In-depth 4 Week Small Group Coaching Program Now Forming…

Affordable Professional Support --  Adoption Parenting
I want to help you create healing for your adopted child. If you are the parent of a teen or twenty something,
Parenting Teens and Twenty-somethings
Indepth 
4 Week
Small Group Coaching Program
Only 10 Families
5 spaces remaining
read below for details

Kristi, thank you for putting this program together for our families, and for making it affordable.  A great opportunity. You're knowledge and experience will make this an amazing program. –David Durovy, Partner Post Institute

Register Today to secure your slot!
This is our chance to work hand in hand to create healing for your vulnerable children.

I'm Kristi Saul, the head coach for The Post Institute and the Leader of The Adoption Parenting Inner Circle
This is an exclusive offer. Because YOU said you wanted real help with your teenagers and young adults, I’ve put together a 4 week program specifically focused on Parenting Teens and Twenty-Somethings.

Each session will take place live via video conferencing and will be audio recorded for your future listening. This is a chance for us to interact to share your experiences and your fears and to get expert education, support, and proven effective solutions. A chance to be real with one another and create real healing.

If you are the parent of a teen or young adult you’ll want to participate in this 4 week program.

What we will cover:

  • An in depth understanding of the impact of pre-birth and early life trauma;
  • An understanding of why these early experiences are so important to understand during the "launching" process;Register Here
  • How to help your teen or young adult understand their stress and stress responses;
  • How to create a connected, in-the-know relationship that will be their safety net through challenges they face;
  • Understanding the family dynamics, parents leading the family in healing;
  • Each session will allow time for questions and discussion;
  • Each participant will receive 1 private coaching call as part of this program (a $100 value);
  • Each participant will receive 1 month email follow up.

Sessions Begin February 6th - All sessions will be recorded so that you can reference at your convenience. Inner Circle Members Get First Chance to Register!

$200  for more than 6 hours of professions in depth  education and support.

Questions? Email Kristi at kristi@adoptionparentinginnercircle.com


Who is Kristi Saul and what does she know about helping adopted children? Kristi is the head coach for The Post Institute.   Kristi is the founder and leader of The Adoption Parenting Inner Circle, the first online educational support for adoptive and foster parents and professionals, and is the co-founder of the Post Institute.  She is the hands on expert to the message of The Post Institute.  Her education and experience create an amazing voice of compassionate understanding and education for adoptive parents and professionals. She holds a master’s degree in Community Counseling from the University of Central Oklahoma. Kristi has worked in trenches with some of the most challenging families and children for the past 25 years. She has published numerous articles on topics related to parenting, and educating attachment challenged children. But more than that, her expertise is gained from life experience.  She has been surrounded by adoption her entire life.  Kristi is the daughter of an adopted, attachment challenged mother, her cousins were adopted, her former spouse, Bryan Post, an adopted child, and she has an adopted son. She has been behind the scenes in every aspect of the creation of the Post Institute, the development of the stress model and family centered regulatory parenting, the Inner Circle, and the Post Group Home projects. Every aspect of her life for the past 12 years has focused on understanding, and living the stress model and creating healing and harmonious relationships in her family. Her vast first hand experiences of living the stress model and creating healing for the most challenging children provides a refreshing down to earth application of neuroscience, child development, regulatory parenting, therapy, and an in depth understanding of family dynamics. Kristi lives a quiet life in Claremore, Ok where she raises her daughter Marley and her son Kevin.

Kristi Aug '15Much Love
Kristi Saul, MEd
Leader: Adoption Parenting Inner Circle
Head Coach: Post Institute

The Adoption Parenting Inner Circle is a support for parents and professionals in their journey to create healing for adopted children, based on the philosophies of Love Based Parenting and The Post Institute.

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Lovingest of Us All?

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you are saying." The practical current scientific thought reflected here is the concept of Mirror Neurons.

Mirror-Girl-Unhappy "Many scientists have come to believe that we understand others not by thinking, but by feeling. For mirror neurons appear to let us “simulate” not just other people’s actions, but the intentions and emotions behind those actions. When you see someone smile, for example, your mirror neurons for smiling fire up, too, creating a sensation in your own mind of the feeling associated with smiling. You don’t have to think about what the other person intends by smiling. You experience the meaning immediately and effortlessly.

This serendipitous discovery of mirror neurons—a special class of brain cells that fire not only when an individual performs an action, but also when the individual observes someone else make the same movement—has radically altered the way we think about our brains and ourselves, particularly our social selves." *

Mirror-Girl-HappyThis underlying scientific principle called mirror neurons essentially, is that mirror neurons are just like a mirror. When you look in the mirror and you smile, the reflection smiles back at you. When you look in the mirror and you frown, the reflection frowns back at you. When you look in the mirror and you yell, the reflection yells back at you. We have mirror neurons in our brain, which mirror what we see.

In relationship to your child, if you’re approaching your child from a place of positive energy, your child is going to be reflecting that back to you. I want you to take this as an example. Just for today, when your child comes home, or whenever you get a chance, I just want you to walk by, happen to catch your child’s attention and I want you to smile at them and you will notice in most instances, they will smile back. Try it, see what happens and let me know.

Think of this old saying the next time you interact with your child or anyone...“when you smile, the whole world smiles with you”.

Choose Love.

— B

* Source: http://www.brainfacts.org/brain-basics/neuroanatomy/articles/2008/mirror-neurons/

Make ’em, Break ’em or Love ’em

When you can create regulation within yourself in the midst of your child’s dysregulation, you become the true essence of a parent — a positive influence on the growth and development of your child. This is true parenting - influencing your child and allowing their own development to proceed as God intended. It is not our job to make or force our child - but to nurture who they are and who they choose to be. When parents are calm and loving, wonderful things can take place with less effort, less work, less disappointment and just, well… less. whew! More time for play, for enjoyment and for love. It doesn’t get any better than this parents.

What you see is not what you get

We’ve been taught to see children and their behaviors in a certain way, and change it seems is never easy. Think of it this way, what you see is what you have learned to see — not actually ‘what is there’. When we see a behavior, we tend to add the ‘baggage’ of our learned understanding. This often just goes to prove what we already thought was the case. We have to interrupt our understanding enough to be able to question what we are seeing, and what it means. Use this against the new paradigm measuring stick — ask, what is this child trying to say with this behavior?

Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship Pt 8: Love

P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L: Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship - Component #8 Love is the ribbon that ties patience, IMG_04231empathy, acceptance, compassion, encouragement, forgiveness, and understanding all together.

Love is not a feeling - it is an action.

Love does not just occur or present itself – it takes effort.

Love is not a noun – it is a verb!

Your child will not just feel loved because you say you love him.

He/She must feel it through your actions.

This may take the form of a hug, a smile, or a kiss; but it takes some action before love can be experienced.

It will do your child no good to talk about how much you love him if he does not experience your love through your actions.

All else pales in comparison to a child feeling loved.

Children need this love above anything else.

The practice of love is difficult.

The process of expressing love is displayed through the actions of showing patience, connecting in empathy, providing acceptance, approaching with compassion, offering encouragement, showering with forgiveness, and seeking to truly understand your child.

If you have enjoyed P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L., the eight components of a peaceful parent/child relationship, then I would like to know.
If this series has had a positive impact on your life, take a moment and send me an e-mail: info@postinstitute.com

Choose love,

-- B

Rip those behavior charts off of the wall and burn them

Gratefully used with the permsission of progressivepreceptors.com

Behavior Chartsby Travis Tagart
They're not just all over pinterest. They're all over early childhood classrooms, and they are actively damaging children every day that they're in use.

Behavior charts are not a classroom management technique. They are a symptom of a teacher's devastating control issues.  A product of the need for more socio-emotional developmental education on the teacher's part or a teacher's misguided, willful decision to contribute to a system that works to crank out compliant, stifled children rather than confident, free-thinking children.

Check out my article about my journey as a teacher discovering my own control issues, and coming to terms with them.

When I travel to early childhood centers to help remedy their practices, I rip these suckers off of the wall in front of the teacher who probably spent two or three hours of prime "connecting with children" time cutting and laminating them so that they could bang the metaphorical gavel on these kids' heads whenever they "stepped out of line". And I do it with pride in my heart. I don't damage the thing, I don't burn it in front of them, but we take a look at something that has so much power and weight being lifted off of its throne and I say, "this should not be replacing your understanding and connection with these children." I then work with the teacher to address their concerns and needs and I help find a developmentally appropriate way to meet them so they can work in a stress-free environment that works to do best for the children in their care. The goal is to solve problems for the teacher so the teacher can go forth and solve problems rather than reducing them to a rainbow behavior chart on the wall.

If I were to make a job performance chart that rated every teacher's job performance on a scale of green to red and pinned that teacher's name for all of their students, peers, colleagues, administrators, and the students' parents to see--based solely off of my opinion of their job performance--these same teachers would be livid with me, right? Usually at that point, most teachers are on board.

The pushback when I wage war on public shaming--and that's what it is, no matter how "nice" you word the chart--is that there's no other way to manage behavior. But here's my ammo: if a teacher needs this at all, if they have this hanging on their wall, they're not managing behavior, they're threatening it by holding a child's reputation hostage. They're trying to make the negative behaviors go away because they're too routined with this lazy technique and too steadfast in their control to actually deal with them in a developmentally appropriate way. They're telling kids: the most important reason to meet my requirements of you is because you need to care about what the teacher and all of your friends think of you.

Positive peer pressure is still peer pressure, friends. It's still just as damaging and sets just as dangerous a precedent.

These charts effectively teach children that they should be compliant so that they can gain their dear leader's love. These teach children that they should be compliant so that they can be like the other kids who are "good".  These teach children that if they don't behave, it will be posted for everyone to see. These teach children that if they're not compliant at school, they will be ratted out. That is not acceptable. If you're dealing with behavioral problems through the transitive property, nothing is being solved. The child isn't benefiting, you are.

I visited a center a few months ago where a preschool teacher had given behavior charts up because one day, a child who was "on red" was spanked in front of her very eyes by his father because of that. It had visibly shaken her to the point where, even six months after the fact, it reduced her to tears. She, at that moment, realized why that child often acted out about the color chart. She decided that children feeling completely safe, secure, and open with her was more important than having control over them. I had a very similar experience to turn me off of these horrific tools, so this hit home with me as well.

Beyond the strong-willed kids, we have to think about those kids who always stay on the green. Think about how incredibly resented they become because their teacher is constantly looking at them and saying in the nicest, kindest way, "you're doing such a good job staying on green today!" because apparently ostracizing the bad from the good and ostracizing the good with the love of only the teacher is "behavior management". Me? I think it's abuse. Teachers that do this are not just cranking out compliant children. They're cranking out real, human persons with severe social deficits. But, like, in a totally cute, pinterest-worthy way.

Our job, as early childhood educators, is to build children up, regardless of their behavior. To teach children how to resolve conflict with words instead of threats and punishments. To model healthy power by not making them compete for our positive attention and affection. To be present and empathetic of every "behavior problem" rather than passive, disengaging, transitive, and brutal.

Our job, as early childhood educators, is to deal with conflict resolution by teaching the importance of talking it out, rather than making children feel ashamed that they had a conflict to begin with.

Our job, as early childhood educators, is to get over it when kids tell us "no", because we are not always right, and children have all of the same rights as any other human being. If you wouldn't be comfortable saying it or doing it to a stranger on the street, then you definitely shouldn't say it or do it to a child that trusts you.

If I asked for a discount at the store, and the clerk told me "no," I wouldn't tell them to go sit in a corner. If I asked for a raise, and my boss told me "no", I wouldn't tell them "I guess you're on red then today." If the table next to me at a restaurant was talking too loud, I wouldn't turn around and tell them to be silent or say "I shouldn't hear your voices!" You see, all of these things would be called "being a jerk".  So, let's stop being jerks to kids. Let's stop raising kids to be jerks, too, while we're at it.

There's just absolutely no way around it. If you have a behavior chart or any behavior scale located in your classroom, you are failing the children in your care. It's time to let them go.

No child should be having hyperventilations when their parents show up and they're "on red". Isolating children from their peers to reflect how isolated they are from your heart is only going to lead to more isolation. Stop pushing problems under a rug, and get a grip on them.  If you're strong enough to be a teacher and choose this profession, you're strong enough to be an introspective one.

Burn it, and release your control issues with it.

If you find yourself struggling with the information in this article, would like to explore alternatives to the behavior chart, or your counter-argument involves any sort of tone-policing, please refer to this follow-up article.

Also, Check out this article about my experience with control issues of my own.

Travis J. Tagart / Head of School / Vice President 
owner@foundationsnebraska.com / 402 - 853 - 3491
Foundations Progressive Learning Center, Inc. 
Office: 402 - 805 - 4886  N 14th St Suite 101 Lincoln, Nebraska  68521 
www.foundationsnebraska.comFoundations

Normal vs Natural Parenting

fear-love-buttonThere is a world of difference between normal and natural. Traditional and typical parenting approaches and practices appear normal, as things usually done. Natural is how you at when you're not trying to be normal. Acting with love is the most natural thing you can do. Act with love and you will act naturally. Reacting from fear may appear normal, but it will never be natural.
Choose love.
B.

Oxytocin and Emotion: Overcoming Fear

What Is Oxytocin?

To understand love is to understand the oxytocin response. Oxytocin is truly a miracle molecule. As the body’s chemical of rest, Oxy Parenting srelaxation and balance, it does all sorts of wonderful and important things. We’ll talk more about those later in this book. But the key thing you need to understand for healthy, happy parenting is that oxytocin is responsible for love.

That’s right. Oxytocin acting in your brain and your body creates the experience we know as love. That’s love in all its dimensions: friendship, the love between parent and child, and the love between you and your mate. It’s also responsible for most of the other positive feelings we have for other people, from the quick exchange of smiles with a stranger you pass, to admiration for a co-worker, to the way you trust your car mechanic not to rip you off.

Oxytocin does all this — and more — in two ways. First, it calms the brain’s fear center. Then, it activates the brain’s social center, making you feel good about interacting with someone.

Calming the fear center is crucial. Fear is one of our strongest survival mechanisms, helping us survive physical danger. But it’s usually not the best reaction to social situations. When you’re anxious or afraid, you can’t see things clearly. You may see someone as threatening when he has no intention of harming you. You’re on guard and shut down, as fear chemicals race through your bloodstream.

Oxytocin counteracts the fear chemicals, relaxing you and making you able to see other people as potentially friendly and trustworthy. At the same time, when it activates the brain’s social center, it actually makes you desire social contact.Bryan-Susan_v2

A healthy brain releases oxytocin in response to positive social cues. For example, when a mother cuddles her child, both of their brains should release oxytocin. The oxytocin travels into their bloodstreams, where it relaxes them and encourages cellular repair. It also enters the parts of their brain that process social information, making them feel secure and loving.

Want to read more about this powerful hormone and how it affects the love you experience, or would like to experience? Oxytocin Parenting: Womb Through Terrible Twos by Bryan Post and Susan Kutchinskas

Practice Mindfulness – Eat Chocolate – And Be a Better Parent?

31-free-buttons Strange as it may seem. We talk often about mindfulness, and it has become a buzzword in the media. It is box of chocos popping up everywhere, yet it seems to be shrouded in quasi-mystical words and descriptions which often leads to more questions and confusion. It is really a very simple practice (not easy mind you and does require practice) that can be utilized by anyone — man, woman or child. It is just being aware of what you are not aware of. And being aware of what you are already aware of, but instead of pushing it away, you engage with it in a manner of allowing what is present to ” just be”. After all we are human "beings” and not human “doings”.

So let us begin to just “be” a little more in our life and allow others–especially our children to just be who they are. This I find is the quickest way to change. Paradoxical? Think about it. There is a saying, “you can’t get there from here”. When in fact the only way to get there is from here. What is true, is “you can’t get there from there”. So if you are not “here” with your experience, you cannot get “there” to the other side of the experience and will in some way continue on, in an unending, oft-repeating pattern of experience/behavior/emotions wondering why you keep going through the same old stuff in your life over and over and over and …  So, take a break. Have some chocolate (or raisins if you prefer) and practice your parenting skills in a different way. And, the next time your child acts out, you might just say, "hey, let's have a piece of chocolate!"

Food of the gods2“Mindful eating is a practice to slow down the mind to be present in those moment- to- moment activities. Eating is one practice of Mindfulness. Most commercials for chocolates use an image of someone savoring a piece of chocolate with their eyes closed along with a message that encourages us to loose ourselves in the moment. Mindfulness eating is a practice that encourages paying attention to our bodies reaction to the senses that eating stimulates or uses. Sight, smells, tastes, textures, and sounds all play a part in mindfulness. The history or story of how food made it to your mouth is also a form of mindfulness. Thinking of who grew the food, where it was grown, who harvested it and how was it made can really slow down your eating experience and make it much more enjoyable and gratifying. Chocolate is a good choice to use to describe mindful eating. Concentrate on how your senses are being stimulated. Simply just sow down and enjoy this simple, yet complex everyday event called eating.” — Source: Tracie Abram, Michigan State University Extension

How to Rid Yourself of Fear

Sick and tired enough of being sick and tired of being fearful and helpless about your life with challenging children?

Fear_NoDo you ever really consider what fear is? Do you ever experience it? Do you know what it really feels like in your body? Where you experience it? If so, how do you deal with it?

Bryan talks about fear a lot as you know. Fear vs love for example is not the "horror/scary story" fear - although it can feel like that at times. Like when you know school has ended and it is about time for your child to be walking through the door and your reaction is one of "oh - no, here we go again". I used to feel this when driving home from work every single day.

You can feel it in your stomach — it is real, it is visceral and it is not fun. Fear that your child will never survive their teen years let alone adulthood. For many of us, it is not what university they might attend but what prison will they be in — and that is if they are not dead. I remember feeling glad when people asked about our RAD poster child son that he was neither dead nor in jail after he finally graduated from high school (four different high schools including two "special behavior" schools and numerous home schooling attempts later).
Yet for many of us, fear keeps on repeating itself day after day after ...

And these are just our fears as a parent. Not to mention our child's fears which may make ours look like a "walk in the park" if we really knew their experience.

Into the Silent LandSo it is with this in mind that we share something that offers an invitation few of us would accept, but just maybe we are just sick and tired enough of being sick and tired of being fearful and helpless about our lives with our challenging children!

“If you want to know the true nature of fear, look straight into it. Fear, anger, envy — any afflictive thought or feeling — cannot withstand a direct gaze. But if we look at the story and feed on the story we tell ourselves of our fear, anger, envy, etc., affliction thrives. Affliction feeds off the noise of the commenting chattering mind.”Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird.

What is the take home lesson? Parents, watch what you think and say to start with, then watch if any behaviors extend from these and just stop them. Yes, just like that. Any behavior that does not come from love comes from fear. So parents, just say "stop". You will find your child responding more like this the more you respond more like this. To read more about this interesting book and approach, click here.