Core Symptom #4: This is why you’re so needy…

“Don’t you have a magic pill or something?” she laughs and then…stops.  This is a person who doesn’t want to feel “this” anymore. She’s been hurt by the ones who were suppose to love and protect her. She is so disconnected from her own needs, wants and emotions as a result of being abused, denied, and neglected.

It’s hard enough to know our own needs and then, on top of that, to find safe people to help us meet them. Especially when all we’ve ever known is abuse, ridicule, hate and shame.

How do we overcome it and, as Brene Brown shares, show up and be seen authentically with our whole hearts?

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The Connected Child: Empower

In The Connected Child,  Dr. Purvis and Dr. Cross lay out 3 guiding principles to developing an emotionally connected child: empower, connect and correct.

In this short video, I provide an in-depth look into the first principle: empower. As parents of foster and/or adoptive kids, we need to ensure their physiological and ecological needs are met. This is done through felt safety, predictability, transitions, proper nutrition and hydration.


Having worked in the foster care system and having gone through the adoption process with her niece and nephews, Olivia understands the complexities in welcoming a child into your home. Check back every week as Olivia walks through these principles and ways you can help unlock your child’s true potential that has been hiding behind trauma, anxiety, adhd and other emotional and behavioral issues.


Sex Matters: The Home

 For some the issues of pornography, masturbation, and sex make them giggle. Others are more likely to jump out of a plane than have a conversation about “that.” I remember when my mom sat me down and had “the talk.” I felt weird, a little sweaty under the arms and anxious. Looking back, it felt like the dark veil had been lifted and there was no going back. No longer could I pretend that babies were made by a boy and a girl wrestling under the covers. Anatomically I now knew why boys had different private parts and what they were used for. I eventually learned that sex is far more than tingling sensations. There was beauty in sex and I didn’t learn that from the girls swapping stories on the bus ride home. I learned that from my parents.

Every person’s story begins in the home. For some, their home environment might be sterile, portraying a distinct desire to brush all the problems and emotions under the proverbial rug. Others might relate to homes that poise extreme openness where no boundaries reign and sex is regarded more as a “sport” than a precious gift. The extremes are easy to pinpoint but finding a middle ground is hard work. Unfortunately, there is no “5 simple steps to a healthy family.” I truly believe, though, where there is openness, self-awareness, healthy boundaries and an environment of grace things can change.

In order to talk to our kids about sex we have to begin with us. How do we feel about sex? What is our body and behavior saying when the topic is broached? What do we ultimately believe about sex? If we were raised that sex is “bad,” how can we preach something different to our kids? It may seem obvious but each one of our children are unique in who they are. They each demand various things from us and must be engaged differently from their siblings. Raising children requires our whole self, our authentic self; not the self we think others want but the one that others need.

The moment we pretend that sex isn’t a big deal to our children is the day we fail them. In the internet age no longer can we assume innocence. If we’re not creating an open and safe environment to deal with the hard issues they’ll find someone else who is willing and it may not be the kind of person you want informing your child on the nitty gritty details on sex, masturbation, and pornography. Recent statistics have shown that, on average, a child will have his/her first encounter with pornography by age 11. Again, you should know your child best and it may not be appropriate to have these conversations with your specific 9 year old. Statistically, though, your child is more likely the rule than the exception. Ask, inquire, and be interested in what your child knows and what they want to know. You’ll never know if you never ask and assuming in a sexified culture is never a safe choice.

My parents began having conversations with me about my body when I was young. Informing me that no one was allowed to touch “this” or do “that.” We love you and want to protect you, they said. I was always allowed to ask questions, I was never shamed when I asked a “silly” question nor was anything “off limits.” No question was too tough for them, that was the environment they created. My parents could not fully protect me, though, no matter how hard they tried, from being molested or looking at pornography but they could give me specific tools and knowledge that would help me even if those things happened. We can’t sex-proof our kids no matter how hard we try. The chastity-belt-preaching-parents preach legalism, not grace. Often, the message is simply “DON’T” and hardly an explanation as to what sex is and why it should be kept for one person.

We can choose to have open and honest relationships with our children and provide an environment that not only promotes healthy curiosity but also does so without shame. What kind of home environment are you creating? What is your silence about sex saying to your children?


Olivia Pelts Personal Website

What We Believe About Sex Matters

The way we talk about sex to our kids matters. Both our method and our comfort level in discussing sex is often telling of the climate and culture in which we were raised.

"What parents should tell their children....

“What parents should tell their children.” A pamphlet of the Racial Hygiene Association of New South Wales, Circa 1935. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The family is the cornerstone, the fundamental basis from which we build our identity and personhood. Whether we like it or not, parents need to grasp the reality that who we are and the tone we set for our families affects our children spiritually, socially, emotionally, and sexually. There are countless factors in motion that deeply affect us all as we mature and develop: the belief systems we were raised with, how our parents treated us, our relationship(s) with our sibling(s), and how we attached to our parents.

Sex is everywhere. It’s on our phone, computers, magazines, commercials and TV shows we love. Culturally, sex is glorified and practiced as a sport in many ways, as both genders

rally together and compare scorecards on who has done what with who. Parents are becoming increasingly aware of the heightened focus on sex but tend to become squeamish when it comes time to address the dreadful “it.” It can be difficult for many parents to discuss sex with each other, much less their children! Within the conservative Christian community, generally speaking, sex is often thought of in terms of being “good” in marriage and “bad” when experienced outside of marriage. This dichotomous understanding appears to stem from how an individual was raised, whether it was in a home where sex was never mentioned or in an environment where it was talked of crudely. Either way, this has a profound effect on the way we parent and educate our kids about sex.

Raising kids is undoubtedly one of the most difficult tasks appointed to adults. The issue of educating our children on sex is hard. We each individually carry around our own unique history, beliefs, and shame concerning sex from the way we were raised and the messages we believed. The fact that many adults are reluctant to talk to their spouses or closest friends about sex reveals a deep connection between sex and shame. Our silence on the subject, both with our peers and our children, communicates far more than we probably care to consider. Regardless of our comfort level, it is worth digging deeper into our personal beliefs about sex so that we can share them with clarity and purpose.

How we were raised will affect the way we parent but it doesn’t have to define it. We cannot hide or be ashamed of the way(s) we were raised or the experiences we encountered but we can choose whether or not we want to repeat how and what we learned from our parents. There is freedom and power in breaking family cycles. To begin having conversations with our children about sex, we need to first sift through the helpful and hurtful pieces about what we learned and ultimately believe about sex. We can’t fight against what we don’t know. Self-awareness is vital. 

Having constructive conversations with our children about sex is so much more than the infamous “birds and the bees” discussion. It’s about developing a sexual ethic within the home. What we, as parents, believe about sex matters. It matters because you are laying the foundation for what they will think about sex, how they will construct their own beliefs, and the ways in which they will express their sexuality. Conversations are more than mere transactions of words and sayings. What we internally believe, the body language we assume and the words we use are all factors when engaging in conversation. What are you implicitly saying, without using words, to your children about sex? Would you be communicating something different if you were aware of your internal beliefs, feelings, and shame of sex?

The nature of this article is to cause the reader to think more deeply on the subject than simply retelling the anatomy of the male and female gender. The author purposefully omitted “5 steps to self-awareness” and encourages those who are curious to process with friends, a spouse, or a locally recommended mental health therapist.

Olivia Pelts Personal Website