By: Julie Beem

When she looked at me, her eyes were filling with tears. She had just heard me say, and expound upon, the idea of reviewing your therapeutic parenting responses at the end of the day to see where you had done well and where things had not gone so well. “Just like professional athletes,” I advised, “we need to review those game tapes every day, learning from what worked and what didn’t.”

By: Gari Lister

Experts advise that kids with developmental trauma need calm, stability and predictable limits. And in fact I know my youngest does better when she knows her schedule, and exactly what is expected of her. The problem is that peace, stability and a well-ordered life are not always easy to come by in a household filled with a bunch of poorly behaved dogs and cats, not to mention the children or broken appliances. For that reason, I’m always a little defensive about our organizational dynamics.

By: Marc Deprey

I don’t know everything about goats, but I do work in land conservation and deal with landowners who face problems with invasive species of plants and livestock issues. What I do know is that goats are nature’s eliminator. They really do eat anything and everything.

By: Gari Lister

Our oldest daughter, Katya, has been gone nearly two months. She packed the car with everything she could find, changed her phone number, blocked us on facebook, and disappeared into the urban Dallas wilds. In many ways, our life is back to normal, and I have adjusted to my new status. Only a few weeks ago, I couldn’t stop myself from pulling away from the little girls in subtle ways. I finally realized I was petrified they too would throw me away, walking away without a backward glance. I’m mostly now able to accept the risk.

By: Marc Deprey

Last Sunday, my son went into a rage so severe that he assaulted me and destroyed my car’s windows and body with head-sized boulders. He was arrested and taken to Juvenile Hall. It’s the first time I’ve ever been assaulted—by anyone, let alone my own child—and this is his first arrest. My daughter, who is also afflicted with developmental trauma, has been especially reactive this week beyond her usual explosiveness and destructiveness. So the trauma I have been experiencing this week has been so severe that I got sick (my immune system is probably in full retreat) on top of it all. Yesterday, I just gave into reality and cancelled my trip to the Trauma conference.

By: Gari Lister

Our attachment therapist a long time ago suggested that if my girls had a difficult time with my massaging and touching them, I could have them rub lotion on me. Well, I started out with lotion, but I have three girls so . . . the lotion turned into nail polish, and the nail polish turned into hair styling, and the hair styling turned into makeup. Every so often, one of my little girls runs into the bathroom and runs out with a lotion or a blush or a handful of hair accessories and gives me a hopeful look.

By: Marc Deprey

Father and SonWell, here it is, the moment I’ve been thinking about. How to start my contribution to ATN’s new blog? I could write about the experience of parenting two kids, eleven months apart with Developmental Trauma Disorder and the whole whack-a-mole nature of that day-to-day experience. I could write about the fact that I can only take time to write this when my kids are asleep and I’m exhausted, or the idea that being around them wears me down to the core (and that I can’t imagine I’ll have any core left sometime soon).

By: Anna Paravano

I’m going to be completely honest here. Whenever I go to a presentation, participate in a discussion group, or talk to a psych, and someone says, “Remember, you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you put it on your child,” I just feel like decking them. In truth, my first thought is, “Do you even have kids?!?!” and then I want to deck them.

By: Julie Beem

Every Monday my daughter (let’s call her LuLu) goes to a social skills class. Most of the children are on the autism spectrum and that seems to work fine for her, even though I truly believe her developmental issues are trauma-related and not true autism (or at least not entirely autism-related). It’s a nice bit of downtime for me, given that she’s in virtual school and I’m her daily learning coach. Chatting with the other mothers is my own social break. One of the mothers recently revealed that her daughter was also adopted and did it in the context of exploring why she acted the way she did. We’ve since discussed ways that her daughter’s autism diagnosis doesn’t quite “fit” some behaviors and maybe there was something more there. (Yes, I believe there is – early childhood trauma.)

By: Gari Lister

Mom and daughterUntil today, my first blog was going to be uplifting. I have three girls affected to varying degrees by their early trauma in orphanages in Russia and Ukraine, and things seemed to be going really well. We just finished a wonderful vacation with the two younger girls, and the third had returned home in October after years of living “on-her-own-traumatized-child-style,” which means she dropped out of high school and generally could not handle being part of a family. Unfortunately, though, we made the mistake that all of us moms and dads of traumatized children sometimes do. We forgot. We forgot she wasn’t like other teenagers, or us, or even the 11 year old (she’s 21). We forgot how messed up her brain is when she makes decisions – or doesn’t make decisions. We believed that she could handle what seemed so simple – feeding our cats and cleaning up after them. She doesn’t have a job (long story), and we agreed to pay her to feed them so she would have a little spending money. We asked neighbors to keep an eye out on things, and put our dogs in boarding.