Monday, September 15, 2014

Empowered To Connect #1

Friday and Saturday found Dean and I at Reston Bible Church in VA. learning how to connect with our children from hard places. It made perfect sense when we sat in the seminars and watched Karen Purvis in action but implementing TBRI  (trust based relational intervention) at home is a different matter all together.
   We met a group of foster/adoption parents at 4:45 Friday morning, stopped for breakfast and arrived at the church around 8:30. Plenty of time to sign in and find seats before the seminar began at 9:00. Friday's sessions were basically a crash course in attachment parenting 101. It was all information we had learned through years of therapy. However, it certainly didn't hurt us to hear it again. Saturday we learned about sensory issues and how to implement TBRI. I think we have a lot more sensory things going on with our children than we realized.
   Since I am still processing all I learned I will share bits and pieces with you. As more of the teaching finds it's correct file in my brain, I will hopefully be able to share more.

#1. Recovery of function recapitulates learning: only when you have reached your child's needs at all levels, body, soul n spirit, will the brain begin to heal and make progress. For instance if your child is cold, hungry and sad and you supply him with a blanket and a snack you will still not totally connect until you provide him with techniques or give him a voice to get past his sorrow. I always knew that, but hearing it at the conference really drove it home.

#2.Empowering practices:
-hydration
-food every two hours
-protein snack at bedtime
-sensory activity every two hours
-LOTS of hugging, kissing, touching, laughing, playing

#3 Anger trumps all other feelings/emotions. If your child appears angry he may actually be sad, scared, in pain or any number of things. For children from hard places anger trumps everything

#4 You need to make sense of your past, be realistic about your future and be fully present in order to help your child heal. That, folks is a big order! You can be sitting beside your child who is playing toys but if you are reading a book you are not fully in the present and not connecting with that child. A quote from Karen Purvis, "You cannot lead a child to a place of healing if you do not know the way yourself."

#5 You need to balance structure and nurture. Our children thrive on structure and so most of us naturally learn that a structured routine works best. However I forget to up the nurture as well and am left with children who are unbalanced. I find it easy to nurture my babies and toddlers but once they hit the preschool/school age I find I have to make a conscious effort to nurture them. Here are a few ways I nurture my school age children:
-rub their hair or massage their ear while in church. Joseph loves this. Before I even knew about attachment parenting a speaker at Penn Valley (a place where they hold week end meetings for Mennonite foster/adoption families) said how he did this with his son and how his son enjoyed it.
-massage their hands/feet with lotion
-cuddle up with a fuzzy blanket and read a story
-take them out individually and just talk about their interests
-buy them their favorite snack and tell them I was thinking about them when I was shopping
-when talking to someone while the child is in ear shot, sing their praises on a recent accomplishment.
-stick a note in their lunch telling them you love them/are praying for them
 These are just a few of the many ways to nurture your children, leave me a comment telling what you do to encourage and nurture your child.

I want to cover sensory things in one of my next posts as that seems to be one of the "missing pieces" for some of our children.

You can visit: http://www.etcconference.org/ to find other Empowered To Connect Seminars. I highly recommend you go, you won't be disappointed.

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