If you have made it this far, you realize that you may be stuck in blocked care or know someone who is. Let’s explore how to get you unstuck and back to enjoying parenting again, having fun with your child, and moving out of that self-preservation/survival mode. Taking the time to learn about the concept of blocked care and admitting you are in it is a huge first step. So congratulations for your honesty and integrity for making it to this point. Keep reading for very specific ways to get unblocked!
Regulated Nervous System
When we are stressed, we lose access to the part of our brain that helps us remain calm, centered, consistent, analytical, and resourceful. We all know what happens to the best of us when we get off kilter. We may actually lose our cool: it happens. When our brains are stuck in blocked care, it is so easy to get stuck in despair, defensiveness, and just plain survival mode.
In blocked care, we often react to our children. We are feeling just too tired to pause, reflect and then respond. When our parenting is all one reaction after another, it keeps the cycle going with our kids. They behave poorly. We behave poorly. And so forth and so on. As parents, it is our responsibility to break this cycle: to behave as adults. We must wonder what our children’s behavior is telling us. What is underneath their actions and what do they need from us? Hard work, yes. But once you shift from reacting to wondering, behaviors will improve.
No, I do not mean a day at the Spa. Instead, I urge you to stay connected to your body in whatever way works for you. Can you practice deep breathes every morning before you get out of bed. Can you take a 5-minute walk outside after lunch every day to help you remain as calm as possible. Maybe you need a dog petting session every afternoon? Just taking time to read this Newsletter is a type of self-care. Anything to keep you balanced and present for your parenting job.
When we experience blocked care, we get stuck in negative thoughts about our kids and ourselves. You must pause, reflect, and actually reframe the narrative in your head. Instead of thinking that your kid is bad due to his scary meltdowns, replace that with your kid came from a rough place, is vulnerable, and and trying to stay safe. He needs extra care right now. When you catch yourself thinking you are a terrible parent because you don’t even want to be near your kid right now, instead tell yourself I am stuck and need help. Lots of parents go through this and I am not alone. Reframing those pesky narratives is a wonderful skill to use and then teach your children.
When we are stressed, our brains can get caught in loops. One of them is when we expect the same bad things from our children over and over again based on the past. This is a type of skewed prediction. Recognizing this thought pattern is the first step to change. Next, literally say out loud that your child is trying their best and will do better when they can. The past does not dictate the future and you will help your child to grow and heal.
Find Others Who Get It
We all need people who are in our shoes. If you don’t have an adoption community, find one. You need to be able to talk about the things only other adoptive parents understand. Eradicate your shame by speaking about your feelings surrounding blocked care to someone else. Find others who have been on your journey and have come out on the other side. Connections matters and can heal your blocked care sometimes more then any other single factor.
A sense of humor can feel like a luxury when you are struggling. But it should never be underestimated. Humor can diffuse a tense relationship. Humor can lighten your burden. Humor can bring people together. Do whatever it takes, to find humor in something every day, no matter how small. Let humor cure your blocked care. Humor heals.