That said, I have a gem you might not know about. And trust me, you’ll thank me. Last spring, I became aware of the Neufeld Institute. This organization offers a wide array of trainings and classes for parents and professionals. Based on a relational model of child development, faculty members at the Neufeld Institute offer education with classes such as, “Making Sense of Anxiety,” "Making Sense of Attention Problems,” and “Attachment-Based Discipline: A Look At Where Good Behaviour Comes From.” While based in British Columbia, such courses are available online and translated into multiple languages. I’ve taken three different courses from the Neufeld Institute, and each has left me with greater wisdom and a deeper passion for understanding development.
What I’m Reading
This book is full of wisdom and practical advice, all wrapped in a developmental framework of attachment. I have shared what I’ve learned from this book with many parents already, and it has been invaluable in my own life as the parent of a preschooler.
In particular, I have begun to intentionally “collect” my son before any transition or before I require his attention. That means I no longer waltz into his room, interrupt what he’s doing, and tell him it’s time to eat. Instead, I get down on his level, remark on what he’s doing, lightly touch his arm to get his attention, and let him know dinner is ready. The difference is nothing short of miraculous. Truly. He is amenable and attentive to my words when I take the extra 30 seconds to connect with him.
You might be thinking, “I don’t have the time or energy to collect my kid every time I have something to say!” And to this I would argue you actually do. How much time and energy does it take to get a child to listen to you when she's engrossed in something else? How much time and energy does it take to make a transition with a child who is resistant? When you think of it in terms of what you’re actually giving up to try something new, you might come to realize you have more time than you think.
“The answer to immaturity is maturing, which unfolds when adults become the answer to a child’s relational and emotional needs” (Page 27).
“Children are not meant to work for love. They are meant to rest in someone’s care so that they can play and grow; this is why relationships matter” (Page 76).
“When adults push for compliance at all costs or try to extinguish resistant behaviour, the instinctive and emotional reasons for a child’s opposition are missed, shamed, or thwarted” (Page 201).
“The irony is that the more emotionally mature we become, the more we will see all the ways in which we fall short” (Page 255).