The Connected Parent Blog

Welcome to The Connected Parent Blog.

In The Connected Parent Blog, I share my parenting journey as a Neurodivergent Mum of Teens who are Neurodivergent and part of the LGBTQ+ community from my perspective. I also share the Connection-Focused Parenting tools and strategies with you that have worked for me, my family and countless other families.

As self-discovery, reparenting ourselves and reconnecting with who we are as people first beyond the role of parent are all part of the journey, you will notice themes of this throughout my work. (This blog is written from my lived experience as a parent and a teacher, supported by the amazing research of professionals and advocates in this field. I am not a therapist or medical professional)

Because I have always believed that in order for our children to thrive in this world we do not change the child, but instead need to change the environment they live in, I am committed to spreading hope, practical, heart-led tools and advocating for change for my children and yours.

Please feel free to connect with me, share your perspectives and experiences and comment on blogs that you found useful.  If you enjoy what you are reading and feel that it could help a friend or family member then please share these resources with others.

Don’t ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world, it’s the only thing that ever has  – Aaron Sorkin.

Let’s work together to shift the paradigm of neurodiversity, sexuality and gender so that our children can safely thrive in this world as themselves.

T x

black parents lecturing upset daughter at table

How to Understand Your Teen From A Neurodivergent And LGBTQ+ Perspective

Do you struggle with how to understand your teen or to see things from their point of view? If you do, you are not alone, this is something that many parents find challenging.

We will not always see things through our children’s eyes or agree with our teen’s point of view. Neither will they with ours. This is just human nature.

However, as a parent, it is important to try to figure out how to understand your teen and to see things from their point of view (even if you disagree with them). The reason for this is ‘connection capital’. As discussed in my previous blog, it is important to recognise, interpret and act on your teen’s bids for connection. This will support you to build a trusting relationship with your teen through the depositing of ‘connection capital’ into their ‘connection account’. The more regularly you deposit into your children’s ‘connection account’ the stronger and more resilient your relationship with them will be.  Read more…

Mother and teenager taking a selfie

Teenage Bids For Connection – How To Respond To Your Teen

Contrary to our beliefs, and the actions of our teenagers that they don’t need us or want us around, our teens are always connection-seeking.

Teens still need connection with us but don’t always know how to tell us.

This is important for all teen-parent relationships. However, even more so for our neurodiverse and LGBTQ+ teens as they may feel ‘othered’ by peers and society.

Our neurodivergent teens are more likely to be affected by conditions such as RSD (rejection-sensitive dysphoria), PDA (pervasive drive for autonomy) and sensory overwhelm which can put their nervous systems into defense mode. Our neurodiverse and LGBTQ+ teens need a safe place to land with us as a vital protection factor.

Here’s how to recognise and respond to their bids for connection. Read more…

No One Is ‘Broken’, No One Needs To Be ‘Fixed’

This principle, which is closely linked to Principle One – Parent The Child You Have, is an important one especially if you are parenting a teen who is Neurodivergent or part of the LGBTQ+ community.

As someone who has tried her best (personally and professionally) to live by the wisdom of Dr Emmi Pikler’s philosophy of respect for all beings – even the youngest babies – this principle can seem like a no-brainer. However, I see the opposite of this principle of Connection-Focused Parenting everywhere, especially with regard to neurodiversity, sexuality and gender identity.

As a neurodivergent person and the mother of neurodiverse and LGBTQ+ teens I often get the feeling that the perception of us is that we are ‘different’, ‘weak’ or ‘defective’.

As mentioned in one of my earlier blogs there is a lot of pressure on neurodivergent people and also those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community to conform to the neurotypical and heteronormative way of doing things. Somedays it can seem like the world is shouting at you with a million reasons why you or your children are ‘broken’ and need to be ‘fixed’. Read more…

Connection-Focused Parenting – Principle Two: Everyone Is ‘Good Inside’

Connection-focused parenting is based on the assumption that we are all fundamentally ‘good inside’. In other words, you are a good person and your teen is a good kid.

This might sound deceptively simple. Of course, our kids, and we as parents are good inside. But stay with me here. It is easy to hold onto our idea of goodness when everything is going right. When we are calm and regulated. When our teens are behaving as we believe that they should.

However, when our teen has just had a meltdown. We had an argument with our partner about how we handled a parenting situation. Or we are exhausted, overwhelmed and ‘over it’ it is very easy to see the worst in ourselves, our partner or our teen. It is very easy to believe that we are ‘bad’ inside. Read how you can change this and use the principle of ‘good inside’ as a powerful parenting tool. Read more…

The One Thing Your Teen Needs Most From You – Radical Acceptance, How To Give It

Parenting The Child You Have AKA Radical Acceptance is the most important and fundamental principle of Connection-Focused Parenting. We cannot form an authentic connection with someone when we are trying to change them to become who we think they should be.

In this blog, the first in this series on the essential principles of Connection-Focused Parenting, I explore what Radical Acceptance is, and why it is so important. I also discuss what makes this principle tricky to implement and how we can go about practising more radical acceptance of ourselves and our teens. Read more…

The Valentins

Shifting The Paradigm Of Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity affects approximately 1 out of 50 people. Neurodiversity is a spectrum and it is a lifetime condition that affects how the neurodiverse person perceives the world, thinks and behaves, communicates and interacts with others. It affects everyone differently and each person will have a unique set of needs depending on where they are on the spectrum.

In this blog I highlight some of the key challenges for neurodiverse people and their families. I explore why we need to advocate for shifting the paradigm of neurodiversity. Read more…


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