At Roots to Thrive, we find that a significant part of our job involves parent education. It is our goal that strategies we work on in therapy can be carried over into the home environment, as this promotes the most opportunities for a child to regulate and succeed in their daily activities.
One of our most asked questions is “What can I change in the way we interact?” When kids are still learning how to regulate both physically and emotionally, it can be a difficult journey for parents when they present with behavioral responses. Our highest recommendation is the T.E.A.M. approach to parenting, as it promotes four excellent core responses to child behavior: togetherness, encouragement, autonomy, and minimal interference.
This response was created by author Michealeen Doucleff who adapted her response to her own children, after spending years researching and observing the parenting style of Mayan and Inuit communities. Children responded to their parents in a positive and notable way in both of these communities.
Doucleff describes that the T.E.A.M approach to parenting can be adopted by working together. Allowing opportunities for children to help with household tasks and seeing children as “competent contributors”. When other moments of tension naturally occur, allow your child to walk away, or choose to walk away yourself when appropriate. Instead, work to encourage your child when they exhibit positive behaviors.
Extend this view further and allow your child to have active autonomy in these situations, meaning it is okay not feel the constant need to ‘fix’ a child’s behavior. In a self-experiment, Doucleff found that she corrected her child with up to 60 commands per hour. This is a direct reflection of the most parenting practices in Western culture. In contrast, the cultures Doucleff observed clocked only 3, meaning they interfere minimally.
While approaching this style of parenting may feel daunting, it is even helpful to adopt small strategies where you can within your routine. This approach promotes more opportunity for emotional regulation. When paired with positive co-regulation from parents, it allows children to live in confidence that they can freely learn and grow. This directly aligns with what we believe at Roots to Thrive and we want this approach to serve as a support to families as they seek guidance for parenting that enhances our therapeutic approach.
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