Part II of the Power to Parent series focuses on how to help children realize their potential as human beings. Since growing older is no guarantee of growing up, knowing how to foster maturation is key to raising children. The material is presented in such a way that engages parents while educating professionals as well.

Course Description

General information about the three-part Power to Parent series

This three-part Power to parent series delivers the best that developmental science has to offer to those who are our children`s best bet - parents and those who support them. The effect of the material is to restore parents to their natural intuition as well as to their rightful place in their children`s lives. The principles and dynamics apply to children of any age. Although some attention is given to the more perplexing problems of childhood, the general thrust of the course concerns issues and challenges facing most every parent.

This parent education series offers a complete approach to parenting. Rather than dumbing parents down with prescriptive solutions and superficial strategies, this series truly informs and educates so that parents can become the true experts in their children’s lives. The basic attachment and developmental needs of children are uncovered so that parents can become the answer to these needs. Challenging problems are explained is such a way that the root problems can be addressed.

Dr. Neufeld has had exceptional success as a parent consultant, working with thousands of families over the years. In this three-part series, he shares the insights and understandings that have changed the ways of countless of parents to the benefit of thousands of children.

The goal is to restore parents to their natural intuition

The prevailing assumption today is that the key to parenting is in knowing what to do. Since children aren`t born with a manual, today`s parents are becoming more dependent upon so-called experts for advice. Yet despite more experts and advice than ever before, parenting is actually becoming more difficult and contrived. The problem, according to Dr. Neufeld, is that the power to parent is slipping away. Parents were never meant to have the most important responsibilities on earth without the corresponding power to do the job. Yet this is the predicament of a growing number of parents who are losing their power to guide and direct their children, to shield and protect them, to nurture and fulfill them, and even to transmit their culture to them.

Parenting should be quite natural and instinctive. Like most deeply rooted instincts, however, the right context is required to `push the right buttons` in both parents and their children. Science has revealed this context to be the child`s attachment to the parent. When a child is in right relationship to the parent, not only is the child rendered receptive to parenting but the parent is empowered to do the job. The key therefore to effective parenting lies not in what we do but in who we are to our children.

It is the role of culture to create and preserve this context of connection between children and their parents. Unfortunately, today`s society has taken an economic turn and no longer serves this vital function. As the context for parenting is being eroded, parents are losing the natural power required to fulfill their responsibilities.

The antidote to our present predicament is to become conscious of attachment and to make sense of our children from inside out. In this way we can restore natural intuition and interact in ways that support healthy development. If we fail to do this we run the risk of becoming more reactive, or alternatively, becoming more contrived in our interaction as we follow the cues of advice-givers rather than finding our own intuitive path.

What parents need is insight, not skill

What we do is determined more by what we see than any other factor, including the strategies we have learned, the books we have read and the knowledge that we have acquired. The more accurate our insight, the more fruitful our interaction. When a child makes sense to us from inside out, a dance evolves that is natural, intuitive, effective and affirming for both the child and the adult. Developmental science has progressed to where it is now able to equip both parents and professionals with the insights that are necessary to understand our children and interact accordingly. This parenting series is founded on the firm conviction that when we are able to truly make sense of a child in a context of compassion, we will discover within ourselves a dance that corresponds.

What parents need is natural power, not manipulative tricks

Parenting is meant to be power-assisted. Like the cars we drive, many would be too much to handle without some power to assist us. When one is in the middle of driving and the engine cuts, managing a car designed to be power assisted can be a handful if not impossible. To manage children when our parenting power is insufficient is likewise daunting if not next to impossible. Yet millions of parents are attempting to do just that and not even aware that something is amiss.

We tend to take the power to parent for granted. There is little we can do with a child, however, that is not predisposed to attend to us, to look up to us, to depend upon us, to ask for help, to take the cues from us or to want to be good for us. These inclinations are not inherent in a child`s personality nor the result of skilled parenting. Rather, they are the fruit of a good working attachment to the parent. When the attachment is weak or lacking, these predispositions will be missing in a child. When this is the case, parents are rendered impotent and parenting becomes difficult, contrived and unnatural. Parental impotence is becoming a common affliction but rarely is it recognized for what it is. We are more likely to assume that we lack the necessary skill or that we have a difficult child. The most instinctive reaction when lacking natural power is to become more forceful. Unfortunately, applying leverage such as sanctions and separation to coerce a child into compliance will not only provoke resistance but also damage the very relationship that empowers us. Sadly, such is the state of parenting today. Only when we realize our true source of power will we do everything in our power to safeguard it. Unless we have our children`s hearts, we will be unable to fulfill our parental responsibilities. Once we have our children`s hearts, we need to hold on to them until our task is done.

The secret of the power to parent lies in children being in right relationship to their parents. The more difficult the child or the problems, the more this is true. It is this very relationship that is being eroded by cultural chaos, by competing attachments to peers, and by parenting practices that interfere with the development of attachment. To compensate for the loss of cultural wisdom we must become conscious of attachment and then parent with attachment in mind. The only salvation for parenting that is truly natural and intuitive is to work at attachment and let attachment work for us.

Today's parents are not only shy of power but power shy. Power has become a dirty word, undoubtedly because so many of us have experienced its abuse. Yet the most important responsibilities on earth are impossible to fulfill without the power to do the job. And when we don`t have the natural power required to parent, we are tempted to resort to forcefulness and manipulation, as is the growing trend among many parents today. Examples of such coercive practices include the use of time-outs and the tendency to use what children care most about against them (often euphemized as consequences and sanctions). The kind of power that arises spontaneously out of a correctly aligned attachment relationship enables parents to be highly effective without needing to be punitive or coercive. We need to overcome our aversion to power in order to assume our rightful position in our children`s lives. The kind of power that should be eschewed is power devoid of corresponding responsibility.

The history & genesis of the Power to Parent series:

The Power to Parent series had its beginnings in a parent discussion group that grew out of popular demand from young parents who took Dr. Neufeld`s university courses on developmental psychology and parent-child relations. It gradually evolved into an eight-session evening course called Making Sense of Kids that was in high demand by parents and professionals in the Vancouver area for many years. Because of Dr. Neufeld`s widespread reputation, pressure mounted to film the course and make it available to others. The result is the Power to Parent series, a three part trilogy of eight session courses.

The primary objectives of the Power to Parent series:

The primary objective of our parent education is to equip adults to raise children with attachment in mind and with true maturation the end result. Our method is to make sense of children to the adults responsible for them. In providing the conceptual underpinnings to natural intuition, our goal is to restore parents to their rightful place in their children’s lives.

Suitability/Applicability

This course is suitable for both parents and professionals although it is addressed primarily to parents, with a focus on parenting. Usually one-third of the course participants work with families or children in one context or another. While the material applies equally to the school setting, the day-care setting, and to direct treatment venues, those involved in such settings may need to engage in some transposing of the material. This usually happens quite spontaneously and intuitively on the part of professionals.

The material and principles discussed are applicable to children of all ages. The focus of this course is on everyday parenting and everyday problems but the material applies even more so to the more challenging scenarios and problems.

This course can be used for professional development, personal growth, preparation for parenting and even as a primer or enrichment for grandparenting.

The prerequisite for this course is The Vital Connection (Power to Parent I).

Topics/Objectives

This course will help shed light on:

  • what it means to "raise a child"
  • nature's role in maturation
  • the parent's role in maturation
  • how to give children the rest they need to grow
  • how to provide more than is being pursued
  • how to fulfill a child's attachment hunger
  • how to instill confidence in ourselves as providers
  • how to keep the connection safe and secure
  • how rest nurtures growth
  • how attachment gives birth to emergence
  • how to draw out emergent activity
  • how to give the room a child needs
  • how to get a child into the driver's seat
  • how nature moves a child to adapt
  • why some children lose their tears and what the cost is
  • what futilities children need to face
  • how to present futility to a child and draw out sadness
  • the natural solution to impulsiveness and egocentrism
  • when a child is truly ready for social interaction
  • the dangers of hurried parenting
  • nature's blueprint for building character
  • how to set the stage for mixed feelings
  • how to use 'tempering' as a discipline technique
  • how to deal with the untempered child

Course Outline

The videocourse is divided into eight one-hour sessions.

Session 1: Parents and the Miracle of Maturation

- the growth analogy introduced

- the relative role of learning and maturation

- immaturity a primary cause of problems

- growth is rooted in attachment

- growth emanates from a place of rest

- the three maturing processes introduced

- maturation & the plant analogy

- maturation and the engine analogy

Session 2: How to Give Children the REST they Need to Grow

- how to take charge of the proximity work

- how to provide more than is being pursued

- how to keep the connection safe and secure

- how to fulfill a child’s attachment hunger

- how to convey trust in a child’s becoming

- two core reasons for chronic restlessness

Session 3: THE KEYS TO INDEPENDENCE AND RESPONSIBILITY

- introducing the emergent process and its fruit

- the three tell-tale signs of the emergent life-force at work

- five ways in which children need to venture forth

- attachment and emergence

- why the nonemergent have trouble learning and behaving

Session 4: How to help children become their own persons

- how to draw out emergent activity

- how to give the ROOM a child needs

- how to nurture emergence by placing in charge

- how to get a child into the driver’s seat of life

- how to protect budding emergence and individuality

- how to deal with the nonemergent child

Session 5: Keys to Resilience, Resourcefulness & Recovery

- introducing the adaptive process and its fruit

- why children need to find their tears

- why some children lose their tears

- how some children emerge through attachment loss & lack

- why the tearless have problems learning and behaving

Session 6: How to help children accept limits and adapt to circumstances

- how to be both an agent of futility and an angel of comfort

- how to do the three-step dance of adaptation

- how to keep from spoiling one’s child

- how to know when a child needs to be danced to the turning point

- how to deal with the tearless child

Session 7: KEYS TO EMOTIONAL AND SOCIAL MATURITY

- introducing the integrative process and its fruit

- the miracle of mixed feelings

- the neuroscience of maturation

- the stages of integrative development

- how Nature builds character & fosters morality

- why some children lack mixed feelings

- the magic of addition

- how to become a well-tempered parent

Session 8: HOW TO HELP CHILDREN FIND THEIR SELF-CONTROL AND SOCIAL SENSITIVITY

- how to get a good mix

- how to set the stage for mixed feelings

- how to use ‘tempering’ as a discipline technique

- how to know when your child suffers from the ‘preschooler syndrome’

- how to deal with the impulsive and immature child

Registration Details

The tuition fee for taking Helping Children Grow Up (Power to Parent II) through continuing education is $200. This includes a virtual campus pass of three months to access the videocourse material as well as other supporting materials. If a personal copy of the DVD set is desired, the tuition fee is $275.

The tuition fees for live courses arranged by individual Neufeld Course Facilitators or by other agencies are set independently and may differ from course to course.

The prerequisite for this course is The Vital Connection (Power to Parent I).

Course Coordinator

Neufeld Institute Faculty member Tamara Strijack is the coordinator for this course. 

© 2016 The Neufeld Institute
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