Accentuate the Positive

I realize that sometimes I’m guilty of sharing the hard parenting moments and breezing right over the good stuff. So I’d like to give you an update on our struggles with T and his challenging behaviors, because we’ve had a few pretty amazing breakthroughs. I attribute them in large part to the work we’ve been doing since we attended the Heather Forbes seminar a few months back.

Far and away the most challenging thing for me to deal with has been T’s rejection of me. Even when I’m able to remain grounded and patient and not take it personally all day long (it’s a rare day, but it happens), come bedtime I still find myself lying there with tears rolling down my face, thinking that in a million years I never imagined being a mother would feel like this.

I’ve decided to answer his rejection with yet more affection. Every time my impulse is to walk away, I instead go tell him I love him and offer another hug. Even if it means getting bopped in the face with a train car yet again.

Well, I’m thrilled to report that there’s been a definite shift. I’m still getting a pretty regular smack-down; I got an airplane wing in the eyeball just yesterday. But T has been accepting my love and snuggles lately more often than not. We’re having more fun together when we hang out just the two of us. And he’s been looking to me for comfort, which is major.

I imagine for parents with children without disrupted attachment, this must sound as normal as breathing. But for us it signals a profound shift.

Scott is leaving for tour tomorrow and I dread the fallout of that because Daddy is the star of our show around here. I imagine we’ll have some good old fashioned regression. But overall, I feel tremendously encouraged.

And yes, that’s a whoopie cushion he’s sitting on in the picture. Because I believe it’s important to expose children to culture as early as possible.

Beyond Consequences


Last weekend Scott and I attended the Beyond Consequences seminar, with Heather Forbes. Before we went, we bought her book, Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control: A Love Based Approach to Helping Children with Severe Behaviors. The book and the seminar undoubtedly contain the most impactful information I’ve yet encountered about parenting children who have suffered trauma.

I’ve shared some about what we’ve ben going through with T, but honestly I haven’t even scratched the surface. Believe me when I tell you that Scott and I have never in our lives despaired quite like this. Parenting trauma is confusing and isolating and sometimes all the amazing blogs in the world aren’t enough to make me feel validated. In this respect, the seminar was incredibly helpful.

I’d like to share probably the most illuminating shift in perspective that the seminar offered. I keep coming back to it.

The basic idea is to change the question from:

How do I get my child to change his behavior?


1. What is driving my child’s behavior


2. What can I do at this moment to improve my relationship with my child?

If you are parenting a child with severe behaviors, particularly one who has experienced some kind of trauma, I urge you to check out Heather Forbes.