‘Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
‘Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Facts and Figures
In this article I'm going to go over the materials that we were given in one of our seminars. I promise however that even though it seems like I go to a lot of seminars it's only an illusion. I've been to 2 but because they are all day affairs so there is a lot of information packed into it. Types of parenting was covered in one of the seminars I attended.
In this article I'm going to talk about 4 different types of parenting: High nurture high structure positive parenting, high nurture low structure permissive parenting, low nurture high structure harsh parenting, low nurture low structure neglectful parenting.
Right off I'm assuming that you know which is the best by the descriptions. High nurture high structure positive parenting is the goal. I have to put in a disclaimer here I believe we can fluctuate from one day to the next and sometimes dip into some of the other parenting structures these are the (how are you most commonly parenting) types.
Permissive parenting with high nurture low structure is parents that don't have strong boundaries with their children and the kids tend to rule the parents. Saying no to their child is a really hard thing for them to do. I have to say before being a parent I would look at these types of parents and think man why in the world are you letting your child walk all over you? Now...I understand. Not that I condone it I just understand it. You get tired of fighting all day and letting them get what they want seems the quickest way to peace. That being said I think saying no is healthy for children. They need to know that they aren't going to get their way all the time. You are the adult not them. As a parent you have years of knowledge that theses your precious child don't and out of that you can make better and healthier choices then they would. I don't think you should make choices for your children but I think you should give them choices you're ok with.
Lets do a for example: Lets say Billy has decided that he wants to throw his toys all over the room. In doing so he has completely ruined a clean room and hit his brother in the head with the flying blocks. Permissive parenting goes something like this..
hey Billy that wasn't nice please pick up your blocks..
Ok how about if I help you?
ok well then time out chair for you.
(at this point it's all good what the parent is doing, lets say the parent picks him up and puts him on the chair.)
5 minutes later moms too busy and Billy jumps from the chair and continues playing. Permissive parent lets him because the time out seemed enough and too much energy goes into putting him back on the chair until he promises to clean up his mess and fix his problem with his brother.
Billy experience has taught him if I yell loud enough and even if I sit on the time out chair I just have to wait because I will get away with it. Eventually this will become a habit of not cleaning up his messes and then you have a teenager who has a filthy room with bugs everywhere, just say'n :)
Boundaries are so essential to our lives. As adults we have boundaries everywhere, the roads, our bills, our credit scores, the law and many others that we follow everyday without even noticing. Children need the same boundaries and especially children who have come out of abusive or neglectful situations. Boundaries mean safety.
On to low nurture, high structure harsh parenting, this is basically physically abusive and major control issues on the parents part. I haven't seen this style parenting since I was a kid. I think in recent years with the understanding that we have gained through years of child psychology and studies done of parenting styles there has been a decline in general on the harsh parenting style. Foster children however could be coming from this type of home. They may have had a lot of rules and rules that made no sense or weren't even known to them and lots of physical abuse with low nurture meaning no affirmations in their lives. This child would look completely beat up when you got them. Maybe not physically but mentally and emotionally. They would probably act out behind closed doors. Bring a child out of that environment and into an environment that was high nurture, high structure, and positive parenting would help the child to gain the self-esteem and confidence that was lost.
The final one is Low nurture low structure neglectful parenting. These are cases where children are left for days on their own with the parent either passed out or looking for drugs. Cases like these bring out the most basic of survival skills. Detachment disorder is very common here there was no bonding that happened when they were infants and so their emotional development would be stunted. When coming out of a situation where this is the predominate parenting style it is important that there is a lot of connection to the adoptive parents. Most likely depending on the age certain therapies would be needed to re-establish connection.
With all these parenting types it's important to remember that our goal as parents is to reach a high nurture high structure positive parenting style. This creates deep moments of connecting to the heart of your child. Playing with your children helps with connecting and family activities can give way to great moments of bonding. Communication is so important, when you tell your child a rule or boundary it's important they know the consequence if breaking that boundary. Natural consequences can be the best teachers as long as your child isn't in physical danger. The one thing that makes this parenting type so important is the reinforcement. If you say it as a parent do it. "If you don't stop hitting your sister you are going in time out." Don't let that go, follow through with what you said because if you don't your children will stop believing what you say and won't ever take you seriously.
Here are a few tips for parenting children who have gone through trauma:
-Communicate clearly, learn their language. Many children in the foster system have hard times with language because they weren't taught to speak properly or because of the trauma they experienced they may not talk at all. Err on the side of compassion and mercy. These children have been through so much that grace is what they need.
- Never, never, never, never, never, think that what the child went through is inconsequential. Don't assume they will just "get over it". Everything that happens to us or that we do has consequences.
- Don't judge your child, I know this sounds odd but you can get into situations where your foster/adoptive child will do something that may make you look at them differently. Keep objective, be consistent with boundaries and always be clear. These few things could make life a lot easier. There's also one thing I would add and that would be, patience. I think the one thing I see with parents is the loss of patience. I know I'm guilty of it myself and I don't have this parenting thing down yet but if you find yourself loosing patience take a step back let your spouse or a friend take your kid for a couple hours and regain some control. You will never be able to control your child only yourself. Even though while they are small there can be an appearance of control, that will vanish when they are teens. Know this now, you give them choices that you can live with, stay connected with their hearts and you will have kids that grow to be responsible adults.
Before I move on to my thoughts for this month I wanted to tell a story. All the information has been changed in this story from the original but the idea and concepts are the same.
Betty came to the Jones house very very late one night after having been removed from her birth mothers home. While the Jones had taken in many foster children they knew the first few month would be tough on Betty so they made her as comfortable as possible. She had her own room with everything set up for her. They got her ready for bed and left her to sleep.
In the morning they opened her door to see if she was awake and there was no one in the bed. They looked everywhere finally they looked in the closet and found her curled up in the corner. After coaxing her out they ate breakfast and began building a relationship with her. She was extremely shy for a 5 year old and didn't talk much but they continued to make her as comfortable as possible.
Every morning for weeks now they had woken up to her hiding in the closet. The Jones knew that something was going on with Betty so finally instead of being stern with her and making her sleep in her bed they made a bed up for her in the closet. They tucked her in in the closet gave her a flash light and lamp and made the closet into a sanctuary.
Eight months went by and every night they would do the same routine and every night they would offer the bed as an alternative to sleeping in the closet. Through therapy sessions they had learned that her mother had brought men over at night who would try and go after her, so to keep herself safe while she slept she hid in the closet.
In the ninth month of her living with the Jones they woke up one morning to find her sleeping on the bed. It was the first time in her life that she felt safe enough to sleep out in the open. If the Jones hadn't used compassion and understanding they could have done a lot more damage to Betty. While it's awesome to use boundaries and absolutely necessary there's a need for being extra sensitive with children who have come out of neglectful and abusive situations.
Here are some amazing parenting resources that you might find helpful:
Thoughts and Journal Entries
This month was a big one for us. Besides the sleepless nights from teething and her first ear infection we had a termination of parental rights hearing. It was the first time I'd been to court. Our court here in LA was very interesting. Everyone waiting for a case to be called is all in one big room. Birth parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, relatives, lawyers, and social workers. It felt very unsafe to me being as I haven't every met Bellas parents before so any one of these people could be someone related to our case. I didn't take the baby of course but still I was beyond nervous.
I went in when our case was up and sat in the back of a very small court room. I didn't have to say a word but I had such a huge revelation about how much she was still not mine. There were 5 different lawyers and a judge and I didn't get one word in. It was so quick but the ruling wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I thought for sure this would be it but the judge was kind and generous and gave one more month to Bellas birth mother to make a visit which I was very nervous about.
Every moment in this adventure through adoption it feels really on the edge. Any moment you feel like your world could fall apart but I knew that she would eventually be mine. You have your private life with this beautiful baby seeing her grow up and change and are there for the late nights and moments of growth, to walk into a court room full of people that have neither met her or haven't seeing her for months is very daunting. These people are deciding your relationship with this child. It's not about us, is what they told me which I agree with, I want the best for my baby but the best feels like me. I'm just being honest about how hard this process can be. Maybe it's because I'm doing this as a single mother but I feel these decisions made by other people very impactful. There's no one really to process all this with not that my family and friends haven't been a huge support but it's something different when someone is going through this with you where their heart is on the line too.
Bella has 4 teeth now and is a crawling machine and is already pulling herself up on furniture. We went up north over Thanksgiving to spend time with friends and my spiritual parents. It was like a breath of fresh air. I loved being around family and friends in the holidays. My heart ached leaving my friends behind but I know that we will be seeing them over Christmas break. What came out of my holiday was a part time job which I'm excited about. Hopefully this will work out but it is an office job and with Bella crawling around it might not be so productive, we will see. We are on a trial basis but I feel God is doing more.
I've sold several of my paintings which I'm thrilled about it looks like my art is taking off, now I'm hoping my soaking manual will be published soon. If I can have multiple streams of income that would help us so much. It's really hard working when you're taking care of a little one it's like doing two jobs at the same time. Babies are so much energy but they are completely worth it.
It feels like I've had her forever but really it hasn't been that long in the scheme of things. It's the small things that I've been appreciating lately the fact I can get a hair cut or travel up north, these things I don't take lightly and I give thanks for every moment. Truly, I'm a blessed woman this Thanksgiving God has gone beyond my wildest dreams!
If any of my readers out there have questions you would like me to answer please leave a comment I would like to make sure that I'm covering topics people are interested in or information that is important. Thank you for sharing in our journey!
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