mother baking with childrenThe journey of raising children is both challenging and rewarding.  It is an opportunity to shape the next generation, create enriching lifelong relationships, and grow as a person with a deeper understanding of oneself.  Dr. Daniel Siegel, MD has written much on the topic of development, attachment, and neurobiology.  In his book, Parenting from the Inside Out, he talks about the opportunity of building lifelong relationships with our children through a connection process that he calls integrative communication.  By communicating in this way, parents link their mind with that of their children, developing a sense of connection and “resonance.”  In this way, a child has a sense of feeling connected to and comforted by their parent, even in their parent’s absence.

What is Integrative Communication?

Siegel gives several examples of integrative communication – awareness (being mindful of one’s own feelings and body sensations, as well as others’ nonverbal communication), attunement (a sense of lining up one’s mind with another’s), empathy, expression (communicating feelings with respect), joining (sharing openly back-and-forth, verbally and nonverbally), clarification (trying to make sense of the other’s experience), and sovereignity (respect, dignity, and independence of another’s mind).

Why Is Integrative Communication Important?

This type of connection can help to create a relationship that is safe and secure, where one feels seen, heard and validated.  It also helps to foster and balance one’s sense of separateness (“I”) vs. togetherness (“we”).  When our children feel felt and respected, when we are aligning our minds with them, and connecting with them on an emotional level, we are helping to develop that child’s sense of attachment to us, while also creating a sense of safety in being an independent self.

To me, this is an amazing opportunity to shape both ourselves as adults/parents and to shape our children’s growth and development.  These types of connections communicate the gift of love, respect, compassion, to name a few – truly life-changing experiences.

From “Parenting from the Inside Out:  How a Deeper Self Understanding Can Help You Raise Children who Thrive” (2004) by Daniel J. Siegel, MD, and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed.

If you’re struggling to communicate with your adopted child, adoption counseling can help. Contact me to learn more.