

Dear Parent,

Without a well developed prefrontal cortex, your child of any age cannot make sense of what matters in a productive life, logical consequences, parent/child hierarchy, morality, give and take, love commitments, integrity, honor.  If your child comes from difficult beginnings of any kind–adoption, birth accidents, illness, maternal illness or death, postpartum depression, multiple abandonments, abuse–the prefrontal cortex has been bathed in cortisol, which likely stunted expected emotional development.  If that is the case, using parenting strategies that rely on cause and effect, punishment, emotional demands, lecturing, logical consequences, hierarchical expectations, doing what is right, being good, relationship glue, conscience, and/or shame will make the problems worse and delay development further.

I heard that collective sigh, parents.  Strategies that rely on respect of the child’s life experience, regulation, shared power, training, repetition, acceptance, structure, nurture, safety, and empathy will help to lower the cortisol and raise the development quotient of the part of the brain where everything you are looking for lives.  It’s truly worthy parenting.  Any other kind is the opposite.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love matters,

Ce

Upcoming Hold Me Tight Workshop

cropped-couple-two.png
​Jennifer Olden, LMFT presents a ​“Hold Me Tight​”​ Couples Workshop at The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships in Sacramento, CA on May 28-29th.  If you are looking to improve your relationship​,​ this workshop will teach you how to create a stronger bond, lessen conflict, and increase trust and intimacy.  Based on Dr. Sue Johnson’s model for couples therapy:  Emotionally Focused Therapy.  Proven effective. Research based. ​Read more and register here.

The next 8 hr. Trust Based Parent Training is scheduled for April 23rd and 30th from 12noon to 4pm.  $200 per couple.  Childcare available for $30 each day, second child $10 additional. To sign up email Jen@attachplace.com and she will register you.

Monthly Adoptive Parent Support Group is every second Wednesday of the month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.  Group and childcare are free.
picture of cover
The public is invited to celebrate Ce Eshelman, LMFT’s new book, Drowning with My Hair on Fire: Insanity Relief for Adoptive Parents at an open house with brunch bites and bubbly on April 16th, 2016, from 11:30am to 1:30pm.  RSVP here.  Probably not the best event for children though.
To purchase a book click here or go toAmazon.com. Leave a review, when you can.

Upping Your Happiness Quotient

When my life can be explained in one word (chaos), I have developed a survival skill–focusing on a few things that up my happiness quotient.  The concept of “happy” has always been a little allusive for me.  I think I am always kind of happy and not happy at the same time.  It is a dialectic that coexists in my worldview.  There are real reasons for this way of seeing my life, and it has served me to understand it in light of my personal narrative.  The more I know about why I see/feel/think like I do, the more ways I have to impact my own experience of life.

I am sure there are times when the chaos of raising a hurt child with challenging behaviors has you wanting to stick your head in the sand.  One mother once told me that sticking her head in the toilet would be better than her life outside the bathroom.  It was a bad day and she felt utterly hopeless.  Don’t wait until you feel that awful to do some repair on your ability to up your own happiness.  Here are some ways to do that without leaving your own mind.

  1. I am often urging you to get self-care and I still want you to do that; however, sometimes it is easier said than actually done.  There is another way to get some appreciation for the things you really enjoy: stop having them.  Yep, a little deprivation of something you regularly do increases your enjoyment of it.  For one week stop having an everyday pleasure: eating chocolate, drinking coffee, watching TV, surfing the web, reading magazines, eating out. Give up something you like having every day.  After seven days, you will be amazed at how delicious and dreamy that bite of chocolate tastes or guilty-pleasure TV show is to watch.  Deprivation can increase your appreciation for the little things.  In so doing, you can make something ordinary a little more special in your life.
  2. Actively focus on what is right and good in your life.  Here is something you can get into the habit of doing or even do for only a week.  At the end of each day, write down three things that went well, then write a bit about how you felt about each. This can shift you out of focusing on what you are trying to fix in your child or partner or life. Yes, there are a lot of good things in your consuming life, but you have to notice them to know that.
  3. I know for a fact that I feel better when I am my best self.  If I speak lovingly to everyone, I feel lovable and I get more positive feedback from everyone (including my children). If I commit to looking in the mirror and thinking positive thoughts about the way I lo0k, I leave the house feeling beautiful.  When I feel beautiful, I experience other people and ordinary things around me that way too. Choose one area to be your best self in for a whole day or a whole week.  This practice can be a life changer.

    The Attach Place

    The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships

If you don’t up your happiness, no one else will.  Hmmmm…

Love matters,

Ce

The next 8 hr. Trust Based Parent Training is scheduled for April 23rd and 30th from 12noon to 4pm.  $200 per couple.  Childcare available for $30 each day, second child $10 additional. To sign up email Jen@attachplace.com and she will register you.

Monthly Adoptive Parent Support Group is every second Wednesday of the month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.  Group and childcare are free.
The public is invited to celebrate Ce Eshelman, LMFT’s new book, Drowning with My Hair on Fire: Insanity Relief for Adoptive Parents at an open house with brunch bites and bubbly on April 16th, 2016.  RSVP here.  Probably not the best event for children.

I Didn’t Cry

Yesterday my son was all grief stricken and in tears over the end of a favorite show on TV that triggered his own personal grief and loss about his difficult beginnings. Today he watched the recorded ending again and shared, “I didn’t cry this time.”  Shocker, kid.

This lack of theory of mind is one of the things I often see in children from difficult beginnings.  Children with theory of mind can access the part of their brains that extrapolates one situation to another and makes sense of things.  Children with complex trauma often cannot access their executive functions in the pre-frontal cortex until much later in life. They are not dull; they are traumatized.

Be careful of your judgments about your traumatized children.  They can surprise you if you keep your heart and your mind open to what is possible.  If you thought your child would be fully thriving at 28, though not so functional at 18, would you engage her differently?  I suspect you would.

Be gracious, patient, loving, and a tiny bit long suffering.  There may be a payoff down the road.  Wait for it.

The Attach Place

Love matters, Ce The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships

I Can’t Accept Him

Parents get frustrated, even desperate when they cannot make their child be different (i.e. be good.)  We can even get to the point where we don’t want to be around our traumatized child and have nothing positive to say. I understand that; however, check out this comment, “I can’t accept him this way.”  If you don’t accept your child the way he is, then that same child will not have a cheerleader to encourage positive movement forward. Our children need to see their preciousness in our eyes, even when their behavior is ugly and unacceptable. That acceptance says they are lovable. What if when you heard that snarky tone, processed those mean words, and saw that offensive behavior, you gently requested a correction with compassion in your voice and soft loving eyes?  That would mean you are being a loving parent.  Your child needs love when s/he is being the worst.  Children do bad things when they feel bad about themselves and those around them. Turn the tides by focusing on being love in action and simply correct the offense with your heart intact.  Work very hard not to be a negative mirror to your child.  Instead, be a loving one.  Your child, who is acting out pain, needs the latter more.

Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

www.attachplace.com

The Attach Place provides a monthly, no feeAdoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2ndWednesday of each month.  Next group is December 9th at a NEW time–5:30 pm. Join us.  Child care provided.

The Attach Place offers an 8-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course every other month.  Our next course dates areDecember 5th and 12th, 2015. Sign-up online atwww.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.

Commit to being love in action.

…And Justice For All–Restorative Justice Best for Adoptive Children

I know you all are doubtful that it is possible to raise attachment challenged, traumatized children without punishing them for their poor behavior. The real challenge is resisting the parental urge to punish. What you can do instead is get extremely good at restorative justice.

For your child, restorative justice is labor intensive, pocket-book painful, and shame free. It is just this simple. If you break it or steal it, you pay for it from your own resources–allowance, birthday money, savings, holiday money, earned income. If you waste my time, you owe me. No money? No problem. Pay your debt by dusting baseboards, pulling weeds, cleaning out the gutters, sweeping the patio, skimming the pool, walking the dog…there are a zillion ways to pay off the repair of damage done or time spent repairing, waiting, searching, taxi-ing, etc.

The world works according to the principles of restorative justice. If you park too long, you pay a price. If you back into another car, you pay to fix it. If you put a hole in the wall, you repair it after shopping and paying for spackle. If you do not show up to a therapy appointment, you have to pay anyway. If you do not show up for work, you are fired and do not collect a paycheck. Restorative justice is educational and excellent training for the future.

Those are the kinds of consequences that make sense, restore justice, require responsible action, and have zero emotional expenditures if you can manage to regulate.

I can kind of hear a cry from many of you parents: What if they won’t do it? If they won’t, then they don’t get the next thing they want until they do restore justice. It’s a kind of barless jail. When bail is paid, life goes back to normal. Just like in real life. This can be your child’s real life. Give it a shot and stop punishing poor behavior. Punishment teaches nothing positive. Restorative justice teaches fairness.

Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT

The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly, no fee 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.

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 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.

…and justice for all.

Toxic Stress Part 2

The only way to change the toxic stress that may be poisoning your family life is to get on board a huge parent self-care regimen for yourself, that I wrote about yesterday, and a daily felt safety diet for your child.

Felt Safety Diet:

  1. First and foremost: Well regulated parents who have an establishedSelf-care Regimen.
  2. A slow pace.  Pretend you live in a small sleepy town where no one feels the need to speed.  Then, don’t speed, rush, hustle, bustle, race, multi-task, or try to live three lives at once.
  3. Attune to your child’s needs for connection, engagement, attention, playfulness.  Play with your children.  Watching them play is not the same thing.
  4. Lose the concept of punishment and consequences.  Use structure and gentle correction instead.  If you use punishment and consequences, your child will fear you while continuing to do the things you don’t want them to do.
  5. Set the behavior bar low, so your child is successful.  Praise like crazy for achieving it. Setting the bar too high will cause behavior like giving up, throwing in the towel, defiance, opposition, or not even trying.
  6. Accept your child for who they actually are, rather than for who you wish they were.  This is a big one.  Stop working so hard to make them different.  Imagine someone doing that to you every day, all day.
  7. Never forget that your child probably has some kind of sensory integration issue because children from difficult beginnings usually do.  Give them a steady schedule (every two hours) of physicality, healthy food/snacks and big hydration.
  8. Finally, work very hard to be sure your child’s school is trauma informed, so your child isn’t inadvertently emotionally harmed.

And there you have it: a healing Felt Safety Diet.

Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

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 11that 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 areDecember 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.

Take a look at your calendar.  If the word respite does not appear there, get to it.

Toxic Stress

Even when you have all the information about your child’s traumatized brain, every bit of therapeutic parenting advice, tons of therapy, and book piles to stop every door in your house, something may still have a stranglehold on your entire family. When it gets right down to it, toxic stress is the real culprit.  Your traumatized child has it and you have it, too.

The only way to change the toxic stress that is poisoning your family life is to get on board a huge parent self-care regimen for yourself and a daily felt safety diet for your child.  Sounds easy, but you know it isn’t.  Also, this regimen and diet will be for life, so you have to embrace it every day in order to live an emotionally, toxin-free life.

Today’s post is about the most important thing in the world–your self-care. Tomorrow, felt safety.

Self-care Regimen

  1. First and foremost: get out of denial.  Your child has special needs.  You need to pay attention to your needs first.  Put your oxygen mask on before assisting your child.  
  2. Respite needs to be your priority after the basics–food, water, air, shelter, hugs.
  3. A trained childcare provider is a must and a miracle.  Get two or three; train them; and pay those folks as well as you can because they matter a lot.
  4. Schedule respite breaks for yourself every day on your calendar, in your phone, on your To Do list. Schedule respite like it is a hard to get dental appointment that you will be charged for if you miss it.
  5. Care about yourself.  Care for your body.  Care about what you eat. Care about your sleep. Care about your love life.  Care about your friendships.  Care about your garden, animals, hobbies, creativity, passions, missions. Yes, you can fit everything into your life.  If you cannot, then you do not have a healthy life.  Think about that.
  6. Think about this while you are at it.  Attachment challenged, traumatized children do not need a full schedule of organized sports, dance lessons, piano recitals, playdates, extravagantvacations, and the latest kid stuff.  They need at least one (and two would be better) well cared for, emotionally present parent.

If that is all they ever have, they will be rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Love Matters,

Ce Eshelman, LMFT

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.

Take a look at your calendar.  If the word respite does not appear there, get to it.

Teenage Play Dates

I am a mother who had very few Mommy Moments in the raising of my children. You know, those sweet moments when a warm feeling blossoms up like a big Pink Peony in your chest? Pretty sure many Dads aren’t feeling the Pink Peony metaphor, so substitute here whatever the man equivalent of that is–Red Lamborghini Moment? Sometimes I like being completely sexist, so stop groaning. YOU may not be getting many of those sweet moments right now either if you are still in the daily trenches of humiliating Target meltdowns, broken dishes on the kitchen floor, spilled milk all over the restaurant, and bite marks on your forearms.
 
In the past, overnights and playdates just couldn’t happen without incidents of grand proportion, so they eventually got ruled out entirely.  I got tired of my kids losing already tentative friendships and trying to get into the good graces of parents who might give my kids another chance with their kids in the park or at the pool party or overnight in their living room (without locking up all the food, cell phones, wallets, and car keys.)
 
Now that I have six adult teens in my life (four of whom are previously diagnosed RAD kids),  I am getting an odd abundance of Pink Peony moments.  This weekend my house was taken over by boys eating, laughing, playing video games, going out for snack attacks, and coming home just to eat again. At the same time, one of the girls flew to and from L.A. by herself to visit family that previously refused to accept her into their home–even for a one hour visit.  She had a great, incident-free day. And yesterday, two others gushed over their beautiful, smiling daughter in pictures taken with the new iPhone I sent them in the mail last week–tag lines like I love you so much Mom and She is smiling because we are saying, ‘Smile for Grammy over and over.’
 
With attachment challenged, traumatized, and special needs children the Pink Peony moments may be delayed.  Wait for them.  I promise they arrive little by little over time until in young adulthood they have no trouble expressing how much YOU mean to them.  Wait for 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 October 14th at a NEW time–5:30 pm.Join us.  Online RSVP each month required when you need child care.
The Attach Place offers a 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course every other month.  Our next course dates are October 10th and 24th.  Child care provided for an extra fee. 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.

Blue Carnation Moments?