World Views of Traumatized Children

Dear Parent,

It’s back to school time and, for some reason, I am wanting to write about parent/child relationships that are dogged by early trauma.

Every child has an internal working model.  If born into safety and security, children usually feel quite good about themselves, trusting and positive toward their parents and other carers, and find the world to be a curious and delightful place to explore.

If your child was traumatized by early difficult beginnings of abuse, attachment breaches, or other traumatic conditions, then your child might be plagued by an unrelenting negative worldview about self, parents, and the world.

In fact, specifically speaking, there are four possible types of negative worldviews a traumatized child might possess of others:  safety threat, interpersonal threat, easy mark, irrelevant (*from the works of Dave Ziegler.)  It would be a rare traumatized bird that had a worldview outside these four.

I know you want your child to have a positive, Gee, I am so blessed, loved, lucky, privileged…worldview of you, but your child likely doesn’t.

So, here is the thing.  When I say relationship is the key to healing, I am saying that it is your job as a parent to hold your power, while maintaining relationship.  You have a chance to be seen by your child as only an interpersonal threat.  Weirdly, this is a good thing considering the four options. Being seen as an interpersonal threat is the only worldview that has wiggle room to move toward respect, trust and, ultimately, “felt safety.”  A child cannot have a positive worldview until s/he achieves felt safety.  That is only possible when parents remain safe, Alpha-dog-like dominant, respectable, consistent, emotionally unflappable, firm, clear, smart, and sure of yourself as a parent.

Your child will not like you being the Alpha.  Oh well. You have to establish yourself, so they aren’t running a dead-end worldview on you to their own detriment.  This is why therapeutic parenting is a must to shape the hearts and minds of traumatized children.  Get help if you are flummoxed by what I am saying.  Traumatized children need a special kind of parenting to move beyond survivor to thriver.

Love matters,


The Attach Place Upcoming Events Calendar (Click Here)

Trust-based Therapeutic Parenting Class for Parents of Children from Difficult Beginnings by Ce Eshelman, LMFT will be held on September 15th, 2018 from 10 am to 4 pm.  Childcare provided for an additional fee. CALVCB will reimburse this training. Register here or on our website!

AUTISM Support Group:  Monthly Strictly Social Autism Spectrum Disorder Night for Tweens (11 yrs – 16 yrs) at The Attach Place. Open to the public. September 21st, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm.  Gluten-free snacks provided. Please RSVP to so we get enough snacks, right? This is a  monthly social group for the children; and caregivers will have an opportunity to connect, chat, and chill in a separate space. A donation of $0.00 to $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.

Our 5-Week FRIENDSHIP SOCIAL SKILLS IMPROV GROUPS FOR CHILDREN WITH DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA–5-7 yrs and 8-10 yrs. groups. The 5-wk group will be $125 total, CALVCB payment eligible, structured, and fun, too.  The new groups are in full swing  Click here for more information.

UPCOMING ADOPTION SUPPORT GROUP facilitated by Ce Eshelman, LMFT:  Click Here to join our monthly  Adoptive/Foster Parent Support Group on September 12th, 2018! Open to all parents/caregivers 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.

GIVE MY BOOK FOR SUPPORT TO A FELLOW ADOPTION ADVENTURER: 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.  At Amazon or get a discounted copy here.


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