Learn to be a Brain Whisperer!

Remember any ‘challenging behaviour’ we see begins in the child’s brain stem, the reptilian brain. Until we learn to think of ourselves as ‘brain whisperers’ – arousal regulators rather than behaviour managers –   the child will not be able to learn, no matter how good the teacher is!

A child’s brain organises from the bottom up, & the higher brain region (the corticol brain, or thinking part of the brain) cannot work properly if a child has become over reliant on their lower brain regions – the limbic brain & brain stem.

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Stories remind us we are not alone

Stories remind us that we are not alone. They create opportunities to explore, remember & forget, without fear. They give us hope to imagine different endings and better possible worlds.

  For children especially, the natural language for expressing feeling is through images & stories. It is so important to find ways to help our children articulate their stories & understand them.  We know that one of the indicators of good mental health is being able to hold a coherent narrative about your life – a joined up story that expresses the thoughts, feelings & motives of self & others in the story.

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Social Work Week 2022

Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much. A big thank you to all the social workers out there, supporting families & helping to keep our most vulnerable children safe & cared for. As the Dalai Lama said, it is not enough to be compassionate – you must act. Here’s to all the social workers who advocate for the most marginalised & vulnerable people in our society, acting to make a difference in the lives of so many.

How do we help our children stay out of shame?

Shame is a big part of the experience for children with relational trauma. It gets in the way of their ability to learn from their mistakes.

A child learns whether their behaviour is acceptable from the reactions of their caregivers. When we have to discipline a toddler, we help them with feelings of shame by re-engaging with them quickly.  In this way they learn a healthy sense of guilt & can cope when we get cross with them. When they’ve behaved badly, they are motivated to repair the relationship. They develop a consistent sense of right and wrong and can separate their sense of self from what they do. They learn ‘I’m loved, even if they don’t like my behaviour’.

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Steps to Managing Emotions & Behaviour

How do we learn to manage emotions & behaviour?

A tiny baby is dependent on having all their needs met by a parent or carer. When they’re hungry, tired, cold – they become very emotional. Then as the parent holds them close & meets their need, the baby experiences a sense of relief & calm.

 This cycle of emotional arousal/relaxation is constantly repeated & acts as a way of helping the child learn to manage their own arousal levels – or to self-regulate. They’re learning also that they’re loveable & others can be trusted.

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World Book Day 2022

On World Book Day, we’d like to thank everyone who has shown such lovely support for The Moffles. Thanks for all the feedback on how the stories, posts & resources have been enjoyed by children – & you! How they’ve touched the hearts & imaginations of care experienced children have been the most special stories of all.

Parents & carers have told us that the Moffles have helped renew their curiosity about their child’s inner life & given hope to carry on, even when parenting is very hard. Therapists have spoken of children expressing their thoughts & emotions more easily after reading Tippy Moffle’s Mirror. Tippy has been used by teachers in class discussions about fostering & adoption.

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Moffle Time-in, not Time-out

Making use of time-in, rather than time -out, is a useful part of a relational approach to parenting for all children, but especially those with relational trauma.

These children find it very hard to manage their emotions; understand cause & effect, or to take responsibility for their actions.  They very easily go to a place of shame. They can’t be expected to make use of time-out in a constructive way – they haven’t got the internal resources to do so.

Time-in is used to help a child feel connected with us.This in turn builds trust & security. When we connect before we correct, & co-regulate our child, we’re thinking about what is going on inside that led to the behaviour. Unless they’re supported to understand the reason for the behaviour, they’re going to do the same thing again & consequences won’t work.

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When a child has been hurt early in life & experienced relational trauma, the impact on their heart, mind & body is huge. It permeates every aspect of their understanding of themselves & the world around them. Recovery takes time & patience. It requires persistent PACE-fulness from the adults who love them.

As a therapeutic parent, you walk alongside your child on their journey of healing & self-discovery. That willingness to be there, through the darkness & the difficult times, helping them to find new signs of safety & beauty in their lives, can be transformative. The journey together can also be hard, uncertain & painful. The process of change is rarely easy.

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