See the Fear, Not the Anger

We have been so intent on believing that children are angry, that we have failed to see the true emotions driving their behavior. The most focused on feeling of all is anger. This is an indication in itself that we are fearful beings. We are always looking to see anger because it is a threatening feeling that drives threatening behaviors. If we are intent upon seeing something most assuredly it will appear. In this manner anger is no different from fear or from love for that matter. What we focus on the most is what we see. See fear, not anger and you will find the way home for your child.

Calm the Stress, Diminish the Behavior: for Parent AND Child

The parent can foster the environment necessary to calm, or regulate, the bodymind state of stress through understanding, being mindful of, and encouraging the expression of fear or the feelings stemming from it. This is the key to diminishing undesirable behavior. All behavior arises from stress. To eliminate negative behavior you must strive to trigger the oxytocin response in your child. It is the experience of the love hormone which helps the body ultimately to calm stress thereby decreasing or eliminating negative behavior.

B_eyes_closed_cropLike any habit, the more you integrate the practice of mindfulness into your day, the stronger it becomes in your short term memory, and the more likely it is to be retrieved in difficult moments. Like love, mindfulness doesn’t change your child’s behaviors, it changes the way you experience everything. This present moment experience offers your child the opportunity to be truly accepted and loved – unconditionally – non-judgmentally for who they are. A glorious place for a child to be. With fear, threats and survival out of the way, their behaviors in turn can come from a regulated frame of mind. Calm the stress, diminish the behavior. But first of all you the parent must come from this place – and visit it often.

Choose love.

– B
(Read more articles by Bryan Post)

How to Stop Doing What Doesn’t Work

Q&AQ: How do I stop doing the things that do not help me or my child?

A: Stop doing that

Q: But how?

A: You stop doing that by stopping doing that.

Q: Could it really be that simple?.

A: It is that simple. If I were to pay you $1 million to stop doing that, whatever that is, do you think you could stop doing that? Or at the least, would you not pay much, much more attention to the issue and thereby make much quicker progress? Is your life and the life of your child not worth much more than that? It is all a matter of priority and perspective. Some things are more important than others. When we discover what we are making more important, and then evaluate if it is indeed more important, then we choose to make that change. That is why, when I say, choose love, although it appears simple, for so many of us it is so far in the background of our lives it almost appears as if impossible to live. Yet if we live as though we were being paid $1 million to choose love, I suspect the choice, the opportunity and the will to do so would be so much more accessible to us. So the real question is, is it important enough to stop? And if not, why not?

Have a Happy Holiday? Maybe, Maybe Not…

I recall one Christmas where one adopted RAD son had an absolute meltdown at my in-laws Christmas Day huge family gathering. Although I don’t recall how it began, I can imagine it began like most other “out of control” events, with a simple little, even maybe tiny thing or incident that I, in my parenting ignorance fanned into a bonfire of mess. We eventually had four adults each grab one of my son’s limbs while he screamed bloody murder, fighting, kicking trying to bite as we carried him back into the house with some of the family members shouting things like - I know a local cop - want me to call him? or Should we take him to the hospital? None of this was necessary. In fact, once I calmed down and let him just calm down, he played by himself in a room till all was well. He just wanted to be left alone. I have come to see that a little bit of Bryan can go a long way from keeping 'all those itty bitty little things' from turning into weapons of mass destruction.

Talk about embarrassing… The family, kind enough with their intentions, knew that our adopted son was of course to blame and offered us Santa-Lettertheir condolences for our situation. And this was after we had met Bryan Post. As impressed as we were with his new paradigm parenting approach for children with trauma histories, it was just not enough to “Get my Bryan on” and do the right thing. Even after years and years, and working for the Post Institute for seven of those, I still have trouble doing the right thing. How do I manage all this failure? By realizing that there is no “right thing”, just the next best thing that I can do - and a lot of it turns out not so good. But a lot turns out good. And this is why I do this work.

I know how not to do it. I just need more practice, more reading, more understanding, more love… more Bryan.
So to help you with with your holiday season, to help you to have a Happy Holiday rather than one like I describe above, here are some tools,tips and techniques that can help you Get Your Bryan On this year. We will be offering these over the next couple of weeks in emails, our Facebook Page and our Blog. Let us know what you learn this year and how things work for you.

Have a calm and peaceful holiday season.

Choose Peace.

The Art of Curiosity by Sherrie Boles-Rogers

Sherrie Boles-Rogers, author and creator of the website The Parenting Heart, posted a 'to the point' article recently that spoke directly to our parents.

Do you yell?  Do you put her in time-out?  Do you lecture, threaten, punish?  All of the above?  Do you casually push your cart past

Sherrie Boles-Rogers

Sherrie Boles-Rogers

the melt-down in the cereal aisle pretending you don't know the small creature writhing about?Trust me, I know how difficult it is to keep yourself together when you child is "misbehaving" or "losing it."  Not too long ago, it wasn't uncommon, while Krogering, for the manager to open a special check-out line just for me in order to expedite getting me and my screaming banshee out of there!

But what I have found over the years is that the strategies listed above have several unintended results. Namely, (a) they tend to exacerbate the problem instead of solve it (especially with a strong-willed child), (b) they don't help the child think about what they've done...or why...or how they might solve the problem differently next time, and (c) they don't help parents feel competent and effective".

Instead, she suggests, is to "develop the art of curiosity:  What's the Feeling (WTF)?  What's the Need (WTN)? Developing honest curiosity about your child's emotional life leads to greater understanding and a stronger connection." For more of Sherrie's parenting wisdom visit her blog.

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?

The End. Not.

Bryan often talks about process versus outcome. Outcome is the end. Process is ongoing. It never ends. This process is observable, knowable, and predictable. The more you observe, the more you know and the more you can predict. The more you can predict, the more you can be proactive in your parenting approach. I know many of us feel that our children are unpredictable. But really… once the David Journalbehaviors, the meltdowns, the disruptions are over, do they not leave a trail of logical steps that having known all this, we could have easily done much to prevent many of these occurrences?

The process with our special children may never end. But that is not a life sentence for them or us. It is merely an observable fact and the more you observe the more you know and hence the more you can predict and prevent. Many parents like us fear that our children will never grow up, never leave the house, or in some way shape or form always be our responsibility. This is a real fear. This does not mean that it is a real fact. But again it is a real fear.

Our children truly are gifts. The trick comes in appreciating and being open to what they have to offer us. There are many of us that just cannot stand anymore, cannot take it anymore, are done with it, through with it and over it. This is not our children’s fault. To blame them for our reactions is to take on the victim role, and the only way to win is to become a victor. In order for us to be a victor there must be a victim or a loser. This is not the role we want for our children. The gift that they offer is the opportunity to be free. Free from our self imposed reactionary life and a life of being "free to choose" who and what we want to be. And that dear parent is the pearl of great price!

Reactive behavior is based on a belief that the world is happening to us, and it is therefore our duty either to defend ourselves or to impose our will on what’s happening. This appears real because our attention is almost exclusively focused on a reflected past and projected future. Love based parenting teaches that “stress causes us to react from the past to project the future that may not be in our best interest”. And in most cases is not in our best interest. Nor is it in our children’s best interest. As long as our “buttons are being pushed”, our “triggers are being activated” and we are getting upset–we as parents are not learning our lessons.

We have two lessons to learn:
#1 is to remember who we really are.
#2 is to choose who we want to be.
The answers to these two questions will determine the path of our parenting approach.

In every moment we have an opportunity to choose. Bryan says, “choose love”. I add to this, choose who you want to be. Not who or what you are currently experiencing with the behaviors you display in any moment, but in fact who you want to be–then just do it. Some say, “that is just who I am”. This response is limiting and is a "life sentence" so long as you believe it.

This process of choosing and doing is a gift that can have eternal consequences for us. The change from reactive to responsive behavior is the single most important adjustment to our perception of the world, and therefore our interaction with, that will benefit our entire experience in life.

For those who seek outcomes, results and only behaviors that are acceptable to them, they will never see “The End”. And it is likely that they will be frustrated time and time again in their parenting efforts. For those who see the process, progress, and are able to observe, learn and predict more accurately, they will be better prepared to accept and love their children for who they are not just for who they want them to be.

David Durovy is the president and the janitor of The Post Institute. He tries very hard every day to bring Bryan's message of Love Based Family-Centered Parenting to the world. He and his wife Susan have fostered around 27 children and adopted four children at 6, 16, 17, and 21 years of age from the Virginia Foster Care program.

Integrating or Healing?

You might try thinking of your child as "integrating" rather than healing. These two words have very different intent. Healing makes an assumption that something is wrong and in need of fixing. Healing often attempts to get rid of whatever it attempts to heal. Healing is often more of a "reaction" to what is. There are scores of people who have integrateTemple Grandind their injuries, disabilities and conditions with no thought of ever healing them or making them go away. Think of painters with no arms who paint using only their mouth to hold a brush. Or world-class athletes with limbs missing. Or, more closely to our children, consider Dr. Temple Grandin, who although will be Autistic all her life, has learned to integrate her specific condition to propel her to Time Magazine's List of 100 most influential people in 2010. And with her condition has come some very unique talents and abilities that have added to her success. Let us help our children integrate rather than heal or fix the unique conditions and experiences along with the many talents and abilities they may possess. Think on this.

Baby, You Are a Parenting Superstar (Pt. 2)

(...click here if you missed Part 1)
How many life lessons must you learn? When will this school of life hold a graduation ceremony? When will you be able to sleep a full night, stress and worry free? When will you go through a day with ease and grace, loved completely by your family with no tears, no anger, no fear? The answers to these questions you may never know but each moment, each hour, each day, you continue, and still find time for a laugh, for a breath, for a moment to be gracious. Baby, you are a Parenting Super Star!

Love becomes fear. Hope becomes despair. Joy becomes sadness. You cry. You stress. You worry. You toss and you turn. The school calls again. Another curse word, another broken possession, another disrupted family dinner. You wail inside and sometimes openly, "Oh Lord why has thou forsaken me to the desert barren of hope and peace? What have I done to be stricken by the one thousand locusts all wrapped into one ungrateful, defiant child? Where is my blessing?" And with each rising sun you get up and do it again. Baby, you are a Parenting Super Star!

For you see, fear is the common way. It is, in fact, the broad and wide. Many will travel this path. Love is the straight and narrow. There are few that will follow this path. Even fewer will lead their families down it. And there are many more that will judge you for traveling it. It is also a fact that this judgment will make your task even more difficult and this is as it shall be. Without the pressure, without the conflict, without the heat of the fire, the diamond could not emerge from the coal. Fear not your journey, your path, or for that of your child. Walk the path of love, the straight and narrow, and continue to get up after you have stumbled, as you surely will. You will see. You will see. Baby, you are a Parenting Super Star!

Choose Love,
B

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Baby, You Are a Parenting Super Star (Pt. 1)

Go in the bathroom and stand in the mirror, I have something to tell you. Ready?

You are a magnificent parent. You are a wonderful human being. You are bold, brave, courageous, passionate and most of all full of love. You have taken all that life has handed you and still yet, you stand. You have been unwavering in your commitment to create a better life for your child, for your family. True, you have stumbled, felt frustrated, not wanted to get back up. You have felt resentment, isolation, loneliness, and sometimes even hatred more times than you might wish to admit it, but you are still here. Baby, you are a Parenting Super Star!

You didn't expect to encounter so many challenges on your parenting path. You thought that you had gone through the roughest patches in your life, and could look forward to some fun and loving times ahead. Yet, even when the sun went away and the clouds set in, you did not give up. You did not turn away. When the beach you laid out on became an unbearable mountain to climb, you've not packed up and gone home. Baby, you are a Parenting Super Star! (Read more here...)

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GBB Audio sIf you want in-depth understanding with challenging behaviors, start here...The Great Behavior Breakdown book began here - The Great Behavior Breakdown 13 CD Audio Program contains valuable and fascinating information about the roots and remedies of challenging behaviors. Covers specific tools and techniques for helping parents overcome some of the most problematic behaviors demonstrated by their children. To read more about this 13 hour CD program , just click here. (The Great Behavior Breakdown is also available as a paperback, Kindle  and PDF e-book - Click Here)
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