Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis, Ph.D., David R. Cross, Ph.D. and Wendy Lyons Sunshine

I must begin this post by saying a huge...
...to my adoption friend Janet, who allowed me to borrow this book as one of her highest recommended books on adoption! Not only is this a great book for adoption, I think it is one of the greatest parenting books that I have ever read! Why, well it teaches parents to empower their children to make wise decisions and how to build life values.
In fact, chapter five is titled, "Instilling Life Values". The first subject header in the chapter is Respect...a life value that so many of our youth today have missed out on. This chapter also discusses Using Words (parents too), Gentleness and Kindness, Consequences, Making Eye Contact, etc. This chapter is followed with "Are You the Boss", "Dealing with Defiance", "Nurturing at Every Opportunity", and "Proactive Strategies to Make Life Easier". As you can see these are not just topics that impact adopted children, but all children.
This book showed me:

  • It is important to interact with my boys, not just send them off alone to complete their household tasks or to go play by themselves.

  • It is good to empower and teach children to make good decisions, which at an early age can diffuse frustration for the child with allowing the child to choose between two options.

  • Eye contact increases the bond...when starting this and giving my youngest instructions, he would avoid my gaze when I would say, "Show me your eyes." I was quite shocked at how quickly he would divert his gaze...after about two weeks he will look at my eyes through an entire sentence.

  • A lecture is lost on children...too many words and they will tune you out...KISS can be used at all ages...Keep it Simple Silly!

  • Sometimes we set up our children for bad behavior - is it an hour past dinner time? were we inconsistent in our expectations & consequences? is there a trigger to meltdowns that we are overlooking? I have found that if it is past dinnertime - our youngest gets cranky...so do I when I'm hungry! Late bedtime for both boys results in oldest to being very slow in getting ready in the morning and the youngest to having morning meltdowns...most of which often result in a Mommy meltdown :)

  • Sometimes to heal our child and help them grow, we need to reflect on our lives and heal or grow.

  • For children with sensory issues/sensitivities, often alerting them to what is coming next can help avoid meltdowns. I have especially used this with our youngest.
Our oldest son is smiling more as we listen, spend time together, and work on making good choices for him. With our youngest it is amazing how much the skills with eye contact, alerting, confirming, and praising have helped. Between those skills and recognizing and working to remove triggers our home has had fewer meltdowns in the past two weeks. Other than Mondays...we are still working on Monday mornings for all of us!
Page 216 has one of the most valuable tool to take with you after reading the book. It is a checklist to help you meet your goals with your child. These questions really push you as a parent to evaluate the priority you are giving your kids with your time, evaluates your consistency, and whether or not you are empowering your children as they grow.
The questions and concepts are very simple and common sense, but laid out in a way that makes you think about these things in a whole new light! The authors encouraged reflection and change with a very positive approach.
Are you curious? I hope so, not only do I recommend this book for adoptive parents, I highly recommend this book to all parents! We are so thankful to these authors that take the opportunity to help parents to love, guide, and enjoy the children that God has placed in our lives!
Philippians 2:14 KJV "Do all things without murmurings and disputings:"
Also translated in another version to say:
Philippians 2:14 NIV "Do everything without complaining and arguing,"

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