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Is Putting Our Kids in Time-Out Really Effective?

Most parents have been there: locked in a power struggle with their child. Whether the disagreement is over homework or screen time, it’s likely to escalate to some type of punishment. Some experts have been reconsidering whether or not “time-out” is the right solution, or if parents are missing out on other tactics that could help dissolve certain disagreements before they get explosive. 

As reported in a fascinating article from Parents.com, Dr. Burt Banks, a professor of medicine at East Tennessee State University, was finding himself nagging his children more just occasionally. The nagging would turn into screaming fights, which led to time-out. Emotions were running high, and Dr. Banks determined his discipline methods weren’t working. It begged him to ask the question, “what exactly is time-out?”

Time-out is, literally, a pause in the caregiver’s attention. Why? Acting out is an attention-seeking behavior. The more adults or peers give in, or, give their attention, the more the child is perhaps encouraged to continue. Dr. Banks discovered that once he took his own time-out from interacting, his child was able to calm himself down. He discovered that his presence and interaction was only aggravating the situation, not alleviating it. Practicing time-out means also practicing “time-in,” or, positive reinforcement. Encourage and acknowledge good, kind, and respectful behavior in your children, and observe how that reinforcement shifts your child’s behavior.

Giving a child a break means that you are giving them a break from a situation that has become overwhelming for them, and may result in inappropriate behavior. Using techniques such as designating a special chair, or setting a loud timer, are tactics designed to humiliate, not improve. If a child is feeling your attention and focus, which they will if put in a special chair only designated for punishment, there is less of an incentive to change their behavior. In Dr. Banks’s alternate form of time-out, nothing has to change about the physical environment; it just means interactions between a caregiver and child are put on pause for a brief period. The power of ignoring a behavior can have a profound impact. It says that you simply will not acknowledge this behavior and until it stops, so will interaction. 

To help reinforce this new approach to time-out, stay consistent. Repetitive behavior is an excellent way to instill positive values in your child. Will bad behaviors completely cease? No, that’s not realistic. But by practicing positive avoidance (when necessary) you can actively work to avoid more dramatic, painful blowouts. 

 

Have A Lovely Weekend

Happy Weekend! We hope you’re getting back on track after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It takes a second to get the trains back in motion, but here’s to ringing in a fabulous new year. Celebrate with some of our favorite reads of the week.

This week on the blog, we talk about teaching our children to be resilient

Is a system designed to keep children safe actually doing them harm? 

Even parenting experts can struggle with parenting. 

Now, more than ever, we need to be addressing substance abuse with our youth. 

Adoptions in Texas have soared past 6000 youth! 

The Brothertons adopted seven children—they knew traditional parenting wasn’t going to work. 

With gun violence and drug abuse leading the news, this San Francisco organization is aiming to save lives

Each child welfare system faces their own complex challenges—New Mexico is no different. 

We will always talk about the importance of building your adoption support system. We love this state-by-state guide. 

People are unpredictable. We appreciate these thoughts on navigating uncomfortable or awkward special needs or adoption questions. 

2020 Parenting Resolution: Teaching Resiliency

It’s a new year, and that means new goals. When the beginning of the year rolls around, we spend time considering, “how do we want our children to grow this year?” For 2020, we’re thinking a lot about resiliency. The world is a tough place, and as parents, it’s our job to build kids who have the tools they need to survive it. Technology has certainly changed a lot, in that it puts everything at our fingertips. There’s not as much work involved in learning, researching, education, or even being a consumer, as there once was. Pair that with a world that feels increasingly volatile, and there’s a lot to be said for learning how to stand up for what you believe to be true, and as well as how to accomplish things on your own.

This is especially important for adopted children, particularly those who come from trauma-filled backgrounds and need even more support in landing strongly on their feet. Helping our kids be confident in their identity is a huge part of what makes them resilient, and it goes a long way towards building the confidence they need and deserve to be happy and successful as they grow older.

How can we help our children to become more resilient?

Teach them how to problem-solve. It can be easy to jump at your child’s every whim. Answering their questions, doing their homework, finishing a science project. We don’t mean that you should let them flail in a sea of uncertainty, but rather help guide them toward the right answer or solution, rather than solving the problem for them. Problem-solving is a big part of life, and the problems they’re going to have to solve are only going to grow in scale as they get older. Teaching them when they’re young that they have the power to navigate their problems is a valuable lesson that will only make them more resourceful, and adaptable to change, as they grow.

Hold them accountable for their actions and responsibilities. Kids know when they can take advantage of a system. We all do! And if they know there aren’t going to be consequences for their actions, they’re going to be more inclined to push boundaries. Hold true to the boundaries you set for them, by holding them accountable for the things they are responsible for. Whether it’s homework, chores, or telling the truth, keep them honest and ensure that if they do choose to shirk responsibility, they will experience the consequences of that.

Embrace failure. No life is a 100% success story. It’s in our failures that we learn our greatest lessons. Don’t keep your child from failure. Teach them how to move through it when failure does arise. Help them see the lesson in the situation, and show them the valuable teaching moments our failures are. If they are led to believe that everything will always go their way, they’ll never understand what it means to be resilient in the face of uncertainty.

Curb your overprotective side. You can’t protect your child from everything, nor should you expect to. Kids have to explore new situations on their own, feel them out, learn in real-time what’s right vs. what’s wrong, and experience freedom. If you’re there every minute, trying to save them, how will they learn how to navigate certain situations on their own? This can be very difficult for parents, but the benefits to the child are enormous.

Reads For A Holiday Weekend

It’s that point in the holiday season where time has no meaning, and Saturdays feel like Mondays, and Mondays feel like Fridays. So wherever you’re at in your holiday schedule, here are some reads to sit back with and enjoy.

We hope you had a blessed Christmas, and are looking forward to a glorious and abundant 2020!

This week on the blog, we shared some shopping tips for welcoming a new family member home on short notice.  

These adoptees from South Korea return to their home country to trace their roots

DePaul Community Resources in Virginia hit an adoption milestone with 31 adoptions this month. 

A DNA test led Diane Standish to an entire new family

Joe O’Connell, a one-time foster child, has dedicated his life to helping other children in the system. 

These parents weren’t looking to adopt, but the foster system called their name

Cup of Jo shares their readers’ favorite children’s books

How do you prepare your furry family members for a new addition? 

Do you have a teen who seems aimless? Here are some tips to motivate them. 

Tips for soothing an anxious child

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Welcoming A New Family Member on Short Notice

You’ve received the call! Your family is about to expand, and you either feel really prepared or completely unmoored. In the worlds of foster care and adoption, families often don’t have a lot of time to prepare for a new baby or child to join the roost. We’re here for you! Don’t overthink it; start with the basics and build from there. 

When it comes to their bedroom, focus on creating a warm and comforting space. Bedding is important—often, children will use their bed as a safe space. Take into account any past trauma your child may have endured and bring in details that can accommodate a calming environment. These blankets, for example, promote safety, security, and relaxation. Lighting also creates a calming aura. Incorporate different types of light—soft, colored, and white, lamplight, nightlights—and let your child decide what makes them feel most comfortable. Once the basics are in place, you and your child can decorate together. 

Consider their personal care items. If you’re welcoming a new baby into your home, you have more autonomy on what brands and styles of products you like. If you’re welcoming an older child into your home, it’s thoughtful to offer them the products that make them feel most comfortable. This doesn’t need to be an elaborate shopping spree—a few key items for the bathroom will make all the difference. These include, but are not limited to, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste and brush, and other necessary hygiene items. 

Clothing is important, but refer back to the basics for this one. When it comes to older children, you likely aren’t sure what they like to wear yet, so, start with simple pajamas, underwear, socks, pants, and shirts. If it’s a warm-weather season, stock up on clothing that works well with hotter temperatures. If it’s colder out, make sure they’re outfitted with hats, gloves, thick socks, and cozy sweaters. Babies grow so fast; don’t stress yourself out curating a massive wardrobe. Onesies, pajamas, and soft shoes are your best bet. Additionally, consider a swaddle for your baby. Much like a weighted blanket, a swaddle makes a baby feel safe and secure. 

It is impossible to be perfectly ready to welcome (sometimes on short notice) a new child into your home and be 100% prepared. Approach this task as a group challenge and enlist the help of everyone involved. Giving children and young adults autonomy to make choices about their wardrobe and other personal items makes for a more comfortable situation. 

For more information on products that help ease anxiety and stress in a child’s life, we love this list from a child therapist about products to help reduce anxiety.

Image via: whattoexpect.com  

 

Have A Blessed Weekend

It’s almost the holidays! We hope you’re finding some peace and restoration in amidst the holiday stress. Take a break from the chaos with some of our favorite reads of the week. 

Check out our blog! We have ideas on how to keep the costs down and spirits up over the holiday. 

Do you co-parent during the holidays? Are you struggling to set up a visitation schedule? This may help

Jackson County has a new program aimed to help children in foster care understand the adoption process. 

The holidays can be trying, especially if you have lost a loved one recently. Cup of Jo offers thoughtful guidance for this emotional situation. 

The Kansas City Star’s six-part series, Throwaway Kids, explores the lifetime implications of foster care. It’s forcing lawmakers to do better. 

Very interested in this New York Times piece, which explores a decade of parenting scrutiny

Dwyane Wade talks about parenting a gay teenager

If you’re looking for an amazing parenting podcast, check out Slate.com’s: This Was Not in the Parenting Handbook

Holiday traditions are important – learn how they pass these along in the Appalachian Mountains. 

These beautiful twin sisters have fostered more than twenty children! 

 

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Gifts That Keep Spirits Up and Costs Down

The holidays are night, and thus begins one of the most intense periods of consumerism of the year. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will spend around $950 on gifts during the holiday season. The federation estimates that about 60% of that money goes directly to credit card debt. Although traditional gift-giving is often the theme of the season, there are so many other ways to share energy with loved ones. Today we’re sharing some of our favorite non-traditional holiday ideas that keep the spirits up and the costs down. 

  1. Give your time. Forego the gifts that are often forgotten about before the week is over and donate your time this season.  Volunteering for a charity, adopting a family for holiday gifts, or participating in community-building events has an immeasurable impact and teaches your children about the importance of giving. Engaging in hands-on acts of service activities is a great gift.
  2. DIY your gifts. Don’t be scared of this! It doesn’t have to be a giant craft session, and it’s a great way to spend time together as a family. Instead of buying cards this year, have everyone create their own. Little ones will take such pride in being able to handmake something special, and it gives everyone in the family a thoughtful keepsake. In addition to cards, there are a lot of simple crafts you can plan for your family. 
  3. Celebrate different cultures. Research holiday traditions from around the world and then check your community to see if there are any celebrations open to the public. Introducing your family to different cultures and celebrations will introduce diversity into their lives, and is a beautiful way to support other faiths, communities, and cultures. 
  4. Let your kids decide. You may be surprised when they choose activities that don’t involve gifts. Focus on sharing time and making memories, rather than amassing things. Driving around with snacks and looking at holiday lights, ice skating, or snow tubing, visiting a holiday event in your city—these can become coveted traditions and lifelong sources of joy. Who knows, maybe your kids will celebrate your traditions with their kids someday! 

However you celebrate the holidays, mindfully integrating shared activities is a wonderful way to honor the true meaning of the season, and to create familial connection. Happy Holidays! 

 

Have A Lovely Weekend

Happy weekend, friends! We hope it’s a cozy one, filled with the things you love most. 

Enjoy some of our favorite reads from around the web…

This week on the blog we talked about parenting through tough conversations

With international adoption numbers dropping, the answer to foster care overcrowding is right in your community. 

Florida’s “Home for the Holidays” adoption campaign was a massive success. 

Foster parents are real parents! 

Raising a bilingual child can be difficult, but is so worth it. 

Cup of Jo explores the best gifts for kids? 

Healthy eating isn’t just for adults, it’s for the whole family.  

Tantrums are normal but here are some tips for discerning if they are becoming abnormal. 

Blending families can be difficult, if not a little awkward. Slate’s advice column navigates a special circumstance this week. 

Adoption and foster agencies are helping to turn the tide on forever family conversation. 

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Parenting Around Hard Conversations

Parenting is a never-ending cycle of life lessons—as soon as you’ve tackled one obstacle, another arises. Sometimes these lessons are about smaller things, like learning how to sneak vegetables in your child’s food, or motivating them to do homework. Sometimes they are larger, more complicated, and must be learned without the aid of playbooks or support groups. Such as how do you parent your child to be a good person? And how do you do that during the #MeToo era? 

Although publicly, this conversation largely centers around the analysis of male behaviors, this topic should be discussed with all of your children, regardless of their gender. It may be hard to gear up for a series of conversations about sexual assault, harassment, and consent, but these can be life-changing talks. There are not a lot of safe spaces for kids and teenagers to discuss these issues, and by transforming your home into that safe space, you are guiding them towards making positive and constructive decisions as well as teaching them how to take care of themselves. These conversations don’t need to happen in a planned or elaborate way. Finding examples in pop culture or current events is a great way to integrate relevant information. 

Society offers undue pressures on traditional gender roles, i.e., men should be the sexual initiator; women should be acquiescent and look a certain way. We may know this is not true, but to a young man, it may feel differently when the pressure of society starts weighing in. Teach your children about empowered and consensual behaviors. Encourage them to speak up for themselves and remind them they do not need to seek approval or acceptance from anyone. Applaud them for being independent individuals who make responsible choices. 

Today’s kids and teenagers have an unparalleled level of access to the surrounding world via social media. There’s no need to tip-toe around this subject. When cultural movements like #MeToo come to the fore, discuss them in your home, let your kids be curious, and enjoy healthy and fulfilling communication.  

If you are struggling to get the conversation about sexual assault, harassment, and responsible behavior started, here are some excellent resources. 

 

Have A Wonderful Weekend

Hello friends! We hope you had a wonderful week. We’re excited to dive into some winter activities, and get the holiday festivities rolling. It’s a stressful time of year, but it’s also a wonderful time of year.

You’re always on our hearts and minds, and we’re so grateful to have you as part of our community. Be well, take care, and enjoy our favorite reads of the week.

 

 

School-based anxiety is a real thing. Visit our blog to get some helpful tips on how to lessen the stress. 

Tricia Goyer, a mother of ten, talks about the joys and challenges of adopting from foster care

While there is major progress to be made, cities all over the country are celebrating their adoption victories. 

The Safe Children Coalition is a collaboration between counties in Minnesota helping to provide adoption and foster support to families and children in need. 

Very interested in this book for those who struggle with parenting a child who exhibits challenging behavior. 

Are you running out of ideas for your Elf on the Shelf? 

We share a lot of child-friendly literature, but we love Exhalation for parents. 

Tom Woodbury leads a small group of retired folks in building hundreds of toys for local children. 

The New York Times investigates: do babies cry in different languages

This holiday season, give a special gift to the adoptive family in your life.