Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Every Summer Needs a Good Book

Summer is here and I pose the question; Do you have a good book to get you through the rest of your summer?

If you are looking for a good read this summer may I recommend "Walk to Beautiful" by Jimmy Wayne? 

Some of you might recognize the name Jimmy Wayne and others of you may not. Jimmy is a country music singer/songwriter who earned the prestigious "Million Air-Award" for his song "Do You Believe Me Now?"

Jimmy has an incredible story that will leave you in utter disbelief, shock, tears, and sometimes just sitting there in silence asking yourself; how did he overcome this? This amazing true story of his life is hope-filled and inspiring. And just to add a disclaimer; it might also be motivating to do something to try to help kids who find themselves in the very same situations that little Jimmy found himself in.

What others are saying about "Walk to Beautiful:"
“If your story could use a better chapter, take inspiration from Jimmy’s.” —Max Lucado, New York Times Best-Selling Author

“Walk to Beautiful will open your eyes to the hurting people around you.” —Frank Harrison, Chairman, and CEO, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated; Chairman and Co-founder, With Open Eyes

If you are in the market for a good book, check out "Walk to Beautiful," I am confident that you will not be disappointed. 

Friday, July 20, 2018

Step #1 - Make Sense of the Past

Last time we talked about what connected parenting is and what drove us to pursue it. Let's start talking about how to achieve it!

Attachment: What does that word even mean?

I don't know about you, but my exposure to the topic of attachment theory has been pretty limited until recently. That's a shame, too, because as it turns out, a good understanding of attachment helps us understand ourselves better and allows us to better meet the needs of our kids. There is a lot of fascinating information here! For instance, did you know that there are only four attachment styles, and that many of us are insecurely attached individuals? Also, would it shock you to know that attachment styles are inherited? Most of us adopted our parent's attachment style before our first birthday and will retain it for life!

While a solid understanding of attachment is good for all parents, it is exponentially more important for foster/adoptive parents.  Why? Because 80% of foster/adoptive children have intense attachment issuesand they need parents who can patiently model secure attachment strategies.

Here's the problem, though, and it's a big one! Although our kids desperately need the patience and understanding that comes from securely attached adults, the vast majority of foster/adoptive parents aren’t securely attached individuals. While 55-60% of the general population are securely attached, only around 20% of foster/adoptive parents are. For us foster/adoptive parents, there is an 80% chance that we are insecurely attached individuals. That was a hard reality for me to accept!

This information shouldn't make us feel ashamed (our attachment style is not our fault) or cause us to give up caring for vulnerable kids. Instead, it should help us understand that critical elements of secure relationships (which foster/adoptive kids desperately need to learn) probably don't come naturally to us. Are we humble enough to recognize that our own issues might be hindering our kids' ability to heal and feel secure?

Many foster placements and adoptions suffer severely because parents believe they are prepared, as is, to meet the needs of their emotionally damaged child. As insecurely attached individuals, we rarely are. We try as hard as we can to provide normalcy and help our kids feel safe and secure, but because of our own shortcomings, we end up feeling lost, frustrated and discouraged. Which makes sense, actually. Afterall, how can we lead our kids down the path of secure attachment, when we don't know the way ourselves? 


The good news? Change is possible!!


Changing our attachment style, while difficult, is possible and these kids are so worth it!   The first step involves the hard work of making sense of our childhood. Our attachment style usually comes directly from our interactions with our parents, and we need to identify those experiences that have shaped who we are today. Our marriage counselor told us, "it's not a question of if parents cause emotional damage to their children, it is simply a question of how much." Our parents made mistakes with us just as we do with our own kids. Are we being honest with ourselves about how those mistakes influence our own parenting today? Have we dealt with our past?

Whether those parental wounds seem severe (intense abuse) or "minor" (absence of physical affection) they matter. Without intentional reflection and mindfulness, these childhood issues will continue to affect our relationships and the way we parent for a lifetime. Taking the time to explore our past will allow us to be fully present and engaged with those around us today. Once we do the tough work of making sense of our past, we are able to better evaluate how to change our own parenting strategies!





There are different links included in this post. They are great stepping stones to discovering more about attachment styles. Watch the YouTube video above. It is excellent. Also, a great book to get you started on this journey is "Parenting From The Inside Out" by Dan Siegal.

As always, please reach out to us with any questions!

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