Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sometimes they have to remind you!

Last night my daughter (age 10) had a friend over for "Girl Scouts".  (She was in a troop for two months, but it turned out to be too much for her to handle, so we've recently switched to her and her best friend having their own little meetings.)   I didn't plan it out well and the girls got kind of crazy and messy.   I started getting stressed about them cleaning up the mess so we could get her friend home, shower and get to bed on time.  As with most kids of trauma, routine is a big deal to my daughter.   Because I was stressed and rushing her, she got doubly stressed.   We got her friend home and then repeated the whole situation as I was nagging and pushing her to hurry up and get in the shower.

Finally, she looked at me and said, "You always tell me to take my time so I don't get stressed, but you keep rushing me today.  I think you should do what you always tell me to do and stop, take a deep breath and relax!"

She was so right!!!   I was so focused on keeping her on her routine that I lost site of being the calm, steady, therapuetic mom she needs.  I was so excited that she could verbalize that to me and help me remember.

So I became a S.T.A.R. (stop, take a deep breath and relax), thanked her, gave her a big hug, then she took her shower and got ready for bed.

I work in the field of early childhood education and am a big fan of Dr. Becky Bailey's Conscious Discipline Method.  Conscious Discipline is based on brain research of how we handle stressful situations and is all about strengthening social-emotional skills.  The symbols below coordinate with some simple relaxation exercises she has.  The first is the "Be a S.T.A.R" that my daughter reminded me of: stop (or smile), take a deep breath, and relax.  The balloon, drain and pretzel are also great techniques for getting rid of some tension and taking a moment to regroup.   While Dr. Bailey's stuff is largely used in classrooms, it works great at home with traumatized children.  I encourage you to check out her website because there are lots of FREE tools on it that you can print to use at home including posters of the relaxation techniques and a feelings chart.

Last Mom

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dad's Can Be Therapeutic Too!

I am writing today about our weekend and how my awesome husband "out crazied the crazy" (thanks Christine Moers for that little phrase).

Layla, our youngest was in full on ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) mode this weekend. 

After two tantrums and a bad mood all day on Saturday, we had hoped the storm had passed.  Then Sunday morning arrived and it was obvious we were still in the midst of a melt-down.  

After her tantrum on Sunday, we told her she could just stay in her room until she was able to change her mood to something a little more pleasant for the rest of the house to be around.

She stayed quietly in her room until her mood was back to that of a happy little 5 year old. 

Then she started peeking out of her door.  My husband just so happened to be laying in our bedroom and could see her.  He had his laptop out and finally goes (in an excited tone)  "Come here Layla, do you want to watch this video?"   She happily came running. 

She was hugged up against him when I came down the hall.  When I heard him talking inside of my head I thought, "Oh crap, what is she doing wrong now?"  Then when I walked into the room, she was smiling and had a new skill to show me. 

So I walk over and she goes, "Mommy can I have a banana?"  I see my husband in the background shaking his head no.  So I answered, "No."   Then she goes,  "Oh... well... that's okay I didn't need one anyway!"  

So we both praised her for "accepting no" from us. 

Our new approach to her is going to be pouring on the praise for accepting no, stop, please don't, etc.   We hope that will curb some of the ODD stuff she's been dealing with. 

In her mind the word "NO" means, "We don't love you!"  and that simply is not true.  So when she accepts the "NO" by praising her we will show her we DO love her, and she is in control of accepting the "no" or throwing a fit because it didn't go her way. 

So GREAT JOB HONEY!  You did really well helping her see that when we say "no" it doesn't mean never, is just means not right now! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Welcome to our blog.  This blog is contributed to by several mothers of children that had a "tough start" to their lives.  There are various reasons our children are the way they presently are, but there is one thing that makes all of these children the same, for whatever the circumstance, they all need a parent in their life to help them heal and  show them the meaning of unconditional love.  

I hope that you will follow us, and read about the various therapeutic techniques we use to help our kids.

This blog was inspired by my daughter's therapist when she said to me, “You could write a book on the therapeutic moments you have with [your daughter] and help a lot of people.” 

I hope we are able to help a lot of people.  Who knows... maybe one day I will write a book!

- CQ