When Parenting Fails

Dear Parent,

About a year ago when my attachment-challenged son turned 18, he stopped showering. Well, that isn’t fair.  He reduced showering to about once a week whether he needed one or not. Right, what teen boy doesn’t need two showers a day?  I stopped taking him places in the car unless he showered and eventually, out of self defense, I refused to hug him.

I think he decided he was going to have total control over something in adulthood, so he unconsciously chose body filth as his rebel cause.  Yesterday, his high school teacher made him go take a shower in the middle of the day.  He was actually humiliated, and told me it was one of the worst days of his life. Secretly, I felt a little hopeful about that.

This morning I woke him early enough to take a shower.  He said he would, then ducked in a corner in case I checked.  I did check, and I didn’t see him hidden there.  About 30 minutes later I noticed that his hair wasn’t wet and the shower tile was dry.  I didn’t bother to notice this to him.  School can take up where I left off.

As you might imagine, keeping quiet does not come naturally to me.  I tied my tongue in a knot, so I wouldn’t speak like a parent.  That parenting strategy obviously hasn’t worked for over a year.  Maybe tomorrow he will find power and control in deciding to shower.

Our children have their own trajectories.

The Attach Place

The Attach Place Center for Strengthening Relationships

Love matters,


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.
Look for Ce’s Upcoming Book

picture of cover

Drowning With My Hair On Fire

Insanity Relief For Adoptive Parents
Drowning with My Hair On Fire is a compilation of over 175 daily support letters to parents of adoptive children and other children from difficult beginnings.  With a forward by Dave Ziegler, Ph.D. and a brief personal memoir, this publication is a response to blog-reader requests for a book of letters that can be easily returned to day after day, when inspiration is hard to find.
Praise for Drowning with My Hair On Fire
This woman saved our family. This book will save your sanity! After years (and many therapists) of getting it wrong, Ce Eshelman got our traumatized family on the right path to attachment, sanity, and big big love. Ce’s unique therapy is grounded in the latest brain research, her own struggles raising traumatized children, and work with hundreds of families like ours. Her stories, contained in this book, are our stories: full of pain, confusion, hope, faith, love and practical magic that really works.
Elaine Smith, Adoptive Mother
Ce’s daily blog has been a lifesaver, particularly when days are most dreary and hopeless.  Not only have her words of empathy proven to be priceless to our family, but I have often forwarded them on to others.  Such a comfort to feel understood, with no judgment.
Patty O’Hair, Adoptive Mother
In a real sense “Drowning with My Hair on Fire: Insanity Relief for Adoptive Parents” is a daily mediation of struggle, success, failure and getting up and trying again.  If that sounds like too much to subject yourself to then don’t adopt a challenging child.  And one more thing, shouldn’t we require prospective adoptive parents to read “Drowning with My Hair on Fire: Insanity Relief for Adoptive Parents” rather than another ‘All they need is love’ manual?
Dave Ziegler, Ph.D., founder of Jasper Mountain Center and author of many books on raising children from difficult beginnings.

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