parenting and trauma

Sketch notes on Parenting, Trauma, and Childhood Adversity

Instead of questioning (“how could you?”) or punishing (“how dare you!”) look for the entry point for empathy (“oh, of course you…”) When someone – especially kids but inclusive of us Adults- has a HUGE reaction to a minor thing- the reaction probably is not actually about the thing. More often, it’s fear, trauma, or…

Therapy Interventions for Families with Young Children

Kids and COVID-19: 6 Activities Supporting Meaning Making and Resiliency

The first draft of this illustration was created as a professional resource, but as Social Distancing entered the global vocabulary and #quarantinewithkids started trending, I wanted to create a resource for parents who are helping kids process the experience of being a kid during a pretty scary time.   There is a great visual floating…

Demonstrating Trustworthiness Builds Bridges that Self-Advertisement Cannot.

Demonstrating our trustworthiness builds relational bridges that self-advertisement cannot. If you sense that your friend, partner, child, client, etc feels hesitant to trust you, let them hesitate. Stay present, validate the experiences that led them to be cautious about who they trust, take responsibility for any of those experiences that you played a role in,…

All Social Media Has a Cost, Empowered Social Media use Sets a Budget

It’s not that social media is good or bad, the real question is: what we are willing to trade for likes, views, and follows? This is a great conversation to have with kids and teens over christmas break: What do they hope to get out of using social media? What will they have to give…

Parenting Children with Anxiety

  When kids are anxious, it’s human nature to want to soothe them. For kids with significant anxiety, however, we may need to monitor ourselves for over-accommodating behaviors.   It’s natural that parents with anxious kids want to soothe them. Watching someone we love struggle can be overwhelming- especially when, at first, it seems so…

Questions Aren’t Connections: Cultivating Conversations beyond Q & A

It’s normal for parents to worry about kids, as they navigate shared spaces, learning, and the social aspects of growing up. Parents typically find that information can- temporarily, at least- soothe some of their worry. The temptation, then, is to have LOTS of questions for kids at the end of the day, but for kids,…

Not Knowing Everything Your Kid does Online is a Good Thing

There is an enormous amount of pressure on parents to keep tabs on everything their teen does- especially online. But a little bit of privacy can be a good thing when it comes to healthy adolescent development. The mall, the skate park, the beach, the drive-in, the soda fountain. These aren’t just spaces where generations…

Childhood Emotional Neglect and Chronic Shame

Kids who grow up in families where emotional needs are not validated and met often develop a deep sense of internal shame for having needs at all. Over time, in order to cope, many of these kids become adults with little or no capacity to experience their emotions  (a symptom associated with alexithymia). Hilary Jacobs…

illustrated image showing two women

Intergenerational Trauma – Doodle and Questionnaire

If you aren’t naming and breaking the cycles that have entangled you, you are participating in them. It’s true in most systems we are part of, but especially in families. Researchers call it intergenerational trauma and have shown that the trauma of a parent is literally passed genetically to offspring. This Simple-Wikipedia article on epigenetics…

Normal Trauma Response vs PTSD: Interpreting the Research for Survivors

When brains experience trauma, they struggle to cope with it. It’s normal- and part of the healing process- to have flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts immediately following a traumatic experience. Knowing this and normalizing this matters! Recent research found that kids who believed their response to trauma was bad, wrong, or a sign something was…

Listen to Your Gut

Humans have an innate ability to read people, situations, and our environment. If we pay attention, it helps keep us safe and helps us know how to care well for others. But most of us were taught long ago to ignore our body’s cues and “be nice” instead of practicing how to hear and trust…

Gottman’s 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Illustrated Handout

  Dr. John Gottman spent 40 years researching marital stability and theorized these “4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” but it only took me a few hours to turn them into angry ponies. While Gottman’s research centers on couples, I think these are applicable to many types of relationships – especially in how parents and their…

How to Respond to Self Harm – A Resource for Parents, Teachers, and Friends

  Research shows that 15-20% of teens self harm.  In the past- and still today- self harm has had a reputation of being an “attention-seeking behavior,” but brain science is now showing that for many teens, self-harm is an early warning sign of physical changes occurring in the brain. Kids and teens who self harm…

Alexithymia – Origins and Treatment

Most of us learn early- before we even learn language- how to express and tell the difference between emotions. Babies learn this when they see their emotions amplified on the face of a caring parent or caregiver. Most caregiver’s intuitively sense and mirror back an infant’s emotional state, this mirroring-in-the-face-of-a-parent helps a child’s brain begin…