Category Archives for "My Kids Program"

Oh Crap…I’m Screwed!

brain chemistry, security

A moment of fear overtook me…I had to get this right. My wife had handed me her laptop and asked me to hook up the new wireless printer. I opened the computer and it prompted me for a pin so of course this should be easy, right? I just ask my wife, she tells me, and we are all good.

No, not that easy! She looks at me with a sly smile and instead of giving me the pin she says “its our first date!” Oh man, I’m screwed!

So, a date comes to me that I think might be right but am not confident at all…of course I am doing my best to look confident. I slowly type in the digits and hold my breath…

Wallah…it worked! Disaster averted! Now it was my turn to give the sly look as if to say, “you thought you had me…not even close!”

Okay so why am I telling you this? Because something important was going on in my brain. I went from secure to insecure in a millisecond of time…and then back to secure just as quickly.

This process happens over and over again and this shift between secure and insecure is monitored by a small almond shaped structure in our brain called the amygdala…the amygdala is kind of like the guard of our brain. It tells us if we are okay or not.

Then my frontal lobe…the frontal lobe is kind of like the control center of the brain…attempts to regulate, manage and resolve these signals from the guard. If the control center doesn’t have an answer, it lets the guard signal the survival part of our brain to take over until security is restored.

Okay so for those of us who are fairly secure and have a lot of coping strategies this process isn’t a big deal and helps us live in an adaptive way in our world.

But what about our hurting kids who have a guard that is very sensitive because it was trained to fear and believe that disaster is always lurking? These same kids also typically lack the coping strategies and resources in their control center to manage these fears.

Hurting kids go into survival mode very easily and it is difficult to get them back to secure…but when they do function in security life is good, right?

Have you ever asked yourself “why can my child function well sometimes but most of the time they don’t?” This is why…when they are secure they make good choices but when they are insecure and in survival mode they make poor choices. This is true for all of us…It’s just that most of us don’t live in survival mode and when we go there, we come back quickly.

Wouldn’t you like to know how to help your kids function in secure mode more often?

The My Kids Community uses a brain based model for Therapeutic Parenting to help you DANCE (Have you gotten your free DANCE eBook? ) with where you child is functioning in their brain. We show you how to be in sync with your child and move smoothly into the hurt, insecure places of their brain and invite them to come out and function in a more secure manner.

Do you want this for your family? If so, join us in the community where we will help you master these skills so you can guide your family out of the chaos and THRIVE!

PS: After my moment of gloating about easily remembering our first date my wife and I had a good laugh about how I was really just a good guesser!


I Woke Up In A Panic…

panic my kids community

Here’s how things work in my house…we like our sleep. So, I get my kids up at 6:25AM and they are on the bus by 6:45AM. 20 minutes to get ready, eat breakfast, do a small chore and out the door. We’re super efficient! No getting up at 5AM and cooking bacon…which as a vegan I think is one of the worst things you can eat besides like drinking a cup of bleach.

But anyways, you get it…there’s no time to spare.

So, one morning this past week I woke up and looked at my clock and it was 7:05…Oh crap, the kids missed the bus, I’m going to have to drive them, my wife is going to kill me…

I go to my daughters’ room and open the door…no one there. I go to my sons’ room…again, no one there. I rush downstairs and can’t find anyone. I open the refrigerator….all the lunches are gone. I look at the hooks where they hang their back packs and they’re gone.

My wife is sound asleep, my kids are gone. So either someone kid napped them…making sure to take their lunches for when they get hungry and their backpacks so they can keep learning while being held captive…or…

My kids managed this on their own, did the right thing, and are on their way to school.

Figuring the second of these two options is more likely I was settling down with a cup of coffee…when my wife came down the stairs. She goes into the kitchen and yells in…”hey why didn’t you make sure the kids emptied the dishwasher this morning.”

So I’m sitting there with this, “I’m in trouble” look on my face as I explain, ”I’m not really sure what happened this morning.”

I explained what happened and that the best I could figure, one of the kids woke up, got the rest of the kids up and made sure they all got out the door to the bus on time. As it turns out my kids ages, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 did just that. They helped each other out and made it to the bus without Dad!

My kids did the right thing!

This was awesome…my wife wasn’t surprised, she knows our kids and figured that would be what they would do so she just said…”well you need to empty the dish washer then.” Okay gladly!

So why am I telling you this? Because it hasn’t always been that way. We had more than our fair share of chaos and doing the wrong thing with our 13 kids, many of whom came through the foster care system. And don’t get me wrong, they aren’t perfect now either…but generally this is how things go. They do the right thing!

But 12 years ago, my family was really struggling, and this type of thing didn’t happen. I was studying for my second master’s degree in counseling and found no answers…I later figured out that most therapists don’t have the training and tools to work with foster and adoptive kids with attachment issues.

Don’t get me wrong…it’s not their fault…they’ve never been taught.

That was my experience in school…nothing I was learning helped me with my foster kids. That’s why I put together the My Kids Community.

It is my passion to help families with foster and adoptive kids THRIVE! It is my God given calling and I literally sit here and get excited about the families who are being helped by this community and who don’t have to struggle for a decade trying to figure this all out like I did.

Hey thanks for reading and if you’re doing really well and don’t need this, that’s awesome, please pass this information on to someone who could benefit.

For the rest of you who don’t have this therapeutic parenting thing down…check it out and see if you are as excited as I am about this!

PS: Please no emails about how much you love bacon…and for those of you who just need to know…yes I get enough protein as a vegan!


You are Called To THRIVE!

By Stephen Luther

Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center

Licensed Professional Counselor and Therapeutic Parent Coach

My Kid’s Therapeutic Parenting on Facebook:

Be a Wise Chicken

my kids chicken

What does parenting have to do with chickens? I’m glad you asked! Let me begin with a story about my chickens. When we first got our chickens we had them in an area enclosed by a 4 foot fence. It didn’t take long before the chickens figured out that they could get over the fence. What did they do when they got out? They crossed the road! So I raised the fence and they couldn’t get over it. However, it didn’t take long before they found a gap under one area of the fence and, you guessed it, they got out and crossed the road. I was left pondering a very real question about why the chickens crossed the road. It seemed as though they had a singular focus of getting to the other side and nothing else mattered.

As I pondered this, I began to think about how much we tend to be like that as people and as parents. We often put the blinders on and pursue our goal without really thinking it through. Parents often get so focused on traditional approaches, such as rewards and consequences, that they don’t stop to ask if they are working. When we do this, we react and often get run over by the stress of parenting; we get stuck in unwanted battles and end up with chaos. If you are a parent to a hurting child, this is even more important as it is so easy to fall into that chaos. Or, alternatively, we don’t pursue our goals because of fear of what we cannot see. We shut down and just let the chaos control us or believe that it is just going to be this way. It breaks my heart when I hear a parent of a hurting child just counting down the years and months until the child turns 18. While I understand and empathize with this feeling, there is a better way!


A wise chicken keeps his goal, the other side of the road, in focus but broadens his view to consider other valuable information such as whether a car is coming. He acts wisely. As a parent to a hurting child, are you setting goals and working towards them wisely? Are you considering the hurt your kids have gone through and the specialized parenting techniques needed to repair those wounds? Do you have a vision for your family that includes having peace and joy in your home? Or have you given up on that?

 He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20

Parenting hurting kids is full of stress. Often we see stress as the enemy, but stress is good if it is kept under control. It helps us know that we need to act in some way, keeps us sharp and builds our resources for not just coping with life, but living the extraordinary and victorious life God calls us to. When we are stressed, we will proceed down one of two paths, the path of the wise chicken or the path of the unwise chicken. These two paths are rooted in one of two primary emotional states, love/security or fear/insecurity. If I can stay on the wise path, I will act in love and security. I don’t act hastily but I do act. I think things through and seek wise counsel. If I stay on this path I will find success and possibilities will unfold before my eyes. This is the green path on the diagram below. If however, I chose the path of the unwise chicken, I will react either by proceeding without considering the potential problems that will run me over, or I stand paralyzed. Both options are motivated by fear and insecurity. This WILL end in some failure in life and will bog me down with limitations and problems. This is the red path on the diagram below.

my kids stress diagram wisdom, wise,

In the My Kids Therapeutic Parenting Community we specialize in helping parents be wise chicken. We help you learn specific therapeutic parenting techniques and mindsets that will help you not only manage your internal stress but also help you connect with your children in a way that gives them the best opportunity to heal. We would love to come along side you and help you be a wise chicken…are you ready to THRIVE as a parent and have PEACE in your family?


To get there you have to begin the journey, let’s get started!


By Stephen Luther

Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center

Licensed Professional Counselor and Therapeutic Parent Coach

My Kid’s Therapeutic Parenting on Facebook:

Parents, Let’s Talk About Consequences

my kids are kids

What is your primary goal as a parent? To give consequences, right? Sound absurd; well it is. But unfortunately that is the unspoken goal of many parents. I know this because as a parent coach when I challenge a parent on the consequences they are giving I get very interesting and often defiant responses. Perhaps the parents need a consequence for their defiance ?. Wouldn’t that shock them if I immediately put them in time out? I get responses like “But I can’t let them get away with it” or “but I have to give a consequence” or “where does parenting come in then?’

Ok let’s look at this. Write down all the consequences you use that work. What do I mean by work? If it works you won’t have to do it anymore. Not that it stops the behavior in that moment. I’m talking about real change; you do the consequence, you child is changed and you don’t have to do it again. Ok, how many do you have on that list? Maybe there are one or two but I bet you don’t have many. You see, our goal isn’t consequences and really isn’t changed behavior. Our goal is a changed heart. How do we change a person’s heart? We connect with them! You need to connect with your child. Any consequences we give are secondary and honestly only have value if you have a very good connection with your child. It is one tool but not the only tool. What if you could change my child’s heart without a consequence? Would that be ok?

Therapeutic parent coaching and the My Kids Program is about connecting with your child. This can be difficult if your child is damaged or if your relationship with them has slowly broken down over the years. This is even more difficult for foster and adopted kids because they are damaged at the very core of who they are and are incapable, without repair work, of connecting with you. So whatever your situation, if things aren’t working, most likely consequences are only making things worse and validating your child’s belief that you are the enemy. The My Kids Program and Community helps you repair the damage and bring the joy back to your relationship with your children.

Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy your kids again? Let us help. Check us out at:


To get there you have to begin the journey, let’s get started!

By Stephen Luther

Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center

My Kid’s Therapeutic Parenting page on Facebook:

Parenting Through The Hurricane

my kids hurricane

Chaos, confusion, tiredness, anger, resentment…these feelings and others make up the hurricane many of us experience as parents. Is there something wrong with my kid(s)? Am I a failure? Is this just something I have to endure? Why doesn’t anything work? These are the questions, among others, that we ask when we are in the hurricane.

How do I know about this hurricane? I know it because I have lived it! In fact, I have lived it many times. As the parent of 11 children, many of whom were badly hurt before they came to us as foster kids, I feel like I have seen it all. When my wife and I faced those early hurricanes we scrambled to find the calm in the eye of the storm but we learned that this wasn’t going to work long term. We learned strategies from some of the best in the field of working with hurt and difficult kids and I have put those techniques together into the My Kids program at Grace Wellness Center.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let talk about this hurricane before I tell you more about the My Kids Program. The hurricane is the chaos that hurt and difficult kids bring into our lives. It causes most of us to react in one of two ways. Either we fight with our kids or we throw our hands up and give in. Neither is a good option and actually, neither is necessary. While, this fight or flight response does helps us survive the moment it is also what sends us scrambling for the eye of the hurricane. The eye of the hurricane is that place where we haven’t really worked through anything but we have peace for the moment. The problem is we will just find ourselves back in the hurricane. There really is no other option, it is all around us if we haven’t worked through it and resolved it. These patterns are reinforced by the immediate relief they sometimes bring but they don’t get us anywhere.

The only way out is through the hurricane. We have to actually deal with the problems and the ineffective patterns. Getting through the hurricane means you get to the point where the same things aren’t happening anymore and you don’t have to live in fear that they will reemerge any moment. If you already know how to do this, then this isn’t for you. However, most people don’t know how to get through the hurricane because it involves doing things differently and practicing therapeutic or reparative parenting. The My Kids program helps you learn therapeutic parenting and is based on solid techniques developed from an in depth understanding of how your child’s brain is functioning. You will learn tools to work with instead of against what is going on inside your child.

So you are on this journey called parenting. Your kids are going to grow up, you can’t change that. However, you can have an impact on how they turn out and what that journey is like for you. I would love to meet you where you are on your parenting journey and help you and your family live the life God has called you to and finally get out of the hurricane.

Are you looking for ways to start wading through the hurricane? Check out our 4 Free Preview Lessons of the My Kids program:

Because they are My Kids!

my kids community feet

“My Kids” Therapeutic Parent Coaching Program and Community

So I was sitting there looking at this woman trying to figure out what to say to such an absurd question…then it hit me, it wasn’t an absurd question to her and probably wasn’t to most of the people she had asked it to previously. We were in the process of adopting two of our kids who had been with us as foster children for almost two years and this woman was asking questions for our home study to see if we could adopt these children. The question she asked was why do you want to adopt “these kids?” After staring at her confused for a few seconds thinking “well which ones do you think I would want to adopt” I simply replied “because they are the ones they gave us.” Now SHE looked confused. She said “yeah but what about them makes you want to adopt them.” Ah, yes, there it is. She was looking for something conditional about these kids that makes me want to adopt them. What’s wrong with that you ask? Well, kids change! If I want to adopt them because I like certain things about them, then what happens when that changes? This is how we pick puppies from the pound but shouldn’t be how we adopt kids.   So my next response was a defiant “because they are my kids!” I wanted to ask why she wanted to keep her kids but I didn’t. You see, when a child is born into a family, the parents already decided to love that child long before he or she was born and no matter what the child’s attributes are, they love them. You don’t see parents at the hospital looking at their child and deciding if they are going to keep them or not, do you? No! So when a foster child comes into our home we have already been praying for that child and loving that child no matter what they are like or what is wrong with them. They are our kids!

As a licensed counselor and therapeutic parent coach who specializes in working with foster, adopted, traumatized and difficult children I work with a lot of parents on this concept of unconditional love. Not only do we have to unconditionally love our kids, but they have to feel and believe that we do. This is where it gets hard. Every child needs someone to say “that’s my kid” and mean it with every fiber of their being no matter what happens or what the child does. But beyond that, the child has to take a risk and believe it. Hurt kids have a hard time doing this and often push parents away and even make parents act in ways that the child uses to confirm that they aren’t loved. Really bad and destructive patterns emerge when we don’t know how to handle situations with “hurt kids.” Notice I say “hurt kids” and not “bad kids.” These kids are hurting and they need someone to love them in a way that the child can believe them.

There was a point in time when I decided to be God’s child. I decided to let him adopt me into his family. Maybe you have as well? When we do that God reaches down, takes us in his arms and says “my kid” and it’s done. You are his kid unconditionally, no matter what you have done or how damaged you are. This is the model we have for adoption and for parenting, but it is hard to live. The “My Kids” program was started to help make this a reality. Our passion is for every child to have someone say “My Kid” and mean it and for every child to have the chance to take the risk and believe it.

My wife and I currently have 10 children in our home. Some are our biological children, others are adopted and others are foster children. But they are all our kids, period. People often ask “which ones are ours” to which we give a really confused look and say, “well all of them are ours.” James 1:27 commands us to look after the orphans. The My Kids program is committed to fulfilling this command and pursuing the goal of every child having someone say “my kid” and mean it.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27


We are your community…

By Stephen Luther

Licensed Counselor, Therapeutic Parent Coach and founder of the My Kids Program and online Community

My Kid’s Therapeutic parent coaching group on Facebook: