Beyondpondering's Weblog

Northwest Arkansas Therapy

Beyond Scared March 26, 2015

I found this somewhere else, but so clearly expresses the same point of view.  Susan

Beyond Scared.

by:  Deborah A. Novo

surviveTeenYears (2)It is natural to feel apprehensive and scared navigating through some of life’s challenges and expectations. Much of the time, we can do this with confidence and competence. However, scared doesn’t begin to identify the depth and breadth of the feeling that is experienced when our children with Reactive Attachment Disorder anticipate or perceive abandonment. The feeling could be more accurately described as panic and terror.

People outside the child’s inner circle may find it hard to believe the degree of distress and impairment that is observed and the myriad of triggers. One of our sons purposefully failed a school year so he wouldn’t have to graduate. His belief was that if he graduated he would “be deserted and on his own.”

Our other son and his girlfriend break up and he is in terror mode feeling like an infant again with no one to care for him. Despite their innumerable breakups they have never been “broken up” more than minutes as he frantically begs her not to leave.

When our children were younger triggers included me leaving the house to get groceries, them standing in the outfield during their baseball game, feeling rejected by classmates, spending respite at their grandparents among many, many other examples.

It is essential that mental health professionals, teachers and others involved understand the scope of emotion that real or perceived abandonment can provoke. Fearing abandonment on a chronic basis changes your brain and has significant, potentially life long, implications in creating connection and stability in relationships, academic success, sustaining employment and keeping oneself emotionally regulated and happy.

As parents, it is important to be prepared and respond appropriately. I have learned, through the years, that the best support you can give is a consistent, calm and empathetic response during these, often volatile, reactions. Anything else fuels their panic. There are tools that our family uses with the intention of balancing and healing their whole being so they can learn to soothe themselves and use their reasoning brain. Strategies such as yoga (free online yoga classes for all ages and levels at www.doyogawithme.com), Emotional Freedom Technique (free and easy instruction at www.emofree.com) and doing Brain Gym exercises are a few fun and very effective examples. When our sons were younger we would leave notes with the respite provider, to be given periodically, while we were away from our home. The notes had simple phrases that said, “we believe in you” and “you are safe and loved.” We still do this, but we now text these messages. I have placed Power Ranger stickers on my youngest son’s chest prior to his baseball games to remind him of the “power” within him. We recently resurrected his favorite stuffed version of that Power Ranger to help this now older teen. We continue to engage in quiet activities such as drawing, board games, Reiki and lots of hugs to minimize their intense reactions and promote their attachment, safety and self worth.

I have discovered that every experience, ultimately, has its benefits. For me, I have developed infinite compassion, advanced problem solving skills, articulate boundaries, self care and advocacy skills for my family. When parenting our special children there is no shortage of opportunity to practice growing in wisdom and love!

 

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Why are there no support groups? November 24, 2014

……asked one mother of a RAD kid….

I quickly retorted….Because there is too much embarrassment and shame….No adoptive parent adopts with this in mind……

They are too embarrassed because their child is always a perfect angel at someone else’s house…

No one knows about the anger directed towards you; the yelling, screaming directed towards you; and pain involved.

They are too ashamed because they get so many critical looks reflecting that they should “just spank the kid”;

or give more consequences.

Or they get looks and comments which communicate that something must be something WRONG WITH YOU, as a parent, that you can not control your child.

Or just the opposite…..

They get too many looks or comments which communicate…

you are too hard on him; or all he needs is love;

but she is always so polite at my house…you just misunderstand him…..

 

I communicated to the mom to not be ashamed nor embarrassed for we are dealing with the one percent of the children which nothing seems to work.

But there is hope if you are willing to try something different…and I would bet you are…or you would not be calling me now.

 

 

WHAT ABOUT ETHICS? June 1, 2014

2. Ethics?

What are some of the considerations in selecting a therapist? Allow me to first stress ethics. No matter if it is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Social Worker or any other Licensed Psychotherapist, each has a code of ethics they are expected to follow for their respective state licensing board. A code of ethics helps determine appropriate behaviors for professionals. Feel free to go to the State Board to gain information. A code of ethics is designed to protect the public and the therapist. You can also learn if any disciplinary actions have been taken toward any particular therapist.

 

A therapist is one who is to help you. To do that they need to listen, be kind, and empathetic. However, if a client has never had anyone listen to them, be kind, or empathetic to them, the client might confuse this unconditional positive regard with an emotional connection. It is the therapist’s job to set boundaries and not get involved emotionally with the client in a sexual manner. Now since you are aware of this, what can you do?

 

You need to “work on yourself” rather than get mixed up in an emotional relationship. Nevertheless, if your therapist is a good therapist, you should be able to bring up this topic in session and work through the matter so you can learn to develop healthy attachments and relationships in your personal life. Love yourself enough to not confuse kindness with a potential sexual relationship. Your first responsibility is to yourself and your own personal growth. Focus on your own growth.   Remember you want change for the better, not more confusion.

 

You can do this!

 

 

STILL PONDERING August 10, 2013

Photo on 2013-07-11 at 14.45 #3

I am still pondering all this time.  

I have had many different experiences.  

I still ponder.  

What do people really want out of therapy?  

You tell me.  

 

MORE OF THE SAME? TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT! March 28, 2009

I go back to the same old questions:  Is it working for you?  Is doing what those so called experts say, really working?  When is it time to try something different?

You will just try to defend yourself out of fear someone will think you are a bad mom.  Or maybe you will just to defend yourself out of fear that it might be true.  You really do enjoy getting away from them.

The peace you feel when he is away seems to validate the assumption that it is “He” who is the problem.  There is something much much deeper going on.

The idea that RAD child should be treated differently is a start.  They have a developmental wound which cannot be helped to heal with more chores or strong sitting.

They have a developmental wound which cannot be helped to heal by being sent away.

A couple years ago,  I was working with a mother and  young daugther.  There was never any problems at school.  The problems occured at home.   I give this mom a round of applause for taking responsibility for her behavior years ago.  She left the children.  Yes she had her reasons…… but from a child’s point of view it was abandonment.  “I was not good enough for you to stick around.”  “I was not lovable enough for you to want to stay with me”.

We had a breakthrough mom said.    I was amazed at something else.

We were all sitting on the floor.  There was soft comforting lighting rather than glaring florescent tubes.  I was verbalizing what a young child might feel if a parent went away.  Little by little the child leaned her head on her mother’s shoulder.  Little by little the child wrapped her arms around mother’s neck.  Little by little, the child crawled into mother’s lap.  Little by little, mother cradled the girl in her arms and started rocking her body back and forth.  The girl nestled her head into mom’s bosom and allowed herself to be rocked.

I kept quiet and allowed the two to rest in each other’s arms for a good long time.

I whispered to mom,  “How old was she when you left?”  Mom whispered, “One and a half.”

The behavior of the child was reminiscent of the age of her trauma.

I helped mom see the developmental issues going on.

A rocking chair and more rocking at home……………. was the recommendation.

This addressed the heart of the matter, not just the acting out behavior.  Work on the heart of the matter and the acting out will subside.

These kids need even more rocking, more comforting, more compassion, more empathy….  Or at least just as much.   Because they are RAD does that mean they should be treated differently when it comes to Tender Loving Care?   They need it even more because they have a develpment lag in that department.

If what you are doing is working for you….by all means…..continue with what you think is right.  However,  begin reflecting on how you can address the heart of the matter rather than just manage the behavior.

 

TALK TALK TALK. NAG NAG NAG. AGAIN AND AGAIN January 25, 2009

Does it often feel like you are continually talking to yourself whenever you are trying to teach your child?  Whatever you are saying is simply going in one ear and out the other?  If you’ve said it once you have said it a million times. ?   AND STILL THEY DON’T  ” GET IT”. 

Well there is a reason for it……. and if you understand this reason ,, you could actually get more done with less talking.   You don’t have to drive yourself in circles, repeating the old thing, trying to change the same old behavior. 

Based on neuro-science, the right side of the brain has the ability to override and short circuit the left side of the brain.  The right side of the brain is the emotional side.  The left side of the brain is the logical rational side,,,,to put is simply. 

If the left side of the brain can be short circuited by the right side, no wonder all our explanations, talking, corrections, or discussions do not seem to work.

Our logical rational explanations, meant to impact our child’s left side of the brain, are not reaching their intended target. 

IT REALLY IS GOING IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER !

The right side of the brain overrides the left.  Emotions override logic and learning.

Right brain has greater influence than left brain.   RIGHT, greater than LEFT, therefore decreased logic & learning.

Children do not have the ability to learn and use logic if their emotional state is not addressed first.  Likewise, we do not have the ability to reach their logic and learning until we address their emotions and feelings.

Why don’t we listen to our own  words of wisdom.   Be logical.  Be reasonable.  It makes no sense at all to use logic on our kids if science has shown that logic does not work if emotional aspects are neglected. 

So how logical are we?  Maybe our kids are smarter than we are.  We keep trying logic when it has been proven not to work.  Now that is irrational. 

To keep doing the same old thing expecting different results.   Isn’t that the definition of CRAZY?

 We are in the habit of talking talking talking….explaining explaining, explaining. 

We lecture, make demands, and expect our kids to comply.  We expect from our kids what they are not able to give us until we see through to their emotions.

What do we do then?  Put into words what our adult wisdom knows

For example, your friend comes over,  slams the door, and heavily plants themselves on your couch. 

What can you presume from what just happened with your friend.  Your friend is upset, something bad happened, something is wrong……?  Probably.   

We would sit and wait.  Perhaps offer a cola or cup of tea.  And we would listen.  

If our kids did the very same thing…. we have a tendency to tell them “don’t slam the door!”  Where is the compassion we would naturally give to our friends?

Now is the time we could start changing habits, turn over a new leaf, and try something different. 

Now that is logical…….try something different for different results. 

Listen instead of lecture.  Sit instead of stand.  Be quiet instead of boss.  Consider emotions instead of demands.  Give compassion instead of giving directions.    Then little by little,,,when emotions are soothed and calmed, suggestions and ideas can get through.  Little by little, understanding will come to the left side of the brain.  But only when the right side of the brain understood.   

Give compassion to emotions.  Save yourself time, energy, and stress.

 

Relationships During These Hard Times December 10, 2008

“All we need is love. All we need is love, love………Love is all we need” (Beatles).  Is this true?  Really?

“I love you,,,,,,but I am not In Love, with you.”  “I love him but I don’t like him.”  What ?

“I’ll just die if I can’t have those jeans !”  Hugh ?

So, …..what then, do you need?

Time and patience for a start. How about giving honesty, dependability, determination, kindness, fairness, courtesy, cooperation, trustworthiness, and generosity? All of these can help sustain us during these financial hard times, as well as, help build meaningful long-term relationships.  Let’s take a look at things. Society has made so many improvements. Life is more convenient: Fast foods, drive thru’s, microwaves, dishwashers, and the like. We are so accustomed to “convenience”, we lose our patience if we have to give a little extra time at a restaurant. No wonder we get such a big surprise when we have to give time to another; or be patient

with another person’s like or dislikes; or even be patient with another person’s imperfections.We have never really had to wait, save up, or do without. Delayed gratification is almost a thing of the past. Perhaps the great benefit of today’s economy is that we are forced to realize that “relationships” are the only meaningful and lasting thing……… if we look at life Existentially or Spiritually. However, because life is so much easier than even a decade ago, many people have not learned to “press on” during times of momentary difficulty, as our historical counterpart once did. No I do not want to go back to the “good old days” when it comes to convenience. However, there are valuable principles which are worthwhile to carry with us from the past into posterity.

I was surprised when researchers came up with the term: “Benign Deprivation”. It is the idea of allowing oneself or one’s children to do without something, if that something, is not critical to sustaining life. In other words, if doing without an item, has a benign effect, it is okay to do without it.

The idea of “Benign Deprivations” still makes me chuckle because I have made it a point to do without a lot of stuff. My husband had to force me to get a cell phone. You see, I grew up around my grandparents. They lived through the Great Depression. Consequently they were fugal, never used credit, and saved tin foil. I did get caught up in materialism and conspicuous consumption when I was younger, but later sought out meaning and purpose.

We really have to ask ourselves if something is truly a need, as compared to a want. True, we may think we are going to die if we can’t have a particular pair of shoes. We may even tell ourselves….our children need a particular pair of jeans to fit into that popular crowd. Nevertheless, is it really life threatening to do without it? Maybe we need to count our blessings?

An over abundance of things can make ourselves and our kids greedy, spoiled, and demanding. Generosity and kindness can be lost unless we refocus back to positive character values.

Will we, as a society, allow material goods to replace character? Is “Benign Depravation” a new way to reminding us not to spoil ourselves and our kids with material goods? Is it a reminder for us to still value old fashioned character such as honesty, dependability, determination, kindness, fairness, courtesy, cooperation, trustworthiness, and generosity?

Relationships are necessary for life. Therefore, promoting, nurturing, and tending to the growth of quality character in ourselves and our kids, is beneficial for love and lasting relationships. Time is what our kids really want from us anyway. You too, probably.

These economic tight times need to be embraced and valued as a time to reinforce those things which are more lasting than temporal materialism. It can also bring out the best in us. Love, honor, dependability, determination, kindness, courtesy, trustworthiness, generosity, and meaningful long-term relationships will sustain us during these financial hard times.

About our RAD kids……………….time and patience is even more important.Not reacting to the fears they stir up in us is also critical. Our calmness can soothe their scared souls.

No matter what age they are. The younger they are,,,probably the easier it is to not react.Nonetheless, it is the older children who probably need it even more because they have gone without longer.

If we are going to catch ourselves before we over react, then we must be introspective and try to figure out why.

Why does a particular thing bug us?  What happened in our background….. which stirs up those irritable feelings, when our

kids bug us?  My father was a pathological lier, so when my child said anything which might resemble even a “half truth”,

my nerves were set on fire.   He might have been telling the truth yet I was already predisposed to expect the worst.

Therefore, I got paradoxical results.   I helped create the very thing I thought I was trying to prevent.

This is when I should have stopped myself. But I was not aware yet. Everyone does the best they can with what they know.

I am so glad to have a better understanding.