Pick your battles- you don’t want to discipline at a time when the child is genuinely living out of his or her primal responses.The example in the book: Child sneaks food and hides it in his room- mother informs child that his food could attract ants and that he needs to take it back to the kitchen. Then she tells him that when they go to the store they can get snacks he can leave in his room.She could have disciplined him and left it at that, but instead she affirmed him and let him know that she understood his fear and that she would help him by getting him things he could leave in his room without the ‘danger’ of ants or rodentsOne of your most critical jobs is to counteract your child’s negative self perception by continually showing how much you value him/her
The amount of time you are willing to spend on your child sends a subtle message about how much you truly value him/her. The more effective, successful and valued a child feels, the greater his or her self-esteem.Self-esteem grows in part from a child’s feeling of mastery and from successfully accomplishing a goal. This is why it is important to give your children realistic goals that may stretch them a little but are ones that they can reach.
When parents play non-judgmentally with their children, they’re speaking the universal language of ‘fearless’ interaction. Shared silliness, laughter, and games all demonstrate to a child that you mean no harm. Just as ‘A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down’, playful interaction helps you reshape behavior while building enjoyable relationships.
The ‘Let Your Child Lead’ exercise is designed specifically to build attachment through shared play to reinforce a child’s feeling of value. Allow the youngster to lead you in whatever game or activity he or she chooses. Make positive comments and offer praise and soft eye contact in a way that shows the child how much you value him or her. Subtly match his or her physical motions and speech patterns.Example: if he sits on the floor and plays with his right hand, you do the same
If your child says “I’m thirsty” you can respond with “hello Thirsty, I’m Mom”. When they laugh you begin to get compliance and trust. This will help them build confidence and they will become more eager to try again. Sometimes we need to slow down and create an opportunity to interact playfully.It’s important to arrange your schedule so you’re not just dragging your children hither, thither and yonder.
One way break past this is by doing parallel play, or interacting while sitting side by side. Wait until you receive acceptance from them and then move around so you are facing him/her.
Matching is about becoming attuned to another human beingIf you want to enhance your connection with your child, matching can help nurture the child and increase the intimacy and bonding between two people.You can learn subtle lessons about your child’s fear and readiness to share closeness by watching how they react to your matching them.Remember that your child will model your behavior- good or bad. Actions speak louder than words.If you want your child to calm down, you will need to behave in a calm manner.
The more genuine, encouraging statements and upbeat comments you make, the safer your child will feel and the more they will be motivated.Research shows that children mimic people they perceive as strong and who like them.In the beginning you may have to be creative to find things to praise. But with encouragement, your child will learn to trust that you won’t be overly critical and that it’s safe to take risks and try new activities.
Cortisol is an important hormone in the body, secreted by the adrenal glands and involved in the following functions and more:Proper glucose metabolism Regulation of blood pressure Insulin release for blood sugar maintanenceImmune functionInflammatory responseCortisol is normally present in the body at higher level in the morning and is at it’s lowest at night.
Be sincere yet find things to praise your child forSay nice things and make positive statementsDon’t say things that are nice but false- kids recognize itPraise is a powerful motivatorBy marking the desired behavior, you’re helping cement it in the child’s brain
Tell your child what to do, instead of what not to do.When they have changed their action, praise them for the proper behavior.
When your child displays positive or genuine behavior, this is what is known as the “real” child.It may be tempting for you to make offhand remarks such as “this is not my child” or joke “where are my children, what have you done with them” but these are not beneficial statements to make.
They are destructive to your child’s self-esteemThey are counterproductive to healingThey color the way you see your childK-Love radio had a new years ‘word of the year’. Basically you pick a word that will help you see the events of the new year through a positive lens- ‘Patience’ ‘Love’ etc. When events come up throughout the year you look at them and think ‘yup, I’m learning patience’ or ‘Love is not self-seeking’ rather than, this sucks.The wonderful Thumper said it the best when quoting his father:“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all”
When you and your child are laughing and having fun, reach across and touch his shoulder, hand or chin with a gentle touch. Speak words of encouragement “this is so much fun”, “you are a joy to me” or “I love doing this with you”. This is a way to fill your child’s “trust bank”With a harmed child it takes many, many deposits into the trust bank to make headway and help him feel truly safe.Remember that your child most likely has a negative balance in their trust bank when they first come to you. You will need to put in a lot of unconditional “you are so precious to me” and “what a great try” to make up that balance.
* There is a difference between unconditional nurturing praise and performance-based praise
There is a difference between unconditional nurturing praise and performance-based praiseWhen the only compliments your child receives is based on performance, the trust bank suffersWhen your praises reflect their inherent value it builds up their trust bank
Troubled children are often out of touch with their emotions and have difficulty articulating how they feel.Without the skills to express feelings verbally, children will often act out to communicateTell him: “It’s okay to feel angry. Sometimes I feel angry, too. What are some good ways to deal with anger?”
Getting a chart that depicts faces expressing a variety of emotions can help- have them point out which one tells how they are feeling.Reassure your child that everyone has feelingsAt the park on Saturday, Lily jumped up and her head bumped my nose- after a moment of pain I began to cry and my nose started dripping blood- Lily stated “you’re crying” and I said, “yes, I am. It really hurts, but I will be okay.” When she saw the blood she said, “you’re bleeding” and my response was “yes, but I will be okay. When things hurt I am allowed to cry, and I will still be okay. I am not angry with you, it just hurts.”This was my way of letting her know that emotions are okay- I was crying- but not in anger… in pain. She was concerned, almost as if she didn’t understand why I was crying.
You can direct your child to the chart if they need help coming up with a different way of saying how they are feeling.
Many adopted children want so mightily to please others that they are afraid to have an opinion or feeling of their ownOne way to tell is by asking them what they want- if they ask you in return before telling you, then chances are they are not aware of their own wants.
If you are going to give your child a toy as a gift, pick one that you can play with together.One of Derek’s teachings on the father heart he talks about the girls ‘helping’ him as they were moving. The girls would ride on the dolly with all the boxes, then when he went to push the dolly back in the house they would ride it back in too. Although that doesn’t seem much like they are helping, in their minds they were. Doing activities with your child not only helps them learn, but also helps them build relationships which can sometimes be more difficult for children suffering from attachment deficits and trust issues.
Touch is beneficial and improves the physiological health because it releases endorphins into the body.Endorphins: reduce stress and fatigue, boost the immune system, ease pain, lessen depression and anxiety, slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, increase circulation.Ways to touch: you can practice with a hand massage, foot massage, or back rub.Use firm, but not painful, pressure when giving massageAvoid light feathery touch on children with sensory dysfunction issues because it could agitate and unnerve them
With appropriate levels of physical exercise, brain chemistry is optimized, enabling a child to learn and organize information more effectivelyIt is good to have children do physical activity approximately every 2 hrsBe careful not to allow them to over exercise, because this could wear him/her out and cause their behavior to deteriorate.* In the book they mention Wilbarger Brushing Protocol- It is soft brushing in certain areas with specific pressure and stroke direction that is used to help increase the child’s brain with sensory experiences. They do caution to seek a qualified therapist to do it.
It can be easy to react to the child rather than responding to the behavior. Rather than be rash and react, take a deep breath and process through your what your response to the behavior will/should be.