Wow, am I tired! This has been a crazy few weeks...conference, travel, funeral, funeral luncheon, respite, 50th wedding anniversary party, funeral, respite, teleseminar, 16th birthday party, not to mention homeschooling and 6 teens. Some months I feel like I just bounce from event to event. While I enjoy planning all of these fun times, I eventually hit a wall! I am here...I hit it...and I am not done yet. Yikes!
I crashed last night - cuddly clothes and slippers, curled up in my chair. Just zoned! Good night's rest and am back at it again today!
I think that is the key. Sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to stop, take care of yourself and start again! I mean the reality is that it is never really done. As a mom, wife, daughter and friend, we are never REALLY done! Relationships are living, breathing things that we must continuously work at. The key is to remember the one we have with ourselves. The relationship in which we remember to honor our own needs and wants too!
I need to get in shape and I want to be healthy so...even though I am tired, I am going for my walk! (If I say it here I will do it for sure! ) I want to change up some pictures on my wall so I am going to stop the madness for a few minutes and do that this afternoon! My desk is a pit so I am going to take care of my mental health and get it ba
ck in shape today! I think I am going to take my book and sit on the porch swing for a while and read too! All the rest of the craziness can happen all around these things, but I need to take care of me too!
What those around me don't know is that if I do these few things...I can be a better mom, wife, daughter and friend to all of them. So, here's to being tired, re-fueling, and getting tired again! Oh what a wonderful life!
I know sometimes it seems like your partner has changed or your relationship is not the same. I know that lots of days you are at a loss as to how to even parent your child much less support your spouse in doing so.
First, you have to know you are not alone! We struggled, as do many adoptive and foster parents, to be “on the same page” when it came to making hard parenting decisions in regards to our hurt children. The struggle put stress on our marriage and created a disconnect between us. I hear these same issues from parents all over the world as well! The job we are doing is an important one, but it is also a very difficult one!
Second, you have to know it doesn’t have to be this way and in fact, when you change it your child’s behaviors and healing will be positively affected as well! The reality is it is a vicious circle. You, as parents, are struggling and then your child senses it and is afraid and grapples for more control and so on!
It Is Time To Make A Change and I CAN TEACH YOU HOW!
This is about looking at attachment, but even deeper and from a different angle than you already have. No one teaches us this stuff!
This is about the quality of the attachment! This is about how trauma impacts attachment! This is CRUCIAL stuff that will absolutely change how you understand your spouse, your child, and as a matter of fact all of your relationships!
It will help you know what to say and do. It will help you to appreciate WHY he/she does things the way he/she does them. It will explain the hard behavior. It will make it clear how to support your spouse. It will give you a way to restore your most important relationship.
It will ultimately change your every day!
Make this important decision to intentionally take time to strengthen your marriage! To nurture your closest relationships. To Make a Change!
Attachment & Connectedness
I Was Thinking…
The planning is done for now! Finally got everything lined up for our first semester of this year’s homeschooling adventure. Over the years, I have learned that I have to be open and flexible. I have to be intentional and look outside of the box for the right curriculum for each of my children. It is a lot of work, but it is SO crucial to their success!
I have one child who is dyslexic, but so intelligent…I am so excited that I found a history curriculum that reads the text out loud. One of my children who really needs to be challenged will be learning Java programming. Hands on learning has always worked the best for a couple of my kids. Meeting each one of them right where they are is my main goal.
We have our basics to meet the state educational requirements, but I also search high and low to find classes to meet each one of their passions as well. So, some of our classes will include culinary arts/knife training, drawing faces, video assembly and website design.
Finally, after watching the movie Pay It Forward I decided to challenge my children to change the world this year. To come up with some small or large way to make a difference. They have all bounced ideas off of me so we will see how they do – I’ll keep you up to date!
I am excited for this school year. We will see what works and what doesn’t. We will make tweaks where necessary and find the right fit. Schooling my kids is one of my most favorite parts of my life!
I Was Thinking…
Just coming off of a weekend celebrating the life of a really great man brings my mind to issues of grief and loss. My niece and nephews lost their Dad, their best friend, the person that really kept their lives full of consistency. It was a hard blow for them. He has been sick for many years so in that way they were as ready as possible, but the loss has still left a gaping hole!
Watching them deal with the loss of their Dad, each in their own way, reminded me again of how important it is for me as an Intentional Parent to never forget the impact that grief and loss has on my children. It is a part of who they are. The loss of their biological family has impacted them at their core. The reality is that it doesn’t stop them too much anymore but it used to. As I look ahead, I think it will come into play when we deal with big life changing events like marriage and children.
What does grief look like in a child? I think too many times we miss it! We expect it to look a certain way and when we don’t see that specific picture we think it isn’t an issue! Unfortunately, grief is often misinterpreted as misbehavior, defiance, and just not caring. Children only have a very short list of behaviors they can use to express their emotions. These behaviors will be used to express a variety of emotions and we as their parents have to know that this includes the sadness and loss they inevitably feel from losing those first attachment figures.
It is up to us to know and to understand. It is up to us as Intentional Parents to meet them where they are emotionally! To believe them and honor those times when they express emotion about the losses in their life. To "know" when ugly behavior is pain not defiance. It is scary and uncomfortable to see our child hurt that way, but allowing them to bring it to us is truly being the safety net they need. Just listen. Comfort them. Tell them you are sorry they have to have this hurt.
I hurt for my niece and nephews. I am sad for their loss and really wish they had been able to have their Dad around a lot longer. I hurt for my daughters. I am sad for all the loss they suffered at such young ages. I see them deal with it, each in their own way. We have always talked about it as openly as possible. Sometimes they grieved with anger, sometimes with absolute heart wrenching sadness and sometimes they kept it in the quiet places of their minds just figuring out how to go forward. These losses are a part of their story. Their identity. The ramifications of them will impact how they make choices in life, how they love, and how they live - to be sure. But my hope is that they are able to grieve these losses so that they are able to transform their lives into whatever they choose for themselves!
I really thought I was ready! I knew there would be struggles and I knew the girls would have some issues, but it was so much more than I ever could have imagined. I was so tired and it didn’t seem like I was really making any difference for my girls! It just felt like the same stuff over and over again – like some days I was hitting my head up against a big old brick wall.
Then, a light bulb went on and I realized that just because what I had done this way with my boys and it had worked didn’t mean it would work for my girls; they came from a whole different place!
I HAD TO DO IT DIFFERENTLY!
So, I attended conferences and classes, interviewed experts, dug through volumes and volumes of data. It was evident that there was so much more to this attachment stuff than anyone had ever taught me. More than my agency had ever prepared me with. More than any adoption book ever talked about. As I did so, I just couldn’t believe that nobody teaches this stuff!
Using attachment style identification as a tool to help peg the motives of my child has been life altering. I had a whole new clarity about how to go forward with my children. I then used new tools and techniques that proved to be really effective! The banging of my head could stop! The reality is that these tools really impacted all of my other relationships in a good way as well! So that was a bonus! Making correlations between the impact of trauma on attachment and my child’s behavior was like I had come out of the darkness and into the light! Things really changed!
Over the last 10 years working with my children and thousands of families, I have really mastered how to put these tools to work to create peace in the homes of adoptive/foster/kinship/guardian families! To create healing! To empower families! I have only taught this information to private coaching clients up to now, but have decided it is time to share it with as many families as possible!
My next teleseminar will help you work SMARTER NOT HARDER! You will be filled with new energy and empowered with tools that work! You CAN do this!
Attachment and Connectedness
I Was Thinking…
The crisp breeze and the leaves beginning to change colors really gets me in the mood for fall. It is always amazing to me how the change of seasons brings on real emotion. On one hand there is exhilaration and on the other there is dread. I like the change in temperatures and all that comes along with that. On the other hand, winter always comes quickly on the heels of fall and it is a long hard season. Not only emotions are stirred, memories flood in too. Memories of people, places and life events. I am totally triggered by the change in seasons.
My being triggered reminds me to take into account these things for my kids as well. It is an important way to look at their “whole” self. Being triggered by the change of seasons, much less any change, is a common hurdle that challenges them. Triggers can be positive and bring comfort, like smelling cinnamon rolls baking and thinking fondly of your grandma. However, triggers can be very upsetting as well. Some make sense and some don’t! We can learn to avoid some and others we never see coming! Some kids are triggered multiple times a day and some multiple times a week. It is a part of the journey!
SO, as we experience this change of seasons we are reminded of a few Intentional Parent techniques:
1. Treat the emotion “behind” the behavior because lots of time the behavior is the result of being triggered!
2. Keep transitions to a minimum whenever possible.
3. See your “whole” child as you parent him - his gifts and deficits, his past and present, his trauma and his healing.
I Was Thinking…
True Love? My parents have been married 50 years this past week. What an accomplishment, especially in this day and age! I am very proud of them! I have been looking back on their marriage kind of contemplating what their secret must be. Trust me, they have had their challenges…huge losses and near death experiences, not to mention the everyday financial concerns of the middle class. Yet they got through them together!
On one hand they do life very differently from each other, but on the other they still do it together. They come from different family scenarios and both suffered big losses, even at early ages. Different kinds of losses, albeit loss just the same. I’ll be honest, theirs is not a marriage without disagreements, bickering, and hurtful choices; they are just ordinary people… who have, together, done an extraordinary thing!
I have been witness to this marriage for about forty-nine years and two months and as I look back I see some reoccurring themes that I think are the key! I DO think it’s true LOVE!
Want to know the definition of TRUE LOVE based on 50 years of marriage?
Always take into account and honor each other’s story. Know that people can only do what they can do and that is not because they don’t love you; it is because they don’t know what they don’t know.
Forgiveness is essential. It transforms your own heart and helps you move forward.
Nourish your relationship. Don’t wait for the “right” moment or “enough” money. Intentionally make time for your marriage. Spend time together. Hold hands. Hug. Be playful. Sit close to one another.
Faith is a strong foundation. Hold onto it. In your darkest times, turn to it, not away from it.
No Matter What Commitment. A commitment to one another that comes first - before each of you as individuals. To stick together when the going gets tough.
My hope is that someday I will get to experience 50 years of marriage. It makes our 20 years pale a bit in comparison. But even in our 20 years, I’ve used my parent’s example without even knowing it. We have different challenges than they did, but it has worked this long and I don’t see it changing!
TRUE LOVE wins again!
Do you struggle with feeling connected with your child?
My oldest adopted daughter really had a very difficult time having a mom. I felt like I gave her everything…stuff, but also my time and attention. It didn’t matter; she wouldn’t let me in. She didn’t let me parent her, even when she was hurt or sick. As a matter of fact, she would blame me for all of her woes. She had a very difficult time taking responsibility for even her smallest issues. She was the one of our three that really pushed my buttons. She was especially difficult for me to deal with. To have patience with. To have empathy for.
As I pursued a relationship with her and healing for her, I learned a lot about attachment. The basics of attachment are truly important to understand and we are sometimes taught about it. However, what made the big difference for us was so much deeper. It was about the quality of the attachment!
Nobody teaches this stuff! Once I learned this key content, things began to change! Our relationship was changed! As a matter of fact, all of my relationships were forever changed! Now it’s like I have a secret code for real clarity in every relationship!
I have taught this code to many of my private coaching clients and they have all reported back their “aha” moments! I have decided that it is time to share it with more families…I want to share it with YOU!
I have made a commitment to walk alongside other families and I believe this is crucial for you to know so I put together my next teleseminar called
Attachment & Connectedness
If you can relate, be sure to get registered right now so you don't miss it!
I Was Thinking…
Yesterday my first born turned 18! I can’t believe how fast the years have gone. He has grown up to be such an incredible young man – I am so proud of him! I was thinking through his childhood, letting the memories flow, and one of the things I recalled was how I worried about how having hurt children in our lives would impact him. I remember being very sad about it a few times, wondering if we ruined his life. There were some very ugly times in our home. He was treated horribly by his adopted sibling and, worst of all, witnessed her horrible treatment of me over and over again.
I decided early on that the boys needed to understand the whys of the hard behavior we lived with. I was very clear about the fact that when you lose your mom it causes great pain and confusion. I let them know that while the behavior was not acceptable, it was understandable and that I believed that if I stuck in there long enough she would heal. I chuckle when I remember having told my boys many times that they hadn’t lost their Mom, that I have been with them always so that ugly behavior was not acceptable from them – they saw it getting attention and tried it out now and then.
So we struggled on. Sam was always a kind and gentle little boy. Quick to smile. He took the girls in right away. Did the big brother thing even though he was only six. My three sons quickly became acquainted with Barbie dolls and princess dress up clothes, not just super heroes! The six of them got along pretty well at first; they were like three sets of twins. Their ages were very close boy to girl…3 and 3, 4 and 4, 6 and 6 so they really paired up. But aggressive, bossy and eventually dangerous behavior became almost a daily occurance and life changed for that oldest pair (and for all of us).
As we muddled through, I kept an eye on my son. He kept trying to be close to his sister, but she couldn’t do it and would eventually push him back in some way. He would forgive her and try again. I was proud of him, yet concerned for his heart. He expressed worry for me at times too. To his face I would assure him that I was okay and that I knew I could take care of all of them no matter what! I reminded him of the whys and encouraged him to continue to be forgiving. However, sometimes I would shed some tears behind closed doors for worry that he would become bitter and filled with anger.
Flash forward to a couple of years ago. Sam and I were on a long car trip together so I decided to breech the subject. I asked him how he now feels about the fact that we adopted. How had it impacted him? I urged him to be perfectly honest with me because it would help me help others. Well, Sam shared that he was glad that we had adopted his sisters. He said he felt like even though there were hardships along the way, it had definitely made him a better person (cue the waterworks for the Mom). Sam said that he feels like he can see a person for who they really are and he feels like that is a gift he has. He went on to talk about how he wished he and his (twin) sister could have been closer and how that was disappointing, but that he got that she just couldn’t. One really incredible statement he made was this…"I don’t know how you could have taught us to be empathetic to others Mom, I mean that has got to be hard to teach if you are not living it." He is right it is hard to teach – you really have to live it.
So, this week as I look at the man my son is becoming, I smile. I am proud. The last two years are full of him being in the world and relating to people on the fringe. He easily offers those in need his hand, his friendship, his loving smile. His goals include becoming a teacher and teaching on the Red Lake Reservation. He said to me this summer, “Mom, it is great when I can make a kid smile. But when I can make a kid from Red Lake smile I know I have made a difference in their life!”
Did our difficult journey mess him up? Nope, I would say not! It ultimately helped form him into an incredible, empathetic and loving man! Can’t wait to see the next 18 years unfold!
I Was Thinking…
Well, 18 years ago this week I became a Mom for the first time. WOW! WHAT A RIDE it has been! Back then, I was pretty clear on what a good Mom did, how they connected with their child, what schools they sent them to, how they handled friends and teachers and on and on. I knew what I wanted to do the same way my parents did and I knew what I wanted to do better than my parents. I had such a vision, so many expectations. I had the world by the tail! I was SO excited to be a Mom!
Well, it all began with an emergency C-Section…not in my plan! Next, it was surgery for baby at 2 weeks old…not in my plan! I had to tweak my version of Mom right off the bat! Okay, time to re-evaluate. I let go a bit and life quieted down a bit and things evened out some. What a joy this little boy was. His very existence was inspiring, created healing and gave hope for the future. He helped us see life through new eyes. Always a smile. Loving, kind and very connected to his Mom!
I felt good. My confidence grew. We went to early childhood classes together. We had playdates. We were like all of the other mother/child duos in our social group, but a subtle change began to happen as preschool became the focus of all of our friends. I wasn’t too sure that my son needed to go away from me at such an early age, much less did he have to go to the “it” preschool. There were moms that got up at 4 a.m. to stand in line for registration at a specific preschool in our area. I didn’t. However, eventually I buckled to the pressure of doing it differently and found a smaller preschool close to home. Now, he could go to preschool like everyone else!
I have to tell you the first day of preschool was horrible! He was so scared. He really struggled and continued to struggle for a couple of weeks. It dawned on me…just because everyone else is doing it this way does not make it the right choice for my child, my family. I thanked the teachers and pulled him out! One of the best MOM decisions I have ever made!
In the meantime, we added two more little boys to the mix and eventually three little girls too! Life kept giving me the opportunity to see how truly different each one of my children were. Although all six of them were between the ages of three and six, they were individuals - each one so different. It was a huge epiphany for me as a mom and at the same time I was able to give them each the best gift I could have given them. I have been able to see their individuality so that I could be the mom to each one of them that they needed me to be!
I started out with all of my own expectations about being a mom. Then, I got lost in what everybody else thought a good mom would be, but finally ended up right where I should be….being the Mom that is just right…times six!