Empowered To Connect

Archive for “Overcoming 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.

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.

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.

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.

Handouts from Denver ETC Conference

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Monday, April 18, 2011

As promised, here are the handouts (containing the text of Dr. Purvis’ slides) from the recent Empowered To Connect Conference in Denver, Colorado:

● Handout for The Attachment Dance

● Handout for Empoweing Our Kids to Succeed: Understanding Sensory Processing and the Neurochemistry of Fear

● Handout for Foundations for Behavioral Change

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.

Be Fully Present

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis talks about the importance of proximity, healty touch and gentle eye contact for children from hard places. This video is part of the Insights and Gifts video series, which includes a small group discussion guide that you can download here.

Give Your Child Predictability

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Watch as Dr. Karyn Purvis talks about the importance of predictability for children from hard places, and how parents can help children succeed by enabling them to know what to expect. This video is part of the Insights and Gifts video series, which includes a small group discussion guide that you can download here.