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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Timing

I was asked a really great question yesterday by a soon to be adoptive mom who is reading both "Beyond Consequences Logic and Control, and "The Connected Child."   BCLC is written by Heather Forbes and TCC is written by Karyn Purvis.

BOTH are really good books and both I highly recommend.  The question was, "Do they sort of contradict each other?"     I can totally see how it could look that way, and in a way, it is possible that they DO, IF you are trying to use them both on a newly adopted child. 

Let me explain..... 
I believe that Heather Forbes BCLC book is perfect for a child who is NEWLY home and for ALL children with EXTREME behaviors.  But as your child attaches and sort of "graduates" in behavior, then Karyn Purvis's offers excellent examples of how to stimulate and help a child flourish. 

Now, In the Connected Child book, she goes into wonderful detail about the backgrounds of children and where they have come from, but I think some of the methods with a brand new child would not work. I KNOW it would not have worked for 2 of our girls because of the deep wounds and lack of trust in the beginning.  But now that we are in a different season, MUCH of what she has to say is just fine.

So I guess what I am saying is that TIMING is VERY IMPORTANT. 
The way we can talk to Alli today, is MUCH DIFFERENT than what we could do 17 months ago.
She was so insecure and only had one volume and one emotion that she let show when she was upset. She didn't know the names of other emotions or how she was really feeling. She didn't look at us with direct eye contact when she was upset.  And I do not believe in forcing it.
Using BCLC techniques were ESSENTIAL in helping her heal. 

I think Karyn Purvis' Book, is a book of how we have always parented in a normal circumstance, even with our boys.  There is a lot of common sense in it.  She suggests eye contact, and today, I can say to Alli, "Look at mama's eyes".... and she will.  But 17 months ago?  It couldn't be forced in the moment.


I had to literally test where she was emotionally by placing my hand near her fist.  She would bat it away and I would put it near and then as I soothingly talked to her, I would put my hand closer and closer until she took it and held on.  THAT was my cue that she was ready to be comforted and after a few minutes I could THEN ask her to look at me.  Sometimes she was too ashamed, so I would just tell her she was beautiful and then offer a different way to do things next time. :)

If I were in the process of adopting again, I would say that reading both books is paramount!  There is much to glean from both.... but I would be 100% BCLC for quite a while, and THEN when a foundation of  trust was formed, I would then begin to use some of Karyn Purvis's techniques.

BOTH BOOKS STRESS gentle and tender voices.  BOTH books STRESS kindness and respect.

And RESPECT is a TWO WAY STREET.... IF WE WANT RESPECT, WE NEED TO GIVE IT. We are our children's example of what that looks like.

Children learn and grow differently depending upon personality and situation.  You CANNOT RUSH HEALING. 

I just love raising our kids.  There are challenges and struggles, but the Reward is great. :)  Seeing little lives change before our eyes is an amazing experience.  What a blessing we have been given.



3 comments:

Annie said...

I'm SO glad you wrote this. I agree with everything you say. The eye contact one is big and I flinch from it a bit whenever I see Karyn Purvis use it because it is such an emotional risk to look someone in the eye. Poor Ilya was expelled from Summit because of this issue. At his previous school they had almost the same uniform, but did not require polos to be tucked in. The principal, who on the first day was big on showing his authority, (he was actually not even an educator and, I think, was insecure himself) yelled at Ilya in front of the entire student body, at morning prayer, to tuck his shirt in. To begin with, Ilya didn't understand that phrase because, frankly, no situation had come up requiring a "tucked in" shirt. Furthermore, Ilya, above all things, just wanted to be anonymous and not have anyone notice him, so this was his worst possible nightmare. He scurried into the room where the lockers were, out of a desire to escape, without first complying and the principal took this as flaunting his authority. I do think that in some ways the principal was trying to be kindly, except he had this big issue with CONTROLLING the kids, and Ilya, at that time for sure, did not trust adults. And, of course, not understanding what was said to him was a HUGE trigger.

I got called in (which I felt was putting me - a teacher - in MY place, too). He talked to Ilya fairly kindly, but then insisted Ilya look him in the eyes. My whole inner being was jolted. I KNEW Ilya couldn't do that. I tried to gently say that he wasn't able to, but the principal insisted that if he couldn't do that he was not willing to be respectful and compliant. I was just dying in my chair. It was just one of those nightmare moments when I was totally at a loss. I didn't want to myself defy the principal, in front of my son - and I'd tried the gentle approach. The principal just saw me as an over-protective parent... Just another stellar moment.

Ilya has no problem now looking people in the eye when he does respect them. But, that day he was accosted, publicly embarrassed and all in a setting where he was new, and scared to death. I didn't want to look that man in the eye myself.

Mike and Christie said...

Oh that must have been so hard for both of you! I think I would have bit my tongue off. :)

I don't know what it is about folks exercising control muscles and it making them feel powerful. :/

I'm glad you got what I was saying about the timing. Eye contact is so personal. I can't see forcing it.
It seems it would backfire. It is sort of like forcing a child to call you mommy or forcing them to hug you or sit in your lap.... it all just feels so wrong. And it CERTAINLY cannot help with bonding.

I bet your son appreciated your presence in that office with him.
You are a great mom Annie. :)

Brooke said...

Yes! Timing is so important. There is so much good advice in "The Connected Child." it is a very important book for parents to read, but there really are things from BCLC that have to happen first.

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