Dr. Karyn Purvis discusses different discipline strategies adoptive parents and foster families can utilize with their children to help promote deeper connections. Empowering, connecting, and correcting are three principles she highlights when working with children. The IDEAL response strategy is shown to assist with correcting behavior. Lastly, she reviews the importance of trust and refraining from using control strategies to help make deeper connections and promote behavioral changes.
This video lesson presented by Dr. Karyn Purvis, reviews effective discipline strategies and learning how to connect with children. Dr. Purvis explains the strategies discussed can be used for every family, not just for foster or adoptive families. During the lesson, she reviews three principles she utilizes when working with children: empowering, connecting and correcting.
Dr. Purvis discusses the connection between empowerment and the body. Nurturing a child with food, helping manage sleeping habits, and maintaining cortisol levels are a few of the examples used to describe empowerment. When a child is dehydrated, this can result in glutamate spikes. These spikes are associated with negative behaviors, so it is important to keep a child hydrated to avoid bad behaviors. Another example to empower the child and promote positive behaviors would be if a child complains about being hungry at school, to leave food with a school counselor the child is able to access throughout the day if needed. Misbehavior can likely be avoided if the child knows there is food waiting for them and as a result, they are better able to focus in school.
It is difficult to remember that an eight-year-old vs. a newborn need the same type of deep connection when brought into the home. Dr. Purvis recommends parents make creative, proactive, and purposeful connections with an older child if they want to be successful in correcting behavior. Additionally, light touch and acknowledging the child is precious, are shown to promote deeper connections. Dr. Purvis encourages parents to participate in activities that allow the child to make connections on their own, to help get the child’s needs met. When working with her own child, Dr. Purvis would tell her son to come tell her when he needed attention, they set a timer, and she would do whatever activity her son wanted to do for 15 minutes. Most often, the bad behavior dissipated. Dr. Purvis encourages parents to come without an agenda and “be a blank slate.”
Dr. Purvis correlates the principle of connection with the child’s spirit and the last principle of correcting with the soul. She reviews the IDEAL response strategy to assist with correcting behavior. The “I” in IDEAL stands for immediate. Dr. Purvis explains the importance of a parent trying to respond within three seconds to their child to turn that experience into long-term memory. “D” stands for direct and discusses going directly into the child’s space to address a behavior most effectively and “E” stands for efficient. Dr. Purvis provided an example of a child who threw a temper tantrum for about 40 minutes and became depleted. To help the child feel empowered, the parent would provide them with a snack and suggest the child go on a walk with them and come back to address the behavior in about 15 minutes. Foster children tend to be dissociative, so it is encouraged to have the parent bring the child closer to them for a deep connection, as opposed to sending a child away. This can result in further dissociative behavior from the child.
In the IDEAL response strategy, “A” stands for action-based learning and “L” refers to being leveled at the behavior, not the child. The different responses to behavior changes depending on the child’s level of behavior. For example, a low-level response from the child will require a playful response from the caregiver. If the child continues to be mouthy, they are given two choices. If the behavior continues to escalate, the parent should put a child in a “time in.” Dr. Purvis reviews the importance of trust and refraining from using control strategies to help make deeper connections and promote behavioral changes.
For a full transcript of the video this course is based on, click here.