I am often asked as a therapist working with children about parenting resources. I often recommend as a good parenting resource the website of the Center for Reflective Communities (Formerly Centrum for Reflective Parenting.) You can find their website at www.reflectivecommunities.org.
The center for reflective parenting develops parenting workshops that are based on cutting edge research in the field of mentalization, and reflective functioning. The relevance of their work is that they help parents approach their child from multiple perspectives. This ability to approach the child from a multitude of different vantage points will lead to a positive relationship, a secure attachment.
Sometimes the relationship between a parent and a child gets stuck when child and parent are stuck in one interpretation. For example, a parent comes in to talk about the child and says that the child is often 'lying,' A reflective approach can help the parent look at this 'lying' from different perspectives. This word 'lying' with its moral judgments ... might lead to interactions where the both parent and child feel misunderstood. Through reflective practice the parent might come to realize that there are many different varieties and reasons for lying, and might come to a hypothesis as to why the child might be doing this. Expressing these reflections might help the child move beyond this. It will typically lead to a different interactive pattern than the child 'lying', and the parent punishing the child for lying, and accomplishing nothing, as the child will typically continue with 'lying,'
In difficult divorce cases it is often the case that parents lose their reflective capacity, Because they might feel so hurt they can only look at things from their perspective. This perspective seems to completely eclipse the perspective of the child. This is often so strong that although the parent notices this, he or she is not able to step out of it. It is often confounded by the fact that when the child is very young, the parents are unaware of their child's perspective at all. The parent might think that a 1 or 2 year old child might not be affected greatly by this. Unfortunately, this leaves the child in the lurch.
For a parent to make a habit of not just reacting to the behavior, but of reflecting on what might be behind the behavior of your child is a crucial step in building that secure attachment with their child. Psychotherapeutic work with children and parents can be at least in part be understood as a breaking open of interpretations, 'meanings' that are too rigid and non productive; or only tend to produce quarrels and yelling, and not much fun.
To schedule an appointment call An Bulkens at (530) 321-2970