Faith-Based Attachment Parenting

Ron Huxley is proud to present the “Healing The Hurt” series on Faith-Based Attachment Parenting starting March 1st, 2019 at Seneca Center for Children in Salinas California.

Healing the Hurt Child addresses relational trauma and the ways it affects the human spirit. A model for healing will be described that looks at old concepts, like attachment and loss, from new perspectives. It works to answer the question “Why do we suffer?” so that we are better equipped to RESTore children to love and trust others. The primary healing strategy will focus on the role and rebuilding of identity.

The goal of this seminar is to create new attitudes about trauma and loss in children in caregivers and professionals who work with them. Participants will learn mindfulness practices and positive psychology exercises that will increase resiliency and regulation skills.

  • Define the concepts of spirit and faith-based as it applies to attachment and loss. List the 7 effects of trauma on the human spirit.
  • Identity 2 ways children experience pain in their hearts.
  • Discover 3 questions to help children address hurts.

Download the training flyer here or sign up directly by clicking here!

Art Journaling: A Powerful Healing Tool

Do you journal? Research shows that if someone journals once per day, for 4-days in a row, huge gains are made to immune system functioning, PTSD symptoms, anxiety symptoms, heart rate, and blood pressure. Consequently, this method has been used to treat trauma symptoms, abuse histories, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, depression, and more. 

Of course, not everyone enjoys writing. A powerful alternative to writing in a journal is art journaling. Art journaling is a visual diary that combines art, images, and words. It can have the same mental health benefits as writing.

Art journaling allows the individual to explore psychological and spiritual themes in their lives. Just rip pages from a magazine, old discarded book and add your thoughts and feelings. Images will “call out” to you and give you inspiration. Adhere them with glue, tape or staples! Now you have the beginnings of an art journal.

Spread from Ron Huxley’s Art Journal

I like to use “discarded, rejected” books from the library as my journal. I like taking something that is unwanted and repurposing it and creating something new and beautiful. Supplies can be found bits of ephemera or you can purchase name brand items from the art store. Any form of media or style is acceptable. This is really for you, by you, only.

During the process of art journaling, you might find untapped wells of resiliency that you didn’t know you had or find new sources of comfort and meaning that couldn’t come from just words.

Spread from Ron Huxley’s Art Journal

Art journaling can also be a way to get overcome a creative block, manage boredom and reduce perfectionism. Art journeyers can use this practice to explore their cultural and spiritual roots, grieve losses, and overcome historical traumas.   

Spread from Ron Huxley’s Altered DSM (click here for a slide show)

Contact Ron Huxley today about conducting an Art Journaling workshop for your organization today. Email here at rehuxley@gmail.com

Signs and Symptoms of Traumatized Children in School

The first step is to understand the effects of toxic stress on the developing child is to recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma. 

Children and youth may not always verbalize that they are going through a traumatic event. It is up to the adults, in their lives to recognize the warning signs and know how to help. If you know what to look for, the child’s behavior will be speaking “loud and clear!” 

Young children, ages 0-5 can demonstrate activity levels that are much higher or lower than peers. They can startle very easily and be difficult to calm. Their play may reveal traumatic events over and over again or come up in little snippets of conversations. Clinginess, extreme irritability, reluctance to explore the world and long, frequent tantrums are also possible signs of trauma. 

In elementary school children, they may complain about frequent headaches or stomachaches with no apparent cause. They can regress to earlier developmental stages with thumb sucking or bed wetting. It can be difficult to transition them from one activity or another. Emotionally, they can verbalize scary feelings and ideas, burst into tears over little things and/or be extremely withdrawn and quiet. There might be reports of eating and sleeping problems. They might get into trouble more than usual at home and at school. And, they could have poor attention, distractibility and be unable to follow directions. 

All of this results in low school performance… 

Older children may talk constantly about their traumatic situation or deny that anything is wrong. Behaviorally, they can refuse to follow rules, be oppositional and defiant, disrupt classrooms, and act anxious or depressed. It is also possible that they are tired all the time, have physical complaints without any medical reasons, fall asleep in class, or engage in risky behaviors, like alcohol, drugs, and physical fights. 

Understanding these signs of trauma will empower educators to be more sensitive and resourceful in helping children in the classroom. 

You can learn more about toxic stress and trauma, in children, by taking FREE classes at http://TraumaToolbox.com

Many of the principles and techniques used to interact with students with trauma are broadly applicable to conversations with all students. 

However, it is important for educators to realize that the emotional and social needs of students with trauma are different. 

Clear, assertive, comfortable communication can establish trust and provide structure. 

Students should be made aware, in a clear, specific fashion, what their teachers and staff expect of them. 

School discipline policies should be communicated at the beginning of the year to all students, faculty, and staff, and should be consistently described. 

Allowing students an opportunity to inquire about, and even challenge, rules, will increase their sense of procedural justice. 

If students perceive the procedures as basically transparent and fair, they are more likely to go along with an individual decision or policy they do not agree with. 

Safe, Structured, and Sensitive Schools: 

Provide consistent rules and structure

Enforce those rules consistently and transparently

Explain why the rules exist

Remain open to criticism and conversation.

Having a class meeting where students can vote on rules, or discuss policies, can help increase their sense of justice and safety. 

Many students with trauma histories have not been given much agency or structure. 

It can be comforting & affirming for students to see that school or classroom policies have a basis behind them, and can be revised if circumstances change. 

Discussion & debate of class or school rules should be limited to certain pre-determined times in the year. 

After the rules have been set, they should be consistently applied. 

This way, the students learn that rules are open to revision, but that they do provide structure once they are in place. 

Reminders of expectations should come on a regular basis. 

Can take the form of…

Posters or signs,

Social media posts,

Morning announcements,

and Monthly or weekly “check-in” meetings.

Newly enrolled students should be briefed upon entry into the school; consider having your class help teach the policies to the new student. 

Take a FREE ecourse today on parenting, anxiety, trauma, and more at http://FamilyHealer.tv

Anxiety in Children: A growing US problem

Anxiety is the fastest growing problem in the US today. More and more children are presenting with problems that show up in physical symptoms and behavioral problems at home and school.

Anxiety is defined as excessive worry over a variety of topics with three or more accompanying symptoms such as tiredness, trouble sleeping, panic attacks, restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating and muscle aches. The presence of anxiety can lead to other medical problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches or chronic nausea.

The better you understand what is happening your child’s body, the better you can help him or her heal from fears and anxiety.

According to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, “serious fear-triggering events can have a significant and long-lasting impact on the developing child, beginning in infancy…Children do not naturally outgrow early learned fear responses over time…and simply removing a child from a dangerous environment will not by itself undo the serious consequences or reverse the negative impacts of early fear learning.”

A child can be triggered just by thinking of giving a presentation at school, getting their homework right, seeing someone get sick or go to the hospital, reading about a disease, imagining monsters in their room, or seeing a bug crawl across their bedroom floor. Children are naturally creative and imaginative but this can become out of control thinking that results in fearful reactions. 

Emotional Hijacking

When children are triggered by a fearful or traumatic event, the brain and body will respond in a way to protect them from further hurt or harm. Even if this trigger is just imagined, it will have the same effect as if they are actually in a real, terrifying situation. The brain is giving the child a false signal that isn’t real or necessary. This signal comes from the emotional, mid-brain of the child in what is called a “fight or flight” response. The result is the emotional brain hijacking the thinking brain (the area in the front of the brain called the Prefrontal Cortex). This is very helpful if we are really in danger. It is not helpful if we are not. 

Fear could be described as “False Evidence Appearing Real.” 

Parents can help children learn how to “Face Everything and Relax.”

In order to deal with this emotional hijacking, parents must help children desensitize to stressful triggers. This is done through systematic exposure therapy, rational thinking, and bodily relaxation tools. We will explore many of these tools in this course. For additional help, it is recommended that you find a child therapist that specializes in anxiety disorders in children. 

Get more tools to help you and your child with anxiety, worry, fear, and panic at FamilyHealer.tv. The courses are free and you can get power-full tools for increased peace and joy today!

Gathering an Audience of Appreciation

Have you been faced with a stressful situation where it is crucial how you perform, only to choke just when you need to be at your best? We all have! An article, by Scientific American journal, studied this experience and found some interesting insights.

The researchers found that negatively stereotyped social groups are some are at the greatest risk of choking under pressure. For example, if women are told that they are not as good as men at math, right before a math test, then they tend to do poorer on that test then if they were not told this statement.

One reason for the may be that the women are having to fight off the negative thoughts as they are trying to also person a complex task like solve math problems. This is what the researchers called “Increased Cognitive Load”. Others studies suggest that a negative stereotype increases feelings of anxiety and stress which affect performance.

As an artist, I feel the pressure of creating a painting when someone asks me to do one or wants to commission a specific image or scene. I can do great art, when I follow my muse and don’t worry about the outcome. That is because I am not worrying about whether someone will like it or question myself about my artistic abilities.

There is also the element of our identity. How we “see” ourselves or thing that others see us can affect our performances. Another researcher studied how positive stereotypes affect complex activities and found that this actually boosts ability to perform. Why don’t positive intrusive thoughts cause people to choke like negative ones? Because positive thoughts don’t focus on our feelings of worth as a member of a particular social group. As an artist, positive thoughts about my artistic skills increase my worth in this group of people.

Is the answer than to just pump ourselves up before a difficult task or pay others to tell us nice things about we are? Probaly not! As a psychotherapist, I tell my clients to explore their audiences of appreciation. Who values them? Who will be able to notice their efforts to change and will accept them unconditionally? A lot of emotional sufferers just don’t have enough awareness of their audiences of appreciation. Maybe my role as a psychotherapist is to be one of those audience members.

So instead of finding people to be “accountable to” in your efforts to set up a new New Years Resolution, try gathering together an audience of appreciation. Now wouldn’t that feel nice for a change? S

Ready to overcome anxiety, fear, and panic? Take a free ecourse at FamilyHealer.tv today and find “Freedom From Anxiety”.

Dance of Attachment Training

If you are in San Luis Obispo County on January 26, 2019, please join Ron Huxley for a free training called the “The Dance of Attachment: How to safeguard and heal your child through bonding.” Learn the value of attachment and bonding in your caregiver relationship. Explore ways you can foster a connection with your child and overcome challenges that may be impacting your bond.

Date: Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Time: 11 am to 12 pm

Location: Arroyo Grande Public Library, 800 W. Branch St., Arroyo Grande, Ca. 93420.

For registration, call 805-474-3000 ext. 1229 or send an email to rubi.cuevas@imusd.org.

Child care will be provided.

Dealing with the Soul and Emotions

Everyone struggles with how to deal with their emotions. This is especially challenging for children whose neurological development has not matured to the point that they can use more rational thinking to deal with their emotions. It becomes even more problematic if our children have suffered a traumatic event or experienced toxic stress. 

Trauma and toxic stress impair all areas of development for children causing them to act and think below their chronological age. We call this gap “Age vs. Stage” to reference how a 16-year-old can act socially and emotionally like a 6-year-old. Often, the age that the child experienced the trauma is the emotional age they get stuck at even while the rest of them advance in years. This can open the eyes for many caregivers who are puzzled by the age vs stage problem. 

Adults don’t always have good solutions to this problem, however. We may not really know how to manage our own emotions. Perhaps we have had our own trauma that shuts us down when overwhelmed by stress or we haven’t had many examples of what healthy, responsible adults do with their intense feelings and so, we limp along with our own developmental journey. 

What most adults do is stuff their feelings. They might do this by dissociating from their bodily reactions and disconnect from extreme feelings of intimacy or closeness. They might push the feelings down until the boil over in a fit of rage, with everyone around the just waiting for the next volcanic explosion. They might try to be super reasonable and lecture their family and be perfectionistic with expectations no one can live up to. 

The healthier answer is not to try and live from our emotions at all! The secret is that you can change your emotions by changing what you believe. When you wake up in the morning, don’t ask yourself “How do I feel today?” Ask yourself, instead “What do I believe today?”

Families who are faith-based believe many things they don’t always practice. For example, we believe that God will take care of all our needs but we spend hours being worried. Our beliefs must go deeper into our subconscious minds where habits exist. You don’t think about how to do certain things in life, like driving your car or make dinner, because those thought structures are set in our subconscious mind so that we can spend more energy on other conscious thoughts and actions. Practicing what we preach has to become a natural reaction to life’s challenges as well. 

Faith-based families have a strange distrust of their own souls as well. Our souls comprise our body, mind, and will. Perhaps we distrust them because we haven’t changed our subconscious habits yet. This will be an on-going process, for sure, and one we can start modeling for our children as well. We also have to live healthy lifestyles, eating good food, engaging in playful activities, and getting rest and exercise. 

Our beliefs allow us to overcome shame from our past. This is what causes traumatized children (and adults) from believing they deserve a good life because they are unworthy of love, unwanted by biological parents, and damaged in some way – maybe many ways. This negative belief results in the sabotage of success, self-injurious behavior, suicidal ideations, depression, anxiety, and fear. This list could go on…

God’s mercies are supposed to be “new every morning” and the same level of grace should be extended to ourselves as well as to other. We need to offer this to our traumatized children, as well. Whatever happened yesterday must be forgiven and our thought life must be taken captive. 

A powerful tool for ourselves and for our families is to make biblical declarations – out loud! Life or death is on the tongue and what we say can steer the direction of our lives (Proverbs 18:21; James 3). Speaking out our new beliefs is an act of faith because we may not feel that what we are saying is true but we are not letting our emotions guide our beliefs, we are letting our beliefs direct our emotions. 

Renewing the mind is how we are to live our faith governed lives and it is a continual process of maturity for our children and will help to close the age vs. stage gap (Romans 12:1-1). 

Start your declarations with the words “I believe” and see what happens to your own mindset as well as to your child’s attitude and behaviors.

“I believe” that I have all the grace I need to face any challenge or problem that comes up for me today.

“I believe” that I am worthy of love and the love of God, who is love, overflows from me to everyone I encounter today.

“I believe” that I am trustworthy, kind, and tenderhearted. I am able to forgive other people who have hurt by and not live in bitterness or seek revenge. 

  • “I believe” that my prayers are powerful.
  • “I believe” I am great at relationships and making friends.
  • “I believe”  that my family is blessed and I am a blessing to everyone around me.
  • “I believe” God is on my side and doesn’t hate me or punish me. 
  • “I believe” I can think right thoughts and make good decisions.
  • “I believe” that I am successful and have the ability to think and act creatively today.
  • “I believe” today is a new day, full of new mercies, and I can be happy and rejoice in it. 
  • “I believe” that the joy of the Lord is my strength. 
  • “I believe” I do not have a spirit of fear and God gives me power, love, and a sound mind. 
  • “I believe” that I can control what I say and everything from my lips speak love, live, and encouragement. 
  • “I believe” that I can remember everything I am studying and will accomplish everything that needs to get down today. 
  • “I believe” that believing the truth sets me free of fear and depression. 

Don’t worry if you don’t always feel what you say is true. Don’t be concerned or deterred if your children don’t agree with your declarations, at first. I believe that if you practice these declarations and start to create your own personal list that you will see incredible changes in your own heart and the heart of your family, today and over time!

Take a free online course to help your family heal at FamilyHealer.tv

The Quick Holiday Survival Guide!

If you want to put the “fun” back into dysfunctional, here are some practical ideas to have a safe and sane holiday.

Take physical safety precautions:


Young children are at-risk of eating poisonous holiday plants (mistletoe, poinsettias, and holly berries). Keep your local poison center’s number near the phone. Small table decorations and ornaments can be harmful if swallowed. Try to keep small objects, including hard candies and nuts, out of reach. If a child eats too much, read the medication label before treating upset stomachs. Fireproof your home. Natural and artificial trees can catch fire and while roaring fireplaces may look festive they can be dangerous if proper safety measures are not in place.

Take mental safety precautions:


Your sanity is as important as your family’s physical safety. Expect some amount of stress and plan ahead as much as possible to keep it to a minimum. Organize your shopping list and spread your shopping activities out over a few weeks. Have the holiday dinner at someone else’s house if having it at yours is too much stress. See the tips listed below for more ways to have a sane season.

Involve your children in the preparation of the festivities:


Have your children help you with all of the various aspects of preparing for the holidays. Brainstorm menu items from a stack of holiday recipes. Make holiday decorations together from ideas gathered in family magazines or special holiday craft books. Some craft ideas make excellent gift ideas. Start a holiday memory box. Save all of the cards, bits of wrapping paper, special pictures, and other odd assortments to review later in the year. Get excited about looking in the mailbox for Christmas cards and let the children help decide the best location for them. Make up a list of people to send your holiday greeting. If you are really ambitious make them up by hand.

Create special traditions and rituals:


Traditions and rituals are patterns of behaviors that have symbolic or spiritual meaning. They build firm foundations and reduce children’s holiday hyperactivity by creating a sense of family identity. Dinner menus, religious observances, advent calendars, gift wrapping parties, ornament collecting, sing-a-longs, and special holiday stories are just a few ways that parents can develop more intimate relationships with their children.

Reduce your expectations:


If you expect to have no problems, perfect children, or accident proof holidays you will be in for a major disappointment. Remember that children are often over-stimulated by the sights, sounds, and an incredible number of television commercials about the holidays. Think positively, optimistically, and rationally.

Seek social support for the holiday blues:


Depression or a case of the “blahs” is a common problem for people during the winter months. This is especially true for families who have experienced a separation or death of a loved one. The holidays remind us of family and friends and may beget a feeling of sadness. Children of divorce may suffer as a result of having to divide the holidays between mom’s house and dad’s house. Watch for signs of stress in children, such as headaches, restlessness, and sudden angry outbursts. To help deal with the winter blues, seek out positive social support. Volunteer to help others in even worst situations than you. Put aside custody battles and work together for the sake of the children, not the other parent. Or if necessary, seek out professional counseling.

Give yourself a gift:


The greatest gift you can give yourself is the gift of taking care of yourself. You have to take care of yourself before you can start taking care of everyone else. Delegate some of the shopping and preparations to other family members and take frequent breaks to regain lost energy. Do something for someone else that doesn’t involve writing a check. It’s amazing how doing a selfless act can renew your inner strength. Call a few nonprofit organizations in the phone book to see how you can help. Valuing yourself and help others less fortunate is also a good model for your children of what the holidays are really about!

Focus on the Spiritual Side of Things:

Lastly, and most importantly, focus on the spiritual significance of the season and involve your family in retelling the Christmas story based on your faith. Do charitable acts towards one another and in the community. Make the focus on giving and not receiving. This is a time of year for sharing joy and hope and although you are overwhelmed, try to pause and ponder what you are grateful for or what brings you a moment of awe and wonder. 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” — Luke 2:14

Take a FREE, online course on building faith in your child at http://FamilyHealer.tv