Empowered To Connect

Posts by Amy Monroe

Practice Making Mistakes…And Repairing Them

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

When parents make mistakes it can actually be healthy for both them and their children, so long as parents are quick to repair the ruptured connection. This is certainly good news, given that all parents are prone to their fair share of mistakes.

So here’s a challenge for all parents — let’s practice making mistakes (not intentionally, of course) and repairing them so that we and our children can grow and learn, and our connection can be strengthened. Are you up for it?

Finding God in the “What If’s”

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Have you ever had those “what if” thoughts as a parent? You know the ones. What if my child never sleeps through the night? What if he doesn’t make it through this school year? What if she embarrasses me in public, again? What if he melts down at church when everyone is watching? What if the violent outbursts never stop? What if he never graduates high school or can’t get into college? What if she never accepts my love? What if he never learns to trust me? What if life never returns to normal?

Life is full of “what if’s” and the adoption journey certainly offers no respite from this reality. Most of us embarked on this adventure full of hopes and dreams. Many of those dreams remain; some are but a distant memory. Maybe you remain hopeful, or maybe your hope is fading – or maybe both.

Learning to Keep Your Balance

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

What if becoming the parent God has called you to be to your child from a hard place means that you need to un-learn as much or more than you need to learn? What if many of the popular approaches to parenting and discipline, many of which are regarded as “biblical,” actually aren’t best for your child given his background and history and what he needs to heal and grow? What if the parenting program you previously used, even with great success, when raising and training your other children needs to be significantly altered or even discarded for the child you adopted? What if the parenting techniques that most of your friends are using or that you grew up with are likely to be ineffective in achieving long-lasting change for the child you now love and desire to connect with?

I believe that parents need to seriously consider these and many similar questions as they set the course for how to best relate to and parent children from hard places.

Teaching Your Values By Living Them First

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Part of the role of good Christian parents is undoubtedly teaching their children the values they cherish. We want our children to understand the importance of these values and, more importantly, to live a life that reflects them. Respect for others (and yourself), kindness, gentleness, self-control and other similar character qualities provide our children with a solid foundation and prepare them for the future. The question for parents, however, is how best to teach these values in ways our children can understand and make their own. Specifically, we need to ask how we can best do this for our children who come from hard places and have not had these things consistently taught, modeled or esteemed.

Learning to Trust and Let Go of Fear

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fear — it is a crippling and sometimes debilitating feeling, but it is so much more than a feeling. For many children from hard places, fear is a constant, though unwelcome, companion. It is a way of life. From research we know that fear left unaddressed can have pervasive and long-lasting effects on a child, including negative impacts on cognitive ability, sensory processing, brain chemistry, brain development, ability to focus and ability to trust. As a result, it distorts and dictates much of what our children are dealing with.

Seeing Beyond the Obvious

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

It is often difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible, to see beyond our children’s behaviors. And yet, that is exactly what children—particularly those from hard places—need for us to do. Our children desperately need parents who can see beyond their behaviors to the real child that is locked inside a fortress of fear, confusion and shame.

At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that “seeing beyond” our children’s behaviors is not the same as overlooking behaviors that are unhealthy, unacceptable and hold them back. Some parents at this point may be tempted to respond, “How can we just let our children get away with bad behavior? Isn’t it our responsibility to teach them right and wrong and to discipline them accordingly?” The answer is certainly yes, but as we seek to do this it is important that we remain focused on the primary goal.

Building Trust By Saying Yes

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Children need a balance of nurture and structure in order to learn to trust and grow. Parents can provide this balance by learning to offer “yes’s” (nurture) as much as possible, along with the “no’s” (structure) that are invariably required to protect and teach their children.

Watch as Amy Monroe explains the importance of saying “yes” to your child (as much as possible).

Starting at the Beginning for Your Child

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Researchers have documented the profound and lasting effects that early care or the lack thereof have on the development of trust (“I am safe”), self-worth (“I am precious”) and self-efficacy (“I am heard”). In addition, developmental researchers widely acknowledge that the formative early days dramatically influence attachment relationships and also have dramatic and lasting effects on brain development and brain chemistry. Tragically, many of the children that we love and serve came into an unwelcoming world and started life amidst very difficult circumstances. These heartbreaking early harms and losses often hold our children back from developing in healthy or optimal ways and too often prevent them from developing trust and understanding just how precious they truly are.

Real Hope in the Balance

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The challenges, problems and pain that our children face are real, and as a result, they affect us as parents as well. These challenges impact the whole child; and therefore, we must be willing to engage and embrace our children (and ourselves!) holistically. At the same time, we must always remember there are no quick fixes—merely changing behaviors will not accomplish what is needed. Our goal must be nothing less than healing for the whole child. Much like our own journey of spiritual healing and maturity, the healing we desire for our children will be a process, and it must be anchored by hope—real hope.

How Do You Measure Success as a Parent?

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It is critically important for parents to remain focused on what it means to be successful as they navigate the adoption or foster care journey. Watch as Amy & Michael Monroe share their insights about how to measure success on this journey.