Our parent education is truly distinctive in the field, offering a comprehensive approach to parenting that aims to help parents become the answers to their children’s attachment and developmental needs. The teaching is highly professional and the material is solidly based on developmental science. Dr. Neufeld has a reputation for handling audiences that vary widely in education without compromising the concepts or talking down to anyone.
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. This material has brought hope and change to thousands of parents and their children.
An overview of our parent education offerings
Our parent education consists of three main courses as well as a number of supplemental courses. Our flagship series, and the foundation of our program, is the three-part Power to Parent series for parents of children of all ages. The topic of the first course is attachment and the focus is on cultivating and preserving the context of connection required to render children receptive to our parenting. The topic of the second course is how to help children realize their full potential as human beings: adaptive, resilient, independent, emergent, considerate, and civilized. The topic of the third course is how to handle the common challenges and problem behaviour that most parents face from time to time, without causing harm to the child-parent relationship or to healthy development.
For parents of preteens and adolescents, we have the eight-session Making Sense of Adolescence course. This course unravels the mysteries of adolescence and provides helpful suggestions for how parents can help their teens successfully negotiate the rites of passage as they cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood.
For parents who are raising children who were not born to them (adopted, foster and step children), we have designed a specific course to help understand and deal with the special challenges involved: Art and Science of Transplanting Children. This eight-session course is also appropriate for the helping professionals involved.
There are also a number of specialty courses on specific topics: anxiety, discipline, attention problems, alpha problems, play, aggression, counterwill (ie, resistance and oppositionality), raising children in the digital world. These courses range in length from two hours to four hours and are applicable to both parents and professionals.
How our parent education courses can be used
Our parent education courses are perfectly suited for use by school districts, churches and government agencies. There is a huge need for responsible parent education; schools as well as churches could probably take more of a lead in this regard. These science-based parent education courses reach a broad range of parents and resonate regardless of culture or religion.
Our 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 natural 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.
Our method is to provide insight
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. Our parent education 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.