Posts Tagged ‘bonding’

Two Stars and a Wish: Pull Close Parenting Recharges Parents Too

January 13, 2011

We talk a lot about how important pull close parenting is for our kids and many of you will remember my emphasis on pull close parenting for even teenagers in my recent blog post.  Today I’m thinking about how important pull close parenting is not just for our kids, but for us as parents as well.  It really  has the ability to  recharge our batteries just when we need it.   Yesterday I got my battery recharged.

My family has used a version of “Two Stars and a Wish” as a dinner time conversation and family relationship building tool for years.  When I (or another family member) suggests the activity everyone at the table thinks of two positives (stars) and one “wish” for every other family member.  A wish cannot be a put down but it can be a wish for more positive behavior.  (Example:  Sister wish to brother:  “I wish you would not go into my room without my permission.”)  Then we go around the table and share.  Sometimes the game inspires laughter and sometimes serious conversations.  We make it a commitment to try to be grateful for whatever stars we are offered and thoughtful (not angry) about whatever wishes are offered. (more…)


“Pull Close Parenting” Your Teenager

December 30, 2010

Experiencing each age and stage of my three children’s lives teaches me something new each time about parenting.   It proves that parenting is not an exact science and that, at least for most of us, we are “building the ship as we sail it.”  I know I am.  Oh don’t get me wrong.   You have to have a plan.  (You know I love parenting plans!)  But part of the parenting learning curve is experiential.  During the last few months my 15 year old accidentally taught me more about pull close parenting for teenagers. (more…)

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas For Adoptive Families: Julie and Katie’s Top 10

November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday has us thinking about shopping so we thought we’d share some favorite holiday gift ideas for adoptive families.   Here is the “top 10 list” that Katie and I generated this morning.  It’s not comprehensive but we think these are all worthy and purposeful gifts.  And hey, these are not only great ideas  for the family parenting the child who waited, but also for all families interested in promoting attachment and optimizing  brain development.

#1:  Double Sized Blanket for Cuddling–   Cuddling is not just good for your baby but also your toddler, (more…)

Does feeling follow behavior or behavior follow feeling?

June 27, 2010

My parenting plan often operates with the idea that feeling will follow behavior.  In other words instead of sitting around waiting for everyone to feel great about something I often encourage behavior that suggests that feeling.   Yes it is a bit of “fake it till you make it” theory but sometimes that can result in some  positives.

I woke up on Saturday with a mission in mind.  Our house was a disaster area.  Things were out of place, laundry was undone, everything needed to be vacuumed and dusted.  I knew that when I announced the plan to clean as a family my 14 year old and 11 year old would not be thrilled.  I knew my husband would agree with me but likely respond badly once the kids started complaining.  Still, I persevered.

I gathered everyone in the family room/kitchen area and announced we were going to clean as a family because we all liked it when the house was neat and tidy.  (I threw the “because” part in there since  a book I had just read on persuasion gave compelling research findings that “because” statements  improve cooperation.)  I laid only one ground rule and that was that we had to all remain in each room until it was completely done.  In this way we would all be together and helping each other.

There was mild grumbling and sighing as we got started but again I persevered.  I became the cleaning cheerleader.  I helped the 11 year old get started taking everything out of the family room that didn’t belong there.  (Sounds easy but this included everything from an unmatched flip flop to a staple gun.)  I exclaimed “Perfect!” as my 14 year old started emptying the dishwasher.  I conversed obviously with my husband who was mining for lost items in the sectional “Honey, working as a family team is so much more fun and fast!  Don’t you think?”  My wink and smile to him got him in the spirit and before you knew it we were all four cleaning and chatting away.

The family room /kitchen area hasn’t received so much attention since a remodel job a few years ago.  Cabinets and floors were polished and cleaned.  Countertops and appliances were scrubbed to a sparkling shine.  Dust and pet hair vanished and were replaced with that lemony clean smell.  It was wonderful.

But the best part happened later that day when I checked my Facebook account and found my daughter had updated her status.  Katie tells me you will all think I made this up so I’m adding a picture as proof:

Reading that was better than smelling the clean house!  All of the cheery teamwork behavior had led to cheery teamwork feelings.  Not rocket science I admit, but amazing and wonderful none the less.

My house cleaning story is really inconsequential in comparison to the effects that “fake it till you make it” can have in more important situations.  I was recently talking to a friend who adopted an older child several years ago.  The child  is now a teenager and their family is happy and thriving.  Even so, my friend reminisced with me about how hard the first year with her new son was.  She was often wracked with guilt because the difficult behaviors of her new son made it hard for her to feel the same way she did about her biological children especially in the early stages of the adoption.  When I asked her what had gotten her through she told me about a conversation that she had had with a mutual friend who is also a therapist.  The therapist’s words had helped this mom because they acknowledged for her that  a “love” feeling doesn’t always come immediately upon adopting a child.  The therapist reminded this mom that her commitment to the adoption and the process of becoming a family was most important  and that that commitment itself was a loving act.  She went on to tell the mom  that when she behaved like a loving nurturing mother it helped to move her “feelings” in the right direction.  This mom told me with teary happy eyes how true that statement really was, how much love she now feels for this child, how mutually this love is returned, and how important it had been for her to hear that important advice during that difficult time.

Give it a try.  Behave in the way you wish to feel today and encourage your family to do the same.  See if feelings really do follow behaviors for you too.

Heart of the Matter Seminars website

Ordinary as Extraordinary (take 2)

April 15, 2010

Our 4 year old, Olivia, has been fighting pneumonia for about a week and a half now.  I won’t bore you with blow by blow details of a trip to the ER, two rounds of antibiotics, etc…  but I do want to take a moment to describe one of the side effects of her illness. (more…)

“EASE” into Parent Planning Step 2

April 6, 2010

One of the things that my husband and I did early on in our parenting experience (16 years ago) was attend a seminar put on by parents of post institutionalized children and the professional community that serves them.  We actually did it on a whim, or maybe I should say a gut feeling.

At the time, we were just becoming adjusted to life on one income instead of two.  We had just adopted our then 6 year old daughter from an orphanage in Russia, and I had just left my teaching job to stay home with her.  Flying off for a weekend stay in a hotel and paying fees to attend a seminar were not easy choices, and yet I was hungry to educate myself about how my child’s beginning in life might be affecting her. (more…)

Confessions of a Not So Perfect Parent…

March 31, 2010

Let’s talk for a moment about the ever elusive “perfect parent.” I think that many of us (especially we adoptive parents) feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to be mistake free parents, perfect parents, super parents with a capital S on our shirts and a red cape flowing behind us!

It doesn’t surprise me that so many adoptive parents feel this way. (more…)

Ordinary as Extraordinary

March 13, 2010

One of the best things about my job is that it makes me especially conscious of my own parenting.  Doesn’t mean I always get it right or that I always like what I see, but I think I do think about daily things more than I might otherwise.  This morning when my 4-year-old O. woke up, it made me think about how ordinary events or habits can become extraordinary.   (more…)

Article on Attachment and Bonding

February 24, 2010

Laura Willard interviewed me for an article she was writing on attachment, bonding and adoption for an article on   Check it out!

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