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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Parent Calm Thyself First

I was recently lecturing at the Michigan Association for Adoption, Foster, and Kinship Families in Lansing, Michigan and an adoptive mom asked this question...
"What do I do when my 8 yr old becomes aggressive with me?"

I asked her to get up and come to the front of the room and demonstrate exactly what she meant.

I pulled up two chairs and sat her down next to me and I said, "Now tell me what the aggression looks like?” She said, "We'll be sitting next to one another often times in public and she'll elbow me so know no one else can see it.”

I said, “Okay great. I’ll be your daughter and you be you.” Then I elbowed her.

She looked at me and said, “I felt you do that and I don’t like it!” So then I elbowed her again. She got up. I got up and yelled at her and she said she was going to her room. At this point I stopped and said, “Now I’m you and I just went to my room, you follow me and do what she does.” She followed me. (Remember we are in a big conference room and now over on the side of the audience against the wall.) I act as though I’ve closed my door. At this point mom says, “I go into my room to try to calm myself but she’s now banging on the door, and while she’s doing that I’m on the other side telling her that when she calms down I’ll come out.” I said, "then you aren’t calming yourself down". She said, "what do you mean? I’m trying to tell her that when she calms down I’ll come out.” And I again I said, “Then you aren’t really calming yourself down.” I said, “Act like you are behind your door and I’m your daughter.” I start to bang on the wall as she’s trying to tell me once I calm down she will come out and then I start to scream and she’s still trying to tell me that once I calm down she’ll come out and then I start to scream and kick the wall in the conference room and yell, “Don’t leave me, don’t abandon me, don’t reject me.” And I’m screaming louder and louder until I can’t even hear the mom. Then I stop.

I looked at her and say again, “You aren’t working on getting yourself calm behind the door. You are trying to get me calm. Until you get yourself calm, you cannot calm me.” Then the light bulb went off and she got it.

It’s really basic brain science. When we as parents are stressed out we emit cortisol. When our children are stressed out they are emitting cortisol. If we don’t calm ourselves down and turn on our oxytocin hormone (the brain’s anti-stress hormone) then we can’t help our children turn on theirs.

This role play didn’t stop there. We went on for another ten minutes and had a second breakthrough. I’ll share that with you in a while.

Choose Love,

B.

Oxytocin | Love, Anti-Stress & Relationships

Oxytocin has been called the Love Hormone, the Anti-Stress Hormone & the Relationship Hormone. So which is it?

In her groundbreaking book The Chemistry of Connection, author Susan Kuchinskas writes, “Love not only makes us happy; it makes us healthy too. By means of oxytocin, love heals”. For centuries recognized as the hormone responsible for helping women to contract during labor, and subsequently to foster bonding between mother and child, oxytocin is quickly becoming acknowledged for its role in numerous aspects of human behavior.

When I first learned about oxytocin ten years ago it only struck me as a very important hormone for infant/mother bonding. It was not until being interviewed for The Chemistry of Connection and later reading the book that the full implications of this powerful hormone began to dawn on me. In fact, it wasn’t until I was interviewing Susan Kuchinskas for the Inner Circle that I began to put the possibilities in place.

I am going to take the liberty of sharing with you how I see this hormone applicable to parenting and relationships. Oxytocin is considered the “anti-stress” hormone. Every child with a background of trauma, especially pervasive emotional and environmental neglect suffers from a lack of oxytocin response. In a post-shell (my version of a nutshell!) when the amygdala (the brain’s fear receptor) is triggered and releases stress hormones, these hormones pass through the hypothalamus. Let’s think James Bond for a moment. Theoretically, the stress hormones are supposed to be messengers delivering an important briefcase of secret documents that need to be responded to. So as the amygdala sends the stress hormones through the door with the secret documents the hypothalamus is supposed to send its messengers, molecules of oxytocin, through at the same time in the opposite direction. The oxytocin messengers discreetly take the reaction and respond, thereby delivering the documents calmly and safely to their destination and communicating what important things are needed to save the world (your body mind). (To be continued...)

eCenter bannerMy original interview with Susan Kutchinskas in 2009 which sparked a collaborative effort in co-authoring the book Oxytocin Parenting, is now available free on our e-Learning Center. I hope you enjoy it as much as I havePower of Oxytocin over the years. It added a whole new dimension to my understanding of behaviors and how to heal our children as well as ourselves. Visit us at www.postinstitute.com/elearn/ and go the the Audios | Free and look for The Power of Oxytocin interview.

Tired of ‘Walking on Eggshells’ in Your Own Home? | Try Curiosity Instead

'Walking on eggshells' is a common feeling for many of our parents. A more effective reaction/response, when mindfully approached, can be one of curiosity, inquisitiveness and wonder on the part of the parent. (Pt. 1)

Kevin motioned for me to come into his room and he spoke in a hushed tone, “Did you get my text?”
“Huh,” I replied, “Probably not, my phone is charging”.
He said, “Can you check and see I just sent it?”“Just tell me what it is Kevin, we don’t need to go through all of that,” I question mark 2stated while standing a few feet away looking at him.

“Well I didn’t like what Kristi said about me taking a shower. I don’t like that. If you guys think I’m not clean you can just tell me to leave,” he stated with quiet seriousness.

A few minutes earlier after Kevin had exclaimed that he was going to go take a shower, Kristi exclaimed, “Great! Kevin’s gonna take a shower!” She did it in a playful way not uncommon to how any of us might respond to one another, but for Kevin it was embarrassing. Truth be told, we care very little about if and when he takes a shower. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had to tell him that he needed to. Now some of the other adolescent boys we’ve raised…absolutely! I would exclaim, “You stink, go get your butt in the shower, now!” But with Kevin, I’ve never had to do that.

Mindfully placing my hand on the side of his arm, I gently stated, “I’m sorry that hurt your feelings and I’m sure Kristi did not mean for it to be hurtful, but thank you for telling me and I’ll be sure to let her know that you don’t like it.”

He responded, “Okay, yeah I don’t.”

“Okay Kevin,” I said “No worries”.

Six months ago to a year that little experience would have led to days, weeks, maybe even months of silent treatment, agitation, and veiled threats to leave by packing bags and stomping around the house in frustration, and wondering when the next bomb would go off in Kevin. Walking on eggshells around him would be a common experience for all of us in the house.

Later that evening Kristi apologized and all was well. She even remarked, “Wow, Kevin took that so well, and it was only minutes.

What attributed to the change?

Of course constant consistency, reflection, awareness, mindfulness, and flexibility make a difference, but what is the real reason? What’s changing in his brain?

How does a child who has grown up on the streets learn to trust? He rarely does unless he has an opportunity to develop one very important response and that response is called the oxytocin response. It comes as a result of trust being built through the expression of love and acceptance and an approach of curiosity about just what is going on in our children's body-mind systems. We as parents have to admit that we just don't know, most of the time. We may think we know, but for our special children who bring a file cabinet filled with variables we may never come to know, our job is more of an investigator rather than a 'know it all' parent.

For the past two years I have been going on and on about oxytocin being the next revolution in parenting, education, and mental health. It is in fact, a revolution in life. It is the primary ingredient in the relationship factor. I will present to you in the next series of posts, an explanation of oxytocin from the Post perspective and explore many of its implications for parents, professionals, and all members of our society. (To be continued...)

Thoughts for the New Year | Understanding Challenging Behaviors

The only time we see things as abnormal is when they stand outside of our own perceptual understanding. Remember this when reacting to your child's behaviors.New Year 2013
Thank you for you interest in the work of Bryan Post and the Post Institute. Because of you, there is a chance for a better world, a better future. All because you choose to love more.

We hope that you find great value in this information over the coming year, for bringing love, peace and harmony back into your family so that your child can once again be a source of joy rather than irritation, anger or worse. RAD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Autistic Spectrum, Aspergers, PTSD and other diagnoses all spell the same thing for you and your child - stress. Understanding Bryan Post's Stress Model approach to challenging behaviors may be the answer to your prayers.

The really good news is that your child doesn't need to change for you to have peace and harmony in your family. These come as a result of the understanding, patience and love that parents can bring to the relationship. The even better good news is that the more understanding, patience and love that parents provide for their children, the faster children will heal and the quicker their behaviors will change. Neuroplasticity in the brain is highly resilient in younger people and works more quickly. Parents who replace dominance, fear and authority with love, influence and relationship find that things can change very quickly and immediate results can be seen. Long term healing requires a change in parenting approach and may need years to overcome the trauma that your child may have experienced. Always remember that without relationship, you have nothing. The relationship is everything.
To learn more about Bryan Post's Stress Model, FREE Stuff (audios, article, videos and webinars), ongoing trainings, FREE parenting newsletters, inspiration, educational information, special offers and discounts, visit us often www.postinstitute.com

Peace on Earth symbol Want to see peace on earth? So do we. You hold the future of the world in your hands - your child. Broken dreams can come true. But they do need help. That is why we are here, and why we do what we do. Parents around the world have been using and applying the principles of love based family centered parenting. If you have not started on this journey of hope and healing, we invite you to try out this life changing approach. Although simple to learn, you may find it easier than it looks to apply it successfully. There is hope. There is help. Breathe, love will enter. Peace will follow.

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How to Have a Peaceful Holiday Season – Part 10 Epilogue

Note: This is a yearly re-broadcast series to help parents prepare for, and have a more peaceful holiday season, we will be presenting the entire contents of my e-Book How to Turn Holiday Stress into Peaceful Family Time – On Sale for the Holidays between now and Christmas.

Don’t let the Holidays sneak up on you—they come every year around the same time. Many of our children have great difficulty staying regulated during this time—as do their parents. Be prepared. Plan ahead. Don’t let your frustration, fear or anger ruin the season. Use the Stress Model to help bring calm and peace on earth and goodwill toward all— especially children and parents!

Epilogue | This holiday season, your family is going to experience more peace this holiday season than any of the other families you’re going to be in contact with. This is going to be the most peaceful holiday season of any holiday season you’ve had up to this point because you are taking these necessary steps.

Number one, you’re honoring that window of tolerance. Number two, you’re going to be checking in and doing time-in. Number three, you are being proactive. Number four, you’re going to recognize that you can’t always be there and that’s okay...and when you’re not there and you needed to be there, you’re going back to time-in. You’re going to go right back and recognize that window tolerance and that’s being proactive. You’re not just doing it for yourself. You’re doing it for the rest of your family. You’re doing it for your children. You’re doing it for your spouse. You’re doing it for everyone.
You know what? You’re going to do all these things because you are a great parent. You are a really great parent. There’s a little Biblical verse that says, “Let us love not in word or speech but in truth and action.” This holiday season we’re going to operate in truth and action. Remember, it’s not what you say or do. It’s how you feel when you’re doing and saying it. Remember to breathe, four, seven, eight, four, seven, eight, four, seven, and eight. Stress, stressed, spelled backwards equals desserts. We’re going to take being stressed out this holiday season and we’re going to turn this holiday season into the dessert of our lifetime.

Santa JesusI want to say to you and to your family may God Bless You and wish you the happiest holiday season ever, ever, ever, and ever! You are a great parent. Thank you for joining us and caring enough to make a difference. Don’t forget to visit us at www.postinstitute.com. After you’ve read this e-book or listened the audio program, send it to the rest of the family. You can make copies of it. You’ve got my permission. I want all of your family members to have peaceful holiday seasons. Thank you for following How to Turn Stressful Holidays into Peaceful Family Time.

Choose Love,

B.
If you have enjoyed this series, we have a home study course for parenting attachment challenged children that goes so much deeper into our love based family centered parenting approach. Click here to read more about it.

You have permission to copy this and circulate to as many people as you think can be helped Help us to bring peace on earth and goodwill toward all.

Timeless wisdom for preparing yourself and your challenging child for a smooth transition through the Holiday Season. Don’t let your fear of the past haunt you this year. Get Bryan’s 4 Point Plan – Don’t let the holidays just happen!

Holiday book and cd v.2To purchase this twin-pack e-Book and mp3 audio file on sale for only $4.95 click here.

How to Have a Peaceful Holiday Season – Part 9 Mealtime

Note: This is a yearly re-broadcast series to help parents prepare for, and have a more peaceful holiday season, we will be presenting the entire contents of my e-Book How to Turn Holiday Stress into Peaceful Family Time – On Sale for the Holidays between now and Christmas.

Don’t let the Holidays sneak up on you—they come every year around the same time. Many of our children have great difficulty staying regulated during this time—as do their parents. Be prepared. Plan ahead. Don’t let your frustration, fear or anger ruin the season. Use the Stress Model to help bring calm and peace on earth and goodwill toward all— especially children and parents!

Mealtime | Let’s also discuss mealtime. Mealtime is always an overwhelming time during the holidays. Why? Because we’re stressed. S-T-R-E-S-S, that little six letter word that causes so much havoc and so much chaos during the family
season. But guess what? You can turn stressful holidays into peaceful family time. Mealtime is going to be different this year. This year, twenty minutes before it’s time to eat, you’re going to pull your child out the stress. You’re going to pull yourself out of the stress too. You and your child are going to get out of that house. Whatever house you’re in, it’s likely stressful. You’re going to get out of there. This is where you’re going to get in some of that time together with your child. Spend some of that time together and you know what will happen? Your child might not like it! You have to honor that.

You have to say, “I know honey. You are playing and you guys are having fun and you don’t want to leave. I understand and I would be upset too, and it’s okay for you to be upset. But I know that we’re going to be getting ready to eat soon. I want you to be able to eat the food that you want to eat and then I want you to be able to play with your cousins after you’ve eaten.”

You’re going to honor that, you’re going to recognize that, you’re going to acknowledge it, twenty minutes before mealtime. You’re going to pull your child out because when you’re doing that you’re creating regulation. You’re creating an opportunity to be calm for yourself and for your child. So that’s mealtime. What about sweets? Let your children have sweets, but not too much. Talk with the rest of the family. After you’ve finished eating, put the food away, especially, the sweets and the soda.

Have you ever noticed how kids go in and out of the kitchen all day long during the holidays? At the end of the day, you find little pieces of pie here, half glasses of soda there, and spilled cans of pop everywhere. Have you noticed that? Guess what we’re going to do this year? We’re going to put the soda away and you’re going to tell the kids that if they want more dessert after dinner, let an adult know.

Better yet, come and let you know. Take responsibility for your child. You’ll be setting an example for other family Holidays are not normalmembers to take responsibility for their children. You’re really going to be regulating their sugar intake. Some sugar is good. It’s helps them to actually feel a little better. But too much sugar sends them over the edge. One point to keep in mind is that we are not conditioned for holidays. They are holidays. We call them holidays for a reason. It’s a special occasion in the middle of the year, in the middle of the week, in the middle of the month. What happens is, we are conditioned to be going places like school or work. We’re not conditioned to be spending all of that time together. You
usually spend all that time apart. Now you’re spending all that time together.

DisneyworldRemember that window of tolerance? Keep that in mind. Another thing to really keep in mind is all the stimulation.  Sensory overload can be experienced by both you and your child. If you have been to Times Square in NY, recall the first time you were there—the huge buildings, the lights, the 250,000 people that cross through there every day—and the noises! For any first timers, this is an overwhelming experience. Or, seeing Disneyland for the first time as a five year old! This is what much of life is like for these children. And that is on a normal day. So you must be mindful of the jingles, the malls, the Wal-marts, the turkeys, the pumpkins, the Santa Claus and all of that stimulation. Be mindful of that. Be aware of over-stimulation.

Be in tune with your child. That’s the dance between the parent and the child. Be in tune with your child recognizing his internal state. Recognize when they are starting to get out of their zone of comfort. When you do all of these things, you’re honoring stress and fear. You’re not denying it. You’re not sticking your heard inside the turkey. You’re actually honoring the stress and the fear. You’re honoring the fact that according to the stress model, all the negative behaviors
you have seen over the years arise from stress and fear. You’re going to acknowledge, you’re going to understand, you’re going to appreciate and you’re going to feel enlightened by the fact that your child, God Bless his or her soul, has a very, very sensitive system. You’re going to honor that. You’re going to set your child up to be successful.

Coming Up Next… Epilogue

You have permission to copy this and circulate to as many people as you think can be helped Help us to bring peace on earth and goodwill toward all.

Timeless wisdom for preparing yourself and your challenging child for a smooth transition through the Holiday Season. Don’t let your fear of the past haunt you this year. Get Bryan’s 4 Point Plan – Don’t let the holidays just happen!

Holiday book and cd v.2To purchase this twin-pack e-Book and mp3 audio file on sale for only $4.95 click here.

How to Have a Peaceful Holiday Season – Part 8 The Arrival

Note: This is a yearly re-broadcast series to help parents prepare for, and have a more peaceful holiday season, we will be presenting the entire contents of my e-Book How to Turn Holiday Stress into Peaceful Family Time – On Sale for the Holidays between now and Christmas.

Don’t let the Holidays sneak up on you—they come every year around the same time. Many of our children have great difficulty staying regulated during this time—as do their parents. Be prepared. Plan ahead. Don’t let your frustration, fear or anger ruin the season. Use the Stress Model to help bring calm and peace on earth and goodwill toward all— especially children and parents!

The Arrival | Okay, you arrive at the in-laws house. You pull up into the driveway and stop. You tell everyone to take a deep breath. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Remember you’ve been breathing the entire drive so this is easy for you now. You’re going to say to your child, “Okay, honey, I know it’s going to be kind of stressful in here. I know there’s going to be a lot of activity but we’re going to be fine. If you find yourself becoming really stressed or really scared you come tell mommy, and we’ll take a little break and we’ll take a little walk. Mommy is going to do the same with you. If I start feeling myself really stressed, if I start feeling scared at all I’m going to come and get you and you can help me feel safe, okay?

We’ll take a little walk together and then we’ll go back to doing what we were doing but we’re going to need to take that little break.” Have that communication with your child and then you’re ready to go in. Next is when the window of  tolerance comes into play. Before you go inside and everyone starts to acclimate themselves with one another, even before you get out of the car, you’re going to tell your child it’s okay to stay with you as much as she wants. They can  come and sit by you. They can come stand in the kitchen, sit in the kitchen close to you. They can do that at any point.

You’re going to make sure they understand that. I know, you may not like that thought. I understand that but you didn’t like last year either. That’s why you don’t want to do the same thing you always do. Mr. T.D. Jakes says, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always be where you’ve already been.”

We’re going to do something different now. Let your child know its okay. It’s your responsibility to keep them safe. As  soon as you get in, your child, of course, will probably take off with all the other kids. You look at your watch. By now  you have a real good idea what their window of tolerance is. You know their window of tolerance and how much they can  handle. So look at your watch and start timing them. After about eight minutes, get up and you go check on your child. Call them over, look them in the eye, kiss them, pat them, ask if they’re having fun and they will say, “Yea, mom.” Then say, “Okay, do you need anything?” They will say, “No mom.” Then say, “All right have a good time!”

“Give your child’s brain an opportunity to regulate and prepare for the next transition”

Let them go back and play and you go back and continue doing what you were doing. It’s going to take you ten seconds to check in with them, but look at it this way. It’s a ten second investment, a ten second investment that’s going to pay off for fifteen minutes. That’s powerful. By investing that ten seconds, your child will be able to play approximately fifteen minutes without another contact. Then start your timer again. Remember that what you’re doing is you’re recognizing, understanding, respecting and honoring the window of tolerance. You’re not setting them up to go outside their window
of tolerance. You’re meeting them before their window of tolerance expires. As soon as you make contact and meet them before their window of tolerance expires, it resets itself and it adds another half of the existing window of tolerance.

Now you’re up to fifteen minutes. Keep checking every fifteen minutes. What’s going to happen if you let it go longer than fifteen minutes before checking in? Within sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen minutes, your child will be yelling. Another child will be yelling. There will be a fight breaking out. You’re not just being proactive for your child, you’re making this Holiday season better for the whole family by being  proactive. You’re taking responsibility. Every time you go and make contact with your child, that’s going to have an influence on everyone else’s child too.

I know this is a lot of information; take a deep breath. Yes, you’ll have an impact not only on your child, but on everyone
else’s child too. You’re going to do this repeatedly. You ’re going to make another contact with your child. You’re going to go and hit that window of tolerance again before its eclipsed and each time you do that you can buy yourself a little more time. What you’re going to find is that you’ve gone through the entire morning and afternoon with no problems.

You’re going to do this three times. On the third time, you’re going to say to your child, “Honey, come here for a minute.” Then say, “I’m feeling a little stressed right now. Would you mind if we took a little walk outside real quick. Then you can come back and play.” Most times they are going say, “Sure.” They may protest and you’re going to tell them, “I really  need it, I really need it. I’m feeling so stressed right now. I just need to spend some time with you. Give me five minutes.”

You’re going to take those five minutes. You’re going to go outside. You’re going to walk down the driveway and you’re going to come back. It’s that simple.

Hey, Santa! We’re not buying into stress this year! You’re going to take those five minutes and then your child is going to back to play. You’re feeling good right now. You’re feeling good because you are having a successful Thanksgiving Day. You are having a successful Christmas, okay.

Now what happens if you’re child begins to act out and the seeds of a problem begin to appear? Because you’ve been checking in regularly and honoring that window of tolerance, guess what? They don’t blow up. If you walk in there, you’re child is in the corner, arms crossed, angry look on their face, then you just walked in at the best time! Hooray for you. You just cut off a potentially bad situation. Now you can go in and sit down by your child and whisper, “What’s up?”

“You’re taking responsibility. Every time you go and make contact with your child, that’s going to have an influence on everyone else’s child too.”

“Well, Johnny took the toy from me and Johnny always does this every single year.” Remember their kids do the same thing. They are conditioned. We’ve done a good job as parents of conditioning children. So now you’re going to say, “Let’s go out for a little bit.” Now, you’re interrupting your child’s stress.

Success, success, success! If your child begins to act out, then you do time-in. The only difference from time-out and time-in is that you bring your child into you in time-in. Time-in can be the walk down the driveway. Time-in can be  bringing your child in while you’re sitting down talking with the in-laws while watching the football game or while the turkey is basting or while you’re digesting that last piece of pecan pie, which was probably not the last, but was actually the third piece, which point you finally decided was the last piece! But then not quite. You’re going to have one more sliver before you retire for the night or head home. That’s just the kind of thing we do during the holidays, right?

So you’re going to bring your child in and you’re going to have her sit with you for a while. This is what you say. “Why don’t you just hang out with me for a while? When you are feeling better you can go back and play.” Allow your child to own a little bit of what most children can handle...”when you are feeling better you can go back and play.”

Most children will sit by you for twice as long as they would if you would have given them the time-out requirement. Not only are you respecting and honoring the window of tolerance, you are practicing time-in. You’re being proactive. Even though you check the window of tolerance, you do time-in, you worked at being proactive, sometimes your child ends up
running around screaming. Then the other little cousin is running and screaming right behind him. One of them is yelling, “He did it!” The other is saying, “He did it!” You know how that story goes. What happens now?

You breathe. You take a deep breath and you begin to breathe. You practice your four, seven, eight. You say to your child, “Its okay. Come here. Sit down. It’s all right.” Your child is trying to defend himself because they are all in survival mode. This is an important to know. In times of stress, we constrict into survival. In times of stress, the cells of our body actually constrict into survival. The moment you become stressed out, you are in survival. You’re no longer present for your child because stress does three things:

  1. • Stress causes you to react out of the past. Stress says, “Oh no. It’s going to be just like last year!”
  2. • Stress causes you to obsess about the future. You think, “Oh No! This year or next year will be the same. We’re NEVER going to have a good holiday season ever, ever, ever and ever.
  3. • It takes you out of the present. As soon as it takes you out of the present, you are officially no longer in the here and now. As long as that is happening, as long as you are not in the here or now, you’re not anywhere. So breathe and stay present. Breathe and stay present.

“In times of stress, the cells of our body actually constrict into survival. The moment you become stressed out, you are  in survival”

So far, what you’ve been able to do is honor the window of tolerance. You’ve been able to do time-in. You’ve been able to be proactive. When you can’t always be there, you’re going to recognize that that’s okay. You’re going to take some deep breaths. You’re going to pull your child into you and you’re going to say, “Son, just sit down here with dad for a little bit.”

You know what? It may be time to actually take a break and spend some time with your child. Go outside, toss a ball  around. Make sure you bring one with you, like a basketball. Go for a walk down the street. Take a drive to the store. Go to the park. Sometimes you’re going to need to do that and I’m going to recommend you do that at least twice during the day. Your child is going to need that one on one contact time with you because that helps them to regulate.
Got that? If you can do these four things you will have a different result:
• 1. The window of tolerance.
• 2. The time-in.
• 3. Being proactive
• 4. Recognizing that you can’t always be there and that’s okay; and breathe using the four, seven, eight count
when you can’t be there and you are on your way to success!

Coming Up Next… Mealtime

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Timeless wisdom for preparing yourself and your challenging child for a smooth transition through the Holiday Season. Don’t let your fear of the past haunt you this year. Get Bryan’s 4 Point Plan – Don’t let the holidays just happen!

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