Welcome to FAB Parents
A coherent framework for thinking
FAB Parents offers a road map and resources for adoptive and foster parents and the professionals who touch their lives.
Want honest answers to tough questions?
Want realistic solutions?
Deep understanding is the key to successful and rewarding parenting. FAB Parents offers a robust, proven framework which allows you to have a more fulfilling parenting experience and honours the child's life experiences.
About FAB Parents
Resources for every stage of the journey
Trauma Triggered Behaviour Online Course with Helen Oakwater
A holistic methodology for understanding and parenting adopted and fostered children.
If you are frustrated or bewildered by your child’s behaviour; these resources will provide you with new tools and ways of thinking. This is what Helen wished she'd had 25 years ago before her (adopted) children arrived from the Care System.
Bubble Wrapped Children Book
Written in an accessible conversational style incorporating theory, anecdotes, diagrams, models, neuroscience and case studies, Helen maps out the connection between trauma, child development, empathy, grief, contact, trust, truth-telling and parenting styles.
Want to Adopt? How to prepare yourself to parent a child from the care system
How to prepare yourself and continue to grow for decades. Develop skills, understanding and tools for transformation for yourself and the child. You’ll have Helen beside you offering theories, models, route maps and tool kits whilst being an honest mentor and kick ass friend.
Do you want to understand adopted and fostered children?
Are you confused by their behaviour?
Are you around a child whose behaviour is “challenging”, "weird” and does not fit with your previous experiences and is confusing and difficult?
There are sections for specific people, AND it’s worth looking at all of them.
The Birth Parent
The Foster Carer
The Prospective Adopter
The Social Worker
The Special Guardian
The Judge or Lawyer
The deeply challenging behaviour hurled at these permanent parents by the child is tough to live with. Sometimes impossible. Sometimes these adults are justifiably angry. Please; dig deep into your own empathy to understand their tears, exhaustion, frustration and sense of helplessness.
Can you see that these parents need to be fully involved in all the therapeutic interventions and disclosures? Can you see they are part of the solution not part of the problem? Can you work with them in 100% collaboration and honesty?
If you can’t, please don’t work with adoptive families.
Are you trauma-informed? Do you know how to work with traumatised children in a way that allows trauma to melt? Do you understand “the body keeps the score” (to quote Bessel Van Der Kolk) and trauma is a body-based experience, not directly accessible with words? Do you know about neuroception? Can you recognise the small subtle changes in an individual that show their state and level of arousal? Do you know what you need to do to help a client feel safe?
Do you understand that an adopted child needs their attachment behaviour to adopters reinforced, not their connection to you?
Can you work with the underlying root cause rather than the superficial behaviour?
These questions are deliberately challenging.
Adopters have much experience of being blamed for their child’s behaviour by people (including therapists) who don’t understand the legacy of trauma: of being excluded from weekly one hour therapy sessions but living with its consequences all week. Please think; what is the purpose of therapy room confidentiality? Does it serve this client? Maybe rethink. What should I not share with the permanent parent?
Does the child/family have to fit with your methodology or do you have a therapeutic tool kit so vast that each session is unique to the individuals?
Are you a Formula1 garage or slack harry autos with just a spanner, hammer and rusty screwdriver?
Honestly. What’s in your toolkit?
Do you have the courage, compassion and creativity to work with these complex families?
The first rule in medicine is “first do no harm”. Please be aware that sometimes unenlightened therapists have done harm, through ignorance, arrogance and not knowing their own boundaries and scope of practice.
There are some therapists and therapy models which have provided families with transformational experiences. Some stopped families disintegrating. Others allowed adults to parent from a distance. Some interventions transformed a serial self harmer to a functioning adult. Others a violent teen to a calmer adult. Others forced families to face some bitter truths about their expectations.
The interventions that work are always trauma informed with effective trauma tools and approaches. They also involve the parents, because ultimately it's the parents who provide the support and safe place for a child to process.
This is what I wish I'd had 25 years ago before my (adopted) children arrived from the Care System.
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