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Learning Connected Parenting: How Long Does It Take?

I want to talk today about the length of time it can take to make changes when you’re first learning how to use connected parenting strategies–especially if you grew up in an authoritarian household, or you had a lot of disconnection or maybe trauma in your family background. 

Maybe you look around sometimes and compare yourself to other parents, and it seems like things are going more smoothly for them, and you wonder:

  • Am I doing something wrong? Or
  • What is wrong with me? I’m so bad at parenting! 😞   Or,
  • Can I even do this?

No—nothing is wrong with you and your parenting.

And here’s a tip: If you weren’t closely connected to your parents, that can be enough to make it difficult—even if it’s simply that they weren’t emotionally attuned to you and couldn’t meet your emotional needs.

So, when you go to learn new connected parenting strategies, be prepared that it will take some time and some unravelling of your own past wounds and experiences.

The good news?

You can definitely change.

But you’ll be less likely to get discouraged if you understand:

  • Behaviour may not change quickly, because your kids need to co-regulate with you. That means that you need to have at least *some* regulation on board yourself, and it may take some time for you to learn that.
  • It WILL change eventually, as you learn to become more regulated, and you help your children learn those skills and patterns too.
  • If behaviour does change fairly quickly sometimes—congratulations! Celebrate the successes, but don’t be discouraged if new, unwanted behaviours show up next week or next month. You’ll continually run into new situations because of your kids’ growth and development. Their new stages often trigger your old wounds. It doesn’t mean you’re going backwards. (Phew!) You’re hitting another bump on the road of personal growth and healing old wounds. You *are* making progress.

My main message here is:

Focusing on the practices and strategies that create connection, and show love and promote attachment to the best of your ability at that moment—EVEN if your child’s behaviour is inappropriate or worrisome in the moment—will build a foundation of connection, and will benefit them now and in the long run.

It’s the “long game” and your success is in your using connected practices as consistently as you’re able.