4 Elements of Family Centered Parenting

Parenting Inside Out by Bryan Post

There are four elements of Family Centered Parenting:

  1. Relationship: Parent from a place of calm and connection. We're social mammals who need skin-to-skin contact and emotional connection at every age. Through a process called co-regulation, which we'll explain in detail later, you teach your child learn to cope with stress and to connect with love through your own behavior. This approach may require you to do some work building up your own coping and connection skills. When you're angry, stressed out or depressed, for example, it's really hard to be open to your child's needs.
  2. Influence: Show, don't tell. Instead of trying to change your child's behavior by telling him what you want him to do, guide him through your own actions. This guidance includes modeling behavior such as getting up on time or saying thank you, as well as letting him watch you respond to stress calmly.
  3. Understanding: Parent the stage, not the age. When we're stressed, we regress to an earlier stage of emotional or cognitive development. This is especially true for children. When you understand your child's developmental path, you can learn to give your child what he needs right now, not what you think he needs based on his physical age.
  4. Flexibility: Give what's needed in the way it can be received. Your child's unique communication style may make it easier for her to take in information or emotional meaning in some ways more than others. Moreover, what works with your child on Tuesday may get the opposite response on Wednesday. Yes, this is frustrating. But the ability to alter your communication and action until you connect is essential.

Although these are the essential elements of good parenting skills, they are required for parenting adopted, foster, traumatized and diagnosed children (RAD Reactive Attachment Disorder, Attachment Issues, ODD Oppositional Defiance Disorder, ADD/ADHD, Autistic Spectrum including Aspergers, PSTD and others).

For more information visit The Stress Model by Bryan Post and From Fear to Love for a free 30 minute video The Trauma Triangle: 3 Pathways of Emotional Expression.


  1. Hi Bryan! I feel desperate to reach out to you!!! I’m not dealing with a child with RAD. I’m dealing with a “childlike” husband (45) with RAD! He was recently diagnosed by our couples therapist (who I might add is a genius). This was a miracle for me since in general (what I’ve come to learn) adults are not viewed by the therapeutic community as having RAD. Given his foster/later adopted by same foster parents/neglected/abused background with them, she was able to determine the underlying cause of his behaviors. However, this therapist felt she was not equipped to offer him any help because in her opinion, he “doesn’t get it”. I’ve searched in my state for someone that specialized in this disorder and came up with one doctor. Together, we went for his first session and by the end the doctor wanted to see my husband again a week later (tomorrow). I’m not sure yet if he has a “traditional approach” as you described in your book “Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control”. But after reading your book and testing out your theories on my own (I approached him from a regulated state), I was SHOCKED! It actually worked!! My problem though is my husband has caused SO much pain over the 27 years we’ve been together, so I operate from that place most of the time which I understand now keeps him and me dysregulated. He has hurt me deeply as a woman! YEARS went by before finding out the truth which kept me in the marriage. Not only has he behaved in every way listed in your book but because he’s an adult, he’s committed things against me and our marriage that attacked my womanhood. I completely empathize with parents of RAD children and RAD children themselves. It’s just hard for me to see my husband as this wounded and traumatized child (which he was but doesn’t see it that way himself) because I don’t see love as unconditional with a spouse as it is with a child (btw, we have four children). I have not been able to forgive him for all the things he’s done in the past. Since last year he’s stopped the most damaging behavior but still comes from a place of fear so other behaviors like lying, occassionally happen (minor things). These behaviors are/were traumatic for me but I feel like I have to help him with this but I can’t until I can heal. I don’t know what to do! Your book was inspirational but I don’t know how to apply it to my situation. In a nutshell, my husband feels that life would be happy for us if we never disagreed which for me, correlates to me being dead inside. It will never happen! How can I get us to a regulated state when I’m faced with faulty thinking? Please help!

    • Bryan Post says:

      Hi Kim,
      I am going to refer you our head trainer and therapist Helene Timpone. Please give her a call at 757-818-7403. I will let her know of your situation. I am semi-retired and don’t do much if any therapy these days. She will be able to help or direct you.
      Choose Love.


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