The Worry

Dear Parents,

I spent so many years worrying that I was truly messing up my traumatized kids. Some of my worry was warranted and some of it was wasted energy.  I know you are similarly plagued by needling questions.  What is the right thing to do? Who should I listen to? This book or that book?  Should I go easy or should I go heavy handed? Fit in or stand apart?  Play it off or reign it all in?  

Here is my best advice.

Go easy on yourself.  There is no manual for raising your child, only a bunch of books with alternating helpful and conflicting information.

Learn how to regulate your emotions.  If it comes naturally to you, celebrate and teach it to your spouse and children.  If it doesn’t, take it on like a job until you become the boss of your regulation. After that, teach it to your spouse and children.

Play as much as possible with your children.  I know it isn’t easy when you feel stressed, so get adult respite.  It seems oxymoronic to go away in order to get close; however, finding ways to escape your children while at home is abandoning in a more painful and relationship damaging way.  Regular planned time away will rejuvenate you to play another day.

Hold your children accountable for respectful and responsible engagement with you and others.  How in the world do you hold them accountable?  By parenting them to know in their bones that they matter and you matter. Use value based teaching methods. Re-do with respect.  Try again. Let me show you how to do it.  I believe in you.  I’m right here beside you.  Watch me, and then you do it.  

Attachment Help

The Attach Place
Center for Strengthening Relationships

Finally, spare the rod– period.  Spanking, punishing, and angry consequencing interferes with your relationship with your wounded and guarded child.  Relationship over compliance is a useful guide. Get compliance through influence, structure, and patience, rather than anger, fear, and deprivation.  If your child misuses something or abuses freedom, then you have given too much too soon.  It means your child is not ready yet, mature enough, for that activity.  That’s all. Reign that in a bit until more maturity is gained through supervised practice.  That’s how we grow competence and compliance in children–little by little.

Feed them healthy, clean foods and encourage plenty of non-screen activity and they will grow and heal according to their ability in a safe, loving, enriched family life.

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

Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief for Adoptive Parents

Drowning With My Hair On Fire: Insanity Relief for Adoptive Parents

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

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