Radio Interview on Parent Stress Transformation: KLTT 670 AM “Adoption Perspectives” show

In case you missed my interview that aired on Saturday, March 3, you can click to listen just below.
Rebecca Vahle (Adoption Liaison for Parker Hospital’s Family to Family program) and I discussed how parenting children from hard places (trauma, neglect, etc) can look different from parenting “typical” children. We also talked about the importance of self-care and stress transformation for parents, and especially adoptive parents with challenging children– and how to use my proprietary 3-layer model to address immediate (in-the-moment) stress, ambient stress, and long-term stress.

I trust you will find some useful and interesting information here!

Click here to go to the show’s archives on Parker Hospital’s website. (My interview and letter to listeners is on the left, under “Adoption Perspectives 3-3-12.”)

Tune in for interview on Stress Transformation for Parents of Challenging Children

Know anyone who is raising really challenging children? (adoptive, foster, bio)? Tune in tomorrow for my interview by Rebecca Vahle (adoption liaison at Parker Hospital) on her “Adoption Perspectives” radio show. Saturday, March 3, 11 am Mountain Time on Denver KLTT 670AM, or listen online at . You will hear a great conversation, talking about Parent Stress and Burnout, and the Stress Model that has helped so many who are parenting kids from hard places find hope at last. I also share my proprietary 3-layer model for Stress Transformation for Parents of Challenging Children. Hope you can make it!

Family Transformation Breakthrough Session: New Year’s Special!

For Adoptive Parents of Challenging Children:

A Parenting Breakthrough


Last couple of weeks to take advantage of a fantastic New Year’s special I’m offering: a full 90-minute “Family Transformation Breakthrough Session,” for only $77! (New clients only) (The regular fee for this 90-minute session is $147.) In this session, you will


  • –> get clear about the vision you have for yourself and for your family;
  • –> define a path to take to bring that vision to life;
  • –> and uncover the obstacles you may face in getting there (and what to do about them).


This session may also be used to learn how to use EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) as a powerful tool to heal your own “parenting scars” so that you can grow your capacity for compassion in ALL your interactions with your child, even very difficult ones. AND how to apply simple yet powerful breathing and mindfulness techniques in your parenting interactions to increase your capacity for compassion in ALL of your relationships, including your relationship with yourself.


Beki Sciacca, your mentor/coach, and founder of Radical Acceptance Parenting Services, is trained and experienced in a variety of modalities, including Hakomi Psychotherapy; InnerRelationship Focusing; Nonviolent Communication; Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT); mindfulness/meditation; and is certified as a trainer with the Beyond Consequences Institute. She is also the adoptive parent of two amazing grandchildren.


Our work is based on trauma-informed emotional regulation parenting paradigms developed by Bryan Post, Heather Forbes, Juli Alvarado, and others. Your session must be booked by January 31, but can be scheduled anytime from now until February 28. AND your fee can be credited toward further 1-on-1 work with Radical Acceptance Parenting!



Sound like something you could use? Email me at info(at)RadicalAcceptanceParenting(dot)com, or call me at 630dash841dash0458, to schedule your session soon!


And please–forward this information to someone you know who might be in need of a bit of support right now.


Teleclass on Holiday Stress for Parents of Challenging Children (My Gift to You!)

Ready to enjoy this season of light and cheer?

Or dreading (come on, you can admit it, you’re with friends who understand) the school break?

I hope you can join me for this 45-minute teleclass (no charge to you, it’s my holiday gift to you all!) And no worries if you can’t make the call live; I’ll send you a link to listen at your convenience!

“Home for the Holidays (YIKES!): 3 Strategies to Keep Your Cool While They’re Home from School”

It’ll be a great call! I’ll be covering the following:

  • How YOUR stress affects your child’s behavior
  • The 3 Layers of Stress, and how to  get a handle on all of them
  • Some PRACTICAL tips for de-escalating in-the-moment stressors (INCLUDING those behaviors that make you want to SCREAM!)

That’s a lot for 45 minutes, but I know how busy we all are this time of year, and I want to make it easy for you to take the time…for YOU…and for your family.

Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Time: 11am Pacific; 12 noon Mountain; 1pm Central; 2pm Eastern
(But, don’t worry if you can’t be there live, I’ll send you the recording!)

Click HERE to sign up!

Be sure and forward this information to family and friends who could use a bit of support this season…just have them go to the sign-up page to receive details about attending the call and receiving the recording. Thanks! Happy-and relaxing-Holidays to you and your family!

Imagine…Falling in love with your child…again!

Are you a discouraged, worried parent of a child with challenging, even severe, behaviors?

Looking for support on your journey? Then read on…

Welcome to the Radical Acceptance Parenting Blog!

I plan to meet you here often, to offer you musings, tips, resources, and more, all to support and inspire you on your journey as the parent or caregiver of a challenging child. See you soon!



Looking for Parent Burnout stories (adoption, foster, or bio)

If you are reading this blog, you know how stressful it can be to parent a challenging child. After a while, if we are not getting the support that we are needing, we can start to question our abilities (and yes, even our willingness) to continue on. We can end up resorting to parenting tactics that we know are not helpful, because we don’t have the energy and spirit to do otherwise. Many of us have been there (I’m raising my hand here!), but often it’s preventable.

I’m doing research for a class I’m teaching for The Adoption Exchange called “Sustainable Parenting: Preventing, Recognizing, and Healing Parent Burnout.” I’ll also be using my findings to support my Radical Acceptance Parenting community of parents raising challenging children.

Here’s where you come in: I’m looking for your stories. I want to hear how you recognized that you were burned out as a parent. Did you find yourself withdrawing from your family? On a very short fuse? Depressed? Other? What did you do about it? What was helpful, what was not?

Do you like to write? Then email your story to me at bekisciacca (at) gmail (dot) com. Do you prefer talking? Email me and we’ll set up a phone call at your convenience so that you can tell me your story. I promise complete anonymity, and respect for your situation.

Together we can help prevent the tragic situations that we hear about regarding disrupted adoptions, inhumane punishment, etc., that arise from parents not recognizing and getting help for their overwhelm. We can make our world a better place for ALL of us.

Thanks, and hope to hear from you soon!

Pushing buttons, pulling triggers…Oh my!

Several years back, I noticed that I was feeling pretty good in my own skin. A rough, traumatic break-up of a long-term relationship (along with a job loss and other “crises”) had sent me seeking healing and transformation, and I found it. I was finding that I wasn’t so reactive to the emotional states and personal beliefs of others…in other words, I didn’t take things personally, and I had a clearer sense of what was “my stuff” and what was theirs. Certainly not perfection, but definitely progress compared to my prior way of going through life.

And then…then I became full-time caregiver to my two amazing grandchildren. After a brief “honeymoon” period, during which they were pleasant, compliant…pretty much delightful (although still a LOT of work for this single grandma!)…things changed. They began to act out from their fears and pain, as all hurting children (people) do. Rather suddenly, they were no longer delightful children; they seemed to become little heat-seeking missiles: Hmmm, I feel a trigger there…WHAMMO!…Is that a button there on Grandma that I can push??…POW! I think you know what I mean!

Fortunately, I realized at some point fairly early in the process that this (my re-engaged reactivity…Dare I say grown-up tantrum-like behavior?) was more about me than them. I resurrected the tools that had helped me navigate challenging terrain before, and continued on my healing journey, this time with two little ones as my guides. The journey continues, but things have become much calmer and more fun along the way.

I’d like to share the following post by Scott Noelle, a gifted writer and parent coach, because I love the way he articulates the concept of “triggers.” I think you’ll enjoy it, as well.

P.S. –>A note to those of you who happen to be in the Boulder area: On October 20, I’m offering a 1-day Mini-Retreat: “S.O.S. (Stop Our Stress!) for Parents of Challenging Children.” If you’re able to join us, you’ll come away with lots of practical ways to deal with how you are triggered: in-the-moment de-escalaters, as well as daily practices to bring down the ambient stress level in your home. AND, chair massage and a delicious, nurturing lunch are included as well! Check it out at!

Here’s Scott’s piece…Enjoy!

:: Pushing Buttons ::

When toddlers get ahold of computer keyboards,
telephones, or any other gadgetry, they go wild
pushing buttons! They’re driven to discover the
magical powers at their fingertips.

At any age, children are driven to push their parents’
“buttons” too! Not because they’re “naughty” but for
two reasons:

1. They need to know what’s there — to map the
emotional terrain and keep the map up to date.

2. It’s an efficient way to get their parents’
heightened attention *and* feel more powerful.

When your child pushes your buttons, s/he’s doing you
a favor: revealing that you’ve given your power away
to the triggering behavior or conditions.

When you de-activate your buttons — consciously
choosing to stay Connected and Present, regardless of
conditions and behavior — you reclaim your Authentic
Power! You cease to be someone who can be controlled
like a mindless machine.

And your child will lose interest in the buttons
you’ve de-activated, especially if you’re also helping
him or her find better ways to feel powerful.

Great resource: Bringing Peace to Kids in Conflict NVC teleclass

Sorry for the short notice, but I just became aware of this myself…

As some of you know, I’m a long-time practitioner and teacher of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). So, I was excited this morning when I saw this info from the NVC Academy about a 4-week telecourse they are offering on “Bringing Peace to Kids in Conflict.” One reason I’m excited is that one of the teachers, Stephanie Bachmann Mattei, Ph.D, is also certified through the Beyond Consequences Institute, and is an adoptive mom, so I know she’ll be offering relevant teaching for those of us with challenging kiddos.

I’ve included some info below…for more, go to and click on the course name.


You will learn how to:

  • Understand and modulate our own emotions (self-regulation)
  • Recognize when children are emotionally triggered and compassionately intervene before the fight/flight/freeze response overwhelms them
  • Learn about the power of proximity: understanding mirror neurons and neuro-physiological feedback loops
  • Shift from right/wrong mentality to the recognition that the ability to relate to others is linked to stress levels
  • Efficiently mediate conflict between children, and between children and other adults
  • Pick up practical skills for managing your own inner conflict when you are emotionally triggered by children


This 4 session course will focus on supporting people who work with children (e.g. parents, teachers, ministers, etc.) to apply the skills of NVC mediation in conflict situations that involve children. We will be working with four mediation contexts:

  1. Internal – when we are emotionally triggered as a result of working with children, or supporting children with their inner conflicts.
  2. Interpersonal — when we as adults find ourselves in conflict with a child.
  3. Informal — when we are stepping in to mediate a conflict that has arisen between children or between a child and another adult.
  4. Formal — when children have agreed to have us mediate or support them in mediating their conflict.

The class sessions will involve brief didactic presentations followed by demonstration and opportunities for class participants to practice NVC mediation skills in role play situations with coaching. John will offer his experience and expertise with NVC mediation and training; Stephanie will offer her expertise with a brain science perspective on understanding and working with children (and us adults as grown children!).

Stress, Touch, & Oxytocin

Handholding causes levels of the stress hormone cortisol to drop.

You might remember a post I did a while back informing you about a webinar by Bryan Post on the Power of Oxytocin. (Oxytocin, sometimes called the “cuddle hormone,” is a neuropeptide that increases feelings of trust and bonding, thought to be elemental in the formation of attachment.)

Now I’d like to pass on a 4-minute audio presentation from NPR called ” Human Connections Start With A Friendly Touch” that  I think you’ll enjoy. To listen, go to and click on the player. (You’ll also find the text of the story as well.)


What Is Love? (Answer: Ask a Child)

I recently received the following in my email inbox, and thought I’d pass it on. Why? Because it touched my heart, and made me smile…and maybe it will do the same for you.

As the parent of a challenging child, how would YOU answer the question, “What is love?” Share your answer below as a comment. (And YES you can ask your child!)

A number of professional people posed this question to a group of 4-to 8 year-olds:

‘What does ‘love’ mean?’

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

‘When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’

Rebecca – age 8

‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’

Billy – age 4

‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’

Karl – age 5

‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’

Chrissie – age 6

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’

Terri – age 4

‘Love is when my mummy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’

Danny – age 7

‘Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mummy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss’

Emily – age 8

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.’

Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)

‘If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,’

Nikka – age 6 (we need a few million more Nikkas on this planet)

‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.’

Noelle – age 7

‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’

Tommy – age 6

‘During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’

Cindy – age 8

‘My mummy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’

Clare – age 6

‘Love is when Mummy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’

Elaine-age 5

‘Love is when Mummy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’

Chris – age 7

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day’

Mary Ann – age 4

I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’

Lauren – age 4

‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’ (what an image)

Karen – age 7

‘Love is when Mummy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.’

Mark – age 6

‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.’

Jessica – age 8

And the final one.

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said,  ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry.’ (Talk about Brilliant Sanity!)

Happy Mothers’ Day to us all

May you feel the blessings of the day, whatever your role in the universe might be…

To birth moms, those who are able to care for and cherish your child in the ways every child needs and deserves…

To the other birth moms, who for whatever reasons are not with your child on this day…

To adoptive and foster moms and other kin, who step in and step up to fill a role that will be so much greater, and harder, and more rewarding than you ever imagined…

To the men who helped give life to the little ones who light our way…to those who care for and support the moms…and to those who themselves are needing support and care…and those who are the primary caregivers to the little ones…

To the caseworkers, and teachers, and therapists, and others who play healing roles in our children’s lives…

To the grammas and grampas who play such a special part in all of our lives…

Happy Mothers’ Day!!!