Monday 7 December 2015

Proud Parent

I am so incredibly proud of Missy today.

She's started piano lessons at school this term and today was the annual piano concert in front of the whole school and parents of the children playing. Missy has done really well in her lessons and I was sure that, if she overcame her nerves, then she'd be fine. This morning before school she was very nervous, understandly, so, for the first time, I gave her Rescue Remedy drops. I had some too.

Sat waiting, she looked cool as a cucumber. Of the 10 students, she was first to play and she played beautifully!  

A tear rolled down my cheek - I can't tell you how proud I am of her. I wanted to shout out to everyone there just how amazing she is, and why this was such as big thing for a little girl who often thinks she is not worth anything. 

Well done my gorgeous girl.

Thursday 3 December 2015

I'm a bit workshopped out

I'm a bit workshopped and conferenced out. I've been to four in as many weeks. First a workshop about empathy, then the AUK conference with Bryan Post, then a day with Dr Renee Marks (expert in trauma and dissociation) and last week an introduction to Non Violent Resistance (NVR).

Following all this, our home is a picture of loveliness, calm, respect, no tantrums, nothing being thrown and no answering back.  


HA! AS IF ............. !!!!

I'll be honest though. I do feel calmer in myself and am filled with more hope than I have done in a while.  

I've already blogged about AUK here, so I'll briefly talk about Dr Renee Marks and NVR.

Dr Renee Marks is the founder of Integrate Families, the National Centre of Trauma & Dissociation. I'd heard about Dr Marks from another adopter and was lucky enough to get a last minute ticket to sit amongst over 100 adopters, foster carers, SWs and other professionals to hear her talk about emotional regulation for children with complex trauma.  Her day was split into sections; talking about the brain and how trauma changes it, talking about emotional regulation in adults (put your oxygen mask on first), about trauma based behaviours in school and at home and finally she gave us some tools and techniques to promote emotional regulation in our children.

I came away feeling inspired.  Some of it I had heard  or read before but Dr Marks explains it all in such an uncomplicated way so there was definitely stuff I 'got' this time.  Like Bryan Post, she believes that parents/carers must take responsibility and it's up to us to use her tools several times daily to help our children.  In a relationship, the child can calm down.

Amongst the many 'aha' and 'ahh ok' moments I had, a question to her about Theraplay stuck out.  Whilst she is a supporter of Theraplay and indeed uses many of the techniques in her clinic, she felt there was a limit to using it as Theraplay cannot process trauma. Interesting.  

One technique that Dr Marks uses a lot is Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).  Apparently it's a therapy used a lot in helping to process all types of trauma, including secondary trauma.  I've just read a bit about it and I can see a few similarities to Emotional Freedom Technique (or Tapping as some people call it) which I used to do so I think I'll get tapping again and look further into EMDR too.

If you get the chance to hear Dr Marks talk, go for it.

So, NVR.  I'd heard about NVR from a non-adopter who found huge benefits for her family. Having researched it I felt it was appropriate for us although to be honest wasn't entirely sure what it entailed. Turns out we do a few of the techniques anyway, go us!  So the day, run by PAC UK was an introduction day; the full length course is 4 days long. However if you're considering it, I would say that I learnt a lot in just one day.

Very basically NVR is about having 'parental presence' and de-escalation without the need for shouting, yelling, pointing fingers, consequences etc.  Once again, the theme of building relationships and parents/carers taking responsibility was evident.

We got on to the subject of violence which for many is non-negotiable. The message was that we have to break the taboo and bring on board a support network of 3-4 people. These supporters will have different roles but all will know about the violence. It may be a teacher/key worker, a friend, a parent, a Brownie leader, a GP, SW, another adopter, whoever you feel you can trust and give you the required support. One may gently mention that they know about 'hitting mummy' and express their worry for mummy and child, wrapped in either side with positive comments. A shit-sandwich the trainer explained. Several parents questioned shame but the trainer said that it was important that the child knows violence will not be tolerated. Another supporter may be a friend who can come round fairly quickly and just be there for you (and child if they do like and trust this friend).  Friend just being there will help de-escalate the situation.   So one of my support group is going to be Missy's pastoral care worker and it turns out that Missy already tells her when she's hit me and they talk through it.  This is a positive step for Missy. 

I don't feel I need to go on the full course just yet and would highly recommend you attending if you find yourself shouting, yelling and exhausted. Ask your LA to pay as mine did.

Having read through all my course notes before writing this blog, I realise there was A LOT of useful content that came my way over the last few weeks, some of which I'd forgotten already.  I need to go through it, make some concise notes and details on what Daddy and I need to be doing each day to help Missy (and ourselves).  

In other news, Daddy and I got engaged.  Yay!  Only taken 10 years.    In more other news, I took Missy to her first pop concert last week (on a school night!) and she absolutely loved it (well, most of it)  Believe it or not she is a big Nik Kershaw fan.  
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