I want you to know that I have had all of those same thoughts. My son is adopted and his prenatal experience was pretty horrific – or so we assume. We’ve had a long journey helping my son heal. We’re not quite finished, but boy, he’s come a long way. I want you to know you are not alone! and there is help! I got help from parents who’d taken this journey before me – many of them HIH Instructors – and I would be honored to support you.
So – YES! You absolutely can work with me privately in addition to the Parent Intensive. If you can swing both financially, it would be fantastic. You’ll get all of Madeleine’s wisdom around using the tools, the support of the other parents in the group AND time with me where I can support you in the area of dealing with developmental trauma. Here’s the link on how to do that. http://shop.handinhandparenting.org/collections/one-on-ones/products/one-on-one-consulting You can book a block of 3 hours that you could use whenever you want – even in 30 minute increments.
As for getting worse before it gets better… here’s an analogy. When my brother was about 2, we thought he might have eaten some rat poison. We were miles from a hospital, so the Dr. told my Mom to give my brother mustard and milk to make him throw up immediately. When you give your son Special Time and you are playful with him, you are creating a safe emotional connection. That safe emotional connection signals his limbic system that it’s safe to ‘throw up’. It’s safe to get some of that poison/trauma up and out. That’s why it looks really messy and even seems harder when you first start to work on an emotional project.
Because it’s so messy and they are just puking out that hurt all over the place, we HAVE to have support. We have to be getting tons of listening time. When you are getting lots of Listening Time, you may be able to start looking at how he is IN BETWEEN the tantrums. The tantrums and the aggression may seem worse – because he’s goes back into that bad dream every time in order to dig another piece of it up and out, and let another piece go – but you may start to see a little more flexibility or lightness in between all the hard times.
Here’s the deal about getting him diagnosed. There is no “diagnosis” of Developmental Trauma – even though smart folks who work with children who’ve been affected by trauma have been trying to years to get one recognized. Developmental Trauma means that trauma has effected one’s development. Often children who’ve been affected by trauma are given a diagnosis of ADHD and given meds,, so then neither the trauma, nor the developmental gaps are addressed. I applaud your really good thinking to avoid meds and seek other ways of healing. What a “diagnosis” will do is to get him some services and support in school and perhaps allow your insurance to pay for the neurofeedback. Neurofeedback can be very helpful in calming down the nervous system of anyone affected by trauma (both my son and I have done NFB). I will tell you to make sure the practitioner understands developmental trauma and that they work only on the right side of the brain at a very low frequency. If they treat your son for ADHD, rather than trauma, you may see him get worse.
It’s a different kind of getting worse. When you are using the Hand in Hand listening tools to connect and allow your son to release the early hurt, the tantrums continue to look awful, but as I said, he may seem more relaxed and connected in between the tantrums. If they work on the left side of his brain, the tantrums could escalate into fits of rage. This is what happened with my son. He was doing so well with the NFB, the practitioner thought she could include the left side of the brain. Yowzer – I saw rages – over everything – that I hadn’t seen in years. Because of his early trauma, she only works with the right side of his brain.
Chelsey, it sounds like you and your husband are doing some great thinking around all this and that you are moving forward. If you want to work together privately – at least until the Parent Intensive starts – I would be honored.
I’m sorry these are the cards you and your son were dealt. Listening Partnerships is such a great place to take all those feelings. That’s where I go. I cry hard about how unfair it all is, and it’s made me realize that this is an opportunity for me to heal as well. That gives me the courage to go back and reach for my son again. You are that strong and that smart and you are healing, too. Let us know how we can support you and yours.
Peace & Smiles,
Hand in Hand Certified Instructor
Conscious Child-raising Creating Cooperation and Peace
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“If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children” – Gandhi