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Traditions and Rituals for Step Families

If you are in a stepfamily and struggling for some sense of family identity, don’t despair. You can enhance your feeling of togetherness with the use of family rituals and traditions.

Rituals allow nontraditional and traditional families to form collective identities, facilitate healing, celebrate life changes, and pass on expressions of beliefs. Rituals include daily activities, even if they are taken for granted, such as getting ready for bed, eating at the table, and watching a television program. They can also be much more elaborate, although not necessarily more symbolic, such as weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, graduations, and religious ceremonies.

Regardless of their format, rituals are an important aspect of our social lives, and parents can utilize this hidden resource in developing more intimate families. Family therapists have used the concept of rituals to help families that have been hurt by past actions toward one another or by an unexpected traumatic situation. Wedding vows have been restated by stepfamilies and have included all family members, including the children. Letters of anger and sadness have been written to unknown mothers and fathers and then ceremonially burned or destroyed as an act of saying good-bye. Marriage bands have been melted down or thrown into the middle of lakes to break emotional ties and symbolize the need for an emotional divorce, even after families have already been legally divorced. Again, how one performs these valuable tools is not as important as finding a way to signify a gain, loss, or both in the lives of families.

Often the most powerful rituals and traditions are the ones that come up naturally in a family. Forcing a tradition, in a stepfamily especially, is a guaranteed way to create more disharmony. Keep an eye on routines and activities that bio and nonbio family members seem to enjoy. What causes anxiety and frustration to leave the home and fosters a fun, creative, or relaxed atmosphere? Do more of those things.

If you still are unable to come up with a family ritual or tradition, have a family meeting or kitchen table discussion about what members of the family would like to do on a regular basis. You might be surprised what ideas come up. If reasonable, try these suggestions until you find one (or two) that fit your newly formed family.

As children get older and situations change, rituals and traditions may leave or no longer be of interest. If they are not related to deep spiritual values, allow them to pass and look for new ones to arrive. Rituals and traditions are there to serve your family and not the other way around.

The Power-FULL Family: New Faith-In-Motion Seminar

Join me at the March Faith-In-Motion Seminar on March 26th, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. I will share on how to turn power struggles into opportunities for greater intimacy and cooperation. Power-less families engage in power struggles in order to “feel” powerful. Power-less families must be empowered to “know” they are powerful. It is a question of identity that doesn’t let circumstances and situations determine who we are.

Foster and Adoptive families will discover faith-based perspectives on attachment and trauma and find a way to greater healing!

Download here: FIM March flyer

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What’s Your Parenting Style?

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What’s your parenting style? Are you happy with the results you get from your interaction with your children? What about with your spouse? Do the two of you work well together or do you have oppositive ways of parenting that results in arguments and resentments?

This doesn’t have to spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for your family. Even complete opposites can learn how to work together by focusing on each other’s strengths and compensating for each other’s weaknesses.

Parenting styles can be categorized into four main styles that correspond to a balance of “love and limits” that include:

 
* Rejecting/Neglecting Style: Low Love and Low Limits.

* Authoritarian Style: Low Love and High Limits.

* Permissive Style: High Love and Low Limits.

* Democratic or Balanced Style: High Love and High Limits.

“Love and limits” are terms that describe a parents discipline orientation. Parents who are oriented toward a “relational discipline orientation” are said to use love as their primary style of parenting. Parents who use “action discipline orientation” are said to use limits as their primary style of parenting.

All parents incorporate both love and limits in their style of parenting. It is the balance of love and limits that determine a parent’s particular style. Only the democratic or balanced parenting style have both high love and high limits. In addition, each style has strengths and weaknesses inherent in them and are learned from the important parental figures in our lives. These figures are usually our own parents.

Parents who use love as their primary style (permissive parents) consider love to be more important than limits. They also use the attachment and their bond with their child to teach right from wrong. They spend a lot of time with the child communicating, negotiating, and reasoning. Their value is on “increasing their child’s self-esteem” or “making them feel special.”

Parents who use limits as their primary style (authoritarian parents) consider limits as more important than love (relationship). They use an external control to teach right from wrong and are quick to act on a discipline problem. Consequently, children are usually quick to react and rarely get their parents to negotiate. The value is on “teaching respect” and “providing structure.”

Parenting styles are defined as the “manner in which parents express their beliefs about how to be a good or bad parent. All parents (at least 99%) want to be a good parent and avoid doing what they consider to be a bad parent. Parents adopt the styles of parenting learned from their parents because

1) They don’t know what else to do

or

2) They feel that this is the right way to parent.

You can learn how to balance love in limits in your relationships using our Family Healer School ecourse “Parenting Styles: How to Balance Love and Limits” (CLICK HERE). 

Riding the Wave of Change Together: Foster Parent Conference

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It is my honor to present at the 41st Annual State-Wide Foster Parent Conference in Garden Grove, CA. on October 12th, 2017. The conference is entitled: “Riding the Wave of Change Together.

I will be teaching a 4-hour seminar on  The Trauma Toolbox – NeuroResilience: How to Trauma Proof Your Nervous System and Healing Strategies for the Hurt Family. 

Descriptions of the seminar are as follows:

You have a beautifully designed brain and nervous system, but what happens when it is exposed to toxic stress and trauma?  Learn the basic components of NeuroResilience to calm the brain and body with easy-to-use nervous system hacks.

How do power-full families live in close relationships with one another?  Learn how to decrease power struggles and teach children to be responsible and fun to be around.  Use practical, power-full parenting tools with interactive activities to help your family heal.

This seminar will be fun, informal, and always functional. Hope to see you there!

Conference Presentation Slides: Click here!

A family is a group of power-full people…

Ron’s Reading: Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries

One of the most common aggravations experienced by parents is the “power struggle”. It usually happens when the parent has to get to work or needs to finish dinner or help the child with their homework. Right in the middle of this urgent time, the child decides to exercise their will and demand a treat or refuse to put on their shoes or wants to argue about some topic they really don’t know anything about. Regardless of the circumstances, the outcome is two yelling, arguing, snorting, bug-eyed people who just want the other person to do what they want them to do. No fun for anyone!

Why does this happen so often in families? Danny Silk is one of my favorite authors and I recommend his books to many of the parents I work within family therapy or parenting workshops. In his book: “Keeping Your Love On: Connections, Communication & Boundaries” he shares how a family is a group of powerful people who are trying to learn how to live in powerful ways. He writes: “If you heard someone described as a powerful person, you might assume he or she would be the loudest person in the room, the one telling everyone else what to do. But powerful does not mean dominating. In fact, a controlling, dominating person is the very opposite of a powerful person. Powerful people do not try to control other people. They know it doesn’t work, and it’s not their job. Their job is to control themselves.”

The trick, for parents, is not to demand respect but to create a respectful environment where non-respect, talking back and control simply can’t exist. There just isn’t enough oxygen for those negative elements to survive. Learning how to be a powerful and responsible person is one of the most important tasks of parenting.

You can get more information (and read along with me) on Danny’s book here: Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries

 

Understanding Generational Patterns of Parenting

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A generational pattern refers to behaviors or attitudes that are passed from one generation to another. This usually occurs through “learned behavior.” Take bad parenting, for example, …if you grew up in a home with abuse or neglect you might have vowed that you would never do to your own children what your parents did to you…but what happens to many families who make this vow? They end up saying and acting in a similar manner. You know the moment I am referring to when you yell at your children and realize that sounds just your mother or father? Not a good moment, right? But we learn how to act or react, right or wrong, from the previous generation 

Take a moment and think something GOOD that you learned from your family of origin. Maybe it was how to cook or build things or a love to read poetry. 

It would be nice if all we learned was the good stuff and we never learn anything bad from our parents but unfortunately, we do get both. Some of this is genetic. We can have temperaments, chemical makeups, and other inherited traits that come from our parents. We could grow up in a poor family and adopt some ideas about the need to “count pennies” even when we are not poor in our current family. We can also inherit depression and anxiety just like we can inherit medical issues, like certain genetic disorders or diseases.

Being able to accept the good with the bad is part of a healthy mind. This ability to understand the limitations of one’s parents and not be influenced by them is what clinicians called having a “coherent narrative.” This essentially means your story with all the good, bad, and the ugly is part of who you are but it doesn’t have to continue to define you. Your identity and your ability to have healthy, secure relationship are under your control.

Get the pdf of the slides for this seminar here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7g20sqv5f9g9uzn/Generational%20Patterns%20of%20Parenting%202.pdf?dl=0

If you would like to have Ron come speak on the Generational Patterns of Parenting to your organization or conference, contact him at rehuxley@gmail.com or call 805-709-2023.

Register for the upcoming workshop here:  https://ronhuxley.wordpress.com/2017/08/26/understanding-generational-patterns-of-parenting/

 

 

Understanding Generational Patterns of Parenting

Understanding Generational Patterns of Parenting

The impact of trauma on caregiver/child relationships and attachment.
When
September 22nd, 2017
from 9 am to 4 pm
Where

San Luis Coastal Adult School
1500 Lizzie Street, Room J2
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Driving Directions




Parent Connection has selected you to attend this one day workshop.
Ron Huxley, our trainer, is a noted child and family therapist, speaker and blogger who helps families in need of hope and restoration in San Luis Obispo County. 
___________________________________________
Parenting is never easy. As professionals working with parents/caregivers it is important to understand some of the challenges present in generational patterns of parenting. These challenges include:
  • The transmission of trauma from one generation to another
  • Adult Attachment challenges
  • The life-cycle of parenting
  • The importance of addressing survival needs and immediate crisis before addressing sensitive, underlying trauma and unexplored issues
Through building healthy communication habits, modeling characteristics of self-aware adults, and providing concrete tools and strategies, you can build confidence and restore hope for parents/caregivers.
_________________________________________________
There will be 5 contact hours through the
Board of Behavioral Sciences.
  (This only applies to Therapists and Social Workers)
 
This training is appropriate for professionals working with parents and caregivers of children of any age.
Including parent educators, family advocates, social workers, therapists and counselors, teachers, childcare providers and health care providers. 


Are you Parenting a Prince or a Pauper?

Previously posted on Parenting Toolbox November 2014 by Ron Huxley, LMFT

There are areas in our parenting where we think like princes or princesses. We are fully confident in our abilities to handle a situation. There are also areas where we think like paupers, poor in attitude and low in confidence. A prince is rich in resources and doesn’t worry about a positive future. They know respect and honor from those around them. A pauper lives by survival skills and manipulation and secrecy is the game of life. A prince feels deserving of worthy and is valued and feels valuable. A pauper feels worthlessness, shame, and guilt.

Are you a consciously parenting a prince or a pauper? Do you feel confident and worthy to the task? Are you controlled by guilt, manipulation, and shame? Do you experience respect or disdain from your family members? Is your household ruled by love or fear?

It is possible to think like a prince in some areas of our lives and like a pauper in others at the same time. It may not be all of our parenting that suffers but there may be some key areas that are creating some big trouble. Take time to honestly evaluate where you are thinking like a prince or a pauper. Allow yourself to find new value and think differently about your family relationships. Create a self-care plan. Read, watch, listen or hang out with people who believe they are a prince and princess. They will model how to have a different mindset for parenting and life.

A parenting pauper has few or no tools to build a family of their dreams. A parenting prince or princess has many tools in their parenting toolbox. Get more parenting tools by using our online parenting ecourses in our Family Healer School!

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Have a Total Family Makeover: From the Inside Out!

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New: Family Healer Parenting Bundle

If you are not living in the family of your dreams then it is time to start transforming it from the inside out! 

Stop trying to manage behavior and start restoring the HEART with these Power-FULL Parenting Courses:

1. The Art and Science of Creating Better Behaved Children in 24 Hours!

2. The Full-Proof Family Meeting: How to Create Teamwork, Build Self-Esteem, and Have More Fun!

3. Parenting Styles: Balancing Love and Limits.

4. Spiritual Parenting: Developing Strong Character in Your Children.

You could spend hours and a LOT of money on attempting to “fix” everyone…You could keep on trying to control, manipulate, threaten, bribe, or just shut down emotionally. 

OR 

You could use these tools – proven with thousands of parents over 3 decades of family therapy experience – to rebuild and restore your home to a place of peace and joy. 

Let’s do it! Click here to get more info…