The Parenting by Connection approach focuses on supporting the parent-child connection. We offer several practical, parent-tested Listening Tools to assist parents to build and repair relationships within and around their family. It is also strongly focused on building parent capacity, and resourcing parents to support other parents.
Madeleine has strong skills in building and supporting leadership amongst parents, and is part of the leadership team for the nine month long 2014-15 and 2015-16 Instructor Certification Course with Hand in Hand Parenting. This programme provides mentoring support and coaching for parents who first joined Hand in Hand Parenting as participants and are now learning to work with other parents.
Madeleine was lucky to be introduced to Parenting by Connection many years before becoming a parent, and has been working with families using the approach for over 20 years. She is the parent of a primary school-aged child. Witnessing how her child used these Listening Tools from the beginning inspired her to share them more actively with other parents and carers. In 2009 she founded Listening to Children Through Play and has worked with hundreds of families since then.
You can contact Madeleine here:
Madeleine lives in south-western Sydney, and works across Sydney including with culturally diverse communities and families for whom English is not the first language. She also loves to work with fathers. “Fathers have such a special role to play in family life, and they get so little attention as dads”.
Madeleine runs workshops and courses flexibly to meet the needs of parents, from 1 hour one-off events through to the 6 week "Parenting by Connection Starter Class". She also works with parents and their children, individually and in groups, coaching them in the Listening Tools. Her workshops and courses can be structured around common parenting challenges and present each of the six Parenting by Connection Listening Tools as appropriate.
Madeleine says “the best thing I ever did was become a parent. I don’t want any parent to feel bad about themselves as a parent. No matter what the struggle, we parents are the bravest, most dedicated bunch of people I ever came across, and I feel so proud to be one.
"What I love about Parenting by Connection is that it offers practical ways to recover from the mistakes we make, learn from them, and prevent difficulties in future. It means we can support and love our children the way we dreamed we would, when we first became parents. I’m not a fantastic parent or a natural player – but these Listening Tools work. In many ways, Hand in Hand (and a kitchen timer) saved the play at our house!
“Parenting by Connection has helped me from the start to understand that parenting is real work. Hard work, good work, but real work. One of the hardest things is not having people to plan with, share with, problem-solve with, get help from about the work of parenting. Any other job as complex as this would be much better supported. There’s nothing more of a relief as a parent than the knowledge that someone else knows, is committed to and is thinking about your children. And it turns out we can do this for each other. It’s a special thing to have someone pay you warm attention as you work out for yourself what you want to do about a particular parenting challenge or difficulty. You get to work out what will fit with your family, in your community, in your culture.”
Madeleine often works with her husband, Roewen Wishart, an experienced Parenting by Connection father. Together, they use the Listening Tools in their own parenting and relationship with one another. They love to share these Tools with friends, and like nothing better than a good old Saturday night family-and-friends wrestle.
Workshop Topics Include:
“I Have To Go Now!” – Helping Your Child With Separation Anxiety
“Why is My Child Afraid?” - Helping Children With Their Fears and Worries
“It’s Time for Bed Now” – Helping Your Child to Sleep
Helping Children Play Together
Getting Through School Struggles – Helping Your Child at School
Starting School with Ease – Preparing for Kindergarten
Homework Hassles: How to Help Your Child
Biting, Pushing, Pulling Hair – Helping Children with Aggression
“It’s Mine!” – All About Sharing
“Why Can’t They Just Get Along?” Some Solutions for Sibling Rivalry
“Why Won’t They Just Do What I Say?” Setting Limits without Saying Time-Out
“Daddy Loves You Very Much” – Fathers Are Primary Parents
“I Can’t Stand it Anymore!” - What to Do When Your Kids Push You Over the Edge
“Why is My Child So Upset?” – Handling Emotional Moments
“I Hate You!” – Hard Words and Hard Feelings Between Parents and Children.
“Will you Play With Me?” Building Confident and Resilient Children
Raising Boys to be Gentle and Girls to be Strong.
Building Emotional Understanding (6 weeks) – covering all 6 Listening Tools. These Tools empower parents to build connection and emotional safety with their children, enjoy their children’s strengths, effectively help their children where they struggle, and build support for their parenting.
Playing at Parenting – (a 6 week course that includes 2 “Play Events” where parents are coached to use the Listening Tools with their children)
Setting Limits – Building Closeness and Co-operation (3 sessions)
Tears, Tantrums and Other Troubles – Understanding Children’s Emotions (3 sessions)
Will You Play With Me? How to Get Close and Build Your Child’s Confidence.
Taming Sibling Rivalry (3 sessions)
Helping Young Children Sleep (3 sessions)
Helping Your Children with Aggression (3 sessions)
Easing the Stress of Parenting - Building Support for Yourself (3 sessions)
Here’s what some parents have said about her work:
"I liked being reminded that we are all good parents. The talk was structured around our questions and I wish we had longer - I could always take more listening to you, Madeleine. I really enjoyed today's session and find this style of parenting very child focused and child friendly." Foster/adoptive parent of 18 month old, who attended a talk on "Helping Your Child With Their Fears and Worries" and a 3 week Parenting by Connection course “Tears, Tantrums and Other Troubles”.
"It's working! What you've suggested is actually helping me not only understand these unique little people but it seems to work well with my husband too! And for the first time in ages I've been enjoying parenting. This is a huge shift. Thank you." Mother of 4 year old twins and 5 year old, who attended talks on “Why Can’t They Just Get Along? Some Solutions for Sibling Rivalries” and “Why Won’t They Just Do What I Say? Limit Setting Without Saying Time-Out” and has worked with Madeleine one-on-one.
“Madeleine was great - she kept us on track. Madeleine’s like a "personal trainer" that kept reminding us "get fit"! Do you do home visits? I think you would make a great Super Nanny!” Father of baby, toddler and 10 year old, “Building Emotional Understanding for Fathers” Course.
“I have found the parent to parent listening time very good and enjoyed it very much. Madeleine and Roewen were great facilitators and I felt very well supported.” Father of 9 year old boy, “Building Emotional Understanding for Fathers” Course.
Parenting By Connection.
We offer practical tools with which to build an authoritative approach to parenting offering high warmth and clear, firmly and appropriately offered limits. The guiding principles of the Parenting by Connection approach are
1. Children need a strong sense of connection in order to function well – co-operate, reason, learn, make friends, take initiative.
2. Parents want to be close to their children, but the current circumstances of parenting – isolation, lack of financial resource, lack of good support and information – make that hard.
3. Feeling disconnected or stressed causes children’s behaviour to flare. Traditional responses to “behaviour problems” often fail to address the underlying emotional needs of children, or to take account of the state of their relationship with their parents and how that influences their ability to function effectively.
4. Feeling isolated and stressed causes parents’ behaviour to flare. When emotional stress sends parents’ behaviour off track, they need support and reliable ways to reduce the stress.
Parenting is emotional work. Parenting is also a relationship. Parenting by Connection offers parents and carers tools for making sense of and resolving their own, and their children’s, emotional tensions, and for strengthening and repairing the connection between adult and child.
We teach 6 Listening Tools, focusing on
Play: Special Time and Playlistening are child-directed playtimes, where parents to follow children’s lead in play with warmth and enthusiasm without trying to teach, give direction or make suggestions, and promoting laughter where possible. These tools build the parent- child relationship, allowing the child to show their concerns, struggles and interests, and facilitate healing of fears and embarrassments though laughter. In some circumstances, Playlistening also serves as a way to set limits lightly and without harshness.
Limit Setting: needs to address the underlying emotional tension driving children’s “off track” behaviour, and to be effective must build connection between adult and child, not damage it.
Listening: once a child starts the emotional release process, adults can Staylisten, remaining close and attentive, without criticism or blame. When the child is finished, he can feel the caring the adult has offered, and he can relax, learn, and play well again. This empowers parents to meet their children’s upsets without feeling they must always “fix the problem” or “settle” or “quiet” their children.
Parents develop emotional resilience and build support networks around their parenting through Listening Partnerships and Parent Resource Groups. In a Listening Partnership, each adult takes a turn to listen to the other without interruption, judgement or advice giving. This gives parents a chance to reflect on the challenges of parenting and playing with and listening to their children. The Parent Resource Group allows parents to notice that they are not alone, that they have stories in common, and to learn from each other's experience.
These tools provide a powerful way in which parents can, in an ongoing way, understand how their own story influences their parenting, make sense of their own and their children’s experience, and plan for their parenting. Our short talks offer parents a chance to try a Listening Partnership, and our courses are structured around the Parent Resource Group.
Parenting by Connection has a clear agenda for resourcing parents to support one another, starting with common issues of concern to parents and extending to parent-led Parent Resource/Support Groups and leadership development. With ongoing participation, first being listened to in a group, and moving on to providing listening to other parents, parents can build their leadership within their families, and extend it out into their communities.
Parenting by Connection was developed and is supported by Hand in Hand Parenting, a not-for-profit based in Palo Alto California, and working world-wide with parents and leaders of parents. You can find out more about Hand in Hand Parenting here: www.handinhandparenting.org