The Middle School Me
The Middle School Me
By Stefanie Armstrong, MS, LIMHP

I can hardly believe that my oldest boy will be turning 13 in 12 days. I find myself thinking, “Yes, it’s true Stefanie, you will have a teenager!” Along with adolescence comes hormones, eye-rolling, independence, social drama, learning about things I don’t really want him to learn yet, and the “Mom is not cool” attitude (even though I KNOW I’m pretty cool). I have the same worry thoughts that most parents of teenagers experience: “Is he turning in his homework?” “Is he making friends?” “Is he getting bullied?” “Is he being exposed to vaping, pills, drugs?” “What is he learning from his peers about sex?” “Is he telling me everything?” “What is he hiding?” And on and on…
Although these are typical parent concerns, a few months ago, I went through a phase in which I was honestly a bit of a wreck. I was moody, short-tempered and tense. My struggle worsened after I checked my son’s grades and discovered he was failing 3 classes. In his words, he wanted to “see what it would be like” if he didn’t turn in his homework. My insides came unglued; I was swirling with confusion and angst. I felt out of control, lost, and empty. Finally, I calmed myself and began using my pre-frontal cortex. I asked myself, “Why this overwhelming response? What’s going on with you, Stefanie? He’s only in 7 th grade and this type of ‘testing’ is normal.” Long story short, I knew there must be more to this…not for him, but for ME! I began to get curious and really look inside of me. After a period of soul-searching, I figured it out. 

The younger part of me was in distress and triggered. She needed some attunement.
The truth is, my own middle school years were very tough. I was defiant, rebellious, and difficult. I chose to spend my time with a rebellious group of peers instead of the friends I had been close to through elementary school. Although I had earned a spot in honors classes, I refused to do my work and was removed from the classes. In short, I was “that kid.” Looking back, it was easy to see that I had been a struggling, lost adolescent who needed direction, connection and attunement. I was able to see that my reactions to my son were rooted in my own past. I had been identifying with him, fearing that he would make similar mistakes. The truth was, he needed what every adolescent needs--what I had needed when I was his age--attunement, connection, and direction. Through self-reflection and compassion for the younger me, I was able to become emotionally present to my son.
Our kids can trigger unresolved “stuff” within ourselves. When we take the time to look inside and pay attention to what’s going on, we can manage our automatic responses and parent from a calmer place…so, take some time, reflect, pay attention, go slower, attune, comfort…#lovetheyoungeryou
Where in the WORLD is Deb?

Deb will be presenting in the Netherlands and Germany!
Cologne- March 11th Copenhagen -March 13th

" Healing the Primal Wound: Treating Attachment Trauma with EMDR"

Attachment Theory in Action:
Stefanie Armstrong talks with
Karen Doyle Buckwalter
Check out Karen Doyle Buckwalter's latest book:

Attachment Theory In Action

ATCI has contributed a chapter to this book; along with many other wonderful clinicians!

Listen to this LIVE podcast with Stefanie and Karen as they discuss Treating Attachment Trauma and EMDR.

TAKE $10 OFF if you register by March 12th!

NEW LIVE Virtual Workshops
From the comfort of anywhere using Zoom!
Family Therapy Component of the Integrative Attachment Child Protocol (IATP-C)
This LIVE virtual workshop consists of three 3-hour virtual presentations. Watch and listen from the comfort of anywhere as Deb, Cathy, and Stefanie teach the steps of the IATP model through a colorful PowerPoint presentation, case presentations, and over thirty videos of their work with traumatized children.
EMDR Integrative Attachment Trauma Protocol for Children (IATP-C)
Learn to implement EMDR to strengthen attachments, develop self-regulation, and heal attachment wounds rooted in a history of abuse, neglect, early medical trauma, or changes in caregivers through slides, case presentations, and over 30 videos of our work with severely traumatized, complex children. 

Omaha Training for EMDR and Non-EMDR Clinicians

EMDR & Family Therapy Integrative Attachment Trauma Protocol (IATP-C) for Children

September 20-22, 2018

During this 3-day in-person workshop, you will learn both the EMDR and Family Therapy components of this integrative model for treating children with a history of attachment trauma. You will leave with the skills and resources you need to implement the full protocol with the traumatized children and families in your practice.
LIVE: St. Louis Training
EMDR Integrative Attachment Trauma Protocol (IATP-C) for Children
2-Day Workshop
November 8-9, 2018
The Attachment Trauma Center Institute, LLC
638 North 109th Plaza, Omaha, NE 68154
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