6 Minutes That Can Change Your Child’s Life (and Yours!)

6 Minutes That Can Change Your Child's Life
Are you struggling with a child whose difficult or disturbing behaviors make you feel completely out of control?

Spending hours trying to pacify a child whose lost it, or walking on eggshells just to avoid the next meltdown can leave you feeling utterly without hope.

Whether your child has a diagnosis of reactive attachment disorder, Oppositional Defiance, Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, or Hyperactivity...

...you are not to blame.

Watch the video below to find out why, and what you can do to take control back and restore peace and happiness to your family.

I Cannot Control My Children’s Reactions

QWhat do I do if I offer time-in and my child reacts to it angrily and shouts no? What happens if the challenging behavior takes the form of pushing parents away, how do we achieve a time-in or other love based parenting approaches especially when children react so negatively?"

As always you do what you can, not what you can't. What do I do when my spouse has a meltdown and she doesn't want to be hugged, touched, talked to and just wants to be LEFT ALONE? I step back - even though I want to 'help', and say, "ok honey. I can do that. I will be here when you need or want me. I will be right here (wherever here is...). The key is - when you get a negative reaction, the underlying fear has been stimulated. That is a message not to be dismissed or judged. It is to be heeded, accepted and learned from. We don't punish fear, but try to calm the distress. We cannot control our children - a great illusion shattered - but we can influence them.

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired?

The fact that our children's behaviors affects parents so personally and deeply is a critical issue. It is heart wrenching, heart breaking and depressing at times to have to "put up" with our children's behaviors - especially when it affects us so directly (hitting, spitting, hurtful words etc). It takes a lot of personal work on the part of parents to be able to "just be" with our children in a way that does not add fuel to their fire, and "allows" for the parent to accept the child "as they are in that moment". We cannot change the present, but we can influence the future as we all know. The place to do this however is not in our minds... in our understanding but at a "feeling-felt-perception" place. This allowing our own personal discomfort to be experienced to the fullest - not as in "enjoy the pain" but merely to allow it to unfold and move on with the insights presented in those "gifts" to be used as "fuel" for greater compassion and love for ourselves, our children and for all others as well. The way out is through and does not require fixing, sedating,or other techniques to "make it go away". Or, we can always choose to re-act over and over and over and … until we are sick and tired of being sick and tired enough to finally say “enough”. And yes, easier to say than to do, but what else do we have on our agenda as children of God but to learn to love?

Attachment Disorder: Fact or Fiction? Pt 2 of 2

by Bryan Post

Continued from 11/14 ...
Second, when we diagnose someone with a disorder the person becomes the diagnosis in the eyes of others. Rather than seeing a child we see a RAD child or we see an ADD child. The true definition of a disorder is a temporary state lacking order. All things in the world are designed to work harmoniously; when someone or something is not working harmoniously then it is in a state of disorder. This is not a permanent state, but a state needing restoration toward order. When a child is given a diagnosis of RAD we immediately link the child with all of the negatively behaviors associated with the disorder. Therefore, even when the child is doing well we cannot see it, because the very diagnosis of RAD dictates that the child is only being manipulative. It is common that a child diagnosed RAD will have also been diagnosed as ADHD, Bi-Polar, Oppositional-Defiant, or even Conduct Disordered; this is known as differential diagnosis.  At this point I quote psychiatrist Dorothy Lewis, “Differential diagnosis to doctors means, ‘I’m not sure but these are my hunches.’”

Last, stress research indicates that during times of stress our cellular system constricts into survival mode. This indicates that for both children and adults during times of stress we are prone toward disrupting attachment. Therefore, if a secure system is not intact to repair it then we remain unattached. Quite simply, during times of stress we are all challenged within our attachment systems. Because of this, I believe that there is no such thing as an attachment disordered child, but rather an attachment challenged child. We can all be attachment challenged not just a traumatized child.

Attachment Disorder: Fact or Fiction? Pt 1 of 2

by Bryan Post

Much like physicians, mental health professionals gather information and symptoms in order to offer accurate diagnoses. The problem is that seeking and identifying only the negative behaviors leaves us with a limited time frame in which to see the child. It’s similar to judging a rotten apple without fully considering the tree it grew on and all the other elements that have gone into its making. The reality is that a child is much more than a psychiatric label and possesses much more than the prevalent negative behaviors.

As we examine the diagnosis Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) the reader must consider a few points interest:

First, individuals are much more than a diagnosis. Research indicates that stress and trauma can be passed down from one generation to the next while having an immediate effect on the DNA of our body. Individuals are more than a simple framework for his or her current lifetime, but rather a woven fabric of many lifetimes.

Second, when we diagnose someone with a disorder the person becomes the diagnosis in the eyes of others. Rather than seeing a child we see a RAD child or we see an ADD child. The true definition of a disorder is a temporary state lacking order. All things in the world are designed to work harmoniously; when someone or something is not working harmoniously then it is in a state of disorder. This is not a permanent state, but a state needing restoration toward order. To be continued....

What do chronic lying, stealing, fire setting, killing animals, and hoarding food have in common? Everything.

by Bryan Post

Each of these behaviors is related to a psychiatric diagnosis that is quickly becoming recognized by mental health professionals across the nation. Reactive Attachment Disorder, once a little known, seldom recognized mental health diagnosis, has become the new buzz word of the mental health industry. Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) was first introduced about twenty years ago. Since that time much of the information regarding this disorder has painted a dismal and often dangerous picture of those diagnosed with it, most often children. Books and articles have compared children with RAD to serial killers, rapist, and hard-core criminals. Unconventional parenting techniques have been taught to parents in order to control these children—children referred to as “disturbed” or “unattached.”

The main premise of RAD is that the child cannot form positive, lasting relationships. The RAD child seems unable to socially connect with or attach to others. Many of their behaviors appear very frightening, and downright dangerous, leaving parents feeling resented, blamed, and chastised by others. Such behaviors include defiance; frequent and intense anger outbursts, manipulative or controlling patterns; little or no conscience; destructive to self, others, and property; gorging or hoarding food; and preoccupation with fire, blood, or violence. For more information on RAD and these associated behaviors  visit www.postinstitute.com or www.reactiveattachmentdisorderparenting.com.

The causes are complicated. Typically any traumatic experience occurring within the first 0 to 5 years of life can create the potential for attachment challenges. For example, physical or sexual abuse, neglect, parental depression, premature birth, birth trauma, domestic violence, or frequent moves can all be indicators. Such events impact the child’s ability to tolerate stress and anxiety, exposing them to ongoing states of fear. Over time, his constant state of fear leads to an inability to trust others even after years of diligent care.

The purpose of these posts is to educate and offer solutions to parents, teachers, and professionals struggling to care for children that have been diagnosed (or not diagnosed) with reactive attachment disorder. There is hope. There can be a happy ending to your family story. The good news is that you as an adult can control the process, even though you may not be able to control yourself or your child. It is the process that is the healing balm to soothe the wounds and not the Band-Aids that you try to throw on out of your own fear, frustration (anger) and cultural parenting patterns you grew up with. Just keep thinking…. Happily Ever After. It doesn’t have to be just a fairy tale.

Living with Fear: The Mind of an Attachment Challenged Child

by Bryan Post

Imagine that this is what is going on in many of our extra-ordinary children's minds/feelings. Try to understand that this is what their behaviors are saying. I repeat often but never enough, “it is not the behaviors” that we should seek to control but the “emotional state” that we should seek to soothe and support. Behaviors are the results of the emotional state.

 I may struggle to trust other adults for the rest of my life simply because I've associated other people with fear and abandonment from my earliest moments. I don't trust that anyone can meet my needs or keep me safe. My earliest imprints tell me that the best way to survive is by taking care of myself and not letting someone else take care of me.

All this happens at my unconscious level, that is, at the level of physiology and brain chemistry. When I move into that fear state, my cortisol and adrenaline surge and my amygdala goes into high alert. This overloads the ability of my thinking brain, the prefrontal cortex (PFC), to correctly evaluate what's really going on. However, the PFC doesn't usually just give up. Instead, it tries to explain this surge of emotion. Instead of thinking, "This situation has reminded me of the time when I was a baby and my mother went away," it decides, "This person has said something so hurtful and hateful that I have to push him away and make sure he never comes back." This explains those troubling moments in a relationship when one person says something innocent and the other becomes furious.

In Bonding and Attachment in Maltreated Children, psychiatrist Bruce Perry explains that, in times of stress, we revert to our developmental zones of comfort. Another way to say this is that when you stress, you regress. This happens to everyone, whether or not we were maltreated as kids. So a lot of times, when we become stressed, we're not adults anymore. We're adolescents or we're two-year-olds, or we're infants. Unfortunately, this happens not only when we interact with other adults. When your child gets stressed, she may regress to two years old. If this stresses you out, you may respond as your two-year-old self. No wonder it spirals into all-day tantrums.

Choose Love…and Peace will Follow,


Bryan Post is a best-selling author, child behavior expert and consultant, internationally recognized speaker on challenging behaviors and attachment issues, adoption and trauma, and founder of The Post Institute for Family Centered Therapy. To learn more about Parenting Challenging Children, Oxytocin the Love Hormone, Mindfulness, and How to Thrive instead of just survive as an adoptive or foster parent,  visit www.postinstitute.comwww.oxytocincentral.com, and www.reactiveattachmentdisorderparenting.com, To find out more about Bryan Post’s ground breaking parenting program Parenting Attachment Challenged Children “Hands-On” Home Study Course visit www.postinstitute.comAattachment Disorder. Join our Facebook page for daily parenting help and inspiration, videos, articles and contests along with other parents and professionals just like yourself. Also visit our Blog at www.bryanpost.com.