On a scale of 1 to 10. How much patience do you typically have? One means you’re completely depleted and wake up annoyed at your kids even though they actually haven’t done anything that day. Ten means you’re a saint.
I started off as a pretty patient mom. With each additional child we added to our family, my patience decreased. By the time we had six kids, four through adoption with complex trauma and high needs, my husband was telling me I was the meanest person he knew.
I knew something needed to change. I wanted to be more patient. I would promise myself each night, “Tomorrow will be different.” But then tomorrow never was.
It turns out I was appealing to the wrong part of my brain. If you’ve been around for a while, you know I love brain science. Just as a quick review, the lower part of your brain includes the part that manages your emotions and logic happens in the pre-frontal cortex…the upstairs brain.
I was thinking a lot about patience and knew in my thinking brain I needed more of it, but that wasn’t helping my downstairs brain that didn’t feel any more patient each morning.
When I started caring my for the downstairs part of my brain, I noticed that my window of tolerance increased along with the amount of patience I had. I was able to respond to my kids instead of react.
You’re probably wondering, “How do I care for the downstairs part of my brain?”
Three things made the biggest difference:
I’ve mentioned before that Repetition + Rhythm + Relationship = Regulation for our kids and the same is true for ourselves.
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Therapeutic listening via the Safe and Sound Protocol.
This protocol uses specially filtered music to send cues of safety to our nervous system and creates permanent shifts in how we experience the world. It helps you feel less irritable and overwhelmed. It helps you think more clearly. And it helps you connect more openly.
Our sense of smell gives us direct access to the limbic system. Biochemistry tells us what smells will send cues of regulation, and psychology tells us that we can also anchor a specific scent to the safe and grounded state provided by the Safe and Sound Protocol.
As I wove these pieces into my daily practice, I started finding my way back to the mom and person I wanted to be.
We wanted these tools to be available to you as well, so one of the services we now offer families here at The Adoption Connection is a program called The Regulation Rescue. This is a 60-day intensive for exhausted parents who want to regain their patience and increase their confidence for parenting kids with challenging behaviors. This will help you care for your family and parent in a polyvagal informed way that is designed to increase felt safety and regulation for everyone from the bottom up.