Sometime recently a discussion was happening on an adoption group about various parenting experts. The usual big names were represented--Post and Purvis. An AAI mom (hi Molly!) popped in with a new name--"Celebrate Calm." Who's this? Never heard of them. Always looking for another good resource for myself and the families I serve, I popped on over to their facebook page. WOW. There were all sorts of little nuggets. Some examples are below.
"Some power struggles occur because we tell a strong-willed child what to do, then hover over him waiting for his response. Give firm, clear directions. And then remove yourself, your anxiety and your pressure. It gives your child some space, respect and time to cycle his thoughts, disappointment and response. If you can't control yourself, then expect more power struggles."
"When our kids mess up, we tend to send them away from us. When we mess up, God draws us closer. Just something to think about."
"You can't make people respect you. But you can always demonstrate self-respect. Calm is not a doormat. Calm is authoritative. Calm says I have complete control over myself, no matter how YOU behave. Calm says my value and self-worth does not depend on anyone else. Show self-respect and watch your kids, spouse and others begin to respect you more."
"Today, I am free. I am not responsible for my child's happiness. I am not responsible for managing my spouse. I am not responsible to make life perfect for everyone. It is not my job to fix everything or everyone. Today I do one thing that brings me joy. I celebrate it. And then I spread my joy to others, no matter what they do or how they behave."
"'You're right, honey. Life is not fair. Look at all the advantages you have that other people don't have.' A good way to foster gratitude rather than create a victim."
I am, in particular, a fan of that last one! ;0) Well, as I looked around the Celebrate Calm website I was surprised to see that they would be doing FREE workshops in Oklahoma all the following week. [They've never been in OK before. Coincidence?!] At first I only saw daytime homeschool convention workshops, but was delighted to find a 2 hour seminar on Wednesday night. Yes! Eric and I could both go together! [The problem with lots of this stuff is that *I* go and get excited, but my spouse isn't with me on it. It doesn't work if only one spouse is fired up.]
I think it's important to say that this "method" (whatever you want to call it) is NOT adoption focused. It's just your run-of-the-mill parenting method. However, the founder/creator has done much work with children who have been internationally adopted. Much of his research was conducted as he invited troubled children (many of which were adopted from Eastern Europe) to his home each summer. While the approach is not specifically for adoptive parenting, I've seen nothing that would be ill-advised for adoptive parents or children. In fact, it's all very much in line with what Post and Purvis say. All three of them have some things in common, but with different delivery.
- Parents must be in control of their own anxiety in order to effectively parent their child.
- Draw a child into you rather than sending a child away from you.
- Relationship over Discipline.
- Ultimately, you can only control yourself. You cannot control your child.
For our adopted kids, I'd say it's important to go deeper and understand the science that Post and Purvis teach about the trauma our kids have experienced. But CC does a good job of giving really practical ways of dealing with the day to day crap our kids hand out to us! And what's nice is that since CC isn't specifically for adopted children, you know it's also appropriate for your bio kids. Did I mention that Kirk is REALLY funny?
The founder of Celebrate Calm is decidedly Christian. We were at a Church last night so he definitely took that approach (but not in a way where the who method is based on the Bible--more where he added his Christian viewpoint as a side thought). I haven't listened to the CDs we bought yet, so I don't know if the CDs are Christian. I'm sort of betting they are. I'm Christian, so I like that. It makes sense to me.
One of the things he said that I appreciated is that as the parent we have EVERY RIGHT to sort of get in our kids' faces and demand respect...demand immediate obedience, etc.. However, that is not how he CHOOSES to parent because that doesn't yield the results he wishes for his children. He chooses to parent in a way that teaches his children self-discipline and self-respect, and also holds the parent-child relationship in high regard. I think that will sit well with lots of Bible Belt Christians who sometimes feel that all of this new-age parenting stuff is telling us we don't have a right to have authority over our own children. That's not in line with the Bible. He's saying we have that right, but we should be careful about how we choose to use it. Makes sense.
On the website I think it says you can get all of the CDs and DVDs for $497. At the seminar he had them on sale for $297. He was very clear that if you weren't able to purchase the materials because of financial hardship but you want them, to be assertive and they would work something out. I really believe they will make sure anybody who wants the materials will get them. I believe they are more concerned about people getting the materials they need than they are with people paying them money--truly. He said more than once that if you wanted the materials but couldn't afford them to "be assertive."
We haven't listened to all of the CDs and DVDs yet, but we are looking forward to it. One of them is just for dads. Another is from the founder's son directly to kids. Another set is on marriage. Another is specifically for school. It's a LOT of material. Of course, you can buy individual sets as well. We purchased all because we wanted 4 out of 7 and it was less expensive to purchase all seven than to purchase 4 of 7.
All in all, I'm very glad we went to the workshop and I'm not regretting that we purchased the materials. Some of the things suggested, we already do. Other things suggested, we had never considered before. I'm excited to see how the kids react to the materials that are specifically for them. I will add the Celebrate Calm stuff to our "tool chest" of parenting know-how. It's sort of comforting that all of my favorite experts agree on the core points.