Erin Merrihew is an adoptive and biological mother to six children in Nebraska. After attending the Empowered to Connect conference last year, she shares the top 3 reasons why any parents or advocates of adopted and fostered children should attend.
Number 1: You’ll learn lots of practical, hands-on tips.
I had read “The Connected Child” by Karyn Purvis, but I still couldn’t wrap my mind around the TBRI principles and I still wasn’t convinced this was best for my kids. I have two adopted children, one of which had an unusual 12-month “honeymoon” period where the adjustment to our family and life went swimmingly. After about a year, things started to get incredibly hard and I hit a desperate stage. I knew there was something to “The Connected Child” wisdom, and felt that possibly the problem was in my understanding of it. When I received an email that the ETC would be available in Omaha, I signed up and drove almost five hours hoping to gain some tools to bring back home. Karyn’s lessons were excellent and built on the concepts laid out in her book. The video clips of Karyn and her therapists working with children were an essential part of helping me to see and understand the value of TBRI methods. I didn’t get it until I could see it in action. TBRI is absolutely NOT about letting a child who is throwing a fit get their way. It is, among many things, knowing the need behind the behavior and giving them an appropriate voice to have that need met.
Number 2: You’ll have more confidence as a parent.
Empowered to Connect has helped our family to feel much more connected. A few conference sessions are devoted to understanding attachment styles and parents are encouraged to identify their own and work toward healthy relational habits. Identifying my own dismissive attachment style has been extremely helpful. When we, as parents, come to a child with our heart ready to connect, then it is only a matter of time before children respond similarly. From the conference, I also came home with a renewed sense of hope and confidence knowing that how I was handling my children’s negative behavior was not going to hurt them, but would be working to heal them.
Number 3: Trust-based parenting works.
I have six kiddos,10 years old and under, and the understanding of attachment I gained from Karyn’s teaching benefits both my biological and adopted children. I use TBRI on all of them! I’m not an expert parent yet, but I have some years under my belt and have read lots of books and tried lots of things. This is it. It works. You can see your sweet child settle when they connect with you. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a thunderstorm before the calm, but there is resolution and calm ahead with TBRI. There is such a peace in parenting that comes from knowing you have the tools for whatever situation comes at you next — and like all parents, I get a lot of “situations”!