This man is a genius! I spent all day Saturday and Sunday at his "Working With Our Kids When They Get Stuck" work shop.
My head is spinning with information that I will not even try to relay on here, as I don't want to get it wrong. I just purchased his book Hold on to Your Kids that will hopefully help me piece it all together.
His lecture was very interesting, entertaining, and enlightening. I highly recommend seeing him if he is in your area and picking up his book!
His work shop gave me greater insight to who I am as a person/parent, my children, and things that I could/should be doing differently.
I realize that I am a Alpha by default, being the oldest of 6 kids and having to take on a role of a co-parent and confident to my Mother when my parents divorced when I was 10. I realize that I have had to struggle with not feeling supported or looked after. Apparently, it is much easier to look after your children, when you feel like you are being looked after. IE - You need support. I realize that I have sought/found this in my partners rather than my parents, which doesn't work so well when he is in need of support from me.
I also have a better understanding of stress, cortisol, and how it is affecting my sleep and my cognitive function.. it certainly explains why I have difficulty figuring out a tip in a restaurant and making change, considering I have a major in finance and work with numbers! (which has been a huge struggle lately!) My friend and I -who is also suffering from similar side affects, (only from a concussion) were a hot mess this weekend... getting to and from the conference, lunch money and trying to retain the info. lol. Funny enough...we also both struggle with 'tip of the tongue syndrom' ... losing our words, which makes for an interesting conversation... but at least comfortable for us to sound like idiots to one another. Ha. I can laugh... because I know the end of the line is Kenya, which is just around the corner. Yes, this adoption is stressful, but it is the accumulative of some heavy business stressors, recent deaths, looking after ailing parents, etc... that eventually build up to more than one person can bare. Being in Kenya will eliminate one of our largest stressors (our current business)... which will allow more room in my over flowing cup to deal with those that remain. Dan and I both need this time in Kenya for many reasons, as I see him struggling with his overfloweth cup as well.
I learned that I could be more indulgent to Muffin's sensitivities... sympathize with her more instead of taking the 'suck it up' approach. Did you know that there is a strong correlation to sensitive (and autism - the most sensitive child) and difficult births and or c-sections? My little Muffin had a very difficult time being birthed, and she is a sensitive child - which makes her so understanding and sympathetic of others, but also means that she can get her feelings hurt more easily. I look forward to giving her more of me emotionally, physically and every other way to help shield her heart.
I realized that my little man has a difficult time expressing his emotions. He has not said "I love you", for as long as I can remember, or "I'm scared", or "I'm sad" etc.... He 'wears' these emotions... but does not speak them. I don't know why I never took notice of this, probably because he is very emotionally grounded - in the sense that he is very affectionate, loving, nurturing etc. For the past couple days, I have worked with giving him more of my self - tighter hugs, longer cuddles and I have made sure to verbalize my feelings more with him. The first night all he could give me was a "Good love"... which meant Good night/ Love you, but last night I got a "Love you to moon and back", after I said, "Love you to the moon". I thought some outer space talk may encourage him! ;) It's important to ensure that we allow our boys to show emotion, have tears, fears etc., so that is something we will be working on facilitating.
On the side of adoption, I really got a chance to understand the roots of attachment. As I have been reading about adoption and attachment for a long time, I had the tools. I understood to get eye contact, to hand to mouth feed, to play, to hold.. and to allow scenarios happen that allow the adopted child to get their tears out, but I didn't fully understand why it is so important, and how their development depends on it.
I love self reflection... growing, learning and adding parenting tools to my tool box!
Dr. Neufeld also has DVD's, CD's etc... that you can order or perhaps borrow from your library or rent from your local movie store if reading is not your thing, as well as online courses!! I highly recommend that all parents, and even grandparents... check his stuff out! My weekend was worth every penny!