Playful Bonding

Snowman in 60f/16c weatherKids really want to have a connection with the adults that are their caretakers.  These people can be parents, older siblings, grandparents, foster parents, and adoptive parents.

With Children of Trauma, there is a deep seated “need” to push those who are the closest away.  They misbehave to make the ones who protect them want to go away.  They spend time isolating themselves and trying to care for themselves.  They spend time yelling, screaming, and breaking things. 

Despite this, we need to spend time with our kids allowing them to bond.  They need to feel valued and special.  They need to know that everything they have been taught about being of no value, simply isn’t true.  So, what can we do?  do things together.  Make the mundane special.

Helping Children Heal

This video is excerpts from "Trauma, Brain, and Relationship: Helping Children Heal". You can find more information about the video:

From the site:

This 30-minute documentary video about psychological or emotional trauma in children is taken from interviews conducted at the From Neurons to Neighborhoods community conferences. The documentary is an overview to help those who care about children recognize, prevent and heal psychological trauma. Internationally and nationally recognized authorities who work with children and teenagers in the field of emotional trauma, including Drs. Bruce Perry and Daniel Siegel, offer new insight and information about the origins of relationship/developmental problems, as well as problems associated with PTSD later in life.

Reactive Attachment Disorder Video (RAD explained)

A video of screen shots that explains RAD quite nicely. From the YouTube site's description:

This is a video to bring to awareness one of the saddest of all psychological disorders in childre. Reactive attachment disorder is very sad but there is hope with the right therapy and parenting ...

Videos from The Post Institute

Two terrific little videos that covers the core concepts from the Post Institute's techniques.

Aging Out - A Point of Failure

At 18, the foster care system pretty much abandons it’s charges.  At 18 the state ceases to have any responsibility to those who are one of the most vulnerable in our society.  These are kids that were abandoned or were taken by social services.  They had hopes of being reunited with bio-family or perhaps being adopted by a nice family.  Instead they have often been bounced from foster home to foster home.  They might have lived in a group home.  These kids suffer from disorders like RAD, PTSD, and depression.  They often become substance abusers.  Many find themselves homeless or become teen parents.  They often lack the skills to support themselves and less than half graduate from high school.

Shinny Up the Palm Tree

Coconut Tree

Children of Trauma don’t trust.  Everything in their being tells them that adults can not be counted on.  Everything you do as a parent needs to tell them that they are valued, they you care, and that you can be trusted.

Like climbing a palm tree, you make it three feet up and drop two feet back.  You pull yourself up slowly but surely.  Eventually you make it to the top.  It is difficult.  But things that are difficult are worth the effort.

When you are having challenges in behaviour, it is essential that your child not feel isolated.  Sending your kid away to his or her room simply re-enforces the notion that he or she needs to only count on themselves.

It is critical that your child feels included in your lives and integrated into the family structure.  Doing things as a family can help bind your family together.  A recent trip the Aquarium gave us the chance to explore together.  This kind exploration is a mutual activity where the parents are equals with the child.  The child is free to point out new and interesting things, engaging the parents.

Exercise, Patience, and Energy

ex·haust [ ig záwst ]

1. transitive verb tire somebody out: to make somebody feel very tired or weak

2. the perpetual state of being of every parent.

I’m an Adoptive Dad of a Child of Trauma.  Under the best of circumstances, parents don’t get enough sleep.  I’m sitting here writing this blog post at 10:45 in the evening, because that' is when I had the time to write.  The evening is when I get a chance to hang with my wife or get a little solitude.  Between work, parenting, writing here and on several other blogs, house work, taking care of our pets, cooking, and being husband little time is left for anything else.  Pressures can fray nerves and make you impatient.  Impatience is the enemy of parenting, particularly parenting adoptive and foster kids.

Why are they so much better behaved for Daddy? It's time for Mommy to take a break!

Sometimes, I watch my Husband and my children playing and laughing together, and I find my self irritated. Why do they behave so well for him and act up for me? I have had plenty of advice from parents of many children. They give me reasons why my kids behave that way. "Well, they are with you most of the time, so naturally they behave better with him."
"You are the one who has to do most of the dicipline, so of course he is the cool one."

Sanity is over-rated.

Have you done your homework yet? :)

Don't ask..

My first post. An excerpt from my crazy life as an imperfect parent.

I have so many stories of the lessons I have learned the hard way. Lessons that most parents will never have to learn. Lessons that are reserved for the few, the tired, and a little bit crazy, parents of truamatized children. I don't really think there is any way to learn how to raise these children other than the hard way. Kind of boot camp style parenting. I really don't know how I have made it through the last year and a half. I have had moments, MANY moment where I was just done. A moment where I think that I really just don't care anymore. When I have nothing left.