This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Monday, June 23, 2014


Therapeutic Parenting

Therapeutic Parenting - This Doesn't Feel Right! by Christine Moers

Therapeutic Parenting is the term used to describe the type of high structure/high nurture intentional parenting that fosters the feelings of safety and connectedness so that a traumatized child can begin to heal and attach. Learning to parent therapeutically is the single most important thing you can do to help your traumatized/attachment-disordered child. - Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc
Some posts about Therapeutic Parenting:
Structure and Caring Support 
Why Doesn't My Child Feel Safe?
Connected Parenting (TBRI)

**This series had originally been titled Preschool Behavior Management, but the reality is that most children of trauma are developmentally behind their peers and a 16 year old may be emotionally only 4yo - meaning we should parent based on the child's emotional age, not their physical age. **

"Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.”
Finding the Joy
“Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away ... just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account ... you withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories.”

**This is a working document.  Items are always being added/updated.  Constructive input is always appreciated!**

a.    Preoperations Stage
b.    Magical thinking/ Distorted Reality
c.    Concrete/ Black and White Thinking 

a.     Behavior Problems
i.              Lack of Impulse Control
ii.            No Understanding of Consequences
b.    Consequences vs. Punishment
i.              Natural and Logical Consequences

a.    Structure and Support
b.    Low Tolerance/ Overwhelm
c.    Traumaversaries
d.    Role Modeling
e.    Reciprocity
f.     Teaching New Values
g.    RULES
i.         “No”
ii.            Rules should be simple and few
iii.     Positive and Concise
iv.           “Don’t”
v.           Clear messages
vi.            Fresh starts
vii.           Choices
viii.         “Okay?”

              Chapter 4--    NURTURING
a.    Emotional regulation
b.    Calming techniques
c.    Holding a child
d.    Let the child know what is happening
e.    Four types of communication
f.     Greetings
g.    Positive interactions (letter parties)
h.    Compliment sandwich
i.      Speak Softly

               Chapter 5--   DISCIPLINE and GUIDANCE
a.    Definition of discipline
      - Stress/ HALT
      - Perceived safety
b.    Distraction/ Re-direction
c.     Praise appropriate behavior
d.  Concise communication
e.     Encourage use of language
f.    Ignore negative behavior
g.    Timeouts
h.     Time-ins
i.   Bedtime
j.  Physical Affection
k.   Shadowing
l.    “4 Foot Rule”
m.      Fight/ Flight/ Freeze
n.      Teachable Moments
o.   “This is where you say________”
p.      “No” practice
q.    "Overreacting" 
r.   Prescribing
s.    “hmm… how are you going to handle that?”
t.    Behavior charts/ star charts
u.     The five Ps
v.    Age-Appropriate activities
w.     Waiting time/ Transition time
x.    Environments
y.    Off Limit Areas
z.   Off Limit Activities
aa.    “Off Limit” People
bb.    Reasons Children

                Chapter 6--    ABUSE
a.    Physical
b.    Verbal
c.    Night terrors
d.    Fight/Flight/Freeze
e.  Overwhelm/ Low Tolerance window
f.    Shut down/ Dissociation
g.     PTSD - Hypervigilance

           Chapter 7--    MISC
a.    Mental Illness/ co-morbid
b.    Allergies/ other physical causes for behaviors
c.    Food Issues
d.    Lying/ stealing – developmental
e.     Media
f.    Potty Issues
g.  RAD stink/ dysregulation


Anonymous said...

These are well thought out posts. Did you take Katherine's books and just make jot notes here? Or is some of this tips from your own experiences with your kids and preschool kids? Keep it up.

Bobby Mac Press LLC said...

Please consider adding the book by 18 year therapeutic foster parent Ellen Harlie to your reading list. - Through Hell and out the other side - It can be found on - Goodreads | Non fiction books about adoption/foster care - preview the book at Thanks, Robert M. Eisele - Bobby Mac Press LLC

marythemom said...

Anonymous - Thank you! This is mostly from my experience with preschool kids, but there's some accrued from years of reading other's advice.