Bryan Post Attachment Parenting Blog

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The End. Not.

Bryan often talks about process versus outcome. Outcome is the end. Process is ongoing. It never ends. This process is observable, knowable, and predictable. The more you observe, the more you know and the more you can predict. The more you can predict, the more you can be proactive in your parenting approach. I know many of us feel that our children are unpredictable. But really… once the David Journalbehaviors, the meltdowns, the disruptions are over, do they not leave a trail of logical steps that having known all this, we could have easily done much to prevent many of these occurrences?

The process with our special children may never end. But that is not a life sentence for them or us. It is merely an observable fact and the more you observe the more you know and hence the more you can predict and prevent. Many parents like us fear that our children will never grow up, never leave the house, or in some way shape or form always be our responsibility. This is a real fear. This does not mean that it is a real fact. But again it is a real fear.

Our children truly are gifts. The trick comes in appreciating and being open to what they have to offer us. There are many of us that just cannot stand anymore, cannot take it anymore, are done with it, through with it and over it. This is not our children’s fault. To blame them for our reactions is to take on the victim role, and the only way to win is to become a victor. In order for us to be a victor there must be a victim or a loser. This is not the role we want for our children. The gift that they offer is the opportunity to be free. Free from our self imposed reactionary life and a life of being “free to choose” who and what we want to be. And that dear parent is the pearl of great price!

Reactive behavior is based on a belief that the world is happening to us, and it is therefore our duty either to defend ourselves or to impose our will on what’s happening. This appears real because our attention is almost exclusively focused on a reflected past and projected future. Love based parenting teaches that “stress causes us to react from the past to project the future that may not be in our best interest”. And in most cases is not in our best interest. Nor is it in our children’s best interest. As long as our “buttons are being pushed”, our “triggers are being activated” and we are getting upset–we as parents are not learning our lessons.

We have two lessons to learn:
#1 is to remember who we really are.
#2 is to choose who we want to be.
The answers to these two questions will determine the path of our parenting approach.

In every moment we have an opportunity to choose. Bryan says, “choose love”. I add to this, choose who you want to be. Not who or what you are currently experiencing with the behaviors you display in any moment, but in fact who you want to be–then just do it. Some say, “that is just who I am”. This response is limiting and is a “life sentence” so long as you believe it.

This process of choosing and doing is a gift that can have eternal consequences for us. The change from reactive to responsive behavior is the single most important adjustment to our perception of the world, and therefore our interaction with, that will benefit our entire experience in life.

For those who seek outcomes, results and only behaviors that are acceptable to them, they will never see “The End”. And it is likely that they will be frustrated time and time again in their parenting efforts. For those who see the process, progress, and are able to observe, learn and predict more accurately, they will be better prepared to accept and love their children for who they are not just for who they want them to be.

David Durovy is the president and the janitor of The Post Institute. He tries very hard every day to bring Bryan’s message of Love Based Family-Centered Parenting to the world. He and his wife Susan have fostered around 27 children and adopted four children at 6, 16, 17, and 21 years of age from the Virginia Foster Care program.

To Spank or Not To Spank

Ever wonder if there just might be a better way?

I  heard a mother threaten to smack her child if he didn’t stop crying, and a father yelling at his children to sit down and shut up! Professor Murray Strauss of the University of New Hampshire has conducted research which indicates that 94% of adults in our society believe it is okay to hit a toddler. That’s 9 out of every 10 members of our society believe it is okay to use violence against our most vulnerable population. So let me ask you a question: Are you one of the 9? Do you believe it is okay to hit a toddler or to use force in their correction? No judgment on my part, only curiosity. As a network member, you may have been exposed to the findings on the developing brain, multitudes of platitudes on bringing more love and understanding into the home rather than fear and stress. You are a part of a small fraction of adults in our society and that is very sad.

Two of my good friends Drs. Lou Lombardo and Karen Polonko are sociology professors at Old Dominion University. They travel around the world presenting papers on violence against children and have brought some of the leading scientist, researchers, trauma gurus, etc. to Old Dominion’s student body. Both of them are very loving and passionate human beings. They do not believe in violence against children. In fact, they know violence against children, even spanking, is not in the best interest of children or our society.

What I find interesting is that Lou is a very peaceful man. He is passionate about not hurting children. Karen says that Lou came from the greatest family ever. However, Karen didn’t come from such a peaceful environment and she says routinely how screwed up she has felt when it comes to relationships. Yet, both these two wonderful people make a concerted effort to practice what they preach not just in their work but in everyday life. Lou practices his peace daily by gardening and mentoring students. Karen recently took a sabbatical from work and read eight books on parenting, not for her own children, but for the recreation of her own blueprints for how she was parented. As she says that it is very difficult to recognize what you never received so she is downloading positive perspectives into the hardware of her mind and heart.

Child abuse arises primarily from generational imprints of fear, and then continues to be activated by the experience of stress in our lives. In order to end child abuse we must honestly recognize the pain we have grown up with, and the messages that we carry from many generations of stress, fear, and abuse in parenting. Not in a judgmental way but rather as an exercise in observation and mindfulness. From this perspective we can gain a more clear understanding of our behavior in relationship to our children when we become stressed as they struggle to work through their own past painful experiences.

To spank or not to spank, that is a good question. I know there is an entire tradition and culture around physical punishment. Other good questions might be…
1 – Does it really work? (let’s examine the penal system to see if the death penalty keeps people from crime etc).
2 – Will it make us damaged adults (as in, I was spanked and I turned out alright). Are any of us really alright?
3 – Is There a Better Way?

I wonder how many of us would swat our spouses to teach them, or would welcome a swat ourselves in order to help us learn….rhetorical question of course, but why would we hit our children? Is it because we lack other alternatives, like love, influence, and the time it takes to really know our children? Read the article How Not to Use Guilt and Shame and let me know what you think. Pain = Learning?

Choose Love.

B

Integrating or Healing?

You might try thinking of your child as “integrating” rather than healing. These two words have very different intent. Healing makes an assumption that something is wrong and in need of fixing. Healing often attempts to get rid of whatever it attempts to heal. Healing is often more of a “reaction” to what is. There […]

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Baby, You Are a Parenting Superstar (Pt. 2)

(…click here if you missed Part 1) How many life lessons must you learn? When will this school of life hold a graduation ceremony? When will you be able to sleep a full night, stress and worry free? When will you go through a day with ease and grace, loved completely by your family with […]

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Baby, You Are a Parenting Super Star (Pt. 1)

Go in the bathroom and stand in the mirror, I have something to tell you. Ready? You are a magnificent parent. You are a wonderful human being. You are bold, brave, courageous, passionate and most of all full of love. You have taken all that life has handed you and still yet, you stand. You […]

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Parent Calm Thyself First

I was recently lecturing at the Michigan Association for Adoption, Foster, and Kinship Families in Lansing, Michigan and an adoptive mom asked this question… “What do I do when my 8 yr old becomes aggressive with me?” I asked her to get up and come to the front of the room and demonstrate exactly what […]

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Oxytocin | Love, Anti-Stress & Relationships

Oxytocin has been called the Love Hormone, the Anti-Stress Hormone & the Relationship Hormone. So which is it? In her groundbreaking book The Chemistry of Connection, author Susan Kuchinskas writes, “Love not only makes us happy; it makes us healthy too. By means of oxytocin, love heals”. For centuries recognized as the hormone responsible for […]

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Tired of ‘Walking on Eggshells’ in Your Own Home? | Try Curiosity Instead

‘Walking on eggshells’ is a common feeling for many of our parents. A more effective reaction/response, when mindfully approached, can be one of curiosity, inquisitiveness and wonder on the part of the parent. (Pt. 1) Kevin motioned for me to come into his room and he spoke in a hushed tone, “Did you get my […]

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Thoughts for the New Year | Understanding Challenging Behaviors

The only time we see things as abnormal is when they stand outside of our own perceptual understanding. Remember this when reacting to your child’s behaviors. Thank you for you interest in the work of Bryan Post and the Post Institute. Because of you, there is a chance for a better world, a better future. […]

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How to Have a Peaceful Holiday Season – Part 10 Epilogue

Note: This is a yearly re-broadcast series to help parents prepare for, and have a more peaceful holiday season, we will be presenting the entire contents of my e-Book How to Turn Holiday Stress into Peaceful Family Time – On Sale for the Holidays between now and Christmas. Don’t let the Holidays sneak up on […]

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