Connecting While Correcting

Do you feel as if you are always yelling at your children and they just don’t listen?

Do you feel distant from your children? As if you are wounding their spirit every time you correct?

Are you wondering how to navigate this road of parenting without anger? Without that feeling of distance? 

Do you want to connect and correct at the same time?

If so, this is for you…..

“There is no such thing as adoption or foster care without loss.”

“As a result, our children have some unique histories and unique needs, and because of this they will need parents who have a unique approach in order to help them connect in a relationship and begin to heal.”

Your child needs a high degree of structure and a high degree of nurture.

The authoritarian parent offers a high degree of structure with a low degree of nurture.

The permissive parent offers a high degree of nurture with a low degree of structure.

The best is a balance of both.

How do you know which way you lean? Here’s a short check list from The Connected Child to help you determine.

You’re Too Permissive and Lenient if…

  • You make rules and promises and don’t enforce them
  • You nag, nag, nag but don’t enforce.
  • You wait too long to enforce and then explode in anger.
  • You beg your child to cooperate.
  • Your child is the one who decides if and when things get done.
  • You ask your child “What do you want?” more often than you tell him what has to happen.
  • You allow your child to physically harm you or others.
  • You often pretend you don’t notice misbehavior or disrespect.
  • Your child encounters no negative consequences for cursing or bad-mouthing you.
  • Your child doesn’t take your word seriously.
  • Your child talks disrespectfully to you.

You’re Too Strict and Controlling if…

  • You tell your child “No” more frequently than you praise him.
  • You tell your child “No” more frequently than you show him affection.
  • You constantly tell your child what to do and don’t give him the opportunity to make choices or compromise.
  • You shut down your child’s expressions of sadness or disappointment .
  • You ignore or belittle your child’s point of view.
  • You use punishments, shaming and insults to gain your child’s compliance.
  • An hour doesn’t go by without you finding fault with your child.

control

Obviously, your child needs correcting. We can be too permissive and let our child run all over us. A parent out of control is a child in control. Kids need adults who are in control. It makes them feel more secure. If we connect and correct at the same time, it’s possible to attach securely. What does this look like? First and foremost, there should not be any anger in correction and save your yelling for when your child runs toward the road or a swimming pool with no floats on. Your child will take it more seriously then. Plus anger and yelling wounds an already wounded spirit. Or for those street smart kid, stuck in survival mode, it gives him the upper hand. He knows he can control Mom or Dad. Then it becomes a battle of the wills. Or a battle of his past with your’s.

When you need to correct, take a breath. A long deep one and think, is this a mountain or a molehill? Do I need a gnat gun or an elephant gun? Does this need a “try that again with respect ” or “are you asking for a compromise?” Think about your goal, do you want your child to succeed and make progress or do you want him to feel punished? If it is punished, then expect the opposite of connection on his part (and your’s too). There are days when we cycle through separation and connection. I understand that. We can’t control our children’s reactions to our parenting, but we can control how we parent.When we have to correct with a command, we can follow it up with praise. We don’t have to withhold our love or frown when correcting. Not every command requires a mean face.

The best way to look at it is through the lens of our relationship with God. Ever since sin entered the world and separated us from Him, he has tried to reconnect. He offered the life of His Son so we could be in relationship with Him. That has always been His goal. He connects and corrects, always offering a path back to His loving arms. Back to relationship. He says, I am here for you, no matter what. That should be the message we send to our kids. We are here. Yes, you needed some correction, but the connection is not lost because of that. It is possible to connect and correct.

 

 

 

 

Why should you sign up for ETC Parent Training?

Empowered to Connect, Dr. Karyn Purvis, Dr. David Cross, trust based parenting, these are not household terms in Wild Wonderful West Virginia. In fact, many adoptive/foster families have never heard of any of these terms, so it’s not surprising when I ask adoptive/foster families if they want to sign up for ETC Parent Training, they look at me as if I have three heads. I would too. Why should anyone sign up for parent training when they are already a parent and have been for quite awhile. Why plop down money for books and set aside time for homework in an already chocked full schedule?

When Mom came home and told us five kids we were moving to a farmhouse in the country, I constructed a mental picture in my head based on the Waltons. A large white farm house on the top a hill. When we pulled up to the tri colored, mustard, blue and red boxy, dilapidated structure with the overgrown yard, my illusions were shattered. the house boasted a Pepto- Bismol pink mantle and layers of faded wallpaper, not my ideal. My mother saw something we kids didn’t. Beauty. Value. Potential. she saw the eighty acres as a refuge. My mom believed in restoration. Now, I do too, and if you adopt/foster, you’re a family builder.

My parents knew the value of hardwood floors, the hundred year old construction and the fresh air for growing children and veggie gardens. Mom took our family habits and government and sifted through it. Some stuff got chucked, like the television, other things were added, family devotions around the oval oak table. It was a new way of living.

What’s the point of this wordy meandering? Adoption/fostering is like the farmhouse family journey. We believe it will be a certain way. We have expectations. We have as set of parenting beliefs that don’t work with children who have had trauma. They’re like those layers of wallpaper, we have to peel them back, examine them under the light of our current circumstances and determine what our goal is.

When my family moved to the farmhouse, Mom had a set of goals. In order to meet those goals, she had to make some changes. We adoptive/foster families need to do the same. Those layers of wallpaper may be our child’s past or our own. We need to peel them back and work on restructuring.

wallpaper

Traditional parenting doesn’t work with these kiddos. Just like the lifestyle Mom wanted to leave behind, we need to be willing to leave our suppositions behind. Punishment doesn’t work. Yelling just breeds anger. Time-out backfires. Logical consequences fall flat.

If you are reading this and you see yourself or your child you should consider ETC parent training. Maybe you’ve tried everything and your child’s behaviors are spiraling out of control. Or maybe he is well behaved, but distant, there is no connection, you feel as if you are just going through the motions. Your vision of that wonderful parent/child relationship has turned Pepto-Bismol pink. Do you feel as if you have lost the parenting gene? Probably not. What you may need is a reshuffling and restructuring of your parenting theory. I did.

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2

We parents must renew our minds and our families will be transformed. We must have tools that work. If you don’t want to keep fighting the same battles and making no progress. I understand. Been there. Done that. Then I studied, learned and renewed my mind. ETC Parent training is taught by regular ole adoptive/foster parents like me who have lived it, tired it and found success, not perfection. We are in the trenches with you. You won’t just learn some theory from some lofty perch. ETC training gives you twenty-five tools to use help your child (and you) connect, grow and heal. It is an investment, not just another sharpie mark on the calendar.

If you are interested, contact Kathleen Guire by emailing PositiveAdoption@gmail.com.

Want to know more about the training? Click here.

 

Continuing Education and Fostering and Adopting

“How do you handle lying?”

“My son is stealing every day, what should I do?”

“My kid is so angry all the time, I can’t seem to get him on the right track!”

These are just some bits of conversations I have had with adoptive/foster parents. Kids getting kicked off the bus, suspended from school, kicked out of kid’s church. I could say, “Been there. Done that,” and sometimes I do, but that is not enough. Adoptive/Foster parents need real tried and true info to help them on their journey. We parents need to understand where the behavior is coming from, what’s going on inside the child’s brain, and what we can do to help foster attachment as well as moral and physical development.

What happened?

If you adopted a cute cuddly baby or toddler and he suddenly starts behaving in off the wall ways, you may be asking yourself, what have I gotten myself into and what happened? What did I do wrong? I used to ask myself this on a daily basis. When rotten behavior burgeoned its ugly head and morals seemed non existent, I cried, disciplined and when traditional parenting didn’t work, I delved into research. That doesn’t make me super woman. I am definitely not a super hero. What it did for me was bring me out of denial. I was denying that there was anything different between them and my bio kids because I felt like it meant I loved them less. It didn’t. That was a lie. The other lie that was difficult to battle was “you’re not being fair!” from the bio kids. I had to approach dealing with behaviors differently in my adopted children and it was evident that I was doing things differently. I wish there was a magic wand I could wave over my bio kid so they could understand I am parenting two different backgrounds, a set of kids from a secure foundation and another with no foundation of family. You can’t base fair on two different circumstances to begin with. It wasn’t fair that my adopted children had traumatic beginnings. Let me get back on track here, education is the key for parenting children from hard places.

A New Perspective.

Out with the old. In with the new. That is the perspective we must take in parenting children who have had trauma in their lives. Adopted/foster kids don’t come with a clean slate that we can write on. They come with a chalk board full of past. We must acknowledge that and focus on child rearing that meets them where they are, not where we expect them to be. For example, we expect an eight year old to act his age, yet if he has had a traumatic beginning, he may only have an emotional age of three or four. He may lie, because in his mind, he believes you will believe exactly what he tells you because his brain is only developed to the stage of a three year old. Four year olds think you only know what they tell you.

It’s a difficult thing, this re-shifting of parenting. It’s a bit easier if you think of your children as half their physical age and measure their brain development rather than their shoe size. If they have poor impulse control, they are using only the downstairs brain, it takes time and consistent parenting to help these kids move to the upstairs brain. Kids who have not had the opportunity to explore truth and fiction may struggle with the two, not matter their age.

Raising children from hard places helps me understand the portion of scripture referring to renewing my mind. When raising these children with cognitive dis-regulation due to early trauma, it takes a constant flow of education, a renewing of the mind in how to meet these kids where they are mentally, physically and spiritually.

. Check this video out for help in handling lying.

 

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