6 Steps Adoptive Parents Need to Learn

When you adopt a child, it’s not uncommon to find yourself parenting a child who has been traumatized. The emotional regulation skills that all children learn in their early years were probably not developed as well as they could have been in the child’s pre-adoption life, and now you’re facing the task of helping your child learn how to manage their emotions.

It’s not always easy, but some strategies can help make this process easier. Here are some tips for dealing with emotionally dysregulated children who were adopted:

1.) Learn about trauma and its effects on developing minds and bodies.

2.) Learn about emotional regulation and how it develops in children.

3.) Identify what emotional regulation looks like for your child—what do they do when they get upset? How do they express anger? Frustration? Sadness? Joy? What helps them calm down when they get upset? What makes them get upset or escalate into inappropriate behaviors? And most importantly: what doesn’t work when they feel overwhelmed by intense emotions?

4.) Since every child is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Learn brain-based parenting skills and methods.

5) Identity the attachment styles for each family member and discover techniques that create greater security.

6) Take care of yourself. Self-care is not a luxury. It is necessary to be more patient and resilient with your dysregulated child.

Take a free course on Trauma-Informed Care in the home, school, and community at TraumaToolbox.com.

If you need specialized help, contact Ron Huxley today by clicking here and scheduling an appointment.

Tackle the Tech: Screen Time Tips

Parents frequently complain about how much time children spend on their screens. It can become a daily battle for technology, reaching addictive proportions for many children and teens. They seem obsessed with social media, snaps, and games. When denied, they tantrums and rage.

Before the pandemic, I used to advise parents to limit screens to a few hours per week. During the pandemic, the screen was the only access to school and social support. Being held “captive” in quarantine opened the apps and social media again, forcing parents to yield to children’s demands. Now, after the pandemic, I have to help parents with new ways to negotiate screen time.

According to the website, Defend Young Minds, here are 9 questions that can help tackle the technology by setting doable boundaries:

Here are 9 questions to help you establish family screen time boundaries:

  1. Mealtime. Are devices allowed when we are together at meals at home or at restaurants?
  2. Being present. Do we allow face-to-face conversations to be interrupted by a phone call or text?
  3. Time limits. How much screen time should we spend each day?
  4. Location. Where can devices be used? We strongly recommend that children’s devices are used only in common areas of the house and never in bedrooms or bathrooms.
  5. Bedtime. Where are devices recharged at night? We recommend that devices be charged in the parent’s room at night or where kids will not have access.
  6. Asking permission. Do I need to ask before I download apps or games? We recommend utilizing parental controls to disable downloads without permission.
  7. House rules. When friends come over, what restrictions apply to their devices? Some families use a cell phone basket on a counter to corral devices during the visit.
  8. Family visits. When and where can we use our devices when visiting friends or family?
  9. Courtesy. When we are in public, what are the rules for using our devices?

Instead of dictating all of the rules, involve children in the discussion so that they take more ownership. Democracy is better than a dictatorship! Be sure to negotiate consequences for not following the guidelines. Will there be a warning? Parents always have the final word but working together as a family team is the secret to screen management.

School Behaviors: What’s behind it?

Use a trauma-informed lens when dealing with school behaviors / Ron Huxley, LMFT

The school is back in full swing, and parents and teachers may be trying to manage misbehaviors. Don’t be too quick to assume that it is all about MOTIVATION and MANIPULATION. I call this the M and M misunderstanding. Take some time to look behind the behavior and answer the problem under the problem for greater school success.

Consult with Ron Huxley today for additional help…

Restart Your Life (Free Course)

Learn how to reboot and restart your life with a new course from Ron Huxley, LMFT, and FamilyHealer.tv. Here’s what you will learn:

6 ways to deal with upheaval at work

Worry only 30 minutes a day

Be more supportive of your friends

Don’t let disagreements ruin your relationships

Defeat perfectionism!

How avoidance actually creates more stress

5 ways to get out of your own way

Create a plan for your family life

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Oppositional Defiance in Teens

How do you deal with defiance in teenagers? All teens can be defiant some of the time. It can be a sign of healthy development as teens work to assert their own identity, but what happens when it is the daily pattern?

For oppositional behavior to be a true mental health diagnosis, a child must show a pattern of symptoms of angry/irritable, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness for at least six months. Children and adolescents with ODD may have trouble controlling their temper and are disobedient and defy authority figures. Teenagers who present with these symptoms often have a history of depression or anxiety that coincides with this disorder. Treatment and medication that addresses these issues can reduce disruptive behavior as well.

As you can imagine, individuals with oppositional defiance also have problems making or keeping friends, performing in school, and can’t hold on to a job. Big problems with their own emotional regulation create chaos in relationships inside and outside the home.

Oppositional Defiance Disorder

Parents can learn new skills to manage their child’s disruptive moods and behaviors. Modeling how to collaboratively solve problems and using natural consequences decreases arguments and fights.

Using harsh discipline or aggressive behavior toward teenagers causes the situation to be worse. Authoritarian styles of parenting make get some control of teen behavior in the short term but create more problems over the long term and may ruin relationships with teens as they grow into adulthood. It may push teens into social conduct problems that result in them having trouble with law enforcement and being removed by social services.

Professionals use a “Child Behavior Checklist” to screen for criteria that meet the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders definition of Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Other comorbid disorders may include ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Depressive or Bipolar Disorder, Intellectual Disability, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Language and Expressive Disorders, Social Phobia, and Anxiety.

Individual and group therapy for teenagers can be helpful. Parents can also learn new skills for managing oppositional behaviors. Learning about attachment styles and generational patterns of trauma can also be beneficial. Reading books on normal teen development is also recommended.

If you need more help with your teen or want to learn how to better parent, contact Ron Huxley today and schedule a session.

The Top Five Traits of a Good Listener

If you want to become a good listener there are certain traits and skills you will need to learn. Listening is a great skill to develop and it can improve all areas of your life. People love to talk and are always looking for someone to listen to them. 

  1. When listening to someone your goal should be to understand their point of view. Listen to everything they say before forming your own opinion, and remember that you do not necessarily have to agree with them. Everyone deserves, and should form, their own opinions on various topics. 
  2. Paying attention is the next trait. If you don’t pay attention you will miss out on important information. Always be aware of what is going on with the person who is speaking, and don’t forget to pay attention to your surroundings. 
  3. The action of making eye contact with the person who is speaking, shows them that you are paying attention. If you start looking around you, you are giving them the impression that you are not interested, or have become bored. 
  4. Try to look at their point of view and ask yourself if they might be the person who is right. 
  5. Allow the person to finish talking. This often takes a little patience, but it can be helpful for both sides. First the person talking can vent their opinions or frustrations. Secondly it helps the listener to fully understand the issue at hand. 

A good listener will also think before responding back. Again they often ask what if this person is correct in their way of thinking. People have the bad trait of speaking before thinking and this can lead to all kinds of awkward or difficult situations. 

It is perfectly normal for your brain to want to respond quickly, stop yourself and think before you speak! 

Sometimes it can be hard to stay focused on a person, it is normal to want to look away. If you find yourself doing this try nodding to the person or making direct eye contact with them. This signals to them that you are paying attention. If you really need to look away for a second, then muffle a cough behind your hand! 

Other tips that you might want to use to show that you are paying attention include: 

  • Saying the person’s name now and again
  • Using facial expressions
  • Using body language

If you make an effort to put these five traits into play consistently, you will become a much better listener for it. 

7 Steps in Co-Parenting Negotiation

Co-parenting is a post-divorce parenting arrangement in which both parents agree to participate in their children’s upbringing. The keyword here is “agreement” about what is in the child’s best interest where there are significant hurts, personalities, and values between those parents. Raising children requires a lot, and I mean a lot, of interactions despite getting divorced. 

Because of this challenge, many parents end up parallel parenting vs. co-parenting. Co-parenting is short for cooperative parenting. Sadly, this is often not the case. Parallel parents are both working to raise their children, but they agree that they don’t agree on much. Each home will have its own set of routines, entertainment values, discipline practices, and cultural influences. This agreement to a no agreement lifestyle is a disagreeable way to parent, but parents and children often have no control over it.

Learning how to negotiate becomes an important skill when this is the case. Here are seven steps to better negotiation in co-parenting relationships: 

  1. Name the problem using an “I” statement as in “I feel…when you…and I would like to discuss how…” This format reduces defensiveness and retains a sense of power for the speaker. 
  2. Use reflective listening to convey what is understood. A divorce may involve the decision not to share the intimate connection, but it still requires understanding and validation to maintain mutual respect. Say: “So, what you are saying or asking for is…” 
  3. Brainstorm for solutions that will work for all parties. It may involve creative thinking about alternative solutions. There may be compromise from the original need. 
  4. Choose a solution to try, even if it is not your solution or your first choice.
  5. Review who does what by putting it into writing or communicating before, during, and after the solution. 
  6. Put the solution into action and try it out to see how it works. Stay objective and open-minded. If it doesn’t work, negotiate a new solution. 
  7. Re-evaluate what is working overall, and be honest about what didn’t work and what needs to be changed. Keep the perspective that the other person is not the problem. The problem is the problem. 

To complete these seven steps, parents will have to be self-aware and motivated to keep the children’s needs first. This is hard work and may involve humility that wasn’t present in the relationship before the divorce. Just because people were “terrible” partners in marriage doesn’t mean they cannot grow and be great co-parents after marriage. 

Let Ron Huxley help you negotiate through your difficult situations. Schedule a session today! 

Considering a Life Coach?

Have you ever thought about working with a coach before? If you are serious about achieving your biggest goals, you should seriously consider it. Working with a coach is a great way to boost your results in almost any area of life. Having someone to teach you the ropes, or build more accountability into your life, is a beautiful way to ensure you achieve more. If you wonder if working with a coach could help you, please consider these nine benefits.

2022 Life Coaching on parenting, anxiety, trauma, divorce, reconciliation…
  1. Helps You Define Your Goals
    Many of us have goals, but often they are loosely (or not at all) defined. A coach can help take the hopes and dreams out of your head to create concrete goals. Instead of just wanting something, you start taking tangible steps towards it.
  2. Adds More Accountability to Your Life
    It’s funny, but we have a much easier time letting ourselves down than we do letting others down. Having a coach means one more person in your life you don’t want to let down. You will feel more accountable and be more likely to achieve your goals when you know someone will ask you about your progress.
  3. Encourages You to Define Your Values
    Do you know what you stand for? Maybe a better question is, do you know your core values? Regardless of the question, if you struggle with the answer, a coach can help you. A coach can’t tell you your values, but they can ask you questions that will help you define them yourself.
  4. Helps You See Yourself More Clearly
    A good coach will help you become more self-aware. This self-awareness will allow you to be more honest with yourself. You will know what you are good at and what you aren’t so good at doing. Self-awareness will enable you to double down on your strengths while figuring out how to deal with your weaknesses.
  5. Assists Skill Building and Development
    The most obvious benefit of a coach is their ability to help us build specific skills. For example, if you are interested in becoming a better business person, it makes sense to work with a business coach who has been there and done that. You get to learn from both their experiences and their mistakes.
  6. Offers a Safe Space to Talk About Sensitive Issues
    Whether you find the current world too sensitive or not, it’s a fact that we need to watch the things we say. Having a coach gives you a safe space to talk about more sensitive issues. This doesn’t mean you have a place to barf out all your emotions, but you can at least vent a bit more freely.
  7. Encourages You To Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
    The comfort zone got its name from being comfortable. Once you are in it, you don’t want to get out. A good coach will coax and challenge you to step out of it. Stepping out of your comfort zone once in a while will make it easier to create positive change in your life.
  8. Offers a Different Viewpoint
    When you have a coach, you have someone else to bounce ideas off. It is so easy to get caught up in your tunnel vision that you might not even consider differing opinions. A coach forces you to consider different viewpoints and opinions. It will help you become a more well-rounded individual.
  9. Helps You Make Tough Decisions
    Sometimes it feels like life is nothing but a series of difficult decisions. While this isn’t always true, it has a basis in reality. How much would you like to have someone else talk to about these decisions? A good coach provides that kind of assistance.

Coaching Action Steps:

  1. Take some time to think about different areas of your life that could use a boost. Write these down in a list.
  2. Carefully consider the list from the last step to figure out if a coach, mentor, or teacher could help you in any of these areas.
  3. Choose the area of your life that could most use a coach, and start researching coaching options. If you find a fit right for you, take a chance and reach out.

Let Ron Huxley coach you on parenting, anxiety, and trauma-informed care. With 30 years of experience, Ron can guide you to a more stable, productive life…Click here now to schedule an appointment.

Breaking the Cycle of Fear and Worry (FamilyHealer.tv Conversations)


Join me, September 23rd, from 12:15 pm to 1 pm (Pacific Standard Time) for the latest FamilyHealer.TV “Conversations”: This weeks topic is how to “Break the Cycle of Fear and Worry in Children”.


This is an education and supportive Zoom event. Parents and professionals will not want to miss this one! In this conversation, we will look at why children have anxiety, how to increase your child’s Emotional IQ, what parents can say to comfort their children, and how to help children become Worry Warriors and Fear Fighters!

This Conversations Show is part of our training course “Big Worries” at FamilyHealer.tv.

*The training portion will be recorded. Q and A is private.

Join Zoom Meeting
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The Adoptive Parenting Toolbox – Live Zoom Seminar

Adoptive Parenting Toolbox Training

Join me Thursday, September 16 at 12:15 pm (PST) for this live zoom event! We will be discussing practical parenting tools for adoptive parents. This is a 45 minute, interactive, seminar for adoptive parents and the professionals who work with them…and best of all it is FREE!

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87366619533?pwd=L2tLNm9lRTJvV0pGT2lnMW5zWDB3Zz09

Meeting ID: 873 6661 9533 Passcode: 807818

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Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdPbK5SQwI

For additional questions, email Ron at rehuxley@gmail.com