Responsive Parenting

Building trust with empathy and love

Responding to the Needs of Children and the Families Who Care for Them

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I am a mother of three and I share my life with my very loving, and patient husband and partner. I have a Degree in Child Development and a Diploma in Early Childhood Education. I have experience in many areas of child development, education and community support including parent support, inclusive learning environments, Forest and Nature Schools, Reggio Emelia Schools and Early literacy support. I’m certified in Mental Health First Aid, RIRO and Hanon. I have done extensive research on breastfeeding, attachment and infant/child sleep.
Our approach to parenting is based on the Principles of Responsive Parenting. I wrote these principles as an affirmation of the parent I want to be, not always the parent I am. I try to live these principles and when I don’t quite follow my own advice, I reflect on that experience. We offer a unique approach to parenting where we don’t really try to change our children’s behaviour but rather, try to understand it and support their needs.
The intention of this blog is to support and inspire parents. To give them permission to be themselves, to make mistakes and to grow and learn from them. I hope to validate what parents already know, that they are the experts on their children and only they know what unique journey their family has been on. When you are faced with a parenting situation that challenges your morals and values, I hope this blog will encourage you to reflect on those gut feelings all humans have relied on for hundreds of years.
In 2016 Zero to Three released their findings from a survey they conducted with parents (National Parent Survey). The survey focused on approaches to parenting, influences, support and self-reflection. They found there is a “trust gap” that is acting as a barrier to providing families with the support they want and need. They found
Parents do want guidance from child development professionals. 54% of parents say they would like information from a “special web site or blog from child development experts.”
That is the reason I started this blog. I can imagine parents don’t know what information to believe. I have the cheat notes to the test and I’m still just hoping I pass.
63% of parents overall say “I am skeptical of people who give parenting advice and recommendations if they don’t know my child and my situation specifically.”
I believe the reason they feel that way is because there is no “one answer.” It’s one of those tests where the cheat notes are useless. Here’s the good news, you are the expert when it comes to your child. You might be saying “really it doesn’t feel like that?” That’s where child development knowledge can help make sense of this journey called parenting (where you lost the map, have made 65 unexpected pit stops and packed everything you could think of and haven’t needed anything you packed). I think one of the hardest things for all of us to accept is just because you do everything “correctly,” that does not mean your child will not be a child and will suddenly stop having big emotions at inconvenient times, or trying to sneak cookies, or bring frogs into the kitchen.
What a responsive, positive and peaceful approach can do is lessen the frequency, duration and intensity of challenging behaviours and help you feel more connected to your child and your parenting identity overall. Even if you handle a situation in a responsive and positive way and your child continues to express big emotions, or not sleep, or not eat, what you are doing is modelling kindness, support, empathy, self-regulation and positive problem solving skills for your child.
Alfie Kohn says “kids are not giving us a hard time they are HAVING a hard time.” I want to support parents so they have the motivation and inspiration to be there for their children. I am not about perfect parenting. I believe in connection, intention, self-reflection, modelling, honesty and most of all unconditional love.
There is not one know-all website or book that will give you all the answers to your child. If there was, you would be the author. I can only share my personal and professional experiences and hope they resonate with some parents. Whether you feel you know who you are as a parent or you are still searching for your parenting identity, I hope you will enjoy my contribution to the world of blogging.
“Resilience requires relationships, not rugged individualism. The capacity to adapt and thrive despite adversity develops through the interaction of supportive relationships, biological systems, and gene expression. Despite the widespread yet erroneous belief that people need only draw upon some heroic strength of character, science now tells us that it is the reliable presence of at least one supportive relationship and multiple opportunities for developing effective coping skills that are the essential building blocks for strengthening the capacity to do well in the face of significant adversity.” Centre of the Developing Child- Harvard University-8 Things to Remember about Child Development

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