Empowered to Connect


I wish I had some more artsy home-related projects to write about to balance out all this foster parenting business but I don’t. Our goal was to get the house pretty well de-projected before we started having kids since we knew we wouldn’t have as much time for crazy home renovations. So that’s where we are right now. Anyhow…

Over the weekend, my mom and I went to a conference called Empowered to Connect. The main speaker was Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child. It was without a doubt, the best conference I’ve ever been to. I feel like I learned SO MUCH. Dr. P is a great speaker and such a sweet, sincere, funny, smart woman. I think we all fell in love with her. The principles she teaches for parenting kids from hard places are really great. They are so love-based and wise. Also time-tested as she’s been using them with great results for over 30 years. Lots of  “duh” moments over the weekend, as I realized why a lot of conventional discipline practices are counter-productive with traumatized kids. I cried. I laughed. I really do feel more empowered to connect.

Here are a few little nuggets of goodness that won’t come close to doing justice to how great this conference was. Seriously, if you’re a foster or adoptive parent and you ever have a chance to hear Karyn Purvis speak: GO.

• It takes about 1 month of intensive care and training per year old the child is to reverse the affects of abuse, neglect and trauma. (Example: a 4 year old needs 4 months of focused attention to get to a place of earned secure attachment.)

• Bad behavior always has a purpose. What is the need that’s driving the misbehavior? Help your child develop a voice.

• Giving a child choices and compromises gives them a voice and returns their preciousness.

• Sharing power (through compromising, giving choices, etc.) proves that it’s your power to share; it doesn’t take it away.

• With a biological child, you have 2 years of saying “yes” 100,000x before you start saying “no” for the first time

• Say “yes” to your child as much as possible, especially during the honeymoon period

• If you cut your child off when you’re upset (through timeouts or silence), you are teaching him to do the same thing to you when he’s older rather than dealing with and resolving conflict.

• Always level your response at your child’d behavior, not their preciousness; never let your child’s preciousness be up for grabs.

• Regarding your facial expressions when you’re changing your child’s stinky diaper… “I want my children to know that even when they’re covered in their own *stuff*, they’re still precious to me.”