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ALSO BY HEATHER FORBES Beyond Consequences Logic and Control Volume 1 Spanish Edition Beyond Consequences Logic and Control Volume 2 Dare to Love The Art of Merging Science and Love into Parenting Children with Difficult Behaviors 100 Daily Parenting Reflections

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ALSO BY HEATHER FORBES Beyond Consequences Logic and Control Volume 1 Spanish Edition Beyond Consequences Logic and Control Volume 2 Dare to Love The Art of Merging Science and Love into Parenting Children with Difficult Behaviors 100 Daily Parenting Reflections

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Table of Contents Acknowledgments vi Dedications vii Foreword ix A Note to the Reader xi A Second Note to the Reader xiii A Reward Offer xv Part I The Principles of a New Understanding 1 1 The Stress Model 3 2 Love and Fear 11 3 The Patterns that Bind Us 20 4 Hidden Feedback Loops 22 Part II Seven Behaviors Based in Fear 31 5 Parents Appear Hostile and Angry 33 6 Lying 44 7 Stealing 51 8 Hoarding and Gorging 57 9 Aggression 66 10 Defiance 74 11 Lack of Eye Contact 83 Part III Parenting Bonus Section 95 12 Real Life Stories from Real Life Parents with Real Life Children 97 Epilogue 109 Recommended Readings 113 About the Authors 119 Endnotes 121 Appendix Question Answer 129 Index 139 Order Form 143

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Table of Contents Acknowledgments vi Dedications vii Foreword ix A Note to the Reader xi A Second Note to the Reader xiii A Reward Offer xv Part I The Principles of a New Understanding 1 1 The Stress Model 3 2 Love and Fear 11 3 The Patterns that Bind Us 20 4 Hidden Feedback Loops 22 Part II Seven Behaviors Based in Fear 31 5 Parents Appear Hostile and Angry 33 6 Lying 44 7 Stealing 51 8 Hoarding and Gorging 57 9 Aggression 66 10 Defiance 74 11 Lack of Eye Contact 83 Part III Parenting Bonus Section 95 12 Real Life Stories from Real Life Parents with Real Life Children 97 Epilogue 109 Recommended Readings 113 About the Authors 119 Endnotes 121 Appendix Question Answer 129 Index 139 Order Form 143

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Foreword Heather T Forbes and B Bryan Post address some of the most pressing and challenging issues faced by parents of children with histories of disrupted attachments The authors have the ability to strip away the fog surrounding these troubled relationships exposing the reality of children s reactions and dysregulated responses to the past traumatic experiences that so often underlie their difficulty in making close affectional bonds This clarity illuminates their therapeutic intervention in a manner that allows parent and child to hold on to the strategy as they are caught up in the whirlwind of challenging behaviour during the painful process of change The authors address in detail the child s trauma often associated with the adoption process and they also address the painful struggle of the parents when a challenging child exposes the parents own vulnerabilities to memories that they may have suppressed of their own past experiences The immense value of this book is the clarity and simplicity of the authors working model the price of this clarity is that the hard truth is exposed with such intensity that some may shy away from facing reality and not benefit from their undoubted insights The psychotherapeutic intervention described by the authors involves clinicians tapping into their own empathic capacities to help children feel supported to such a degree that a direct connection can be forged between the reality of children s traumatic experiences and the parents and or clinicians being able to tolerate their pain and so regulate the child s distress down to a manageable level The recognition that another person can truly understand and tolerate their pain can be a major contribution to the client s therapeutic outcome This book is an absolute necessity for every parent working through attachment issues and for every professional therapist caseworker teacher policy maker etc working with children who exhibit severe acting out behaviors Sir Richard Bowlby Attachment Advocate

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Foreword Heather T Forbes and B Bryan Post address some of the most pressing and challenging issues faced by parents of children with histories of disrupted attachments The authors have the ability to strip away the fog surrounding these troubled relationships exposing the reality of children s reactions and dysregulated responses to the past traumatic experiences that so often underlie their difficulty in making close affectional bonds This clarity illuminates their therapeutic intervention in a manner that allows parent and child to hold on to the strategy as they are caught up in the whirlwind of challenging behaviour during the painful process of change The authors address in detail the child s trauma often associated with the adoption process and they also address the painful struggle of the parents when a challenging child exposes the parents own vulnerabilities to memories that they may have suppressed of their own past experiences The immense value of this book is the clarity and simplicity of the authors working model the price of this clarity is that the hard truth is exposed with such intensity that some may shy away from facing reality and not benefit from their undoubted insights The psychotherapeutic intervention described by the authors involves clinicians tapping into their own empathic capacities to help children feel supported to such a degree that a direct connection can be forged between the reality of children s traumatic experiences and the parents and or clinicians being able to tolerate their pain and so regulate the child s distress down to a manageable level The recognition that another person can truly understand and tolerate their pain can be a major contribution to the client s therapeutic outcome This book is an absolute necessity for every parent working through attachment issues and for every professional therapist caseworker teacher policy maker etc working with children who exhibit severe acting out behaviors Sir Richard Bowlby Attachment Advocate

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PART ONE The Principles of a New Understanding

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PART ONE The Principles of a New Understanding

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THE STRESS MODEL 1 CHAPTER ONE The Stress Model Action without understanding only leads you back to darkness B Bryan Post Introduction I n each section to follow you will find a definition of the problem behavior and then a perspective on each behavior from what we call a Traditional View and a A New View As you read the new view perspective it is important to keep in mind four key principles that create the foundation for the understanding and techniques being offered The full understanding of the four principles will enable you to understand and be aligned with chapters that follow It is also our goal that these four principles empower you as a parent to feel equipped to then apply the understanding and techniques to help your child with any behavior he presents to you Our belief is that many of the things we do are based and driven by our understanding The things we do are not done to be mean or intentionally cruel but are done from the perception and understanding within us Our actions are directed guided and aligned with the core principles within our understanding Everything we do can ultimately be traced back to the guiding principles from which we operate Thus it is imperative that you read and reread this section as often as possible to fully comprehend the recommended new perspective Important Point Ordinary parents do the same ordinary things as all other ordinary parents and then expect extraordinary things from their children Extraordinary parents do extraordinary things like other extraordinary parents Yet they don t expect extraordinary things from their children because they are already extraordinary from being raised in an extraordinary way Here is a quick story to illustrate this point I was once given a book called the Greatest Salesman in the World written by Og Mandino It is an excellent book that I highly recommend about commitment perseverance and truth About ten or so pages into the book it goes into an examination of ten scrolls However the book requires that you read each scroll three times a day for 30 days in a row before moving to the next scroll How many people who have read that book the book has sold ten million copies do

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THE STRESS MODEL 1 CHAPTER ONE The Stress Model Action without understanding only leads you back to darkness B Bryan Post Introduction I n each section to follow you will find a definition of the problem behavior and then a perspective on each behavior from what we call a Traditional View and a A New View As you read the new view perspective it is important to keep in mind four key principles that create the foundation for the understanding and techniques being offered The full understanding of the four principles will enable you to understand and be aligned with chapters that follow It is also our goal that these four principles empower you as a parent to feel equipped to then apply the understanding and techniques to help your child with any behavior he presents to you Our belief is that many of the things we do are based and driven by our understanding The things we do are not done to be mean or intentionally cruel but are done from the perception and understanding within us Our actions are directed guided and aligned with the core principles within our understanding Everything we do can ultimately be traced back to the guiding principles from which we operate Thus it is imperative that you read and reread this section as often as possible to fully comprehend the recommended new perspective Important Point Ordinary parents do the same ordinary things as all other ordinary parents and then expect extraordinary things from their children Extraordinary parents do extraordinary things like other extraordinary parents Yet they don t expect extraordinary things from their children because they are already extraordinary from being raised in an extraordinary way Here is a quick story to illustrate this point I was once given a book called the Greatest Salesman in the World written by Og Mandino It is an excellent book that I highly recommend about commitment perseverance and truth About ten or so pages into the book it goes into an examination of ten scrolls However the book requires that you read each scroll three times a day for 30 days in a row before moving to the next scroll How many people who have read that book the book has sold ten million copies do

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING you think have actually read each scroll in depth three times a day for 30 days The scrolls are not even that long but essentially it is a commitment to reading one book for approximately 300 days Being willing to commit to reading all of the scrolls as prescribed is in my opinion doing something extraordinary Read and then reread this chapter on the Stress Model before you attempt to fully delve into your understanding of the behaviors before reading the following seven chapters Yes you are an EXTRAORDINARY parent A New View Four Key Principles 1 All negative behavior arises from an unconscious fear based state of stress 2 There are only two primary emotions Love and Fear 3 There is both negative and positive repetitious conditioning We are all conditioned to behave in various ways both good and bad 4 Negative and positive neurophysiologic feedback loops exist beyond our conscious awareness They occur at an unconscious physiologic level and we have the ability to change or add to these feedback loops The New View that will be discussed in this book is based on four key principles First all negative behavior arises from an unconscious fearbased state of stress Second there are only two primary emotions either love or fear Third there is both negative and positive repetitious conditioning We are all conditioned to behave in various ways both good and bad And fourth negative and positive neurophysiologic feedback loops exist beyond our conscious awareness They occur at an unconscious physiologic level and we have the ability to change or add to these feedback loops Let s take each principle and break it down THE STRESS MODEL 1 PRINCIPLE 1 All negative behavior arises from an unconscious fear based state of stress It was once said to me Scared children do scary things The simple truth in this wise statement is that while we believe that children are perfectly capable of making clear and rational decisions we also need to believe the opposite that children are incapable of making clear and rational decisions In fact stress research helps us to understand just that In times of stress our thinking processes become confused and distorted 1 Not only are we not thinking clearly when stressed but the very framework of our understanding is challenged in that moment by what we can believe and remember For not only does our thinking become confused and distorted our short term memory system becomes suppressed This means that when children act out in a disturbing manner they are not only confused and overwhelmed but they cannot even remember what is safe and what is not safe Traditionally we have seen children as being willfully disobedient and manipulative This stems from a belief that in the moments of being disobedient and manipulative they also have full cognitive and conscious awareness of their actions Unfortunately for both parents and children this could not be further from the truth Stress constricts their thinking distorts their perspective and short circuits their short term memory Children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder oppositionaldefiant disorder bipolar and other such psychiatric diagnoses have almost all experienced some degree of trauma in their lifetimes The trauma can be anywhere on the continuum from mild to moderate to severe Generally the children we will be referring to in the following pages have experienced specific traumas along the moderate to severe range And what is significant is that for most of these children the earliest traumas experienced have since been compounded and overlaid with more childhood trauma Examples of such trauma can be seen in the following chart

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING you think have actually read each scroll in depth three times a day for 30 days The scrolls are not even that long but essentially it is a commitment to reading one book for approximately 300 days Being willing to commit to reading all of the scrolls as prescribed is in my opinion doing something extraordinary Read and then reread this chapter on the Stress Model before you attempt to fully delve into your understanding of the behaviors before reading the following seven chapters Yes you are an EXTRAORDINARY parent A New View Four Key Principles 1 All negative behavior arises from an unconscious fear based state of stress 2 There are only two primary emotions Love and Fear 3 There is both negative and positive repetitious conditioning We are all conditioned to behave in various ways both good and bad 4 Negative and positive neurophysiologic feedback loops exist beyond our conscious awareness They occur at an unconscious physiologic level and we have the ability to change or add to these feedback loops The New View that will be discussed in this book is based on four key principles First all negative behavior arises from an unconscious fearbased state of stress Second there are only two primary emotions either love or fear Third there is both negative and positive repetitious conditioning We are all conditioned to behave in various ways both good and bad And fourth negative and positive neurophysiologic feedback loops exist beyond our conscious awareness They occur at an unconscious physiologic level and we have the ability to change or add to these feedback loops Let s take each principle and break it down THE STRESS MODEL 1 PRINCIPLE 1 All negative behavior arises from an unconscious fear based state of stress It was once said to me Scared children do scary things The simple truth in this wise statement is that while we believe that children are perfectly capable of making clear and rational decisions we also need to believe the opposite that children are incapable of making clear and rational decisions In fact stress research helps us to understand just that In times of stress our thinking processes become confused and distorted 1 Not only are we not thinking clearly when stressed but the very framework of our understanding is challenged in that moment by what we can believe and remember For not only does our thinking become confused and distorted our short term memory system becomes suppressed This means that when children act out in a disturbing manner they are not only confused and overwhelmed but they cannot even remember what is safe and what is not safe Traditionally we have seen children as being willfully disobedient and manipulative This stems from a belief that in the moments of being disobedient and manipulative they also have full cognitive and conscious awareness of their actions Unfortunately for both parents and children this could not be further from the truth Stress constricts their thinking distorts their perspective and short circuits their short term memory Children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder oppositionaldefiant disorder bipolar and other such psychiatric diagnoses have almost all experienced some degree of trauma in their lifetimes The trauma can be anywhere on the continuum from mild to moderate to severe Generally the children we will be referring to in the following pages have experienced specific traumas along the moderate to severe range And what is significant is that for most of these children the earliest traumas experienced have since been compounded and overlaid with more childhood trauma Examples of such trauma can be seen in the following chart

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING Examples of Childhood Traumas Physical Abuse Sexual Abuse Emotional Abuse Neglect Adoption Foster Care Surrogacy Frequent Move Automobile Accident Pre and Perinatal Birth Trauma Loss of Caregiver Depressed Parental Care Prolonged Experiences of Unmet Needs Bullying Domestic Violence Medical Trauma While this list is comprehensive childhood traumas certainly are not limited to those solely on this list When a child experiences trauma the child s ability to develop a sufficient regulatory system is severely compromised In cases of severe trauma the child s life is literally at risk For these children their internal survival mechanisms then become activated dedicating all the body s resources to remain alert in survival mode These children perceive the world as threatening from a neurological physical emotional cognitive and social perspective They operate from a paradigm of fear to ensure their safety and security Hence what is seen is an overly stressed out child who has difficulty interacting in relationships who struggles to behave in a loving way who quite often cannot think clearly and who swings back and forth in his emotional states due to an underdeveloped regulatory system While perceived by most professionals as dangerous a child of trauma is essentially a scared child a stressed child living out of a primal survival mode in order to maintain his existence These traumatic experiences are stored and for most children are buried as unprocessed and unexpressed memories within the body mind system According to neuroscientist Bruce D Perry M D we have four levels of memory cognitive emotional motor and state 2 It is in the deepest level of memory the state memory that these experiences are stored The significance of this is that when our state memory is activated it directs all of our responses It has the ability to dominate over the other three memory states To understand this further let us take a look at all four of our memory states cognitive emotional motor and state Cognitive Our cognitive memory allows us to have immediate recall It is the level of memory where we store facts data dates research names THE STRESS MODEL 1 and numbers etc We generally have immediate access to this level of memory Emotional For every cognitive memory there is a corresponding emotional memory attached to it However at the emotional level the cognitive and emotional memories may not always be easily connected You may not always have access to the cognitive memory even though you may have access to the emotional memory For example say you have a friend from high school or college that you have not seen for some years While you can remember the face you are unable to remember then a me Yet attached to the memory of the face of this person is a very pleasant and warm feeling the emotional memory Additionally events happening in our lives which are emotionally impacting become easily accessible at the emotional level of memory If you were asked where you were on 9 11 you would probably remember the exact time of day and your location when you received the news of the terrorist attacks However if I ask you where were you last Friday your memory of this day would more than likely beclouded at best This memory is not easily accessible because the events that happened on that day were probably not emotionally significant Motor The motor memory is our body level of memory For the most part we seldom think about this level of memory and operate on automatic pilot When you get into your car and begin driving you seldom think about pulling open the door handle putting the key into the ignition or putting your arm over the passenger seat as you begin to back up As you continue in the automatic mode you have suddenly arrived at work and think How did I get here This level of memory is very unconscious State The state level of memory is the level of memory most associated with your personality traits It lies in direct reference point to your brainstem In other words it is located in your lower limbic system or your reptilian brain This area of your brain is not part of your rational brain but rather a part of your emotional brain It is responsible for processing raw data from the environment and sending immediate signals of fight flee or freeze This holds great significance for traumatized children due to the fact that traumatic memories get stored at the state level When a person reaches a heightened state of stress this state memory gets triggered thereby releasing all previous relevant memories into the upper memory banks In this manner when a child with a traumatic history is confronted with a situation which heightens his level of stress the child s state memory becomes activated Rapid fire communications to the other areas of the memory system are initiated informing the child that the current situation is threatening Additionally this rapid fire communication is also telling the child that this situation is almost guaranteed to workout like a previously stored experience In other words in the midst of a stressful or perceived

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING Examples of Childhood Traumas Physical Abuse Sexual Abuse Emotional Abuse Neglect Adoption Foster Care Surrogacy Frequent Move Automobile Accident Pre and Perinatal Birth Trauma Loss of Caregiver Depressed Parental Care Prolonged Experiences of Unmet Needs Bullying Domestic Violence Medical Trauma While this list is comprehensive childhood traumas certainly are not limited to those solely on this list When a child experiences trauma the child s ability to develop a sufficient regulatory system is severely compromised In cases of severe trauma the child s life is literally at risk For these children their internal survival mechanisms then become activated dedicating all the body s resources to remain alert in survival mode These children perceive the world as threatening from a neurological physical emotional cognitive and social perspective They operate from a paradigm of fear to ensure their safety and security Hence what is seen is an overly stressed out child who has difficulty interacting in relationships who struggles to behave in a loving way who quite often cannot think clearly and who swings back and forth in his emotional states due to an underdeveloped regulatory system While perceived by most professionals as dangerous a child of trauma is essentially a scared child a stressed child living out of a primal survival mode in order to maintain his existence These traumatic experiences are stored and for most children are buried as unprocessed and unexpressed memories within the body mind system According to neuroscientist Bruce D Perry M D we have four levels of memory cognitive emotional motor and state 2 It is in the deepest level of memory the state memory that these experiences are stored The significance of this is that when our state memory is activated it directs all of our responses It has the ability to dominate over the other three memory states To understand this further let us take a look at all four of our memory states cognitive emotional motor and state Cognitive Our cognitive memory allows us to have immediate recall It is the level of memory where we store facts data dates research names THE STRESS MODEL 1 and numbers etc We generally have immediate access to this level of memory Emotional For every cognitive memory there is a corresponding emotional memory attached to it However at the emotional level the cognitive and emotional memories may not always be easily connected You may not always have access to the cognitive memory even though you may have access to the emotional memory For example say you have a friend from high school or college that you have not seen for some years While you can remember the face you are unable to remember then a me Yet attached to the memory of the face of this person is a very pleasant and warm feeling the emotional memory Additionally events happening in our lives which are emotionally impacting become easily accessible at the emotional level of memory If you were asked where you were on 9 11 you would probably remember the exact time of day and your location when you received the news of the terrorist attacks However if I ask you where were you last Friday your memory of this day would more than likely beclouded at best This memory is not easily accessible because the events that happened on that day were probably not emotionally significant Motor The motor memory is our body level of memory For the most part we seldom think about this level of memory and operate on automatic pilot When you get into your car and begin driving you seldom think about pulling open the door handle putting the key into the ignition or putting your arm over the passenger seat as you begin to back up As you continue in the automatic mode you have suddenly arrived at work and think How did I get here This level of memory is very unconscious State The state level of memory is the level of memory most associated with your personality traits It lies in direct reference point to your brainstem In other words it is located in your lower limbic system or your reptilian brain This area of your brain is not part of your rational brain but rather a part of your emotional brain It is responsible for processing raw data from the environment and sending immediate signals of fight flee or freeze This holds great significance for traumatized children due to the fact that traumatic memories get stored at the state level When a person reaches a heightened state of stress this state memory gets triggered thereby releasing all previous relevant memories into the upper memory banks In this manner when a child with a traumatic history is confronted with a situation which heightens his level of stress the child s state memory becomes activated Rapid fire communications to the other areas of the memory system are initiated informing the child that the current situation is threatening Additionally this rapid fire communication is also telling the child that this situation is almost guaranteed to workout like a previously stored experience In other words in the midst of a stressful or perceived

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING threatening event this child due to his or her cognitively distorted state of mind is likely to believe deep within the very cells of his body that if he doesn t convince this person right now that he is telling the truth then in all likelihood he might be abused abandoned neglected or worse he might die Faced with this looming threat this child is most likely going to tell a lie despite his understanding at the cognitive level that lies are morally and ethically wrong In the midst of stress and threat the state memory can completely override all other memory states Now this may seem like a far stretch to consider such possibilities for this child especially over something as simple as stealing a cookie You re asking How can stealing a cookie be linked to the threat of death Yet nothing could come closer to truly understanding this child s experience when confronted with the theft of a cookie His state level of memory is activated linking past traumatic experiences to the present situation Thus it is no longer just about the cookie For the child it is about survival life or death Through the comprehension of this fear dynamic we can begin to understand why such children are prone to repetitively negative behaviors such as lying If you had the belief at the cellular level that lying would ensure your survival and safety wouldn t you continue in this behavior All the behaviors discussed in this book are based on one simple model The Stress Model The Stress Model was developed by this author Dr Bryan Post as a model to explain human behavior The Stress Model is a regulatory theory of human behavior based on findings from the field of neurophysiology and studies regarding affect regulation It really is simple so read on According to the Stress Model all behavior arises from a state of stress and between the behavior and the stress is the presence of a primary emotion There are only two primary emotions Love and Fear It is through the expression processing and understanding of the primary emotion that you can calm the stress and diminish the behavior When the stress model is understood it can be applied to any complex family situation in order to find a simple loving approach to help all family members We must first see that there are only two emotions love and fear From love only loving feelings such as joy and happiness can THE STRESS MODEL 1 be present From love only loving behaviors such as reciprocity empathy conscience and the ability to understand deeply the experience of others can be exhibited Likewise from fear only fear based feelings such as anger frustration shame blame and envy can be present From fear only fear based behaviors such as hitting fighting arguing lying stealing defiance and hostility can be exhibited see chart on page 9 When seeking to understand children of trauma we must fully comprehend that at their deepest core is an emotional state of fear What we see on the outside is anger defiance stealing killing animals setting fires etc These fear based behaviors rapidly create fear within us Thus we become constricted and angered by the behaviors that can literally scare us to death Remember however that these are merely behaviors manifestations of the fear that is underneath it all In order to change these scary behaviors we must first address the fear When we are able to help our child calm his fear the fearbased behaviors will dissipate As you read through the following chapters examples will be given to show how simple parenting responses can accomplish this The hardest part of implementing this model will be in dealing with your own fear that arises from the behaviors of your child This is a critical part of your parenting because in order to help your child move out of his fear you must have first addressed your own fear Impossible No Difficult Yes What makes this difficult is that neither children nor adults are fully conscious of their initial states of stress that occur at the body level Before we ever become aware of it consciously or cognitively we will have already had a stress reaction For simplicity s sake but not to downplay the profound impact of this dynamic let us take the example of hearing a door slam Immediately upon hearing the slam you have a startle reaction your body becomes suddenly alert Before you will have had any conscious or cognitive awareness of exactly what made you startle your body will have already reacted This is considered to be an unconscious reaction Candace Pert the author of the groundbreaking book Molecules of Emotion tells us that any visual cue or anything that we see with our eyes must pass through seven different synapses in our brain before it ever becomes an actual conscious thought 3

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING threatening event this child due to his or her cognitively distorted state of mind is likely to believe deep within the very cells of his body that if he doesn t convince this person right now that he is telling the truth then in all likelihood he might be abused abandoned neglected or worse he might die Faced with this looming threat this child is most likely going to tell a lie despite his understanding at the cognitive level that lies are morally and ethically wrong In the midst of stress and threat the state memory can completely override all other memory states Now this may seem like a far stretch to consider such possibilities for this child especially over something as simple as stealing a cookie You re asking How can stealing a cookie be linked to the threat of death Yet nothing could come closer to truly understanding this child s experience when confronted with the theft of a cookie His state level of memory is activated linking past traumatic experiences to the present situation Thus it is no longer just about the cookie For the child it is about survival life or death Through the comprehension of this fear dynamic we can begin to understand why such children are prone to repetitively negative behaviors such as lying If you had the belief at the cellular level that lying would ensure your survival and safety wouldn t you continue in this behavior All the behaviors discussed in this book are based on one simple model The Stress Model The Stress Model was developed by this author Dr Bryan Post as a model to explain human behavior The Stress Model is a regulatory theory of human behavior based on findings from the field of neurophysiology and studies regarding affect regulation It really is simple so read on According to the Stress Model all behavior arises from a state of stress and between the behavior and the stress is the presence of a primary emotion There are only two primary emotions Love and Fear It is through the expression processing and understanding of the primary emotion that you can calm the stress and diminish the behavior When the stress model is understood it can be applied to any complex family situation in order to find a simple loving approach to help all family members We must first see that there are only two emotions love and fear From love only loving feelings such as joy and happiness can THE STRESS MODEL 1 be present From love only loving behaviors such as reciprocity empathy conscience and the ability to understand deeply the experience of others can be exhibited Likewise from fear only fear based feelings such as anger frustration shame blame and envy can be present From fear only fear based behaviors such as hitting fighting arguing lying stealing defiance and hostility can be exhibited see chart on page 9 When seeking to understand children of trauma we must fully comprehend that at their deepest core is an emotional state of fear What we see on the outside is anger defiance stealing killing animals setting fires etc These fear based behaviors rapidly create fear within us Thus we become constricted and angered by the behaviors that can literally scare us to death Remember however that these are merely behaviors manifestations of the fear that is underneath it all In order to change these scary behaviors we must first address the fear When we are able to help our child calm his fear the fearbased behaviors will dissipate As you read through the following chapters examples will be given to show how simple parenting responses can accomplish this The hardest part of implementing this model will be in dealing with your own fear that arises from the behaviors of your child This is a critical part of your parenting because in order to help your child move out of his fear you must have first addressed your own fear Impossible No Difficult Yes What makes this difficult is that neither children nor adults are fully conscious of their initial states of stress that occur at the body level Before we ever become aware of it consciously or cognitively we will have already had a stress reaction For simplicity s sake but not to downplay the profound impact of this dynamic let us take the example of hearing a door slam Immediately upon hearing the slam you have a startle reaction your body becomes suddenly alert Before you will have had any conscious or cognitive awareness of exactly what made you startle your body will have already reacted This is considered to be an unconscious reaction Candace Pert the author of the groundbreaking book Molecules of Emotion tells us that any visual cue or anything that we see with our eyes must pass through seven different synapses in our brain before it ever becomes an actual conscious thought 3

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING The implications for this as it applies to children who are overly sensitive due to traumatic experience you do not have a child diagnosed reactive attachment disorder or oppositional defiant disorder without some degree of trauma in his history are profound The majority of early development and interaction for a child is emotionally driven hence the majority of childhood engagement is unconscious Considering this we must understand that when a child feels stressed or threatened to any degree his behavior will arise from an unconscious place There is no such thing as willful disobedience or manipulation without first the seeds of fear and stress Remember that the negative behaviors we will be discussing have arisen first from an unconscious fear based place of stress as opposed to any clear cognitive or conscious place Stress causes confused and distorted thinking therefore if a child has done or is doing something that you know is not in line with a loving relationship the child must obviously becoming from a place of stress and fear And certainly if the child had the conscious ability to recognize such a state he would begin making attempts to do so however with such behavior being unconscious in that moment the child is doing the best he feels that he can to survive LOVE AND FEAR 1 CHAPTER TWO Love and Fear There is no fear in love But perfect love drives out fear 1 John 4 18 PRINCIPLE 2 There are only two primary emotions Love and Fear n our society we have a tendency to view anger as a primary emotion In Itive fact when we consider children to be willfully disobedient manipulor controlling we perceive this as stemming from an internal place of anger The traditional attachment perspective is based entirely on the perception that following a period of unmet needs a child becomes filled with rage and mistrust of the world The following description is echoed in virtually every reactive attachment disorder text parenting book or article that has been written during the last twenty years If there is a severe shortage or lack of reciprocal interactions babies experience a tremendous amount of rage believe that those who are supposed to love them and care for them will only hurt them and come to view the world as an extremely hostile environment in which no one can be trusted Babies who have the misfortune to have such dire experiences fail to form a secure sense of attachment to anyone We refer to these babies as attachment disordered Without extensive appropriate psychotherapy and parenting because they don t view others as having any importance children with attachment disorder are doomed to a life of hurting others 1 The above statement is such a common belief that it is not even questioned by most professionals in the field of attachment therapy We have come to view these children as fundamentally rageful children who are out to control the world and everyone in it Such distorted views on children s inner worlds following neglect or abuse rise straight out of the works of Foster Cline M D the co founder of the Cline Fay Institute in Golden Colorado and seen by many as the father of modern day attachment therapy Cline adapted a therapeutic approach used to treat infantile autism called Rage Re

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING The implications for this as it applies to children who are overly sensitive due to traumatic experience you do not have a child diagnosed reactive attachment disorder or oppositional defiant disorder without some degree of trauma in his history are profound The majority of early development and interaction for a child is emotionally driven hence the majority of childhood engagement is unconscious Considering this we must understand that when a child feels stressed or threatened to any degree his behavior will arise from an unconscious place There is no such thing as willful disobedience or manipulation without first the seeds of fear and stress Remember that the negative behaviors we will be discussing have arisen first from an unconscious fear based place of stress as opposed to any clear cognitive or conscious place Stress causes confused and distorted thinking therefore if a child has done or is doing something that you know is not in line with a loving relationship the child must obviously becoming from a place of stress and fear And certainly if the child had the conscious ability to recognize such a state he would begin making attempts to do so however with such behavior being unconscious in that moment the child is doing the best he feels that he can to survive LOVE AND FEAR 1 CHAPTER TWO Love and Fear There is no fear in love But perfect love drives out fear 1 John 4 18 PRINCIPLE 2 There are only two primary emotions Love and Fear n our society we have a tendency to view anger as a primary emotion In Itive fact when we consider children to be willfully disobedient manipulor controlling we perceive this as stemming from an internal place of anger The traditional attachment perspective is based entirely on the perception that following a period of unmet needs a child becomes filled with rage and mistrust of the world The following description is echoed in virtually every reactive attachment disorder text parenting book or article that has been written during the last twenty years If there is a severe shortage or lack of reciprocal interactions babies experience a tremendous amount of rage believe that those who are supposed to love them and care for them will only hurt them and come to view the world as an extremely hostile environment in which no one can be trusted Babies who have the misfortune to have such dire experiences fail to form a secure sense of attachment to anyone We refer to these babies as attachment disordered Without extensive appropriate psychotherapy and parenting because they don t view others as having any importance children with attachment disorder are doomed to a life of hurting others 1 The above statement is such a common belief that it is not even questioned by most professionals in the field of attachment therapy We have come to view these children as fundamentally rageful children who are out to control the world and everyone in it Such distorted views on children s inner worlds following neglect or abuse rise straight out of the works of Foster Cline M D the co founder of the Cline Fay Institute in Golden Colorado and seen by many as the father of modern day attachment therapy Cline adapted a therapeutic approach used to treat infantile autism called Rage Re

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING duction therapy2 into his work with children in residential care again based on the misconception that following prolonged periods of hurt or neglect children become filled with rage If one were to really analyze the current popular methods being used by attachment professionals and instructed to parents today we could clearly establish that though professionals no longer conduct therapy sessions as Cline did during the 70 s and 80 s most of the consequence based parenting approaches are still geared towards breaking a child s will and teaching children that they must trust adults Considering the science of the day during the 70 s one might be forgiving of Cline for his conceptualizations regarding abused children however in spite of all of the research we now have available to us and a much deeper and profound understanding of the brain Cline continues to be a proponent of his consequence based parenting approaches which see traumatized children as fundamentally angry and controlling Therefore he has done little to influence the current day hoards of practitioners who continue to follow the foundation he established years ago Even Doctor Spock apologized years later for his role in encouraging parents to let their babies cry themselves to sleep In the end Spock believed such practices were ultimately traumatic to young babies It takes quite an individual to come back years later and right a wrong publicly What has previously been labeled in children as anger based control manipulation defiance and even the hurting of one s self or the killing of animals is not based in anger but based in fear This principle may be very difficult to grasp initially because we live in a fear based society and anger is generally our immediate reaction to a threatening event Seldom do we actually experience ourselves as being afraid This emotion of fear however is the root of our anger We avoid it because it feels safer to be in a place of anger a protective feeling while we feel exposed and vulnerable to be in a place of fear A developmental pediatrician with a generalist knowledge of the brain will tell you that when a child cries he is experiencing a state of stress and fear A cry is a universal signal of distress According to traditional views on attachment when a misattuned caregiver does not interrupt an infant s cry the infant becomes mistrusting and full of rage This belief is both misleading and incorrect Rather than becoming rageful and mistrusting the infant becomes overwhelmingly stressed out and afraid If this state continues for prolonged indefinite periods of time what subsequently results is a child ill equipped to sooth his own elevated states of stress And we then have a child who is unable to contend with the world a child prone to over stimulation What we eventually see is a SCARED child NOT a RAGEFUL child This understanding makes all of the difference Candace LOVE AND FEAR 1 Pert in her groundbreaking book Molecules of Emotion gives an account of when the realization of the understanding of fear became so clear to her after hearing these words spoken to her If you look underneath your depression you ll find anger Look under your anger and you ll find sadness And under sadness is the root of it all what s really masquerading all the while fear 3 To comprehend this fully we must look closely at the definition of fear fear is an internal stress reaction to a perceived threat that lies internal to the body mind or external to the body mind Any external or internal stimulus perceived by the body mind system as a threat can cause a fear reaction Some accepted and common stimuli include being afraid of the dark the boogeyman or death Yet more common but more often overlooked examples include parental pressure television group activities mealtime bedtime transition periods moving from one place to the next can be considered a transition and even brushing teeth or doing chores All of these activities plus many more are very often the events that cause children to experience initial levels of heightened stress and fear We need to recognize that stress inducing stimuli whatever they may be enter the body through our sensory pathways sight sound touch smell taste and body temperature Any one pathway can cause the body to accelerate into stress and fear Let us pause at this point to recognize one very important point All stress is not bad In fact most scientists hesitate to consider that there is even a bad state of stress Stress is critical to life and survival It is needed to defend against illnesses and viruses In fact it is an unavoidable aspect of our lives Just to wake up is to experience a state of stress To laugh is to experience stress The reason many hesitate to consider it bad at all is because it is a reaction the body has that is based in survival Even for the most stressed out individual whose stress is leading to high blood pressure and ulcers these are signals the body is sending that something is not right and action needs to be taken in order to return to optimal functioning Without these we might not ever go to the physician for a check up Therefore stress is not bad it is simply not always pleasurable As Principle 2 states there are only two primary emotions love and fear One definition of love is the space that exists between two people Poets for centuries have attempted to define love The reality is that you cannot adequately define the experience of love The moment you have defined it it becomes something else that which you have defined I have found one of the best ways to consider love is to understand that love is what we bring to the space that surrounds us Love is not possessive or controlling It simply exists in the present space and time Any two people are capable of experiencing love at any given moment if they are able to put

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING duction therapy2 into his work with children in residential care again based on the misconception that following prolonged periods of hurt or neglect children become filled with rage If one were to really analyze the current popular methods being used by attachment professionals and instructed to parents today we could clearly establish that though professionals no longer conduct therapy sessions as Cline did during the 70 s and 80 s most of the consequence based parenting approaches are still geared towards breaking a child s will and teaching children that they must trust adults Considering the science of the day during the 70 s one might be forgiving of Cline for his conceptualizations regarding abused children however in spite of all of the research we now have available to us and a much deeper and profound understanding of the brain Cline continues to be a proponent of his consequence based parenting approaches which see traumatized children as fundamentally angry and controlling Therefore he has done little to influence the current day hoards of practitioners who continue to follow the foundation he established years ago Even Doctor Spock apologized years later for his role in encouraging parents to let their babies cry themselves to sleep In the end Spock believed such practices were ultimately traumatic to young babies It takes quite an individual to come back years later and right a wrong publicly What has previously been labeled in children as anger based control manipulation defiance and even the hurting of one s self or the killing of animals is not based in anger but based in fear This principle may be very difficult to grasp initially because we live in a fear based society and anger is generally our immediate reaction to a threatening event Seldom do we actually experience ourselves as being afraid This emotion of fear however is the root of our anger We avoid it because it feels safer to be in a place of anger a protective feeling while we feel exposed and vulnerable to be in a place of fear A developmental pediatrician with a generalist knowledge of the brain will tell you that when a child cries he is experiencing a state of stress and fear A cry is a universal signal of distress According to traditional views on attachment when a misattuned caregiver does not interrupt an infant s cry the infant becomes mistrusting and full of rage This belief is both misleading and incorrect Rather than becoming rageful and mistrusting the infant becomes overwhelmingly stressed out and afraid If this state continues for prolonged indefinite periods of time what subsequently results is a child ill equipped to sooth his own elevated states of stress And we then have a child who is unable to contend with the world a child prone to over stimulation What we eventually see is a SCARED child NOT a RAGEFUL child This understanding makes all of the difference Candace LOVE AND FEAR 1 Pert in her groundbreaking book Molecules of Emotion gives an account of when the realization of the understanding of fear became so clear to her after hearing these words spoken to her If you look underneath your depression you ll find anger Look under your anger and you ll find sadness And under sadness is the root of it all what s really masquerading all the while fear 3 To comprehend this fully we must look closely at the definition of fear fear is an internal stress reaction to a perceived threat that lies internal to the body mind or external to the body mind Any external or internal stimulus perceived by the body mind system as a threat can cause a fear reaction Some accepted and common stimuli include being afraid of the dark the boogeyman or death Yet more common but more often overlooked examples include parental pressure television group activities mealtime bedtime transition periods moving from one place to the next can be considered a transition and even brushing teeth or doing chores All of these activities plus many more are very often the events that cause children to experience initial levels of heightened stress and fear We need to recognize that stress inducing stimuli whatever they may be enter the body through our sensory pathways sight sound touch smell taste and body temperature Any one pathway can cause the body to accelerate into stress and fear Let us pause at this point to recognize one very important point All stress is not bad In fact most scientists hesitate to consider that there is even a bad state of stress Stress is critical to life and survival It is needed to defend against illnesses and viruses In fact it is an unavoidable aspect of our lives Just to wake up is to experience a state of stress To laugh is to experience stress The reason many hesitate to consider it bad at all is because it is a reaction the body has that is based in survival Even for the most stressed out individual whose stress is leading to high blood pressure and ulcers these are signals the body is sending that something is not right and action needs to be taken in order to return to optimal functioning Without these we might not ever go to the physician for a check up Therefore stress is not bad it is simply not always pleasurable As Principle 2 states there are only two primary emotions love and fear One definition of love is the space that exists between two people Poets for centuries have attempted to define love The reality is that you cannot adequately define the experience of love The moment you have defined it it becomes something else that which you have defined I have found one of the best ways to consider love is to understand that love is what we bring to the space that surrounds us Love is not possessive or controlling It simply exists in the present space and time Any two people are capable of experiencing love at any given moment if they are able to put

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING aside their fears and preconceived notions for what love is supposed to be Love is being fully present in the moment To love a child is merely to be present with her to not be thinking about work chores or the day s duties but rather to be present attuned and in harmony with the child s needs and desires Not that you will give in to every need want or desire but you will open yourself up with the ability to be present to her without judgment or a need to change her This is to love a child Let s spend just a moment discussing the brain A discussion on the brain is important to fully understanding the dynamics of love and fear You might be asking The brain Why is understanding the brain so important Bruce Perry M D has stated that if you work with children and you do not have a generalist understanding of the brain then you are missing out on a whole spectrum of childhood behavior 4 In as much as this statement is true simply an understanding of how the brain works is not sufficient There are many who claim to understand the brain and comprehend much of what we are going to be discussing next However in the words of Stephen Covey To know but not to do is to not know In other words simply knowing something is not sufficient Our comprehension of a subject must transcend merely the subject itself and be applicable throughout every day life Principles as Dr Covey states are universal They do not change from situation to situation They are as consistent as the day 5 In other words what goes on in your child s brain must also go on in your brain my brain and even your child s psychiatrist s brain Underneath the surface we are all pretty much the same we only vary in degrees Research is beginning to establish that these degrees of differences have as much to do with nature as with nurture An important point when discussing the brain is that one cannot separate one area of the brain from another When one area of the brain becomes activated essentially the entire body mind system becomes activated The following summary of the amygdala hippocampus and orbito frontal cortex are offered to stimulate the reader s interest in the brain by providing some very general information The following statements are generally accepted in the scientific community However the brain is composed of literally millions of aspects and every single one is of great importance so while this discussion is simplified it by no means is comprehensive and is not intended to minimize the importance of all the brain s systems For our purposes of discussing stress trauma and social emotional relationships there are three areas of the brain that are of primary importance the amgydala hippocampus and orbito frontal cortex LOVE AND FEAR 1 Amygdala While we will call this part of the brain the amygdala there are in fact two lobes to the amygdala scientifically referred to as the amygdalii This area of the brain lies at the base of the brain above the brainstem and is considered to be a part of the lower limbic system It completes its development within the first 18 months after the child is born however there is evidence that this area of the brain is already online and fully active while still in utero In this manner it is a part of our primal less evolved brain It is responsible for sensing threat in the environment and initiating the start of the body mind s fast paced stress reaction system It can most easily be considered a part of our reactive brain Joseph LeDoux in his book The Emotional Brain explains in the presence of danger of stimuli that warn of danger behavioral autonomic and endocrine responses are expressed and reflexes are modulated Each of these responses is controlled by a different set of outputs from the central nucleus of that amygdala 6 Thus stress hormones in the brain originate from the amygdala This area of the brain is oftentimes referred to in Psychology 101 when discussing the fight or flight pattern However a third reaction has been added over the past twenty years and that reaction is freeze Scientists are now able to determine that our freeze reaction is in fact our initial reaction to a threatening event We all go through it some of us more rapidly than others When you hear a loud startling noise your first reaction is not to hit the person next to you or jump up and start running it s actually to freeze first and then determine your next movement This very simple re explanation of the fight or flight reaction can allow us to reconsider how we fundamentally view children and other adults Rather than perceiving individuals as becoming angry first or seeking to run away we must now reconsider this age old tenet of fight or flight to take into consideration the initial reaction of freeze When the caveman saw the sabertooth tiger perched upon the tree limb waiting to pounce he did not immediately get angry or even take off running rather he froze and thought Oh my gosh It was then that he ran for his life Hippocampus Again often times this part of the brain is referred to as the hippocampii in scientific circles due to the presence of two lobes This area of the brain is primarily responsible for our ability to think clearly in the midst of stressful situations by calling upon our short term memory The hippocampus does not complete its development until well into the thirtysixth month after the child has been born Up until this point at the age of three children are not fully equipped to calm themselves or even relax themselves into sufficient sleep The hippocampus is directly involved in being able to help calm the outpourings of the amygdala by sending a memory message to remind the amygdala of a similar past experience thereby creating a

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING aside their fears and preconceived notions for what love is supposed to be Love is being fully present in the moment To love a child is merely to be present with her to not be thinking about work chores or the day s duties but rather to be present attuned and in harmony with the child s needs and desires Not that you will give in to every need want or desire but you will open yourself up with the ability to be present to her without judgment or a need to change her This is to love a child Let s spend just a moment discussing the brain A discussion on the brain is important to fully understanding the dynamics of love and fear You might be asking The brain Why is understanding the brain so important Bruce Perry M D has stated that if you work with children and you do not have a generalist understanding of the brain then you are missing out on a whole spectrum of childhood behavior 4 In as much as this statement is true simply an understanding of how the brain works is not sufficient There are many who claim to understand the brain and comprehend much of what we are going to be discussing next However in the words of Stephen Covey To know but not to do is to not know In other words simply knowing something is not sufficient Our comprehension of a subject must transcend merely the subject itself and be applicable throughout every day life Principles as Dr Covey states are universal They do not change from situation to situation They are as consistent as the day 5 In other words what goes on in your child s brain must also go on in your brain my brain and even your child s psychiatrist s brain Underneath the surface we are all pretty much the same we only vary in degrees Research is beginning to establish that these degrees of differences have as much to do with nature as with nurture An important point when discussing the brain is that one cannot separate one area of the brain from another When one area of the brain becomes activated essentially the entire body mind system becomes activated The following summary of the amygdala hippocampus and orbito frontal cortex are offered to stimulate the reader s interest in the brain by providing some very general information The following statements are generally accepted in the scientific community However the brain is composed of literally millions of aspects and every single one is of great importance so while this discussion is simplified it by no means is comprehensive and is not intended to minimize the importance of all the brain s systems For our purposes of discussing stress trauma and social emotional relationships there are three areas of the brain that are of primary importance the amgydala hippocampus and orbito frontal cortex LOVE AND FEAR 1 Amygdala While we will call this part of the brain the amygdala there are in fact two lobes to the amygdala scientifically referred to as the amygdalii This area of the brain lies at the base of the brain above the brainstem and is considered to be a part of the lower limbic system It completes its development within the first 18 months after the child is born however there is evidence that this area of the brain is already online and fully active while still in utero In this manner it is a part of our primal less evolved brain It is responsible for sensing threat in the environment and initiating the start of the body mind s fast paced stress reaction system It can most easily be considered a part of our reactive brain Joseph LeDoux in his book The Emotional Brain explains in the presence of danger of stimuli that warn of danger behavioral autonomic and endocrine responses are expressed and reflexes are modulated Each of these responses is controlled by a different set of outputs from the central nucleus of that amygdala 6 Thus stress hormones in the brain originate from the amygdala This area of the brain is oftentimes referred to in Psychology 101 when discussing the fight or flight pattern However a third reaction has been added over the past twenty years and that reaction is freeze Scientists are now able to determine that our freeze reaction is in fact our initial reaction to a threatening event We all go through it some of us more rapidly than others When you hear a loud startling noise your first reaction is not to hit the person next to you or jump up and start running it s actually to freeze first and then determine your next movement This very simple re explanation of the fight or flight reaction can allow us to reconsider how we fundamentally view children and other adults Rather than perceiving individuals as becoming angry first or seeking to run away we must now reconsider this age old tenet of fight or flight to take into consideration the initial reaction of freeze When the caveman saw the sabertooth tiger perched upon the tree limb waiting to pounce he did not immediately get angry or even take off running rather he froze and thought Oh my gosh It was then that he ran for his life Hippocampus Again often times this part of the brain is referred to as the hippocampii in scientific circles due to the presence of two lobes This area of the brain is primarily responsible for our ability to think clearly in the midst of stressful situations by calling upon our short term memory The hippocampus does not complete its development until well into the thirtysixth month after the child has been born Up until this point at the age of three children are not fully equipped to calm themselves or even relax themselves into sufficient sleep The hippocampus is directly involved in being able to help calm the outpourings of the amygdala by sending a memory message to remind the amygdala of a similar past experience thereby creating a

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING correlation with the current experience We never lose a single memory Our memories get stored away into the filing cabinet of our mind when they are no longer needed and can then be recalled when necessary The hippocampus sits directly in the right hemisphere but it along with the orbito frontal cortex controls the thinking left hemisphere of the brain Therefore when the amygdala perceives a threat of any nature it sends a major signal to the hippocampus seeking some correlation with a past experience Dependent on the past experience the individual is then able to make a significant correlation or contrast and then move forward from there In the case of some children they become unable to move at all but rather remain frozen We will discuss this following a brief overview of the orbito frontal cortex and regulatory system Orbito frontal cortex This area of the brain is recognized as the executive control center for all of our social and emotional functioning The orbito frontal cortex sits at the front of the brain and assists us in reading facial expressions tone of voice body language and posture By doing so it supports us in effectively navigating social and emotional relationships with others Allan Schore at the UCLA School of Medicine informs us that the frontal lobe of the cortex is the key area in both infant attachment and emotional regulation It receives both external sensory stimulation and visceral information from the body s internal environment It connects the facial expression of the mother with what the infant is feeling at the time If it is intense pleasure one set of nerve fibers is enhanced if it is intense pain or fear a different set is cultivated 7 It tells us to not smile when someone else is crying and to stand still when a dog is growling at our knees Both the hippocampus and the orbito frontal cortex work in conjunction to send signals to the amygdala in the face of a perceived threat This allows us to determine how significant the threat truly is The orbito frontal cortex does not complete its development until well into the twenty fifth year of life That is not a typo This control center really is not fully developed until a child or adult in this instance is twenty five years old It seems that only the rental car companies have effectively embraced this concept You cannot rent a car until you are in your early to mid twenties This makes sense considering that a young adult s brain is not fully developed up to this point It is also interesting to note that this area of the brain is one of the few areas of the brain that remains open to influence throughout the lifespan The Regulatory System The above discussion on the brain is a great segue to now explain the regulatory system When considering brain development from a contemporary perspective one cannot discuss important areas of the social emotional brain without also considering the regulatory system Our regulatory system is in fact our stress response system LOVE AND FEAR 1 It is the system that becomes engaged in the face of stress which helps us to manage the stress interpret it and respond accordingly This area of human behavior has received more recognition in relation to human behavior during the last twenty years than any other area One of the leading pioneers in the study of affect regulation is Allan Schore Ph D a neuroscientist at UCLA Dr Schore has written three seminal texts on affect regulation which have basically taken the work of John Bowlby M D the father of attachment theory and expanded upon it According to Dr Schore so much of who we are and will ever become is established during our earliest regulatory relationships with our caregivers Just as Bowlby stated that the first three years of life establish the blueprint for all of our future social and emotional relationships8 Schore states The dyadic failure of affect regulation leads to the developmental psychopathology that underlies all later forming psychiatric disorders 9 In other words the failure of two people to create regulation together early in life is what leads to later forming psychiatric disorders Stated even more simply if you remain stressed for a long period of time and have no significant relationships to support you you will become psychologically and emotionally impaired Schore also states The core of the self is thus nonverbal and unconscious and it lies in patterns of affect regulation 10 Again not to take away from the power of Schore s statement but rather to bring it home It is not so much what you say or do rather it is more important how you feel when you are doing or saying it Let s define two more important terms Regulation Both regulation and dysregulation refer to our varying abilities to tolerate stress and to be in a state of stress Regulation is the ability to experience and maintain stress within one s window of tolerance Generally defined as being calm this term is used throughout all of the sciences Dysregulation Dysregulation is the experience of stress outside of your window of tolerance This state is commonly referred to as being stressed out or in a state of distress This experience is what scientists have consistently considered to be the attributing cause of eighty to ninety percent of most diseases and disorders Other research has attributed nearly all psychopathology which would certainly include reactive attachment disorder and oppositional defiant disorder to affect dysregulation We are all impacted by stress as we are all prone to shift from a regulated state into a dysregulated state and then hopefully back again In general it is our early regulatory interaction with our caregivers that determines our ability to regulate as we age Alan Sroufe another leading developmental neuroscientist states Infants in well regulated parental care systems become effective self regulators in the face of stress as young

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING correlation with the current experience We never lose a single memory Our memories get stored away into the filing cabinet of our mind when they are no longer needed and can then be recalled when necessary The hippocampus sits directly in the right hemisphere but it along with the orbito frontal cortex controls the thinking left hemisphere of the brain Therefore when the amygdala perceives a threat of any nature it sends a major signal to the hippocampus seeking some correlation with a past experience Dependent on the past experience the individual is then able to make a significant correlation or contrast and then move forward from there In the case of some children they become unable to move at all but rather remain frozen We will discuss this following a brief overview of the orbito frontal cortex and regulatory system Orbito frontal cortex This area of the brain is recognized as the executive control center for all of our social and emotional functioning The orbito frontal cortex sits at the front of the brain and assists us in reading facial expressions tone of voice body language and posture By doing so it supports us in effectively navigating social and emotional relationships with others Allan Schore at the UCLA School of Medicine informs us that the frontal lobe of the cortex is the key area in both infant attachment and emotional regulation It receives both external sensory stimulation and visceral information from the body s internal environment It connects the facial expression of the mother with what the infant is feeling at the time If it is intense pleasure one set of nerve fibers is enhanced if it is intense pain or fear a different set is cultivated 7 It tells us to not smile when someone else is crying and to stand still when a dog is growling at our knees Both the hippocampus and the orbito frontal cortex work in conjunction to send signals to the amygdala in the face of a perceived threat This allows us to determine how significant the threat truly is The orbito frontal cortex does not complete its development until well into the twenty fifth year of life That is not a typo This control center really is not fully developed until a child or adult in this instance is twenty five years old It seems that only the rental car companies have effectively embraced this concept You cannot rent a car until you are in your early to mid twenties This makes sense considering that a young adult s brain is not fully developed up to this point It is also interesting to note that this area of the brain is one of the few areas of the brain that remains open to influence throughout the lifespan The Regulatory System The above discussion on the brain is a great segue to now explain the regulatory system When considering brain development from a contemporary perspective one cannot discuss important areas of the social emotional brain without also considering the regulatory system Our regulatory system is in fact our stress response system LOVE AND FEAR 1 It is the system that becomes engaged in the face of stress which helps us to manage the stress interpret it and respond accordingly This area of human behavior has received more recognition in relation to human behavior during the last twenty years than any other area One of the leading pioneers in the study of affect regulation is Allan Schore Ph D a neuroscientist at UCLA Dr Schore has written three seminal texts on affect regulation which have basically taken the work of John Bowlby M D the father of attachment theory and expanded upon it According to Dr Schore so much of who we are and will ever become is established during our earliest regulatory relationships with our caregivers Just as Bowlby stated that the first three years of life establish the blueprint for all of our future social and emotional relationships8 Schore states The dyadic failure of affect regulation leads to the developmental psychopathology that underlies all later forming psychiatric disorders 9 In other words the failure of two people to create regulation together early in life is what leads to later forming psychiatric disorders Stated even more simply if you remain stressed for a long period of time and have no significant relationships to support you you will become psychologically and emotionally impaired Schore also states The core of the self is thus nonverbal and unconscious and it lies in patterns of affect regulation 10 Again not to take away from the power of Schore s statement but rather to bring it home It is not so much what you say or do rather it is more important how you feel when you are doing or saying it Let s define two more important terms Regulation Both regulation and dysregulation refer to our varying abilities to tolerate stress and to be in a state of stress Regulation is the ability to experience and maintain stress within one s window of tolerance Generally defined as being calm this term is used throughout all of the sciences Dysregulation Dysregulation is the experience of stress outside of your window of tolerance This state is commonly referred to as being stressed out or in a state of distress This experience is what scientists have consistently considered to be the attributing cause of eighty to ninety percent of most diseases and disorders Other research has attributed nearly all psychopathology which would certainly include reactive attachment disorder and oppositional defiant disorder to affect dysregulation We are all impacted by stress as we are all prone to shift from a regulated state into a dysregulated state and then hopefully back again In general it is our early regulatory interaction with our caregivers that determines our ability to regulate as we age Alan Sroufe another leading developmental neuroscientist states Infants in well regulated parental care systems become effective self regulators in the face of stress as young

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING children separate from the caregiver 11 When an infant experienced a regulated environment as this child grows older he becomes increasingly more capable of tolerating stress when the parents are no longer present This is particularly important during school play or time at the grandparents home Unfortunately as we will talk about in the next section stress and trauma play havoc on our regulatory systems In some instances stress renders children literally unable to regulate leading to an abundance of behavioral issues from lying stealing and hoarding to hyperactivity and aggression It is important to remember that children only act out in negative ways from a place of stress and fear Negative behavior is neither intentional nor planned without first the seeds of stress and fear stress and fear which most likely has risen from an unconscious fear based place The Impact of Stress and Trauma on the Social Emotional Brain It is important to understand that trauma can be any stressful event that is prolonged overwhelming or unpredictable In this regard most members of our society have experienced some degree of trauma According to Candace Pert author of Molecules of Emotion following a traumatic event if an individual does not have an opportunity to express process and understand the event to some degree in relationship with another human being then any trauma can become stored within the cells of the body and have an impact on that individual for the rest of his life 12 As you can imagine most children do not have an opportunity to express process or understand why the things that happen to them have happened So how do they communicate their pain They communicate their pain through their behaviors through behaviors which cannot be changed through consequences logic or control You may not always know what trauma your child has experienced or what event has caused him to be stressed Though it can be important it is not imperative It is important because as much as possible you would want to be mindful and understanding if it occurred again but not imperative because with the correct understanding you will be able to respond to your child as opposed to react and that by itself can make a substantial difference Without going into a dissertation regarding the impact of stress and trauma on the brain there are a few critical points to remember Stress causes confused and distorted thinking and suppresses the short term memory When your child is stressed he will not be LOVE AND FEAR 1 thinking clearly nor will he remember sufficiently from one situation to the next Stress and trauma can impair the ability to communicate effectively between the left thinking hemisphere of the brain and the right emotional hemisphere of the brain In this regard your child may feel angry but not recognize that his body is in a state of fear He may feel tired but blame you for making him go to bed Or during the midst of your upset with him over an incident while you are angry and frowning he may be smiling He is not pushing your buttons as has been believed for years rather he is not connected to his thinking and feeling Only a crazy please excuse the derogatory use of the term to make a point person would laugh while someone is really angry My point exactly Your child is not crazy but during high stress he is disconnected from his thinking and feeling Trauma impairs the ability to think clearly during stressful events If you have ever wondered why your child is not learning at school you might now consider that he is under too much stress to have a fully engaged thinking and memory system Stress to a traumatized child may be life or death while stress to you and me may simply be enjoyment and motivation It has been said that there is a fine line between fear and excitement joy and pain Neurologically speaking this is correct because both experiences arise from the amygdala our fear receptor Our

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2 THE PRINCIPLES OF A NEW UNDERSTANDING children separate from the caregiver 11 When an infant experienced a regulated environment as this child grows older he becomes increasingly more capable of tolerating stress when the parents are no longer present This is particularly important during school play or time at the grandparents home Unfortunately as we will talk about in the next section stress and trauma play havoc on our regulatory systems In some instances stress renders children literally unable to regulate leading to an abundance of behavioral issues from lying stealing and hoarding to hyperactivity and aggression It is important to remember that children only act out in negative ways from a place of stress and fear Negative behavior is neither intentional nor planned without first the seeds of stress and fear stress and fear which most likely has risen from an unconscious fear based place The Impact of Stress and Trauma on the Social Emotional Brain It is important to understand that trauma can be any stressful event that is prolonged overwhelming or unpredictable In this regard most members of our society have experienced some degree of trauma According to Candace Pert author of Molecules of Emotion following a traumatic event if an individual does not have an opportunity to express process and understand the event to some degree in relationship with another human being then any trauma can become stored within the cells of the body and have an impact on that individual for the rest of his life 12 As you can imagine most children do not have an opportunity to express process or understand why the things that happen to them have happened So how do they communicate their pain They communicate their pain through their behaviors through behaviors which cannot be changed through consequences logic or control You may not always know what trauma your child has experienced or what event has caused him to be stressed Though it can be important it is not imperative It is important because as much as possible you would want to be mindful and understanding if it occurred again but not imperative because with the correct understanding you will be able to respond to your child as opposed to react and that by itself can make a substantial difference Without going into a dissertation regarding the impact of stress and trauma on the brain there are a few critical points to remember Stress causes confused and distorted thinking and suppresses the short term memory When your child is stressed he will not be LOVE AND FEAR 1 thinking clearly nor will he remember sufficiently from one situation to the next Stress and trauma can impair the ability to communicate effectively between the left thinking hemisphere of the brain and the right emotional hemisphere of the brain In this regard your child may feel angry but not recognize that his body is in a state of fear He may feel tired but blame you for making him go to bed Or during the midst of your upset with him over an incident while you are angry and frowning he may be smiling He is not pushing your buttons as has been believed for years rather he is not connected to his thinking and feeling Only a crazy please excuse the derogatory use of the term to make a point person would laugh while someone is really angry My point exactly Your child is not crazy but during high stress he is disconnected from his thinking and feeling Trauma impairs the ability to think clearly during stressful events If you have ever wondered why your child is not learning at school you might now consider that he is under too much stress to have a fully engaged thinking and memory system Stress to a traumatized child may be life or death while stress to you and me may simply be enjoyment and motivation It has been said that there is a fine line between fear and excitement joy and pain Neurologically speaking this is correct because both experiences arise from the amygdala our fear receptor Our

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PART TWO Seven Behaviors Rooted in Fear

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PART TWO Seven Behaviors Rooted in Fear

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2 SEVEN BEHAVIORS ROOTED IN FEAR LYING 1 CHAPTER SIX Lying Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky W hat kind of people chronically lie The most common answers are a car salesmen b con men c criminals d adulterers e thieves and yes f lawyers When our children lie to us we fear they will grow up to be dishonest adults Within a millisecond of our child lying to us we panic and envision a lifetime of our child lying to people creating havoc in relationships getting fired from jobs and maybe even doing time in jail As parents lying is a difficult behavior to address in our children for two primary reasons First lying is difficult because of the fear we project into the future for our child We fear our child will not have a strong moral base as an adult which will ultimately affect his relationships his employment and his overall ability to succeed in life Second lying is difficult because of our own discomfort from past experiences of people lying to us When we as parents experience our child lying it can be like getting swallowed up into a time machine and re experiencing a painful lie of the past Yet this time around we experience the lie on the big screen in full Technicolor We experience the discomfort within ourselves target our child as the cause of our discomfort and immediately begin reacting in order to change our child s behavior unconsciously thinking If I can stop you from lying I can stop my own discomfort Recently when a mother began discussing a situation involving her son with me during a small parenting workshop she expressed pure frustration about her eight year old son s lying behavior With stern conviction she stated My son has got to learn that lying is morally wrong He needs to be taught a lesson now before he grows up Lying is wrong and will not be tolerated in my home Do you hear the fear in those words After supporting her reaction and validating her I asked her Who lied to you as a child Such a deep seated emotional reaction expressed in her words and her tone of voice was only stemming from a place of darkness within herself It was stemming from an unprocessed and hurtful experience or experiences stored in her deepest level of memory It was coming from her state level of memory After the initial shock of my shifting

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2 SEVEN BEHAVIORS ROOTED IN FEAR LYING 1 CHAPTER SIX Lying Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky W hat kind of people chronically lie The most common answers are a car salesmen b con men c criminals d adulterers e thieves and yes f lawyers When our children lie to us we fear they will grow up to be dishonest adults Within a millisecond of our child lying to us we panic and envision a lifetime of our child lying to people creating havoc in relationships getting fired from jobs and maybe even doing time in jail As parents lying is a difficult behavior to address in our children for two primary reasons First lying is difficult because of the fear we project into the future for our child We fear our child will not have a strong moral base as an adult which will ultimately affect his relationships his employment and his overall ability to succeed in life Second lying is difficult because of our own discomfort from past experiences of people lying to us When we as parents experience our child lying it can be like getting swallowed up into a time machine and re experiencing a painful lie of the past Yet this time around we experience the lie on the big screen in full Technicolor We experience the discomfort within ourselves target our child as the cause of our discomfort and immediately begin reacting in order to change our child s behavior unconsciously thinking If I can stop you from lying I can stop my own discomfort Recently when a mother began discussing a situation involving her son with me during a small parenting workshop she expressed pure frustration about her eight year old son s lying behavior With stern conviction she stated My son has got to learn that lying is morally wrong He needs to be taught a lesson now before he grows up Lying is wrong and will not be tolerated in my home Do you hear the fear in those words After supporting her reaction and validating her I asked her Who lied to you as a child Such a deep seated emotional reaction expressed in her words and her tone of voice was only stemming from a place of darkness within herself It was stemming from an unprocessed and hurtful experience or experiences stored in her deepest level of memory It was coming from her state level of memory After the initial shock of my shifting

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2 SEVEN BEHAVIORS ROOTED IN FEAR LYING 1 the focus off of her son and onto her she took a deep breath and said My father lied to me Encouraging her I sat down on my stool and said How bad was it Tell me more She replied I was about 8 years old and the fighting between my mother and father had escalated into physical violence My father sat all of us kids down in our formal dining room for dinner and emphatically stated We re not getting a divorce As tears welled up in her eyes she said Three weeks later my father left our home divorced my mother and never stepped foot in our home again Emotional reactivity stems from unfinished business The associational connection between her son being 8 years old presently and her being 8 years old previously was a prevalent aspect of her reactivity to her son s lying behavior Attachment challenged children commonly exhibit lying behaviors and not only do they exhibit chronic lying but they also often exhibit non sense lying This lying behavior can occur several times during a single day Day after day of dealing with this type of lying behavior can drive even the most patient parent into rage filled behaviors First let us look at how traditional therapists view this behavior and what advice they give to parents Second let us look at this behavior through the understanding of the Stress Model and what the application of this understanding would be for parents working to create a healing environment within their homes Traditional attachment therapists recommendations based upon these interpretations of lying focus on the goal of not allowing the child to use the lie to control the parents Advice is commonly given for parents to say I don t believe you to the child after he tells a lie 4 The explanation is that this statement diminishes the controlling effect the child is working to obtain through the lie Parents are told to tell their child I can love you no matter what you have done or have had happen to you How long do you think you need to keep up your lying behaviors until you figure that out Parents are also told to be one step ahead of the child by saying I want to talk to you and I know you don t tend to tell the truth when I ask you questions So I want you to know I expect you to come up with a really good lie to answer my question Ready The goal of such statements is to put the child in conflict about his lying 5 Under this understanding of the attachment challenged child parents are told that the child must not experience the parent angry or emotionally triggered by the child s lie The advice is that the child needs to feel and experience emptiness as a result of his behavior Negative consequences are also encouraged as a way for the lesson of lying to be experienced by the pain of a consequence Attachment challenged children are not viewed as children who can simply think through the pain they have caused others by their lying and therefore they need a negative consequence to actually experience the pain of their lying 6 Traditional View Traditionally attachment therapists view lying as a way for children with trauma histories to take control Lying develops into a habitual strategy in order to gain power and control and certainly as a way to avoid punishment 1 It is viewed as a way for the child to confuse the parent s world and as a way to turn the parent s world into utter confusion Lying is seen as a way for the child to impose the chaos in his own brain onto someone else who he wants to hurt It is seen as a way for the child to test the parentchild relationship By lying the child is pushing the adoptive parents or the foster parents to their breaking point in order to see if they really mean that they are his parents always This view explains that attachment challenged children do not trust and therefore react from a place of distrust in order to then gain the ability to trust Lying is seen as a patterned behavior that needs to be reprogrammed through consequences and that parents need to beat the child to the punch in his lying behaviors Some traditional views go as far as to say that these children are born liars 2 Others create fear by describing lying as a hallmark sign of anti social children 3 A New View Research in the field of neuro science has shown that children who have experienced trauma react to stress out of a state of fear from an unconscious level as deep as the state memory The fear receptor in the brain becomes overly triggered and in this stress state the traumatized child s perception of the situation at hand becomes distorted and exceptionally fearful Children with trauma histories are living out of a primal state of survival They literally lie from a place of life or death Their survival is dependent on convincing you that they are telling the truth In this distortion of their mind the state level of memory drives them with the conviction that they must persist with this lie at all costs in order to survive Simple events throughout the child s day can cause intense fear reactions It can be as simple as a child picking up a penny off of the floor belonging to someone else and lying about it It can be as obvious as a child hitting his sister and denying it even after the parent witnessed the behavior It can be as absurd as lying about stealing a pencil off of the teacher s desk while standing in front of the teacher holding the pencil in hand This type of lying can be absolutely maddening for the parents caretaker teacher etc Parents

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2 SEVEN BEHAVIORS ROOTED IN FEAR LYING 1 the focus off of her son and onto her she took a deep breath and said My father lied to me Encouraging her I sat down on my stool and said How bad was it Tell me more She replied I was about 8 years old and the fighting between my mother and father had escalated into physical violence My father sat all of us kids down in our formal dining room for dinner and emphatically stated We re not getting a divorce As tears welled up in her eyes she said Three weeks later my father left our home divorced my mother and never stepped foot in our home again Emotional reactivity stems from unfinished business The associational connection between her son being 8 years old presently and her being 8 years old previously was a prevalent aspect of her reactivity to her son s lying behavior Attachment challenged children commonly exhibit lying behaviors and not only do they exhibit chronic lying but they also often exhibit non sense lying This lying behavior can occur several times during a single day Day after day of dealing with this type of lying behavior can drive even the most patient parent into rage filled behaviors First let us look at how traditional therapists view this behavior and what advice they give to parents Second let us look at this behavior through the understanding of the Stress Model and what the application of this understanding would be for parents working to create a healing environment within their homes Traditional attachment therapists recommendations based upon these interpretations of lying focus on the goal of not allowing the child to use the lie to control the parents Advice is commonly given for parents to say I don t believe you to the child after he tells a lie 4 The explanation is that this statement diminishes the controlling effect the child is working to obtain through the lie Parents are told to tell their child I can love you no matter what you have done or have had happen to you How long do you think you need to keep up your lying behaviors until you figure that out Parents are also told to be one step ahead of the child by saying I want to talk to you and I know you don t tend to tell the truth when I ask you questions So I want you to know I expect you to come up with a really good lie to answer my question Ready The goal of such statements is to put the child in conflict about his lying 5 Under this understanding of the attachment challenged child parents are told that the child must not experience the parent angry or emotionally triggered by the child s lie The advice is that the child needs to feel and experience emptiness as a result of his behavior Negative consequences are also encouraged as a way for the lesson of lying to be experienced by the pain of a consequence Attachment challenged children are not viewed as children who can simply think through the pain they have caused others by their lying and therefore they need a negative consequence to actually experience the pain of their lying 6 Traditional View Traditionally attachment therapists view lying as a way for children with trauma histories to take control Lying develops into a habitual strategy in order to gain power and control and certainly as a way to avoid punishment 1 It is viewed as a way for the child to confuse the parent s world and as a way to turn the parent s world into utter confusion Lying is seen as a way for the child to impose the chaos in his own brain onto someone else who he wants to hurt It is seen as a way for the child to test the parentchild relationship By lying the child is pushing the adoptive parents or the foster parents to their breaking point in order to see if they really mean that they are his parents always This view explains that attachment challenged children do not trust and therefore react from a place of distrust in order to then gain the ability to trust Lying is seen as a patterned behavior that needs to be reprogrammed through consequences and that parents need to beat the child to the punch in his lying behaviors Some traditional views go as far as to say that these children are born liars 2 Others create fear by describing lying as a hallmark sign of anti social children 3 A New View Research in the field of neuro science has shown that children who have experienced trauma react to stress out of a state of fear from an unconscious level as deep as the state memory The fear receptor in the brain becomes overly triggered and in this stress state the traumatized child s perception of the situation at hand becomes distorted and exceptionally fearful Children with trauma histories are living out of a primal state of survival They literally lie from a place of life or death Their survival is dependent on convincing you that they are telling the truth In this distortion of their mind the state level of memory drives them with the conviction that they must persist with this lie at all costs in order to survive Simple events throughout the child s day can cause intense fear reactions It can be as simple as a child picking up a penny off of the floor belonging to someone else and lying about it It can be as obvious as a child hitting his sister and denying it even after the parent witnessed the behavior It can be as absurd as lying about stealing a pencil off of the teacher s desk while standing in front of the teacher holding the pencil in hand This type of lying can be absolutely maddening for the parents caretaker teacher etc Parents

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2 SEVEN BEHAVIORS ROOTED IN FEAR soon begin to question their own sanity when living with this type of behavior the child s lying challenges their own reality In order to understand this lying behavior we must first acknowledge that the child is simply reacting from a state of fear It is critical that we acknowledge that when children with trauma histories are triggered into their stress and confronted in a lie they will continue to reinforce the lie Thus the awareness that the child s unconscious is saying I have to convince you I m telling the truth because my life depends on it is necessary in order for the parent to respond from a place of love instead of a place of fear and punishment Thus the ability for the parent to help the child depends on the parent s ability to avoid buying into the lie This is an extremely difficult task because lying is a threatening behavior When our children lie to us it causes a stress reaction in our brain a stress reaction within our body mind system We then go into a hyperaroused state and say to the child Now tell me the truth You re lying to me I ve told you more than a hundred times not to lie to me Yet as soon as we do this we have only fed into their fear and increased their determination to convince us of the lie Parent and child then enter into a negative feedback loop each driving more fear into the other So the question is then Can you as the parent ignore the lie If you immediately say No I can t do this recognize this as a rigid reaction And then the question becomes Well who lied to you Someone must have lied to you to have such a strong reaction When your child lies to you it puts you into an emotionally reactive state Remember that emotional reactivity stems from our own unfinished business Ask yourself Is this emotionally charged response stemming from something in my own history It is vital for parents to identify their own reactions first Otherwise the parents will not be in a calm place physiologically or emotionally to help their child Scientific research shows that within an interaction between two people the person with the calmer amygdala the fear receptor in the brain has the ability to soothe the one that is activated Refer to Chapters 1 through 4 for a review of this information This translates to an understanding that the parent must be regulated in order to calm the child So it becomes critical with this understanding for the parents not to buy into the lie in order to maintain a calm state a state that does not allow their own amygdala to get triggered It is then that the parents are able to create a different physiological environment for their child They can then work to help calm the child by embracing their child with a hug and calmly saying You re not going anywhere Everything is going to be okay sweetheart Doing this can have a dramatic impact on the child s state level of memory By doing this the parent is addressing the child s unconscious fear while LYING 1 calming the child through the sensory pathways sight sound and touch But you re saying by this point Okay calm the stress I get that But what about the fact that my child is lying How is he going to know that lying is wrong You are absolutely right lying is wrong and the moral lesson of lying should be taught it just cannot be taught in the heat of the moment due to the child s fear reactivity Once the child is calm and you re calm perhaps an hour or later in the day this behavior can be addressed with the child Yet in order for the child to absorb and fully understand that lying is wrong the child has to be out of his fear state His cognitive thinking pathways have to be clear and open These pathways are engaged and fully operational only when a child is in a state of love Remember stress causes confused and distorted thinking so the child must be in a calm state in order to be receptive to the rationale of why it is hurtful to lie It is also important to recognize that stress suppresses short term memory Lecturing a child about lying during the stress of the moment will have little impact on the child s ability to remember not to lie in the future Consequencing the child during the act of lying with statements such as Your TV privileges will be removed if you continue to lie to me or You re not getting dessert tonight if you don t fess up to lying to me will only heighten the child s stress level creating more confusion and distortion These fear based demands prolong and heighten the child s fear preventing the child from being able to remember the life lesson the next time he is confronted with a stressful situation He will not be able to remember that he received consequences for lying in the past His shortterm memory will not allow him to remember So the formula for lying behavior states Ignore the lie but don t ignore the child The goal is to establish a dynamic that creates true regulation through the parent child relationship As the child experiences more and more positive responses from the parent this regulating relationship between parent and child will permeate the state memory lessening the reactivity of the child s stress response system This will in time decrease the child s need to lie to the parent It takes positive interactions and a positive environment to calm a child s reactive stress state And it takes repetition of both the positive relationship and repetition of the positive environment to create longterm healing for the child

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2 SEVEN BEHAVIORS ROOTED IN FEAR soon begin to question their own sanity when living with this type of behavior the child s lying challenges their own reality In order to understand this lying behavior we must first acknowledge that the child is simply reacting from a state of fear It is critical that we acknowledge that when children with trauma histories are triggered into their stress and confronted in a lie they will continue to reinforce the lie Thus the awareness that the child s unconscious is saying I have to convince you I m telling the truth because my life depends on it is necessary in order for the parent to respond from a place of love instead of a place of fear and punishment Thus the ability for the parent to help the child depends on the parent s ability to avoid buying into the lie This is an extremely difficult task because lying is a threatening behavior When our children lie to us it causes a stress reaction in our brain a stress reaction within our body mind system We then go into a hyperaroused state and say to the child Now tell me the truth You re lying to me I ve told you more than a hundred times not to lie to me Yet as soon as we do this we have only fed into their fear and increased their determination to convince us of the lie Parent and child then enter into a negative feedback loop each driving more fear into the other So the question is then Can you as the parent ignore the lie If you immediately say No I can t do this recognize this as a rigid reaction And then the question becomes Well who lied to you Someone must have lied to you to have such a strong reaction When your child lies to you it puts you into an emotionally reactive state Remember that emotional reactivity stems from our own unfinished business Ask yourself Is this emotionally charged response stemming from something in my own history It is vital for parents to identify their own reactions first Otherwise the parents will not be in a calm place physiologically or emotionally to help their child Scientific research shows that within an interaction between two people the person with the calmer amygdala the fear receptor in the brain has the ability to soothe the one that is activated Refer to Chapters 1 through 4 for a review of this information This translates to an understanding that the parent must be regulated in order to calm the child So it becomes critical with this understanding for the parents not to buy into the lie in order to maintain a calm state a state that does not allow their own amygdala to get triggered It is then that the parents are able to create a different physiological environment for their child They can then work to help calm the child by embracing their child with a hug and calmly saying You re not going anywhere Everything is going to be okay sweetheart Doing this can have a dramatic impact on the child s state level of memory By doing this the parent is addressing the child s unconscious fear while LYING 1 calming the child through the sensory pathways sight sound and touch But you re saying by this point Okay calm the stress I get that But what about the fact that my child is lying How is he going to know that lying is wrong You are absolutely right lying is wrong and the moral lesson of lying should be taught it just cannot be taught in the heat of the moment due to the child s fear reactivity Once the child is calm and you re calm perhaps an hour or later in the day this behavior can be addressed with the child Yet in order for the child to absorb and fully understand that lying is wrong the child has to be out of his fear state His cognitive thinking pathways have to be clear and open These pathways are engaged and fully operational only when a child is in a state of love Remember stress causes confused and distorted thinking so the child must be in a calm state in order to be receptive to the rationale of why it is hurtful to lie It is also important to recognize that stress suppresses short term memory Lecturing a child about lying during the stress of the moment will have little impact on the child s ability to remember not to lie in the future Consequencing the child during the act of lying with statements such as Your TV privileges will be removed if you continue to lie to me or You re not getting dessert tonight if you don t fess up to lying to me will only heighten the child s stress level creating more confusion and distortion These fear based demands prolong and heighten the child s fear preventing the child from being able to remember the life lesson the next time he is confronted with a stressful situation He will not be able to remember that he received consequences for lying in the past His shortterm memory will not allow him to remember So the formula for lying behavior states Ignore the lie but don t ignore the child The goal is to establish a dynamic that creates true regulation through the parent child relationship As the child experiences more and more positive responses from the parent this regulating relationship between parent and child will permeate the state memory lessening the reactivity of the child s stress response system This will in time decrease the child s need to lie to the parent It takes positive interactions and a positive environment to calm a child s reactive stress state And it takes repetition of both the positive relationship and repetition of the positive environment to create longterm healing for the child

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2 SEVEN BEHAVIORS ROOTED IN FEAR Parenting Example Lying Scenario As the family is getting ready in the morning Mom asks Suzie did you feed the cat and give him fresh water Abruptly Suzie says Yes Mom looks over at the cat s bowl and sees that there is no food and sees that there is only a small amount of stale water in the bowl Traditional View Suzie is trying to control her mother at this point in the morning because earlier Suzie had asked her mother to make pancakes her mother said no Additionally since her mother wouldn t make her pancakes Suzie is fearful that her mother does not really love her and Suzie is using the situation to test her mother In order for Suzie s lie to lose its effectiveness and ability to control the situation Suzie s mother needs to calmly say I know you re lying because the food dish is empty I love you always it is up to you to decide when you are going to believe me and believe that I am your mother and that I will never leave you This absurd lie was a conscious choice on Suzie s part and the parent must not emotionally react to the lie otherwise a reaction from Mom would empower Suzie only reinforcing this type of controlling behavior 7 A New View Suzie is upset and stressed about the earlier interaction with her mother regarding the pancakes Suzie s state memory became activated and fear based unconscious thoughts begin to surface If she won t make me pancakes how do I know that the next time I m hungry I ll get fed And if I don t get fed I ll die I ve got to make sure I m a good girl that I m perfect in order for my mom to take care of me Suzie s immediate response of yes when asked about her morning chore did not have time to be processed in the cognitive mind It was an automatic reaction from her state memory in order to ensure her survival If she does exactly what her mother has asked her to do if she is the perfect child she ll survive she ll be okay Mom needs to respond to Suzie s fear by holding her hand placing Suzie in her lap and saying Suzie I love you You re going to be okay and nothing can stop me from taking care of you Later that day when Suzie is calm Mom can sit and talk to Suzie touching or holding her gently Mom can then say Suzie it hurts me when you lie to me Sometimes when we get scared we lie to one another I want you to know that I love you and you re not going anywhere I m here to always take care of you You can always tell me the truth honey LYING Quick Reference LYING Remember that lying Comes from a state of survival the child must persist with the lie at all costs in order to survive Easily creates a fear reaction in the parent Is a fear based behavior a threatening reaction from the parent only feeds into the child s fear When finding your child in a lie recognize that Lying stems from a state of stress The lying behavior is not directed at you personally Your child is reacting from past trauma experiences Your child already feels threatened so confronting the lie will only heighten and create more threat Your best response is to ignore the lie but not to ignore the child Your child cannot be taught the moral lesson of lying while in the act of lying Your child s foundation is insecure and your child needs your help in building the parent child relationship through a nonblaming nonpunitive environment 1

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2 SEVEN BEHAVIORS ROOTED IN FEAR Parenting Example Lying Scenario As the family is getting ready in the morning Mom asks Suzie did you feed the cat and give him fresh water Abruptly Suzie says Yes Mom looks over at the cat s bowl and sees that there is no food and sees that there is only a small amount of stale water in the bowl Traditional View Suzie is trying to control her mother at this point in the morning because earlier Suzie had asked her mother to make pancakes her mother said no Additionally since her mother wouldn t make her pancakes Suzie is fearful that her mother does not really love her and Suzie is using the situation to test her mother In order for Suzie s lie to lose its effectiveness and ability to control the situation Suzie s mother needs to calmly say I know you re lying because the food dish is empty I love you always it is up to you to decide when you are going to believe me and believe that I am your mother and that I will never leave you This absurd lie was a conscious choice on Suzie s part and the parent must not emotionally react to the lie otherwise a reaction from Mom would empower Suzie only reinforcing this type of controlling behavior 7 A New View Suzie is upset and stressed about the earlier interaction with her mother regarding the pancakes Suzie s state memory became activated and fear based unconscious thoughts begin to surface If she won t make me pancakes how do I know that the next time I m hungry I ll get fed And if I don t get fed I ll die I ve got to make sure I m a good girl that I m perfect in order for my mom to take care of me Suzie s immediate response of yes when asked about her morning chore did not have time to be processed in the cognitive mind It was an automatic reaction from her state memory in order to ensure her survival If she does exactly what her mother has asked her to do if she is the perfect child she ll survive she ll be okay Mom needs to respond to Suzie s fear by holding her hand placing Suzie in her lap and saying Suzie I love you You re going to be okay and nothing can stop me from taking care of you Later that day when Suzie is calm Mom can sit and talk to Suzie touching or holding her gently Mom can then say Suzie it hurts me when you lie to me Sometimes when we get scared we lie to one another I want you to know that I love you and you re not going anywhere I m here to always take care of you You can always tell me the truth honey LYING Quick Reference LYING Remember that lying Comes from a state of survival the child must persist with the lie at all costs in order to survive Easily creates a fear reaction in the parent Is a fear based behavior a threatening reaction from the parent only feeds into the child s fear When finding your child in a lie recognize that Lying stems from a state of stress The lying behavior is not directed at you personally Your child is reacting from past trauma experiences Your child already feels threatened so confronting the lie will only heighten and create more threat Your best response is to ignore the lie but not to ignore the child Your child cannot be taught the moral lesson of lying while in the act of lying Your child s foundation is insecure and your child needs your help in building the parent child relationship through a nonblaming nonpunitive environment 1