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left-margin About Bonnie  |  Connective Parenting

Parent Workshops

Parent Workshops
    - When Your Kids Push Your Buttons Workshop
    - Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: The 8 Principles
    - The Effective Parenting Workshop

Find a Certified "Buttons" Educator



Bonnie is able to teach a parenting workshop on any of the subjects you will find on the Topics page. And if the topic you want is not there, ask for it. In addition you may want to look at the offerings of The River Center in Peterborough, NH of which Bonnie is a founder. She, as well as other qualified staff, offer many options for parents.


The Buttons Parent Workshop

After teaching parenting classes for more than ten years, Bonnie realized that many parents, enthusiastic about their new skills, often returned to class more discouraged than ever. Now they knew what they wanted to do but they still couldn't do it. It was because their buttons were getting pushed. Bonnie saw that a critical step was missing in parent education. No parenting skill can work for a parent whose button has been pushed. As a result, she developed a parenting workshop called When Your Kids Push Your Buttons to address this critical missing piece.

All parents get their buttons pushed by their children. We open our mouths intending to correct our child's behavior and out come those words we swore we would never say. We react automatically in ways we hate, our authority is lost, and parenting skills are totally inaccessible. Nothing effective can be taught or learned. Our children drive us crazy by pushing those buttons again and again, and we lose control again and again.

The Buttons Workshop will help you stop the vicious cycle of action/reaction from spinning once and for all. The workshop will help you:
  • identify your buttons
  • discover the roots of your child's behavior
  • narrow the ever-widening gap between you and your child
  • understand why your child/ren push your buttons
  • learn why they have more to do with your past than with your child
  • learn how to defuse them and regain your authority to parent the way you always expected you would
Parents will each receive a workbook of exercises to be discussed and completed in the workshop. Each workshop is highly interactive, and parents will learn from each other as well as the instructor.

Below is a list of suggested workshop formats. However, workshops can be designed around any format/time frame that meets your specific needs. To contact Bonnie to develop a personalized program for you or to request more information click here.

Buttons Part 1: 6 hours (can stand alone)

Or - Part 1 can be done in 3-4 hours a day over 2 days. Part 1 can stand alone or a facilitator can return at a later date for Part 2 done in the same way.

Part 1 will help you become aware of exactly what it is you are reacting to (it's not your child!) and what to do about it in order to stop reacting so that you can respond effectively and maintain connection with your child. You will learn how your best intentions of teaching better behavior often get lost in "the gap" and misunderstood by your child causing parent-deafness.

Participants learn:
  • What your buttons are and why they get pushed
  • How your agenda plays a part - and your child's agenda too
  • It's your assumptions that provoke your reactions
  • How reframing your assumptions can change your reactions
  • How your expectations can set you and your child up for failure
  • Ways to readjust your expectations for success
You will discover the critical step that instantly and automatically creates the obstacle to effective parenting and turns you into the parent you swore you would never be. Understanding that step will open awareness, change perceptions, and transform the blame and anger that are the result of a pushed button. You will learn how to defuse that button so that your responses to your child build connection through understanding and compassion.

Exercises and group interaction translate theories into practical solutions.

Buttons Part 2: 6 hours (prerequisite - Part 1)

Or - 3-4 hours over 2 days

Our reactions to our button-pushing children are rooted in our past. The expectations we hold for them often are transferred from or are compensating for our childhood experiences. Part 2 shows you where your buttons originate and takes you to that deeper level to discover how the limiting beliefs we learned in childhood are actually the buttons our children push.

Participants learn:
  • More about your expectations and the power they hold
  • The beliefs you bought into about yourself on the other side of the gap
  • Why you choose to hang onto those beliefs that fuel your reactions
  • The 9 habits to defusing your buttons
  • What to do in the moment your button is pushed
Part 2 opens the door to new ways of connecting with your child that you will never be able to close again. You will become aware of the choice you have: You can punish your child for pushing your button or you can find out what your button is telling you about yourself that may no longer be true. And you will learn that your button-pusher is the most important teacher you will ever have.

Exercises and group interaction translate theories into practical solutions.

The Buttons Weekend - 16 hours

This intensive weekend covers all the material of Part 1 and Part 2. Typically it begins Friday evening and continues for two full days Saturday and Sunday, but it can be formatted in any way to incorporate 16 hours.

The Buttons Five Day

This workshop is presented each day for 3 hours and covers all the material for Part 1 and Part 2. The beauty of the Five Day is that participants get "home" time with their children to put their learning into place immediately in their daily parenting life. There is more time to digest the material as the workshop continues. Immediate personal experiences from home can be brought in and worked on in the workshop. Short overnight assignments will help participants prepare for the following day which will help integrate the material further.

One parent said of the Buttons Workshop:
"I remember thinking 'I can't believe there is anything that is going to get me to stop shouting at my children', but at the same time wishing there was a magical wand. I genuinely believe that Bonnie has virtually managed to wave it! It was quite incredible and almost a week later I feel much happier and a nicer Mum."

To read more of what parents have to say about the Buttons Workshops click here.

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Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: The 8 Principles

Unconditional acceptance is what we know our children need. Few know how to give it while setting the limits necessary to ensure a balance of needs in the family. Based on her book Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You'll Love to Live With, Bonnie Harris' approach begins with the assumption that children want to do what is right, want to cooperate, and want to please us. What we see as misbehavior means that a child is having a problem, not being a problem.

With these principles, you will look for and see your children's qualities and capabilities rather than irritations and inadequacies. You will understand their behavior as clues rather than calamities and learn to be a detective rather than a police officer. You will learn how to connect with your children, even in the toughest times, and teach them to problem solve, take responsibility, and be accountable for their actions—without punishment or blame. And you will regain the authority that your children really do want you to have.

The eight principles will help you develop your parenting philosophy. Having that core provides you with a reservoir from which to draw, so whatever the situation, your response is consistent and grounded and you can parent with confidence. When we act like the grownups we are meant to be, our children can act like the children they are—children you'll love to live with.

The workshop is divided into the following topics:
  • Understanding your child's intentions and behavior
  • Providing Acceptance—your child's greatest need
  • Expectations must be set for success
  • The power of connection and mindful focus
  • Connective communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Boundaries and balance
This interactive workshop will take your at-home situations and put the principles to work to fit your children and your experience.
The workshop can be given in 8 sessions of 2 hours each or 4 sessions of 4 hours each — 16 hours total.

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The Effective Parenting Workshop

- For parents of 1 - 5 year olds
The Effective Parenting Workshop (EPW) was written and developed by Bonnie and has been used as the foundation course at The Parent Guidance Center, now The River Center, in Peterborough, NH for many years. In the program, parents learn to understand their children's developmental stages and unique, individual temperament characteristics. They learn what to expect from their children's behavior and how best to communicate empathically with both preverbal and verbal children and to encourage responsibility even in very young children. Encouragement, motivation, problem-solving and conflict resolution are alternatives to reward and punishment to develop responsibility. Effective limits are set positively so that children are motivated to cooperate. All the skills used are designed to support self-esteem, self-confidence, and capability. Healthy boundaries are highlighted to ensure proper balance between the needs of the parent and those of the child.

The EPW includes:
  • The Art of Parenting
  • Developmental Expectations
  • Making Expectations Realistic
  • Connective Communication
  • Understanding Temperament
  • Building Self-Esteem
  • Encouragement and Motivation
  • Setting Effective Limits
  • Developing Responsible Behavior
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Creating Boundaries
The entire EPW can be taught as a twelve week course or two six week courses. It can also be condensed with certain sections eliminated for time does not allow for the whole program. It is written in twelve sections, so any or all can be taught at a time. No section is a prerequisite for another although there is an intended flow for best understanding. The EPW can be taught over a long weekend or several days, two or more hours a day.


© Bonnie Harris, LLC | 603.924.6639 | bh@bonnieharris.com

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These are words chosen by my group members to describe why they keep coming back.
"The knowledge you have taught me is amazing and life changing. I thank you from the depth of my heart and soul!!"
—mother of a two year old
toddler getting up
"Bonnie you really helped me and I appreciate that. If it wasn't for those classes, I would have lived with guilt but not knowing how I could have done it any differently. You have made me a happier mother. I am proud of myself."
—mother of two teenaged girls
bonnie harris speaking
"A person enters parenthood with what they have experienced from their upbringing. The buttons class strips the parents off all these expectations, beliefs, and assumptions and teaches the parent to view the child as an individual. My husband and I came to Bonnie Harris desperate. She was able to help us start from scratch and view our child as having a problem as opposed to being a problem. To be able to understand, sympathize, and help your child is a gift that every parent and child deserves."
—mother of three girls
child climbing steps
"I just really want to thank you for all the great education and advise you have given to me over the years. I'm working as a special ed aide, and have found what I am supposed to do! I remember you once said something about open your mouth and out comes your mother. Well at my work so many times I open my mouth and out comes you!"
—parent and special ed teacher
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