You Are Not Alone!
Today I am called to tell you -- We ALL feel defeated sometimes!
This job is hard! It is long. Others don't understand. It feels like it is constantly a FIGHT. It is EXHAUSTING on so many levels!
Don't give up - take care of YOU today! Rest. Emotionally fill yourself up! It is OK! You deserve it.
Start fresh again tomorrow. Remind yourself of who YOU are! Remind yourself of why you are on this journey. Remind yourself that your child's struggles, behaviors, words are really NOT about you, they are rooted in grieving and loss, low self-esteem, the effects of trauma and a broken attachment.
Now you are ready!
You CAN do this!
It's Not a Trick or a Treat
Halloween Is A Holiday That Can Cause A Lot of Anxiety For Our Kids!
Whether you celebrate/participate or not, this upcoming holiday can be very hard on our kids! This is one of those times you have to be very intentional about how you parent. Yes, it is all supposed to be fun; however, you live with kids who have been impacted by trauma, whose histories have included threats, fear and the "real" boogeyman. You must do this with your eyes wide open...seeing your whole child!
I think one of the hardest parts of our job is having to do things differently. Having to protect them from experiencing anxiety and re-traumatization, but also helping them to fit in and build self-esteem. You really have to be creative, intuitive and discerning. You have to understand that your child doesn't necessarily see the world as his peers do nor does he want to be different. He can't make the best choices for himself; that is up to you!
So, here are some Halloween "helpful hints" for parents of kids who have been hurt:
1. Prioritize - In the scheme of things, how important is any given Halloween activity? Your answer may not be popular with your child, but keeping his brain chemistry neutral is a great pay-off for both of you!
2. Guts and Gore - It's always best to stay away from blood, guts and gore! One of the symptoms of RAD is that they are preoccupied with this topic - why feed it?
3. Scary Stuff - Many of our children were victims of emotional abuse. The adults in their world used the "boogeyman" to manipulate them to do things, to fall asleep or to not use other adults as a safe place. Stay away from fear based anything!
4. Lights Out - The darkness brings up so many fears - both real and perceived - for our our children. Stay away from nighttime activities, lights out activities and dark scares.
5. Trick or Treating - Can you say overstimulating in SO many ways! Here's my answer...if you want to go out and Trick or Treat, do it in the daytime or at an indoor event like a senior center. Then, go out to eat to avoid the anxiety of scary stranger trick or treaters coming to your house.
You are Intentional Parents!
You are an Incredible Healing Force!
You see your WHOLE child. not just the face he puts on for the world.
Create a fun experience that is just right for HIM! You can do it!
I Hate To Tell You...
I Hate To Be the One to Tell You...The Holiday Season is Right Around the Corner!
Yep, it is that time of year again. Are You Ready?
The holiday season is "supposed" to be happy and peaceful, but actually many families really struggle at this time of the year!
My family spent many holidays angry, frustrated, sad and lonely. Those days were certainly not what we had in mind when we decided to adopt - we had envisioned giggles, hugs, smiles and togetherness. It wasn't just us.
As I began to work with families in Minnesota and then across the country, it became clear that this was a very difficult time for thousands and thousands of adoptive, foster, kinship and step families. Families of hurt children.
As an Adoptive & Bio Mom, a Nurse, and an Adoptive & Foster Parent Coach, I am excited to tell you that you CAN have a MORE PEACEFUL and HAPPY Holiday Season! Life has really changed at my house and my clients are experiencing more of those giggles, hugs, smiles and wonderful togetherness we all hope for too! HOW? Just by using my 5 keys to a more peaceful holiday season!
Imagine it - a system that ensures you less anxiety and fewer hard behaviors, more positive together time, the creation of new traditions and a season which you and your family can actually look forward to! It's working and I really want to share it with you all.
SO, I have decided that this will be my Pre-Holiday Gift to YOU! I would like to invite you - FREE of charge - to join me for my next class!
A More Peaceful Holiday Season Is Possible
Reserve your spot TODAY!
I am so excited to work together! Your year is about to end on a very high note
I've had enough!
I have had enough! I can't take it anymore. I QUIT!
Many parents of hurt kids have thought or even said these words out loud. They talk about just wanting peace. I get it and I KNOW that peace is attainable! I have absolutely been there....same thoughts, same words.
Here's the thing that many don't understand. As parents, we actually hold ALL the cards - we are a powerful source of peace or mayhem ourselves. It is easy to put blame on our child and his challenges; however, if we emotionally plug back in, take control of the situation, use different tools and techniques, create opportunities for success, and find our hope...THINGS WILL CHANGE!
If your child is "chasing" you (verbally, physically, emotionally) and the behavior is driving you crazy...PLUG BACK IN!
If your child is "avoiding" you or being "disrespectful" and it's driving you crazy...PLUG BACK IN!
If you feel like things will "never" get better...PLUG BACK IN!
Honestly, if you have said or thought "I Quit" in any form, YOU are the source of much of what is going on and the fact that it keeps getting worse. YOU are making things worse for YOU. Your child is scared and has gone back in to survival - the skills he uses in survival are opposite of the skills needed to make intimate relationships work.
So, HOW do you Plug Back In?
First - Remind yourself you are the parent. It is your job. It is about choosing to stay plugged in - choosing every day. You have to move your "stuff" out of the way. Tweak your expectations. Be Intentional. Prioritize.
Second - Forgive. Forgive yourself. Forgive your child. Forgive.
Third - Get back in the relationship on a physical and sensory level. Physically choose to be close to your child more often and more consistently. Now, work in on a sensory level. Begin with FOOD. Then, your non verbals...the look in your eye and tone of your voice.
Fourth - Get yourself surrounded by support - people that get it. A place where you don't feel so alone. A group in which you don't feel different. Where you will be inspired to keep going and not quit!
It is going to feel heavy. Your child is going to have mistrust for the shift so it will be uncomfortable and probably not welcomed at first. Choose to stay in it. You CAN do this! You ABSOLUTELY can make change.
This is a long journey so it is important to learn about how to stay plugged in and especially about how to get plugged back in when things go off track.
Don't underestimate the power YOU have to make YOUR life more peaceful!
Being the parent of a child who has suffered loss, grown up way too fast, lives with the impacts of trauma and battles the demons of mistrust can be a VERY long journey. A life time, as a matter of fact.
They need us to do "it" differently. They need us to hang in there NO MATTER WHAT and for AS LONG AS IT TAKES. They need us to do all of this in the midst of challenging behavior and words, the symptoms of diagnoses upon diagnoses, the pushing back of relationships, the irrational beliefs about themselves and the world we see acted out each day and so much more.
I have found that one of the ways to survive it, and actually thrive within it, is to find the good in each day! To keep a positive outlook and attitude amidst the challenges. So, I want to share with you my 5 top ways to stay positive on this long journey:
1. Write Down The Good In Your Day
It is so important to be intentional about looking for the good in your day. Some days it will be easier than others, but consistently doing it EVERY DAY is the key! Then write it down somewhere, doodle around it, write it three times...all of these help integrate it into your filter. It helps you stay out of your child's spin! It helps you to stay or get rational, be empathetic and hang onto the you that you can be proud of. REMEMBER- it doesn't have to be a big, huge, life-changing, light bulb moment kind of a thing...it can be simple, it can be that you made it through the day or that you cooked everyone a healthy meal. The criteria is...find something good or positive.
2. Fight for HOPE
Work really hard to hang onto HOPE for your child. It isn't always easy. So many times it seems like they sabotage any good that comes their way. But, one thing I know FOR SURE is that if WE have hope for them, they can have hope for themselves! Our hope is truly the best gift we have to give!
3. Take Care Of You
Finding the energy to take care of you feels almost impossible sometimes. It is not like we don't dream of getting a break or a nap; it just seems like if we let go, everything will unravel. If we let go, everything will go backwards. I get it, BUT what I have learned over the years is that if you do the work on the front side, it doesn't have to go that way. You may end up with a little "fall-out"; however, the value of you being filled up is worth it for both you and your child. So make plans to take care of you. Even if they are just little plans, it really helps a lot!
4. Remember Your Child's Emotional Age
Your child's emotional age is where you should have your relationship with him. It is where he can succeed, it is where he needs nurturing, it is where he needs your help to gain mastery. Whether or not you can get the rest of the world to meet him there or not it is a set up for both of you to have that relationship anywhere else but at his emotional age!
5. Surround yourself with support
There's just no way I would want any family to be alone on this journey! Being around like-minded people is SO empowering! People that get it can help hold you up. Find those people - actively seek them out! Support groups, workers, other parents who have been there, therapists, and coaches. Social media can be really GREAT and really NEGATIVE. If you are on the pages or sites that are constant war stories, hateful and just negative, GET OFF! UNSUBSCRIBE! That does not help anyone. I understand those families are really hurting, but their state of mind is only making their situation worse. Find SUPPORTIVE, LOVING groups to be a part of!
There is so much WE, the parents, can do to create healing. It takes making the choice. There are lots of other ways to stay positive...find yours and make the choice EVERY DAY!
Your Child's Internal Clock
As we strive to be Intentional Parents, it is important that we understand that humans have an inner clock or rhythm that is affected by both internal and external stimuli. When a child experiences a traumatic event, the cycle is impacted!
Here's what that means for YOU! As you consider your whole child, you have to consider his internal clock. If he is having a particularly hard time or if he has regressed in some way, don't forget to consider his life anniversaries.
When trying to help a parent identify their child's trigger, I begin with one question...is this the anniversary of any of his major life events? This month? This season? This kind of weather? It helps to know as much of your child's story as possible, but sometimes it doesn't take much. Is this the month he was taken out of the home? Is this the anniversary of the date he went to the orphanage? You would be AMAZED at the number of times a parent looks it up and it is exactly that date (most of the time it is within a 3-4 week period of time). They are always stunned!
Go back...re-read documents, remind yourself of your child's story and make correlations to dates and seasons.
See your whole child! Meet your child where he is...anniversaries and all!
We here in Minnesota are experiencing a change in season! It is Fall! It is really a beautiful time of year - the air is crisp, the leaves are changing colors and it is almost fun pulling out your jeans and sweatshirts again!
Transitions like the seasons add excitement and anticipation to many of our lives; however, for our adopted and foster children it can be a totally different experience!
This kind of big transition, for our children, is a REALLY huge challenge.
If your child is running into some hurdles right now, just hang in there and help him through; transitions are VERY difficult! Our children are not wired to manage transition well. They can rarely identify the transition as part of their struggle.
Here are a couple of things you can do to help your child manage big transitions:
1. Verbally, paint the picture of how things are going to be when you are on the other side of the transition. Use a lot of sensory information, remind about doing this already, talk about how you handled it before.
2. Keep as much of the rest of his life the same. Keep as many of those basics of life (clothing, food, emotional attention from you) consistent.
Just remember that even if a child has been through the transition before, they are not exempt from the anxiety the unknown will cause again and again.
Finding the Answer
This IS hard!
I know you have been at it a while and it just doesn't feel like things are changing. I absolutely realize how tired you are. I get the whole idea of trying to find the ANSWER, the MAGIC PILL or the CHANGE that will fix things.
I get it because I have lived your struggle! I have longed for peace in my home. I have been more exhausted than I ever thought possible. I became someone I didn't always like and as a matter of fact really lost who I was for a time. I have felt backed in a corner. I have lost faith. I have blamed and hated. I have felt misunderstood and judged. I have wondered if it would EVER get better.
How did it get SO bad? I was doing it ALONE! There weren't other choices.
Here's the thing...being alone on this journey CREATES hurdles rather than breaks them down.
When you try to do this alone it can become hard to be objective and proactive; it is hard to see when it is deficit and not defiance, it is hard to correlate symptoms as everyday behaviors, and it is hard to pull apart when it is about you and when it is about your child.
When you try to do this alone, you can struggle to find empathy and compassion for your child and yourselves; you lose your way, you lose yourself, and often important relationships are affected too.
When you try do to this alone, it can be very difficult to see progress; it is almost impossible to consider "for as long as it takes," to hold onto hope becomes more and more exhausting, and a commitment to "No Matter What" can literally become a frightening decision.
When you try to do this alone, you begin to add to the spin; in order to feel safe yourself, you lose the ability to move your own stuff out of the way, it becomes too laborious to continue to do "it" differently, and you unplug emotionally, even to the point of saying I quit either verbally or internally.
None of this promotes HEALING!
The Great News is that being on this journey surrounded by support is incredibly POWERFUL! When you are surrounded by support, you are able to leap over the hurdles and be the healing source that is your child's best chance at healing!
See each moment more clearly, feel empowered by the insights gained and the tried and true tools and techniques you learn. Get recharged. Renewed Hope. Energy levels that soar. Feel like a parent and like you are in charge of your life again. Make CHANGE!
Unlike me, YOU HAVE A CHOICE! My Mission is to Make Sure That No Parents Will Have to Be Alone Again!
Let's work together and make this happen!
Join other parents in my Inner Circle and let me lead you on this journey towards healing for your child and a peaceful and loving existence for your entire family!
This Opportunity is Like NO Other!
-be a part of a closed group of like-minded parents,
-gain new insights with valuable training each month,
-learn tools and techniques to put into play daily
-hear from other professionals
-3 opportunities per month to ask Stacy your questions
TODAY is the perfect time to get started with INNER CIRCLE - the beginning of a new month and a new journey!
Remember...you are not alone!