What we learned from working with Karla Mooy from Ontspannen Opvoeden
This post is for those out there who parent a strong willed sensitive child and look for a counselor on parenting advice.
“Strong-willed children become adults who change the world as long as we can hang on for the ride and resist the temptation to "tame" the spirit out of them.” Sarah Stogryn
We were going though periods with constant battles with our 4 year old.
Challenging morning and evening routines, getting him on the dinner table, getting him home after playing with friends, tantrums about clothing or food he didn’t like, listening to us when we forbid something, aggressive behaviour and fights with his brother. Those were all draining our energy and patience. We were at a loss how to handle his behaviour in a respectful manner without loosing patience and reverting to shouting or punishments.
Our search for advice
I read a lot of books like “Raising your spirited child” or “Peaceful Parents Happy Kids”.
While all these books are full of useful recommendations, they fail to be specific enough for our day-to-day situations.
Also a lot of information about highly sensitive boys is about introverts but we have an extroverted sensitive child.
We came to the conclusion we needed personal advice from a counselor. I was looking for a coach that understood our situation and that also had the same gentle/attachment parenting philosophy as us. It was clear to me that while we cannot change our child we have to change how we parent him.
I found this coach in Karla Mooy from Onstpannen Opvoeden , counselor for parents of strong willed highly sensitive children (spirited children).
What we learned
We booked a vip day with her as i wanted customised help. Karla’s advice definitely helped us. As i read a lot of books and forums already on the topic of parenting spirited children i didn’t expect to hear or learn new things, but we did. She helped us to really understand our boy and the reasons why he’s behaving in a certain way and she gave us very specific tips how to deal with this behaviour. We learned that our child has difficulties to switch from situations and has the strong need to feel in control.
She gave us some very practical tips like the pictogram day board we started to use.
She also taught us a certain way of communication. I am not sure if her approach comes from non-violent communication but an important part is listening to your child and recognising verbally what your child is finding frustrating.
One of the main things i took away is the importance of accepting your child the way he is.
Reviewing your own expectations of your child makes all the difference. This is the part that is hardest to change for me and still a work in progress.
Our house is not entire drama free now. But i have tools now how to communicate to my child to calm him down quicker and connect to him.
I also understand now that he’s not misbehaving on purpose but that he’s too tired or too overstimulated to behave differently. Above anything he needs our acceptance, love and help to navigate through his big emotions.
Feel free to reach out to me if you want more information on our experien