Qualified to show other parents how not to suck as much as I did?

OK, so my title was a little provocative perhaps, and that may not be the best start to my new tentative career option, but hey we’ve got to keep a sense of humour about these things right?!

Where have I been this week and why haven’t I been blogging? I’ll tell you. I’ve been attending a training workshop to learn how to run parent training in ‘Circle of Security Parenting’. Circle of Security is an evidence based programme which is grounded on Attachment Theory. The programme was developed by Glen Cooper, Kent Hoffman and Burt Powell. Here is a link to their website for anyone who is interested in finding out more than I am willing to blog about right now! http://www.circleofsecurity.net

The workshop I went to was run by Glen Cooper. Have you ever attended a course, conference or workshop that you felt would never end? Where each day you found yourself struggling to attend to the speaker and forcing your eyes open using various methods including your pens? I have.

This was NOT one of those experiences! I don’t think I took my eyes off this guy or his presentation screen for one second. I don’t think I even yawned once! Wow. Am I feeling inspired? Well, to be honest, yes. I am not inspired in the ways I thought though. The first I heard about circle of security was when I attended the actual parent course I am now trained to teach. I learnt so much from that course in how relationships are formed and how children develop their attachments and how closely this is related to their future behavioural patterns that I kept telling as many people as I could. I also applied the principals with my son, with really great results.

The interesting thing is that while I am hugely inspired to spread the word about this parent education programme and I really believe that it could change so many children’s and their parent’s life, I find that I still really struggle with the application of it in regards to my son. I am painfully aware that my son has an insecure attachment to both myself and his Dad. Unfortunately, we missed a few key things when he was an infant, which I can just see so clearly now. However, the knowledge of this is not about making you feel guilty, it’s about hope. It’s never too late to attach your child securely. It’s just a hell of a lot harder work when you are trying to do it with an older child. I am however up to the challenge, and I believe so strongly that it is worth it for his future.

I guess one of the added difficulties we will have in re-forming this secure attachment with my son is the fact that he has other neurological and psychological issues with his ADHD, ODD, and Anxiety Disorder. These factors make some of the cues he gives us very difficult to interpret. We also have about 5 years of habits we’ve learnt for dealing with his behaviour to break. Eeeeek. It’s hard work. It’s daunting. I truly do think though that all of this hard work puts me in a unique position of really being able to understand the struggles any parents in my future groups may be going through.

Circle of Security is not a therapeutic option. It’s not about analysing anyone or anything and that’s the really great thing about it. The founders do run much longer and more involved parent groups which are run by professional clinicians and involve psychoanalysis and all that sort of stuff, but this watered down version means that people can touch on the principles in a simpler, but still very meaningful way.  I can run these groups with parents and I can give them a choice. A chance to see what may be causing their child’s behaviour other than what the Dr’s and therapists might be telling them. If they give this a go, they are going to see changes in their kids, no question about that. That’s what has got me so fired up. It’s not something that will ‘fix’ their kids. It’s not going to magically wipe out the difficult behaviours of autistic or ADHD or ODD or anxious kids, but what it does is really give the parents the choices and the power to see past some of these behaviours. To view their kids as intrinsically ‘good kids’ who have issues that their parents needs to meet and help with.

It’s not about letting your kid do whatever they want because they throw a tantrum. Nor is it about stopping the whole world every time your kid has a feeling. It’s about teaching them limits and how to cope with real feelings when they come up, but in a supportive and strong way. It’s about realising who the adult is and being “Bigger, Wiser, Stronger and Kind” (COS developed principle)at all times (even though this is hard when you have three kids running around wrecking the house and the dog has just thrown up on the rug and the phone rings, and you have dinner burning on the stove and you’ve just got home from work where your boss yelled at you for something you had nothing to do with!)

So, I will now go away, really think about how I want to run my groups, practice it on the poor unsuspecting members of my family, and occasionally my dog, and get started running my first group!

Watch this space 🙂


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