As Erin shared in her last post, in May 2023, we kicked off our Cultivate Connection Facilitator training through Empowered To Connect. Here is a blurb from their website to tell you a little more about the training we've completed and are excited to bring back to the ASA community.
[Cultivate Connection course is] a deep dive into the building blocks of a flourishing family. The course gives helpful parenting practices and strategies for kids of all ages, with plenty of time to discuss ideas and ask questions along the way. These practical skills are rooted in research on brain based parenting, attachment, trauma, sensory processing, and more. The purpose of Cultivate Connection is to empower parents and caregivers to be confident, calm, curious, compassionate and connected.
This peer-to-peer parenting curriculum is going to be an amazing resource for our ASA families, and we can’t wait to kick off our first class this Fall!
When you begin the adoption process, it can feel a bit like you’re proving you CAN do this - you have to show that you have the time, the financial resources, the support and the desire to be a good and successful parent. As an adoptive parent, we have a literal stamp of approval to be parents. Once a precious child enters our home, we’re likely confronted with the realization that we don’t have it all figured out after all. Through parenting, we are all confronted with our own shortcomings and we can respond to this in a variety of ways: maybe we search for affirmation that we are doing it “right” or we search for the perfect counselor to ‘fix’ our kids. Maybe we think, ‘this isn’t what I signed up for’ and disengage completely. Or, we lose hope in the ability to connect with our kids successfully. Maybe we wonder if this parenting thing will ever get better??
This is where the Cultivate Connection curriculum enters to create a space rich with parenting knowledge, compassion, and the power that comes from community. Parenting any child requires a commitment to humility and willingness to change – but this is especially true for those who are parenting children who experience loss (meaning ALL children living outside their family of origin) and children who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). We must realize that the first catalyst for change in our families is our own behavior. The following “AHA” moments highlight parents’ responsibility in creating a safe and secure place in which our children can grow.
Effective parenting is NOT reactive. We are PROACTIVE by educating ourselves and being thoughtful of our approach to discipline. We build time into our schedules to consider our child’s needs. We are RESPONSIVE to behavior in the moment through coregulation. We repair after a rupture. We are REFLECTIVE by being curious and thinking about the WHY behind the behavior. What was it communicating? How did we offer support? Is there a need for additional scaffolding and support for our child?
Our own history and what we bring to the parent-child relationship matters…. a lot!! Our own attachment styles have an impact on how we parent and relate to our kids. It’s necessary to reflect on our own experiences and understand how we are showing up, especially in hard moments. What lowers our stress capacity? How do we self-regulate? This can be difficult work and can bring up a lot of wounds. It takes vulnerability and intention to do this – a counselor can be helpful here – but it’s so worth it!
It’s never too late (or early) to learn. Whether you’re parenting littles, teens, adult children – the connecting principles apply. Throughout the training, our group gathered weekly with a collaborative goal – parents from all walks of life, with different stories, family makeup, and backgrounds. No one had it all figured out, but all were willing to learn and grow.
We’ll never reach a moment in our parenting where we can say we DO have it all figured out, but by being thoughtful about our own approaches we can build a foundation of trust, safety and growth in our families. And, if one of these AHA moments resonate with you, I (Molly Mayhoff) would love to chat with you more about how this course can support you in your parenting journey!
For additional information, check out these free downloads from Empowered to Connect, listen to episodes from the Empowered to Connect podcast and/or read The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, David Cross and Wendy Sunshine.