Outline for Practical Tips for Disciplining While Maintaining Attachment Webinar


Course Description: Interactive webinar with Deborah Gray, author of Attaching in Adoption and Attaching Through Love, Hugs, and Play, exploring discipline techniques that social workers can teach adoptive parents to help them discipline their children while maintaining a strong attachment.


Learning Objectives: Social worker will be able to:

1.   Explain how trauma affects attachment and should impact the way parents discipline.

2.   Explain the role of positive enforcement in disciplining adopted children.

3.   List 3 positive enforcement techniques parents can take.

4.   Describe what makes an effective disciplinary reward system.

5.   Identify 3 parenting tools that should be in every adoptive parent’s tool kit.

6.   List two disciplinary techniques to address challenging behaviors such as lying and stealing?

7.   Describe effective ways to discipline teens.


Level: Intermediate


I.               Attachment Theory

II.             Impact of Abuse and Neglect on Attachment

a.    How they complicate attachment

b.   How they complicate disciplining

III.            The Carrot Approaches

a.    7:1 Rule

b.   Subtle positive actions-Positive glances, verbal assurances, gentle touches,compliments

c.    Noticing

d.   Rewards-The Sticky Wicket

                                              i.     When are rewards most effective-creating positive behaviors/habits

                                             ii.     What is considered a reward

                                           iii.     Necessity of targeting specific behaviors

                                           iv.     How often-how much is too much

1.   Younger, more entrenched pattern, the more rewards are needed

2.   Sarah: “We have been rewarding positive behavior and it has worked pretty well, but it feels as if our son is just behaving for the rewards. It’s as if we are buying his behavior.”

                                             v.     When is it time to cut back on the frequency of the rewards and how can you prevent a regression to poorer behavior?

IV.           The Stick Approach- Negative Consequences

a.    The Impact of Innate Temperament

b.   Targeting specific behaviors

                                              i.     Not correcting everything

                                             ii.     How long- 2 weeks

c.    Assess stress levels of child

                                              i.     Children with lower executive function need more structure

d.   Think in advance what you will do when the child does not comply

V.            Parenting Tool Kit

a.    The Power of a Re-Do

b.   Loss of privileges/adding chores/writing essays

                                              i.     “My child has so few privileges because of her behavior that I struggle to find things to take away.”

c.    Making amends to the person harmed

1.   Sibling

2.   Parent

3.   Friend

d.   Plan for the Day (handout to send to participants via email)

e.    Processing Sheets (handout to send to participants via email)

f.     Family Pawn Shop

g.    Cultural Aspects to Discipline

VI.           Correcting Specific Behaviors

a.    Disrespect

                                              i.     Renee: “My child was adopted at 5 and has been home 4 years. She is sassy to her dad and I, but is not at school. It is hard to feel attached to a child who is constantly disrespecting you.”

                                             ii.     Parenting Tools

b.   Stealing

                                              i.     Level of conscious developments- Suzette: “My 11 year old may finally be learning that the consequence of stealing are usually not worth the temporary joy, but she is a long way from getting the idea that stealing hurts other people and hurts her. I worry about her future when I’m not able to assign a painful consequence and am not always on the lookout for her stealing.”

                                             ii.     Parenting Tools

                                           iii.     Creating a Family resources

c.    Lying

                                              i.     Focus on attachment

                                             ii.     10 minute grace period

                                           iii.     Avoid the argument

d.   Arguing

                                              i.     What are our goals

                                             ii.     Labeling

                                           iii.     First to quit “wins”

                                           iv.     Difference between discussing and arguing

                                             v.     Role of compromise

e.    Tantrums

                                              i.     Self-calming techniques

                                             ii.     Videotaping

                                           iii.     Tantrums caused by abuse

f.     Rigid, Demanding Behavior

                                              i.     Teaching problem-solving skills

                                             ii.     Plan for the day

                                           iii.     “Me first!”

VII.         Disciplining Teens-Life is the Best Teacher

a.    Conquering Parental Face Saving

b.   Learning from Experience

c.    Tune into emotional state

d.   Connection

VIII.        How to Find Creating a Family Resources on Discipline and Attachment including Online Adoption Education Center

IX.           Q and A