The Flight Attendant tells you thatthe cabin is pressurized for yourcomfort and in the event of the cabinshould lose pressure, an oxygen maskwill fall down from above.There instructions are simple…1. Pull it toward you2. If you are traveling with a child orsomeone that needs assistance,PUT THE OXYGEN MASK ONYOURSELF FIRST before you tryto help the child.How many of you have flown before and canremember the safety talk before the plane takesoff?
When dealing with achallenging child or youth,be sure to KEEPBREATHING.It will do little good if theboth of you are turning blueor red depending on youremotions at the time.So here is the this training’s bestparenting advice…
Teaching is never about “NOT.”When a child is acting-out, they areattempting to solve a problem, eventheir attempts at problem-solving candrive us “crazy.”The goal is to keep them solvingproblems, but in ways that are safer,more effective, more efficient, self-enhancing or less annoying.You will never be successful atteaching a child to not swear, not hit,not bite, not run, not throw, notanything…You cannot teach a child to “NOT”
If you know how to ride a bicycle,there is nothing I can do to teach youhow to not ride a bike.You’ll knowhow to ride a bike until the day youdie.If you are taught how to drive a carand you find that driving a car is awhole lot more fun or functional, youwill give up bike riding and go to cardriving.So that’s what we are really talkingabout… trying to move forward withkids and teach them an alternativebehavior that will take the place ofthe less desirable behavior.Teaching replacement behaviors…instead of this do that.It’s like riding a bike…
Stress EscalatorIncreasing StressProblems Solved• Stress is a good thing.• Dis-stress is a bad thing.• Tension grows as problems increase; and tension causes us to produce adrenaline…the “flight or fight” response.• Adrenaline causes your body’s capillary system to shut down; sending more blood toyour core.• Your neo-cortex… the part of the brain that is involved in problem solving… is fed bycapillaries. Under dis-stress, problem solving ability declines.
• Healthy stress aids problems solving ability• Unhealthy dis-stress destroys problem solving ability. In fact, under greatdis-stress, problem solving becomes very primitive…. “REGRESSION”• Traumatized children live in unhealthy dis-stress and frequently findthemselves behaving in a regressed manner… younger than they reallyare.• It is important to note that this happens to foster parents who becomedis-stressed in the face of a regressed foster child.• The foster parent starts to use primitive problem solving and begins toregress, too… name calling, threatening removal, excessive punishments,angry faces, loud voices, etc.Regression
ForgivenessIncreasing StressProblems SolvedFORGIVENESS• When stress is high in a family, then forgiveness must be just as high.• You have to be willing to forgive your foster child AND yourself for regressing under dis-stress.
Self-CareIncreasing StressProblems SolvedSELF-CARE• A foster parent must take the time to engage in activities that reduce their stress level.• You have a responsibility to yourself, family and foster children to keep your stress andtension at a level that promotes effective problem solving and prevents regression.
Some people believe that others orcircumstances are responsible fortheir thoughts, feelings and actions.EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL“You, Life or Circumstances make methink, feel or act.”If I am externally controlled and amunhappy with some aspect of my life,then I have to wait for someone elseor something else to change it.Some people believe that they areresponsible for their thoughts,feelings and actions.INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL“I make me think, feel or act”The most successful people have aninternal locus of control. Why?If I am internally controlled and amunhappy with some aspect of my life,then I can change it.Locus of Control
If you happen to believe thatothers, life or circumstancesCAUSE you to feel dis-stress, thenwhen you are distressed by thebehaviors of your foster child…1. You will have to pray that theychange their behavior so thatyou will get some relief fromyour misery, and2. Your foster child OWNS you!External Locus of Control and FosterCare
If, however, you happen to believethat you CONTROL your ownfeelings of dis-stress, then whenyou are distressed in the face ofthe behaviors of your fosterchild…1. You will have the power tochange your own thoughts,feelings or actions in order toreduce your own misery, and2. Your foster child DOESN’TOWN you!Internal Locus of Control and FosterCare
If you believe that a foster child can control your effectiveness as a foster parent orhappiness as a person based upon their behavior…You will not last very long as a foster parent and will not experience a successful fosterparenting experience.Who’s puling the strings?
OK, on your way to an importantmeeting you get caught unprepared ina down pour and get drenched.You feel a mixture of frustration andanger.1. Do you blame the rain for yourfeelings?1. If so, you will have to go outside inthe rain and yell up to the clouds.You can threaten to spit into the airor stomp your feet, perhaps.2. Do you take responsibility for yourown feelings?1. If so, you can take a few deepbreaths, count to 10, or find humorin your circumstance.If rain were a foster kid?Which approach will be most effective in the long run?
KEEP IT AT HOME• STOP and ask yourself, “What am Isaying to myself that is getting meangry right now.”• Remember, all your thoughtsbelong to you. All your feelingsbelong to you, and all your actionsbelong to you.• If you can teach this step to afoster child, while you may neversee the benefits of your teaching,you may be planting an incrediblyhelpful seed.When you find yourself getting angrywith the child, keep it at home…
DOWNSIDEIf you are unable to relax, it’s yourfault.If you are unhappy, it’s your fault.If you behave in a regressed manner,it’s your fault.Keeping it home gives you all thepower and not the foster child.UPSIDEIf you relax, it’s your fault.If you feel happy, it’s your fault.If you behave calmly, it’s your fault.Keeping it home gives you all thepower and not the foster child.Keeping it home…If he chooses the brownie over the apple, isit the brownies fault, the apple’s failure orhis fault?
Most of you thought “RELIEF.”But if you watch an aspirincommercial the next time, youwill see that the very first thingthat is being sold is “PAIN” and“STRESS.”Before you hear about theproduct, how well it works, somekind of statistic, or even atestimonial, you are most likelygoing to see an actor or actressacting-out PAIN, STRESS, or evena SPLITTING HEADACHE.What do aspirin commercials sell?
Advertisers sell us a feeling overand over again; then attach afact to it.The hope is that when we havethe feeling we will think of theirproduct or if we want the feeling,we will think of the product.Beer commercials sell sex andfun.Life insurance sells guilt and fear.Cars sell status and thrill.Our conscious memory is built intwo pieces…FACTS and FEELINGWhat makes our memory work isnot the facts associated with amemory, but rather the feelingassociated with the memory.It is much easier to recall amemory that has a strong feelingattached to it, than one that doesnot have much feeling connectedto it.It easier to remember where youwere on 9-11, than what you atefor dinner 3 weeks ago Monday.Facts and Feelings…
Surely you can recall a time whenyou saw a difficult or unpleasantacquaintance or co-workercoming your way and you quicklyhid until they passed by… right?Think about it. That person hasdone nothing unpleasant ordifficultTODAY and yet you arehiding from them as if they had.From a FACT position, they wereinnocent.But due to the FEELINGS that arealready attached to thisacquaintance, you feel the needto avoid them.Fact vs. Feeling Experience
When your foster child sees you coming, what feeling do you want themto have?Your task as a foster parent is to enable your foster child to attach feelings ofsafety, caring, love, fairness, patience, funny and warmth to you. Not aboutthe world in general, butYOU, personally.Almost no foster parent would want to be associated with crabby, swamped,angry, impatient, mean, unsafe, volatile, moody or evil.Creating a positive feelingEXERCISE:1. Pick one feeling that you would like your foster childto experience when they see you.2. Put that feeling on a post-it note on the refrigeratorand one other place that you will see every day as areminder.3. Spend every day for 3 weeks focusing on projectingthat feeling to your foster child.
Look at the picture of the fostermother and foster son.In 1 year, what would you ratherhe remember…A) The answer to number 3 was“Lake Geneva”B) That it was enjoyable (or evenfun) to be helped by my fostermom.Take “Help with Homework” forexample…REMEMBER:Throughout your experience with your foster child, problems will come andgo.What will matter in the end is the feelings that child has for you and yourrelationship.
Make nothing more important than your relationship with yourfoster child AT ALL TIMES… good times and trying times.You are selling a feeling all the time!
CHILDHOODEXPERIENCES• CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES• Genetics & ExperienceSELF-IMAGE &SELF-ESTEEM• SELF-IMAGE & SELF-ESTEEM• Varies from situation to situation depending upon childhood experiencesEVENT• EVENT• Current or past, real or imagined, trauma triggerSELF-STATEMENT• SELF-STATEMENT• Usually involve “should’s”, “have to’s”.. I should be loved and approved of by everyone for everything I do;otherwise I’m a failure; or “That’s not fair.”FEELINGS• FEELINGS• Fear or HurtANGER• ANGER• Anger is a motivator that drives the child to try to solve the problem.BEHAVIOR• BEHAVIORWhere does anger come from?
Ineffective foster parents have NOREACTION or OVER REACTION.• Both responses cause fear in afoster child; fear of abandonmentor fear of harm.• Both NO REACTION or OVERREACTIN drives the child to aSURVIVAL REACTION.Great foster parents REACT…• Based upon personal values• Voluntary choice to reactWhen a foster parent REACTS bychoice and based-upon a solid valuesystem, children can LEARN… evenangry ones.BehaviorLEARNING SURVIVALHypo-arousalHyper-arousalDissociation
Physiological (Basic) NeedsThese include the most basic needs that are vital tosurvival, such as the need for water, air, food and sleep.All needs become secondary until these physiologicalneeds are met.SafetyNeedsThese include needs for safety and security. Securityneeds are important for survival, but they are not asdemanding as the physiological needs. Examples ofsecurity needs include a desire for steady employment,health insurance, safe neighborhoods and shelter fromthe environment.Social NeedsThese include needs for belonging, love and affection.Relationships such as friendships, romanticattachments and families help fulfill this need forcompanionship and acceptance, as does involvement insocial, community or religious groups.Esteem NeedsAfter the first three needs have been satisfied, esteemneeds becomes increasingly important.These includethe need for things that reflect on self-esteem,personal worth, social recognition andaccomplishment.Self-actualizing (Achievement) NeedsThis is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy ofneeds.Theses people are self-aware, concerned withpersonal growth, less concerned with the opinions ofothers and interested fulfilling their potential.We all have needs… Maslow
When a person finds themselveswith an unmet need and a varietyof “reasonable” solutions(behavior) continue to fail to getthe need met, a person maydevelop a BRAIN STORM.A BRAIN STORM is poorlycontrolled hypo-reactive or hyper-reactive behaviors indicating adesperation to get one’s needs met(solve the problem), but in self-defeating ways.Behavior StormsBEHAVIORNeedsFEELINGSBrain Storm
Taking it out on others…BEHAVIORNeedsFEELINGSBrain StormDirectinganger towarda fosterparent
Taking it out on you…BEHAVIORNeedsFEELINGSBehavior StormDirectinganger towarda fosterparentBEHAVIOR
Their behavior causes you a problem thatyou can’t solve…BEHAVIORNeedsFEELINGSBehavior StormDirectinganger towarda fosterparentBEHAVIOR
With fear or frustration, you develop a brain storm, too...anger, threats, & yelling directed back to the foster kid.BEHAVIORNeedsFEELINGSCONFLICTBEHAVIOR
The trauma-informed foster parent understands what is beneath the foster child’sstorm (unmet needs), takes a pause, does a moment of self-care, then respondsempathetically… soothing, reassuring and re-committing.BEHAVIORNeedsFEELINGSBEHAVIOR
Remember… the uglier their behavior, thebigger their unmet need. Don’t take theirbrain storm personally.
How do you let someone knowthat you are angry?Are you able to show angerdifferently depending upon whoyou are dealing with?Do you show anger to a policeofficer the same way that youshow anger to a child in yourcare?Remember: Children learn frommodeling your behavior. How doyou want them to show anger?How doYOU express anger?
STEPTHREE: THOUGHTSIf they are old enough, you can talkabout what they may have beenthinking that created the feelingsthat led to the unwanted behavior.STEP ONE: BEHAVIOREncourage large muscle movementto burn off adrenalin. Running,jumping, stomping, basketball (nothitting, kicking and punching)STEPTWO: FEELINGSEncourage them to express theirfeelings through talking, drawing,working with clay, journaling orpoetry. Chatting with boys is harderthan with girls. If the child doesn’tknow what they feel, then tell themwhat you felt in a similar situation orwhat would be normal to feel.When you have a foster child that isangry…
SurvivalBrain(structure, safety,predictability,rules)ThinkingBrain(creativity,novelty,problemsolving)EmotionalBrain(feelings,relationships,effects onothers)Triune Brain ModelPeople always problem solve fromthe survival brain, through theemotional brain to the thinkingbrain.1st: things must be safe andpredictable2nd: then we develop goodrelationships3rd: then we start solving problemsWhen people “stress out”, they doit in reverse; from the thinkingbrain, through the emotional brainto the survival brain… getting“flaky” under high stress.Continued stress prompts higheremotionality and touchiness.In chronic stress, the survival brainthen kicks in and prompts for safetythrough social withdrawal oraggression.
• It takes about 72 hours for theSurvival Brain to settle down aftera crisis…. mistakenly called a“honeymoon.”• This also explains why it takes afew days for some kids to settleafter a home visit.• Settling is enhanced by highpredictability… schedules, routineand tradition. *This is the secretof residential treatment programsuccess.• Movement into the emotionalbrain is enhanced throughexplaining how a certain behaviorhas affected you personally.Stimulating the relationshipopens up the pathway to thethinking brain and problemsolving.A new foster child is stuck in theirsurvival brain…SurvivalBrain(structure, safety,predictability,rules)ThinkingBrain(creativity,novelty,problemsolving)EmotionalBrain(feelings,relationships,effects onothers)
Before you can get to a foster child’s head,you have to first get to their heart.Based on theTriune Brain Model…
SOOTHING – calm low voice, minimal content, relaxed posture(stimulates the survival brain)RE-ASSURANCE – repeating that everything will be “OK” and theythey will be “safe” with you.(stimulates the survival and emotional brain)RE-COMMITMENT – reconfirming that you value them and that youwant them to remain in your home with you and your family.(stimulates the emotional brain)CONSEQUENCE – consider using “work” as a reasonableconsequence for inappropriate behavior.The job is time limited(when it is completed the consequence is over) and you can talkabout the effect of the work on you. Do not lecture.This formula allows the thinking brain to begin to problem solve.Formula to de-escalate the survival andemotional brains
Be sure that the consequence is ageappropriate and a task that would beconsidered usual and customary.Explain to the foster child that theirbehavior __________ (fill in the blank:hurt your feelings, offended yourvalues, made you feel sad orembarrassed) and that you will feel___________ (fill in the blank withsomething opposite: better, much lesshurt, satisfied) after they completetheir consequence.As their relationship with you grows, itwill really matter to them that you weredisappointed, hurt or saddened.Theywill give special effort to not disappointyou.Remember to connect behavior andconsequence with an effect on you.
Just as you have to honor all three brains in order to de-escalate andhelp your foster child heal, you also have to do the same for you.You also have to ensure that you have structure and predictability inyour life (survival brain)Emotional support through friends, family and/or church (emotionalbrain)And you have to provide yourself with new experiences to stimulateyour creativity and critical thinking skills (thinking brain)Self-Care
If your goal is to de-escalate, DO NOT:TACOSWhat NOT to do…
Ashley communicated effectivelywith her kidnapper by –unwittingly-using de-escalation skills. She wasnot confrontational, did not panic ortry to offend or threaten herkidnapper, she simply calmed thekiller by talking with him about Godand a book that she had beenreading. By doing this she developedenough rapport with the kidnapper tothe point that she was able to escapeby persuading him to let her pick upher daughter from a day care center.In March 2005, Ashley Smith, anAtlanta-area woman, was takenhostage by Brian Nichols, thesubject of the largest manhunt inGeorgia history.Nichols had overpowered anAtlanta courthouse deputy as hewas being escorted to court for arape trial; shot and killed thepresiding judge and a court reporterbefore killing another deputy as heleft the courthouse and later hekilled a federal agent in an attemptto flee authorities.The Case of Ashley Smith:selling the right feelings
Remember children will try new ways toremain in control. When a parent no longerparticipates in the escalation game, the childwill try something new to get the parent backon the Hook.Stay in control. When a child has the leastcontrol of themselves it is the time for theparent to have the most control of themselves.Speak in statements of fact. Avoid saying "ifyou dont... you cant..." or "If youll... Ill letyou..." Bargaining, bribery and threatening isineffective with an emotional fragile child. It isfar more effective to say in a matter of factway, "When... Then..."Help your child stay focused on the issue ortask. Communicate one thought or idea at atime.Try to break down complex concepts intosmaller ones or smaller steps. People with braindisorders can feel overwhelmed by multi-leveltasks or concepts.Do not try to discipline or change the mind ofsomeone while they are in crisis. Pointing outreality will only increase your child’s frustration.Wait for neutral times to talk with a child inorder to get your point across.When the voices get loud, lower yours.Everyone else will usually follow. I like to usewhat I call the "Whisper-Yell." and it works verywell and things remain soft.To help avoid confrontation dont "frontally"face your child. Stand facing them with yourside.This body language is less threatening andputs you in a better self-defense position shouldthe child get out of control.Avoid smiling during tensesituations. Research shows some people viewthis as threatening behavior much like ananimal that is bearing its teeth.Understand the cycle of "pacing." Pacing is acycle of feeding off someones emotions inorder to escalate. If a child is upset with you andwants to get angrier they need to "hook" youinto their game. If the child can get you as angryas the child is then it gives the child permissionto become angrier.The more upset and angrythe parent becomes the more the child canjustify his or her increase in hostility. Pacing isthe same as they old saying mothers used tosay, "It takes two to tango."Tips for de-escalating a brain storm
PART 1Foster parent escalates the child’sdis-stress…What did she do wrong?-Use logic with the child at anemotional moment-Name calling-Harsh tonePART 2Foster parent successfully de-escalates the child’s dis-stress…What did she do right?-Provide a brief explanation-Demonstrate empathy for thechild-Friendly toneCase: “I want that!” (1’23”)
PART 1Foster parent escalates the child’sdis-stress…What did she do wrong?-Use logic with the child at anemotional moment-Name calling-Cold and aloof tone-Lack of empathyPART 2Foster parent successfully de-escalates the child’s dis-stress…What did she do right?-Identify the feeling-Demonstrate empathy for the child-Acknowledgment and validation-Friendly and caring tone-Soothe and reassureCase: “My turtle died!”(1’42”)
PART 1Foster parent escalates the child’sdis-stress…What did she do wrong?-Blaming-Shaming-Lack of empathyPART 2Foster parent successfully de-escalates the child’s dis-stress…What did she do right?-Demonstrate empathy for thechild-SootheCase: Stolen red pencil
So, what’s the secret to de-escalatingyour foster child? Come on don’t beshy.
1. Sell a feeling2. Be empathetic3. Be soothing4. Be reassuring that all will work out and be OK5. Re-commit yourself to the child6. Don’t take their brain storm personally. Keep it at home7. Sometimes silence is better than words8. Discreet use of touch9. Sincere and kind non-verbal expressions10. Self-Care… keep yourself calm and controlled.11. Forgiveness and “do-overs.”In no particular order….