Hand and Hand Parenting

Parenting Through Connection

Hand in Hand is far and away the very best of parenting support to build loving, connected and resilient families and children while providing support, understanding and resources for parents. I am practical by nature and seek out real solutions with solid results. Hand in Hand is one of those great resources.

(Hand in Hand) incorporates simple principles drawn from the fields of neuroscience, psychotherapy, and attachment theory to give advice a solid theoretical foundation.
Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT

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“The Hand and Hand approach empowers us to become our best, finding support in others and exploring the important ways we can be secure attachment figures that nurture self-regulation, resilience, and compassion in our children”. Daniel J. Seigel, MD)

I discovered Hand in Hand parenting when my oldest was 3 years old. As I grappled with a strong willed, sweet, smart toddler, I was totally out of my skill set and did not want to rely on punishment and negative consequences. I also needed understanding and support for why I was so overwhelmed. I had run big mental health programs, a 24 hour facility for seriously mentally ill people, a suicide prevention program and a couple of community mental health programs. So I knew what stress was and how to cope with difficult and sometimes seemingly unsolvable human dilemmas, but parenting one small human was harder than all of those programs put together. I remember being in my living room all alone ... I seemed cut off from all other adult humans after 4 or 5 months of sleep deprivation, thinking this is not way to raise a child. Days of handling everything but never sleeping enough and trying to be the best, most loving and patient parent I wanted to be and knew myself capable of being. I walked into our local co-op preschool with my hair in all which ways, exhausted, scared and confused. Teacher Karen took one look at me and said "we will make room for you". From the loving hearts of this preschool I learned the simple tools that turned my parenting into the loving experience I had always wanted.

Hand and Hand is based on six simple yet powerful tools. In my resource section you will find the contact information for Hand and Hand. Each of these tools is available in an easy to read small booklet or in the originator, Patty Wifler’s book “Listen”. They also have a strong on-line support network and listening partnerships all over the world.

Connection Is The Key - Attachment, as I have stated previously, is key to human well-being. Our children need to feel safe and secure to regulate all the growing internal mental and physiological processes. When our children feel safe and close their brains develop in all ways to make learning, remembering and thinking easier. This is the key ingredient for the 5 tools.

  • Special Time
  • Staylistening
  • Setting Limits
  • Playlistening
  • Listening Partnerships

I want to say just a bit about Listening Partnerships. Although all of the tools are meant to be used together and are most effective when done so, the 5th tool is really the most different. With this tool we are providing parents exactly what must be provided for our children. A safe non-judgmental place to unpack the stresses of raising children. Our overwhelm, how we were parented, what we want to keep and what we need to learn. When you listen to others you will not feel so alone and you can share your deepest fears and feelings.

“Setting limits—your use of parental power—is tempered with Special Time, which puts your child in the driver’s seat for short chunks of time. Playlistening, the lighthearted side of parent-child interactions, helps, to balance out the full-throated drama your child goes through as you Staylisten. Your Listening Partnership is a vital learning laboratory, as well as your sanctuary. There, you are respected and understood." (Wipfler & Schore, 2016)