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Cultivate Connection Parenting Course

Molly (Molly Mayhoff, Associate Director) and I (Erin Nasmyth, Executive Director), have had the privilege of connecting with Empowered to Connect, a nonprofit organization in Memphis Tennessee, to learn more about what they have created there (stay tuned for more information about that!). We are currently in the process of training to become facilitators of ETC’s Cultivate Connection parenting course. The first part of the training involves Molly and I completing the parent course ourselves (along with our spouses, as they want all parents in the household to be on the same page when it comes to parenting approaches). Even as parents who have done a lot of work (Molly as an adoptive parent and Erin as a therapist helping families), we have learned so much from this Cultivate Connection curriculum! At the end of July 2023, Molly and I will travel to Memphis for the second half of the training to become official Cultivate Connection facilitators. We very much look forward to bringing this training to the Adoption Support Alliance community in the Fall of 2023.

As a preview of the curriculum, to get you excited about the content and because it fits so nicely into our CONNECTION theme for July, we wanted to share with you a few “Aha” moments from the training so far!

The ideal parenting style combines both nurture (which develops trust) AND structure (which children need to grow and feel safe). From Karyn Purvis “If a child need nurture and I give him structure, I harm his ability to trust me. If a child needs structure and I give him nurture, I harm his ability to grow”.

Attachment is the basis for healing for our children. But, it’s the pattern of the attachment cycle that is important. Which means, if we don’t react the way we want to in individual interactions with our children, we haven’t screwed them up completely! From Cultivate Connection “There is no way to meet every expressed need of our children. This would be impossible. The key to cultivating secure attachment is the pattern we create over time”.

Trauma impacts our children’s behaviors because the fear part of their brains become overly activated. When we are making decisions about how to respond to our children’s behaviors, especially the challenging ones, it is helpful to ask “am I punishing my child’s trauma responses?” Consider if their behaviors are willful disobedience or are the result of them not feeling safe.

We aren’t done! At the time that we are publishing this blog post, we still have five more modules to go and three full days of in-person training in Memphis! Check back in on our blog later this month to get a few more “aha moments” from Molly!

For additional information, check out these free downloads from Empowered to Connect, listen to episode from the Empowered to Connect podcast and/or read The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, David Cross and Wendy Sunshine.


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