Sunday, April 17, 2011

Empowered to Connect Conference- Part 2 CONNECTING with our kids.

Today, I've got connection on the brain. Dr. Purvis said it over and over, and so did the Monroe's in their session, that CONNECTION is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING  we can spend our time working on and giving our children. Not just existing in the same space, but being fully present for our children, meeting their needs, responding when they ask for us to meet a need.

Our adopted/fostered kids, experienced the "trauma" in their stories that they have, be it abuse or neglect, or simply the separation from their birth parents, or malnutrition, or ANYTHING really that they have's literally changed the way they perceive their "voice" being heard. Obviously, our children have physical voices. But they have learned through life experience, that their voice may not matter to those whose ears it falls on. Maybe they cried in hunger or thirst and a parent was unable to meet that need. Maybe they cried in pain or loneliness and that cry was not responded too. Maybe, the were being hurt physically by someone they trusted. There are a million variables.

In our home, this looks like this: Lucy will shriek or scream to get our attention, (like when she's thirsty or wants a toy) when we know she knows the words for water, toy, etc. She will yell or demand attention instead of using her words. This is something I've really been working on this week (truly, it's more of a habit I need to develop, than her...I need to teach her to use her words). So, example. Lucy will shriek...I know she wants water. Putting my finger under her chin, asking gently for her to look at my eyes (which she'll do almost every time, just with my asking) and then I say, "Can you ask Mama for your water? Water please?" Then she'll usually respond with "wa-wee peeez" or "peez mama". And I say, "Oh, thank you for using your words! I'd love to give you some water!" Already in one week, I can see her learning to use her words instead of shrieking. She's learning that her words are important to me, and I respond to her need when she asks me for something.

Dr Purvis shared that over the course of a child's first 3 years, in a normal uninterrupted development situation, a child will have a need and have it met by the parent 100's of thousands of times. Isn't that amazing? But OUR children, have had that cycle interrupted. They had needs that went unmet. They learned that their needs didn't always get met when voiced. We have to get that train moving again. Teach them... using your voice= I will meet your need.

I share this, not to toot my own horn, but I've gotten lots of response from you other adoptive parents who are also feeling the need to try another tactic. Wanting to see more trust and connection with your children. I hope that sharing my learning lessons and success and failures, you can glean inspiration to keep working on connecting with your precious kiddos.

Dr. Purvis shared so many great little scenarios like this at the ETC conference, as well as in the TCU dvd series.

We feel incredibly blessed that Lucy spent time in two AMAZING orphanage/foster care centers before coming to us. Her physical needs were well attended to, and she was loved and nurtured there. However, they were still "staff". They worked in shifts...her caregiver changed at different parts of the day and she moved to different rooms or houses as she grew and developed. (I say this fully believing that our agency is top notch. I would choose Gladney over and over. Some things just can't be done differently.)

I have come to understand in the past month, (after our meltdown experience and lots of thinking back and pondering and praying) that in Lucy's perspective, ALL of the women in her life who she loved or loved her...have left her or been removed from her. When I think of that, it totally makes sense that she keeps me at a distance, protecting her little heart from being hurt again. It shatters me, that a 20 month old child, can live in understanding that mommies can't be trusted. I HATE IT. But I love her, and long for her to believe otherwise.

Dr. Purvis shares that every thing we do...every interaction with our child/children needs to be done in a way to provides a connection between us (the parent) and our child. Every moment of fun, correction, meeting of basic needs....we need to HUNT for a moment of connection. Those moments of connection are what will build trust in our child. Give them the understanding that THIS mommy or daddy is ON DUTY for good.

This is a lengthy video, but please take the time to watch it when you have a bit of time. It will give you some real understanding of how your child's mind works, and how to make changes that will help you make better connections with your child.

The Connecting Link - Dr. Karyn Purvis from Tapestry on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Gayla said...

Karen Purvis is such a gift to the adoptive/foster community!!! I want to *be* her... OR be her child... OR be her grandchild... OR just be around her every day!!!

Good, good stuff there, Eryn.

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