Parenting

Although we receive messages about the happiness and joy children can bring, parenting infants and toddlers is challenging and stressful, particularly in the postpartum period. Parents often feel unsure of how to handle their infants' and toddlers' strong emotions and unwanted behaviors. We offer attachment-based parent-coaching of biological, adoptive, and fostered infants and toddlers. Through direct observation of in-the-moment interactions between parents and children we help parents to respond to children in ways that develop a solid and lasting bond that leads to more calm, focused, and well-regulated children and adolescents.

Our work is based on a treatment called Attachment and Biobehavioral Catchup or ABC. Dr. Mary Dozier developed ABC at the University of Delaware to help ameliorate the harmful effects that poverty has on children and that they carry into adulthood. She not only found that 10 sessions of ABC could undo many of the negative effects that the stress of poverty has on children's biological and behavioral regulation, but that it also helped children across a range of populations (e.g., adoptive parents, foster-parents, varying levels of socioeconomic status). 

Unfortunately, there is no parenting manual! This service can help parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers create a basic foundation on which to base their parenting from infancy through adolescence. In virtually all of the cases we see, parents and caregivers are already instinctually following the principles of ABC, but messages from friends, family (their upbringing), and their culture lead them to second-guess these instincts. Also, some of the responses to children's unwanted behaviors can seem counterintuitive in the short-run, but pay off in the long-run. Parents simply benefit from an expert who can build their confidence to continue with what works and drop what does not.   

© 2019 by J. Ben Barnes. Eastern Massachusetts Personalized Behavioral Health