Bryan’s Top Book Picks for 2016

It is not often that Bryan give me a book to recommend to our network. This year however, he has two that he feels strongly about. We hope you take the time to read them and let us know what you think. Maybe not too late to even ask for them for Christmas! — David Durovy

secrets-of-successful-adoptive-parenting_v2The Secrets of Successful Adoptive Parenting: Practical Advice and Strategies to Help with Emotional and Behavioural Challenges by Sophie Ashton

By far one of the best all-around adoption books I have ever read. I can feel the real-life, in the trenches experience of the author come through with deep wisdom and understanding. If there were an adoption parenting road map for establishing love and relationship in a home this is it. Please read and reread. Books at this level of true applicability and parenting guidance are rare." - Bryan Post

Are you in the process of adopting and feeling out of your depth? Do you already have an adopted child and are feeling overwhelmed? Sharing the secrets that will enable you to face the challenges of adoptive parenting with confidence, Sophie Ashton offers tips and strategies which have worked for her family. She discusses preparing for the journey ahead, parenting with empathy, facilitating your child's attachment, helping your child feel listened to, and providing structure and consistency in order to successfully integrate your child into your family and go on to have a stable happy family life.An honest and reassuring account of what it can really be like to be an adoptive parent, this practical hands-on guide will help you prepare for the highs and lows of being a parent and give your child and your family the best chance to flourish.
learn-more-or-purchase-orange

 


Surviving Compassion Fatigue: Help For Those Who surviving-compassion-fatigueHelp Others by Beverly Diane Kyer

"This book is perfect for both parents and professionals - highly recommended" - Bryan Post

If you’re a Human Service Worker, caregiver, or you work with at-risk populations as a parent,counselor, social worker, parole officer, medical or mental health professional, or in any of the dozens of helping professions, Surviving Compassion Fatigue: Help for those who help others is for you. You will learn about one woman’s physical and emotional descent due to years of self-neglect. You will also learn about her recovery as well as how to serve and care for others without forgetting to take care of yourself. This book is full of practical wisdom and advice for those in the helping professions and caregivers. It tells Beverly’s story, as well as the stories of others who have neglected their own self-care. But more than that, it educates those in the helping professions and in caregiver roles about the importance of strategies for consistent self-care. Find out how you may be putting yourself at risk and learn skills, techniques and strategies to restore and maintain self regulation, physical and emotional wellness and inner calm while still caring for those in need. You owe it to yourself.
learn-more-or-purchase-orange

Window of Tolerance = Ability to Self Regulate

For some children (and probably some adults you know as well), the window of tolerance is very small. Bringing the light of awareness to that unconscious place is where healing and integration can take place. Everyone has a window of tolerance. and yes, size in this case does matter. Not as in good or bad, but as in "we can relax, it will be ok" or "oh oh, we better pay attention or this will get out of control". This is not something to shame, blame or punish in order to change. When the window of tolerance closes, dysregulation begins. It is a brain thing. And yes, you can, with some work, expand your window of tolerance, and so can your child.

We have called the brain lazy, but that is just a metaphor. Really, the brain is very economical. Our neurons, like water, take the path of least resistance. "It" doesn't know any better. If "it" did, I assure you it would take the higher or better path. "We" need to step in, to do things differently, to "change" so that our brain's neuronal synapses and processes change. How? Love really can change things. Love triggers processes in the brain that in effect let everyone involved know that everything will be ok. We can all relax.

This applies equally to children as to adults, except that children need someone to help them with this. Keep in mind that the brain doesn't fully develop in most people until around age 25. So yes, relax. Everything will be ok. As a wise woman once said, "everything works out in the end, and if it hasn't, it's not the end".

Choose Love -- David Durovy

Want to Make Big Changes? Start Small and Get Big Results

It’s Easier and More Effective

switch-bookThis remarkable book Switch: How to change things when change is hard, can be about you, a job, friends, or even family. Or in families like many of ours – a child.

“Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counter-intuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.” — Amazon

Here is one lesson, of many presented in the book, that you may find to be instrumental and inspiring in seeing how everyday opportunities can lead to big changes with exponential effects. — David Durovy


Change May Be Easier Than We Think

This is really the crux of what we as parents are dealing with, both in ourselves and in our children. Although this appears as a simple task, the complexity is often so overwhelming we either quit, or take on a method that “seems” time tested and viable (such as punishing our children in order to help them learn). In the end though, some experts see change not as “a” thing, but a series of things, often very small things by what they call “shrinking the change”.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath is a well researched book that shows us how to engineer change into our personal, business and family life. One example shows how one simple unplanned act can actually change things not only in one mom’s and dad’s life but also the lives of so many others in a loosely choreographed series of actions and reactions that at the end of the day, the children were better behaved.

Take a few moments to read through this scenario and consider the implications of small random acts of kindness that we have the opportunity numerous times everyday to take advantage of or pass by in our lives.

They write, “small targets led to small victories, and small victories can often trigger a positive spiral of behavior. Marriage therapist Michele Weiner-Davis wrote about her clients Paula and George, who’d been married for eight years but had been fighting consistently for the previous two.” She had been counseling them for awhile but made little progress. “Then came the breakthrough— a kiss.

One morning, George kissed Paula. The kiss surprised her, caught her off guard a little and made her happy. Being happy prompted her to do a little thing she hadn’t done in a while; She brewed a pot of coffee. They used to drink coffee together often, but lately the tradition has fallen by the wayside.

George smelled the coffee and came down for a cup. He and Paula had a pleasant conversation. Both of them said the morning made them feel more “relaxed and lighthearted”. (Who wouldn’t want more of this?) Paula reported that her coworkers noticed the difference in her attitude that day. Even George and Paula’s kids seemed affected by the halo of good feelings (my note: The Oxytocin Response)—they were more relaxed that evening, less argumentative. George’s kiss launched a positive spiral.”

What is a take home lesson here? The authors say it like this: “Don’t ask a couple to stop fighting; ask the husband to give his wife a simple good-morning kiss.”

How would we interpret this? First, never underestimate the power of simple actions of loving kindness expressed in actions and thoughtful words. The oxytocin response can be a healing balm for ourselves that can affect our children’s regulatory responses. This is brain science, but not difficult brain science. Anyone can do it anywhere, anytime. And, we don’t need a degree to use it.

Secondly, the way to influence or change the behaviors of our children is by, well, by changing our behaviors first. Why us? Because that is the only thing we can control. And that is not always a given but certainly a good place to start.

David_JournalAnother interesting take-home lesson is, we can never know just how far reaching our words and actions, helpful or hurting, may be. One word or action may generate many reactions down the line. We might want to think about that before we act or speak.

Where can you start today, right now— a simple, small, manageable and specific behavior change for you?

— David Durovy

What Is Oxytocin Parenting?

4 Elements of Oxytocin Parenting

What's in your parenting behavior plan? I know we all have goals for our children's behaviors — what we'd like to see from them — but how about YOUR behaviors? Do you have a plan, with specifics that are motivating and fulfilling to you? Think about these things as you read and make some notes. What changes do you want to make in YOUR behavior?
— David Durovy


Oxytocin Parenting is an approach that focuses on helping your child's brain to develop a strong oxytocin response, that is, the ability to love and trust appropriately. There are four elements of Oxytocin 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, 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.Oxytocin Parenting

   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.

Put these in your parenting behavior plan and let me know how it goes.
Choose Love,
B


Want to Learn More? Get Bryan Post and Susan Kutchinskas e-book for only $1.99 Kindle format on Amazon

The Coffee Shop Mindful Meditation: How to Get Here Now

We recently posted this article by Hugh Bryne, author of The Here and Now Habit. Read it over a few times till you get the hang of it. It is simple and can be done anywhere, anytime, anyhow. And, when done while parenting, especially when the stress hits the fan, you may find your ability to respond heightened rather than reacting (re-acting) the same old going nowhere battles. Note: You could even call it the Stopping at Traffic Light Meditation or Standing in Long Line at Grocery Store Meditation or a host of other names. You choose. Be creative.

The Coffee Shop Mindfulness Meditation: Here is part of a five-minute noting meditation I did in a coffee shop: “aware of tightness in my belly...song on the radio...pleasant feeling in response to the song...aware of voices...taste of coffee...creaking of the door opening and closing...thought that ‘they should oil the door’...high voice of barista...someone asks if she can sit down...I nod and smile ‘yes’...pleasant song on radio...wondering who the singer is...creaking door...tightness in belly in response to creaking...song...creaking...thinking how quickly coffee shop has filled up…”.

What's great about this practice is that nothing is 'wrong' if we can simply be aware of it and note it. We can step out of autopilot into awareness of our direct experience—where we can make healthy choices.
— Hugh Bryne, Author, The Here and Now Habit.

What is the Age Our Parenting Approach is geared To?

Parents sometime ask us about age for a love based parenting approach. Although your approach will differ based on the age of your child (emotional age is most important here), the love part is always that same. But even at that, love is not always easy to define or practice and requires some deeper thinking. Jesus said "love your enemies and do good to those who hate you". Yikes! Talk about an out of the box approach ... I wonder how many of us are ready for that kind of love? Learn More...

The Single Most Important Tool for Interrupting Stress – Bryan Post

The Power of Breathing
Spend 3 minutes with Bryan as he shares why breathing is so important and how it impacts your and your children's regulatory state. Learn to use this undervalued (yes, if you don't use it life will be uncomfortable if not short) and incredibly powerful tool every parent - person - other should be using intentionally and consciously daily if not moment-ly. Breathe, Love Will Enter, Peace Will Follow. - David Durovy

 

 

Listening Practices: Tips and Traps by Sherri Boles-Rogers

Are You Listening?

One of the greatest tools in a parent’s toolbox is… ears. Yup. Didn’t hear that one coming did you? (Did you ever notice that the word hear has the word ear in it?) It is amazing to me how little we listen and how Earmuch we talk to our children. Listening could be compared to a superpower of sorts. Not only listening to what our children are saying but also what they are not saying, and listening to what is between the lines. Sherri Boles-Rogers, Parenting Coach & Family Communication Specialist (and a contributor to our Indiegogo Campaign offering an Intensive Listening Course at over a 50% savings) offers some fundamental steps to increasing your already present superpower. Make it a point this coming week to actively and intentionally apply these to your work and family life and see if you can notice the difference in what you hear, and in how people feel about you. You may be surprised on both accounts. This is important stuff.  Take a Listen – David Durovy


Have you ever noticed how GOOD it feels to be really listened to? It’s impactful, validating and gives us a sense that we’re significant, we matter. There’s an art to listening and, like any art, it takes practice.

According to statistics by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, known for his pioneering work in nonverbal communication, only 7% of communication happens through your actual words (38% comes across through tone and 55% through body language). That’s why it’s important to hone our skills to listen at deeper levels. To listen not only with our ears, but also with our heart. When we can listen to our children at these deeper levels we ingrain in them a sense of significance and self-worth.

A good place to start is by understanding the three listening levels described in the book Co-Active Coaching, by Laura Whitworth, Henry Kimsey-House and Phil Sandahl.

Listening Levels

  1. Level 1–Internal: We hear the other person’s words, but our focus is on what it means to us–our thoughts, feelings, judgments and conclusions. I dare say most of our day-to-day listening is at this level.
  2. Level 2–Laser-Focused: Our attention is focused like a laser beam on the other person, with little awareness of anything else. With such strong focus, we are curious, open and have little time to pay attention to our own feelings or worry about how we are being received. Our own mind chatter disappears with such a sharp focus on the other person.
  3. Level 3–Global: Our attention is spread out like an antenna with a 360-degree range. It allows us to pick up emotions, energy, body language and the environment itself. Intuition heightens as we tune into the deeper layers of what is going on.

All three levels are necessary. However, when we spend too much time in self-focused Level 1 listening, our communication with our child can seriously suffer. Engaging in Levels 2 and 3 can improve how we listen–and highly impact the connection and the relationship with our child.

Listening Blocks

It’s also important to be aware of these traps we can fall into even when we have set an intention to deeply listen. These come from Richard Anstruther at HighGain, Inc who trains business people in listening skills…but I think they’re just as relevant for parents who are intent on listening to their children in a more deeply satisfying way.

  • Tune Out–Listeners are not paying attention to the speaker due to disinterest in the speaker or subject, thinking about other things or multitasking.
  • Detach–Listeners are emotionally detached from the speaker, concerned with content only, not the feelings behind it. They may be only half listening, not really interacting, and miss the message’s underlying meaning.
  • Rehearse–Listeners are concentrating on what to say or do next, rather than focusing on the speaker’s message.
  • Judge–Listeners have a different opinion that causes them to block out new ideas and information or lose track of the conversation. They analyze and interpret the speaker’s delivery or message, missing the point. They criticize, give advice and make assumptions.
  • Control–Listeners don’t allow the speaker to talk at his or her own pace. They constantly interrupt with comments or questions, and don’t allow the speaker to finish a point.

The first step to developing artful listening is to choose to truly listen. As you continue to develop your listening skills, your communication and your relationship with your child are likely to become increasingly satisfying and rich!

♥♥♥ LOVE IN ACTION ♥♥♥

  1. Experiment with Levels 1, 2 and 3 listening, one at a time, to fully understand the dynamics at each level. This was eye-opening for me! I learned that the level at which I listen is a moment-by-moment choice.
  2. Spend some time noticing how often you fall into tuning out, detaching, rehearsing, judging or controlling. What can you do to keep from falling into these common listening traps?

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications


SherriSherri Boles-Rogers is an ACPI Certified Parenting Coach.  She is also a graduate of the Center for Nonviolent Communication’s Parent Peer Leadership Program, part of the Peaceful Families, Peaceful World Project.  She has been a parent educator and parenting workshop facilitator since 2005.

Sherri provides one-on-one and group coaching to parents.  She also facilitates parenting classes and parenting book study groups based on the models of attachment parenting and Nonviolent Communication™.

As a working mother of two boys, ages 19 and 17, she knows firsthand about the challenges of integrating conscious parenting into daily hectic family life.  In her work with parents, her goal is to provide awareness, understanding, and non-judgmental support for families to cultivate “power with” relationships based on mutual respect and trust.

Sherri lives in Atlanta with her husband, Greg and her two boys, Jake and Jeremy. You can visit her and learn more about her valuable training and workshops at www.ParentingHeart.com.

The Post Institute’s Indeigogo Campaign Hit 50% on Day 1

16 Week A-Z Parenting Pilot Online Training program for parents and professionals with adopted, foster, diagnosed and challenging children

Palmyra, VA - May 4, 2016 - The Post Institute, provider of educational materials for foster and adoptive parents, crowdfunds the next generation of their curriculum on popular site

The Post Institute’s new e-learning platform launched yesterday on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, and is already 50% funded. Their new sixteen-week A-Z Parent Mastery Course is the focus of the campaign, and more than 30 foster and adoptive families have already signed up for the pilot program, which is limited to 111 families. So far, families have come from not just the US, but the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. Those interested in registering for the official roll-out of the Course, at a discount, may do so during the month of May on https://igg.me/at/postinstitute-elearning. The pilot program is available for $97, a 75% savings.

The Post Institute’s mission is “love-based, family-centered parenting for foster, adopted, and diagnosed children”. Their online e-learning platform is new, but the content is an extension of their existing curriculum and resources, which include books, audio recordings, workbooks, radio broadcasts, and more. According to David Durovy, Director of the Post Institute, the goal of the online platform is to make the Post Institute’s support for parents more easily accessible and interactive. “It’s simple, really. Over half a million kids are put into the foster care system each year, over 20,000 age out, and 50% of those will go to jail… they suffer from attachment disorders. They never got what they needed as children.” Parenting foster and adopted children  presents a unique set of challenges, and requires specialized support.

The Post Institute is offering pre-registration at a discount, along with other educational materials for parents, counseling sessions with therapists, and other resources on crowdfunding site Indiegogo during the month of May. Like other popular sites Kickstarter and GoFundMe, Indiegogo is a website that facilitates project-specific fundraising. According to David, crowdfunding was a good match for unveiling their new online e-learning platform because its layout is designed to tell a story, with clear layout for video, images, and text. Until May 31, those interested in registering for the official roll-out of the Course, at a discount, may do on https://igg.me/at/postinstitute-elearning.

The Post Institute was founded by Bryan Post in 2002 to provide love-based, family-centered resources and education to parents of foster, adopted, and diagnosed children.  www.PostInstitute.com

Contact: David Durovy, david@postinstitute.com , 434-589-8828.

Looking for 111 Families, Therapists, Agencies and Educators for Pilot Parenting Program

We are looking for 111 Families, Therapists, Agencies & Educators for a Post Institute Pilot 16 Week A-Z Parenting Program - Starting June 1st, 2016 - Pre-Registration This Week - We hope this is an offer you cannot refuse! Details Here