Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft Quotes.

1. "Crying is therapeutic Most people can relate to the calming and stress reducing effect of a good cry. Grieving children should be supported in their need to cry. Unfortunately, children sometimes suppress their tears, thinking that they can control their pain if they control their crying. Parents may find their child’s pain very stressful or threatening and may therefore knowingly or unknowingly suppress natural expressions of grief. They may try to distract the child by promising a treat if he stops crying; cutting the feelings short (Hush, hush); minimizing the feelings (You’re OK now); contradicting his reality (You’re going to love it here); criticizing (Stop making such a fuss); embarrassing (You’re too big to act like such a baby); or threatening (Stop it right now or I’ll give you something to cry about). Crying should be supported with empathy and nurturing. It might be helpful to say something like, I can tell that you are feeling very bad. Maybe it is because we were just looking at pictures of Nana, and you’re thinking about her now and missing her. Let’s sit here together for a while and I’ll rub your back. Don’t rush the toddler’s grief before she is ready to let go of it. When the crying has subsided, offer a cold glass of juice or a walk outside. Often, children are more receptive to being cuddled, making eye contact, and other attachment strategies after an episode of acute sadness."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

2. "PLACEMENT The Physical Transference of Care and Saying Good-bye "A toddler cannot participate in a discussion of the transition process or be expected o understand a verbal explanation. [They benefit] tremendously by experiencing the physical transference of care, and by witnessing the former caregiver's permission and support for [their new guardians] to assume their role. The toddler pays careful attention to the former caregiver's face and voice, listening and watching as [they talk] to [their new guardians] and invites the [guardians'] assumption of the caregiver's role. The attached toddler is very perceptive of [their] caregiver's emotions and will pick up on nonverbal cues from that person as to how [they] should respond to [their] new family. Children who do not have he chance to exchange good-byes or to receive permission to move on are more likely to have an extended period of grieving and to sustain additional damage to their basic sense of trust and security, to their self-esteem, and to their ability to initiate and sustain strong relationships as they grow up. The younger the child, the more important it is that there be direct contact between parents and past caregiveres. A toddler is going to feel conflicting loyalties if [they] are made to feel on some level that [they] must choose between [their] former caregiver and [their] new guardians ..."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

3. "While it is essential to be predictable in meeting a child’s needs, infants and toddlers are amused by parents who are spontaneous and unpredictable in their play. For example, when dressing the toddler, surprise him by blowing raspberries on his tummy and nuzzling his neck. Don’t give up even if he’s unresponsive at first. At first, he may try to camouflage his pleasure by turning his face when he smiles or trying to hide his laughter. Lift him high in the air while proclaiming, Look at what a big boy you are! Twirl around while holding him firmly. Holding his back and head securely, quickly do a knee-drop. Dance together. Gently wrestle. Smile and laugh while doing all of these things so the child associates pleasure with spontaneous laughter and smiling."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

4. "Even though a few adopted toddlers discussed in this book displayed significant attachment problems for years following their adoption, the majority of the children displayed strong attachment to their parents within a few years after their adoption. Most of the children gradually acclimated to their new environment and eventually displayed attachment to their parents. Sometimes the children achieved major milestones within a short period of time, and other times their progress was indicated by tiny baby steps that only a parent would catch. A few parents reported that their children’s progress was only obvious when viewed in retrospect."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

5. "Children test their parents to find out if they will be consistent and trustworthy. Helping children learn to regulate their behavior is about providing appropriate structure and guidance for children, not about punishing inappropriate behavior. Parents have the primary responsibility for providing the support, teaching, and system of rules and expectations that children need to grow up emotionally healthy. These external structures are necessary for children to develop their own internal structure and guidance. Appropriate structure contributes to the development of children’s attachment and self-esteem and helps to make them feel loved and capable. Neglect and punishment, on the other hand, leads to feelings of being unlovable, unworthy, and incompetent."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

6. "There is no simple way to determine when and where to get help. Many factors come into play, including the child’s age, family’s financial status, insurance, knowledge of resources, religious affiliation, availability of services in community, and so on. Parents may seek outside assistance for their adopted child when other factors such as a divorce, job loss, or other stresses compound the family needs. Parents are generally in the best position to determine when to get help, but advice from relatives, family physicians, teachers, and others in a position to know the family should be carefully considered. Services for children with special needs are provided by a variety of professionals. A physician—pediatrician or the family practitioner—is usually the place to begin. Families may be referred to a neurologist for a thorough assessment and diagnosis of neurological functioning (related to cognitive or learning disabilities, seizure disorders or other central nervous system problems). For specific communication difficulties, families may consult with a speech and language therapist, while a physical therapist would develop a treatment plan to enhance motor development. A rehabilitation technologist or an occupational therapist prescribes adaptive aids or activities of daily living. Early childhood educators specializing in working with children with special needs may be called a variety of titles, including Head Start teachers, early childhood special education teacher, or early childhood specialist."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

7. "In the United States, toddlers and preschoolers who might have a physical, sensory, cognitive, or emotional disability are guaranteed the right to a professional assessment and educational services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

8. "How do you feel? Claudia Jewett Jarratt (1994) recommends a strategy to begin helping children identify their emotions correctly in a technique called The Five Faces. Five cards with simple drawings of faces depicting sad, mad, happy, scared, and lonely are used to facilitate conversations about which feeling the person has. To learn the game, the toddler might be asked, Which face shows how you feel about having macaroni and cheese for lunch? Gradually, the cards are used to talk about more important emotionally reactive situations. Even children whose language is not sophisticated enough to participate in the dialogue, but who seem stuck in the angry mode, can benefit from an exploration of emotions."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

9. "Another child-directed activity that reinforces the toddler’s emerging sense of self and provides an opportunity to exert positive control over her own life is any stop/start game. This can be used with any pleasurable activity such as rocking, swinging, gentle wrestling, and so on, but the beginning and ending are determined by the toddler. In A Child’s Journey through Placement, Vera Fahlberg (2012) describes two such activities that delight many toddlers: being lifted high in the air until they yell stop, or gentle tickling in which the child says when to start and stop. Gustavo’s particular version of this game was to be bounced on our knees until shouting, Drop, at which time we were to extend our legs and let him slide down them, while holding firmly to his hands. He would shout, One more time, and the game would be repeated! Toddlers need to practice their emerging sense of autonomy and control within safe and reasonable parameters."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

10. "Alternatives to time-out Isolating children for a period of time has become a popular discipline strategy advocated by many child psychologists and pediatricians. However, newly adopted toddlers seem to be more upset than helped by time-outs. Time-outs are intended to provide an opportunity for both parents and children to calm down and change their behaviors, but it isn’t effective for children who do not have self-calming strategies. Isolation can be traumatic for a toddler who is struggling with grief and/or attachment, and so perceives time-out as further rejection. If the child becomes angrier or more withdrawn as a result of being timed-out, try another strategy. One alternative is for parents to impose a brief time-out on themselves by temporarily withdrawing their attention from their child. For example, the parent whose child is throwing toys stops playing, looks away, and firmly tells the child, I can’t continue playing until you stop throwing your toys. Sitting passively next to the child may be effective, especially if the child previously was engaged in an enjoyable activity with the parent. Another alternative to parent enforced time-outs is self-determined time-outs, where the child is provided the opportunity to withdraw from a conflict voluntarily or at least have some input into the time-out arrangement. The parent could say, I understand that you got very upset when you had to go to your room yesterday after you hit Sara. Can you think of a different place you would like to go to calm down if you feel like getting in a fight? If the child suggests going out on the porch, the next time a battle seems to be brewing, Mom or Dad can say, Do you need to go outside to the porch and calm down before we talk more? Some children eventually reach the level of self-control where they remove themselves from a volatile situation without encouragement from Mom or Dad. These types of negotiations usually work better with older preschoolers or school-age children than they do with toddlers because of the reasoning skills involved. As an alternative to being timed-out, toddlers also can be timed-in while in the safety of a parent’s lap. Holding allows parents to talk to their child about why she’s being removed from an activity. For example, the toddler who has thrown her truck at the cat could be picked up and held for a few minutes while being told, I can’t let you throw your toys at Misty. That hurts her, and in our family we don’t hurt animals. We’ll sit here together until you’re able to calm down. Calming strategies could incorporate music, back rubs, or encouraging the child to breathe slowly. Objects that children are misusing should also be removed. For example, in the situation just discussed, the truck could be timed-out to a high shelf. If parents still decide to physically remove their child for a time-out, it should never be done in a way or place that frightens a toddler. Toddlers who have been frightened in the past by closed doors, dark rooms, or a particular room such as a bathroom should never be subjected to those settings. I know toddlers who, in their terror, have literally trashed the furniture and broken windows when they were locked in their rooms for a time-out. If parents feel a time-out is essential, it should be very brief, and in a location where the child can be supervised."
- Mary Hopkins-Best, Toddler Adoption: The Weaver's Craft

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