Empowered To Connect

Archive for “Fear”

When Your Child Pushes You Away

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Monday, August 12, 2013

When most children get hurt or become afraid, they go to a parent. After all, parents are the ones who protect children and keep them safe from danger. They are the ones who comfort children when they are afraid. For these children it’s a simple equation: mom and dad are safe and I can trust them to help me so I will go to them.

But things aren’t always that simple for children with histories of early harm such as trauma, abuse, neglect, or relinquishment. Their life experiences impact them in any number of important ways, often making them prone to prolonged states of fear and a limited ability to trust. Instead of going to their parents for help or comfort, these children often run from them, push them away, or shut them out.

I Cried and Nobody Came

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My son, Ebenezer, has an extreme fear of bees; when he sees a bee, or even a fly outside, he runs into the house and refuses to go back out. It isn’t difficult for me to understand why. When he was 2 1/2, he followed his brother into the pasture to feed the cows, and stepped on a wasps’ nest. The wasps swarmed him, and as we ran to help, we were all stung multiple times. Ebenezer had 35 stings. It was a horrible event for all of us – in fact, just writing about it makes me recall how terrified I was.

I’m currently reading The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson; it has given me so much to think about. Chapter 4: Kill the Butterflies! Integrating Memory for Growth and Healing is packed with fascinating information about the brain and how to help our children process memories. Making sense of their memories helps them better understand their thoughts and feelings in the present.

The Whole-Brain Child

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Whole Brain Child, by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., offers twelve revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind. It is an excellent resource to help parents understand how a child’s brain develops and functions, and how they can help their child learn how to handle and respond to different experiences and challenges. The message of the book is that families — both children and parents alike — aren’t stuck in their current circumstances. Parents have the ability to change these circumstances by changing the way they respond and relate, and as they do this they can literally help to change their child’s brain (and their own) in the process.

Many adoptive and foster parents have found The Whole-Brain Child to be an incredibly helpful and relevant resource as they parent children from hard places. As important, they have found that the insight this book offers and the strategies it suggests are wholly consistent with the parenting approach and strategies taught by Dr. Karyn Purvis, and highlighted on Empowered To Connect.

Learning to Trust and Let Go of Fear

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fear — it is a crippling and sometimes debilitating feeling, but it is so much more than a feeling. For many children from hard places, fear is a constant, though unwelcome, companion. It is a way of life. From research we know that fear left unaddressed can have pervasive and long-lasting effects on a child, including negative impacts on cognitive ability, sensory processing, brain chemistry, brain development, ability to focus and ability to trust. As a result, it distorts and dictates much of what our children are dealing with.

Giving the Gift of Voice

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giving ‘children from hard places’ the gift of voice allows them to replace fear with trust. Giving them voice enables them to learn how to ask for their needs appropriately. Giving them voice helps them to begin to express what they are feeling. But these children will not find their voice on their own — they need insightful and equipped parents that are willing to give them voice.

Watch as Michael Monroe explains what it means for parents to give their children the gift of voice.

What Every Adoptive Parent Should Know

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In order to truly understand children from hard places — what they have experienced, the impact of those experiences and how we can help them heal and grow — it is important that we understand some of the basics. That’s why we have put this collection of eight Empowered To Connect videos together — to introduce (or re-introduce) you to some of the most important basics that we believe every adoptive parent can benefit from.

Click here to watch all eigth videos.

Effective Ways to Deal with Sleep Issues

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sleep related issues and challenges are all too common for children from hard places. Watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis offers insights and strategies to help parents effectively respond to their child’s fear associated with sleep issues and build connection in the process.

Engaging Food Battles with Connection in Mind

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Food battles can be challenging for any parent, and especially for adoptive and foster parents. Many children from hard places struggle with food-related issues and parents are often at a loss to know how best to respond to these challenges.

Watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis offers insights to help parents engage “food battles” while keeping connection in mind.

The Impact of Fear

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Fear is very real in the lives of children from hard places. In fact, fear often ‘bullies’ our children into much of their misbehavior. As a result, it is critical that parents of children from hard places approach fear and fear-driven behaviors with compassion, insight and wisdom. Watch as Dr. Purvis explains the impact of fear and how parents can begin to help their children learn to trust and let go of fear.

Provide Familiarity and Continuity

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis encourages adoptive and foster parents to provide familiarity and continuity for their new child, including familiar foods and smells, elements of their native language and culture, and, where appropriate, contact with familiar people. This video is part of the Insights and Gifts video series, which includes a small group discussion guide that you can download here.