DH and I recently started a parenting workshop for adoptive parents. It’s the first time he’s initiated anything like this, so I felt obliged to go along. The course is being offered by Pseifas, a post-adoption center that offers all kinds of evenings, workshops and training for adoptive parents. The course is billed as an Adlerian workshop for adoptive parents. I’ve heard good and bad things about Adler’s theories and how they are taught in parenting classes.

Our therapist, although she’s recommended going to lectures at Pseifas, but she wasn’t too happy that we selected the Adler course, feeling it puts too much emphasis on tough love type parenting. However, after our first three sessions, it seems that they really have tailored this for adoptive parents since the emphasis thus far has been in developing a child’s sense of belonging, part of the attachment issues most adoptive parents face.

One point that stood out for me, and a tip anyone can use, is how to not reward negative behavior. We usually reward negative behavior by spending time talking to the child and explaining why they shouldn’t do x,y or z. The rule is ignore the behavior, not the child. By ignoring the behavior, the child gets no parental benefit like private time to “talk it over”. But not ignoring the child while ignoring the behavior is a bit more challenging. The focus here should be on praising the child once the negative behavior stops.

A simple example is a whiny child. Tell the child to stop whining because you can’t understand what she’s saying when she whines. Then ignore the whining. As soon as she stops whining, praise her, “Excellent, now that I understand!”.

Granted, whining is a fairly easy one.