What’s the Point of All of This? (part 2)

A majority of this blog’s content comes from the Empowered to Connect Training material. Danielle and I are certified trainers and will offer the course a couple of times in 2015 in the Austin area.

We began this discussion last week in part 1 of What’s the Point of All of This?  We discussed how our history, attachment style, and default parenting style effects our relationship with our child. Also, we talked about owning your stuff and repairing your mistakes. If you didn’t read that article, click on that link to get to it.

All parents bring expectations with them into parenting—some realistic and others not. For adoptive families, however, lingering unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment, frustration and even a real disconnection between parents and children. When a child’s history of pain and loss begins to taint the beautiful picture of what a parent expected their adoption journey to look like, parents are tempted to protect their image rather than embrace their child’s feelings and struggles. When a child’s behaviors (rooted in fear and an instinct to survive) begin to collide with the “way we do things as a family” and are only made worse by a parent’s attempts at discipline, parents can find themselves exhausted and quickly nearing the point of despair.Empowered to Connect

 

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What’s the Point of All of This?

A majority of this blog’s content comes from the Empowered to Connect Training material. Danielle and I are certified trainers and will offer the course a couple of times in 2015 in the Austin area.
What’s the point of all of this if you’re not going to let it change you?Francis Chan

Far too often foster and adoptive parents focus all their attention on the change and healing that their child needs and ignore what needs to change in themselves. However, what you bring to the parent-child relationship matters—a lot.   We all bring, as parents, our own history, motivations, and expectations into the relationship. In order to help your child build trust, heal and grow you need to focus on your past, your future, and your present. This allows you as a parent to be fully present in each and every moment to help your child heal.

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Is Your History Getting in the Way?

Become aware of how your past may be affecting your relationship with your child and be open to change. This will require learning how to “pay attention to what you are actually paying attention to” (Dr. Curt Thompson). In other words, do you pay attention to your “default mode” of responding to your child’s behavior?

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20 Parenting Tools that Connect & Correct

Most of our tools in our parenting tool bag for children two-years-old and above focus on correction. This might work with our biological children who received nurture from the moment they were in the womb.

However, for our children from a hard place, they most likely missed out on a lot if not all the nurturing they needed while in utero and the first year of life. If we try our traditional parenting tools to correct these children, many times their response is either fight, flight, or freeze. These children often get labeled as rebellious, ADHD, or with some other mental illness. But these children simply need what they missed out on—Connection. So, if you are parenting a child that came from a hard place, you might need to replace some of the parenting tools that worked with your biological children. I know this can be hard. We never had biological children, but we naturally apply parenting strategies that our parents used or that our circle of friends use with their children.

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Through Eyes of Compassion

I had known this eight-month-old baby boy for only a few days. I didn’t know what to expect as we walked into the Child Protective Services office for the first parent visit. But this baby’s reaction didn’t seem normal to me.

Leaving the building, I carried him close to my chest. He watched his mommy and daddy over my shoulder walk in the other direction to their car. I expected for him to cry out for them. Instead, not a sound. His eyes glazed over.

I don’t remember him crying or fussing on our way to our home. But after we got in the house, this baby boy who was beginning to crawl and pull up, took hold of a toy that came from his home. I assumed that the toy was familiar to him.

What he did next took me by surprise.

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What Is Your Attachment Dance?

Attachment is a lot like a dance. Some are good at it. Others…not so much. Raising a son that comes from a hard place is teaching me a lot about attachment…not only in regards to him, but about me also.

 

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A powerful thing I am learning from our Parenting Kids from Hard Places class is how attachment styles affect our relationships.

Even if you are not a parent or “past” the parenting age, you need to read this. See if you can identify your style.

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