Why I am Rude
I hope you are all well and managing to keep things in perspective with regard the current situation.
Personally, I’m finding not being able to spend time visiting people and connecting in this manner difficult. I find being restricted to my desk and working via video link or phone is not the same as actually being face to face and truly engaging with people.
I notice this so much more when I speak with people who have been experiencing difficult times.
I felt it appropriate to think about and look at ways that we can connect with children and young people when “social bonding” has broken down, when the relationship feels broken in some way and feels like it will take a monumental effort to get back to some form of equilibrium.
Therapeutic Parenting Takes Connection and Attunement
However, this is very difficult to do if the child or young person is rejecting of our efforts. This, as I am sure a great many of you will have experienced is common for children who’s early experiences of relationships have been that they feel unsafe and or inconsistent. It is safer to reject getting close to someone, as they will only let you down in the end.
We need to be able to begin to develop or reconnect with the child in ways that feel tolerable to them and to us. We can begin to do this from a safe distance, with time we can move closer as attunement and safety are built or re-established.
Holding Them in Mind
One way in which we can do this is by showing them that you are holding them in mind even when they are not with you. Intersubjectivity, the connection between parent and child that offers my mind is in your mind and your mind is in my mind, which creates a sense of safety, and is predictable, is very likely and sadly alien to many cared for children.
Attempting to connect from a distance can be helpful when we are feeling that a tentative approach is required or in fact needed. The problem is how do we find it in our own hearts to reach out when we have had our efforts to connect thrown back in our faces? We need to understand and recognise why our children do this, I am in awe of how beautifully and eloquently this is explained in this blog post www.naotp.com “Why I am Rude” by Sarah Dillon-Therapeutic Lead for the National Association of Therapeutic Parents. It describes why children reject our attempts to connect with them. I hope you find it as illuminating and as though provoking as I have.
There are other fantastic resources on their regular blog page. You can use the same link above to reach these.
Connecting from a Distance
Ways in which we can offer to our children that they are held in our minds even when we are not together.
- A brief note tucked into a packed lunch box, it could be a joke or a message about looking forward to seeing them when they arrive home. It could describe how much you enjoyed their company or how proud you have been regarding an achievement.
- Spray some perfume or aftershave of yours on a pace of fabric and pop it in their school bag, or spray it on their school jumper.
- Buy two crystal’s they often come in a small velvet bag, give them one and offer that you will keep the other matching one in your pocket when they are away from you.
- Ask them their favourite song, get the words printed off and present this to them in a picture frame.
- Picture keyrings of them on your keys
- Send random text messages offering you are thinking of them, wondering what they are doing, or that you have heard a song that reminds you of them
- Play a three-word story game via text: create a story together three words at a time, take turns to write three words at a time to create a silly story.
- Sitting next to them to watch a film or favourite TV show together.
- Playing on their games system alongside them
- Drawing a person/character fold a piece of A4 paper in 3 and each take turns is drawing on the others separate part legs/middle and head, reveal the weird and wonderful creation by unfolding at the end.
- Playing catch in the house with a woollen ball, this can be spontaneous, by calling “out check your reflexes” (only if appropriate!)
- Putting photos of you together up in different rooms around the house.
- Touching their hand/shoulder/back briefly when they are eating dinner
- Spontaneous karaoke or disco
- Visible/explicit memory box of the things they have made, copies of nice texts they have sent you etc, kept in this special place
- Sing happy, loving songs from another room, change a key word/s to incorporate their name
- Mutual face painting/make up/nail painting.
- Co-create a bucket list of manageable mini dates activities that you can do together and surprise (if appropriate) or schedule this in at various moments.
Some of the above taken from Beacon house resource Connection 2019
Take care everyone-Rich 😊
Therapeutic Parenting Lead at Regional Foster Families
I am the fostering agency Therapeutic Parenting Lead (DDP informed) and started my counselling training in 2011 becoming fully qualified in 2016. I have worked for the agency for the last 13 years.
My qualifications in respect of therapy are an advanced diploma in integrative counselling which is accredited by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) whom I remain a registered member with.
I spent three and a half years volunteering at Personal Recovery Services as part of my training, an organisation that specialised in working with historic sexual abuse, working with both adults and teenagers.
I have consequently gone on and trained in Level 1 and 2 of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP).
I have worked in various roles in the social care field specifically with looked after children for the past 20 years. I was a deputy team manager of a specialist (children’s) outreach team dealing with crisis interventions, a deputy residential home manager, an NVQ assessor (up to level 4 management), a trainer in dealing with challenging behaviour, drug awareness and therapeutic parenting.
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