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.
“This is what I wished I’d had at every stage of my 25+ year parenting journey”Helen Oakwater
About fab parents
This website, the articles, training, tools, concepts, ideas, philosophy and mentoring are what Helen Oakwater wished she had during all the different stages of her adoption journey; from pre-placement assessment through to her kids leaving home.
Even though it is primarily for foster and adoptive parents whose children experienced maltreatment and neglect in infancy: the content will be useful for anyone who touches the life of a traumatised child; including Teachers, Social Workers, Health Visitors, Decision Makers, Medics, Family Members, The Media, Judges and adults who experienced abuse, neglect or maltreatment during their own childhood.
You want and need to know that the material on this website is credible, effective and based on sound theory, research and practice. You should know the qualifications and track record of contributors. These are listed for the individual contributors. (Unless otherwise stated it is Helen Oakwater).
Understanding is the key. By exploring this website you will:
– Learn more about the impact of maltreatment and neglect on children.
– Find tools to comprehend, recognise and melt trauma.
– Discover ways to manage your own state and thinking.
– Re-examine your motivation, expectations and beliefs.
– Acquire fresh parenting strategies and tactics
realise that even though there is no ‘single answer’; the framework for thinking offered by FAB Parents will leave you feeling empowered, encouraged and help you create a unique route map for parenting your child from where you are now to adulthood and beyond.
Meet Helen Oakwater Founder of FAB Parents
Helen Oakwater is an international Trainer, Speaker, Coach, Mentor, Author and adoptive parent.
A little about her. She adopted a sibling group (aged 5,4,2) in the early 1990s from the UK Care System. Her approach is pragmatic and real. She lived with children who lie, steal, self-harm and were expelled from schools, amongst many other things.
She has worn many different hats in the adoption and fostering world, including:
- Running a local (Adoption UK) support group for adopters for a decade
- Membership of the Government Adoption Task Force
- Trustee for the charity Adoption UK for 6 years
- Delivered training on Trauma Triggered Behaviour to thousands of parents and professionals in the UK, Australia and New Zealand
- Conference speaker and lobbyist
Why the Bubble Wrap?
Because during maltreatment, children metaphorically, wrap themselves in Bubble Wrap as a protective strategy, but it then distorts their view of the world and our view of them. It requires therapeutic reparenting to gently remove this Bubble Wrap.
Principles – FAB Parents believes that:
- Every child should be born to adults who have the capacity to nurture, support and consciously parent that child from birth until adulthood and all the stages in between.
- All parents need support, understanding and education so their skills and knowledge about parenting and child development grows. This allows them to have a positive, fulfilling parenting experience and the child to reach their maximum potential, healthily and happily.
- Parenting is possibly the greatest leadership challenge an adult faces; so appropriate skills, tools, manuals and road maps are essential to smooth out that testing journey.
- Whilst every child is unique, there are common characteristics and developmental stages which are useful for parents to understand.
- Children have a right to be raised in a positive environment which allows them, throughout their childhood, to thrive on every level and mature into secure, confident, happy adults.
- Sadly, for a variety of reasons, a few adults do not have this capacity and when evidenced, the child should be removed promptly and appropriately
- Because children need stability and consistency such children should be placed with Permanent Parents (foster or adoptive) without delay.
- Children removed from their birth families, by the courts, will have experienced neglect/maltreatment/trauma and need therapeutic re-parenting to undo the damage and fill in the gaps.
- Permanent Parents need a deep understanding of child development, the legacy of childhood neglect and maltreatment plus tools and appropriate parenting skills to heal trauma
- Permanent Parents (foster, adoptive, special guardians, etc) will require continuous support, education, training, learning etc from placement until early adulthood and sometimes beyond.
- Some women have a succession of birth children removed by the State and subsequently adopted or fostered. Many of these women are in very difficult circumstances with minimal support, often with chaotic lifestyles which frequently include drugs and/or alcohol.
- Many of these women had traumatic childhoods themselves and lack the skills or understanding to care for themselves. A child adds to their difficulties.
- Women whose children were removed and either adopted or fostered should be robustly supported and helped to get their lives on track. They are grieving and their unresolved pain should be acknowledged.
- There are a number of successful initiatives, throughout the UK and beyond, which offer such women support, education, counselling, skills training and job opportunities enabling them to turn their lives around, with the proviso they do not get pregnant and take (reversible) contraception.
- Such interventions are cost-effective (emotionally and financially) and should be made available more widely.
About Trauma Triggered Behaviour Training
A holistic methodology for understanding and parenting adopted and fostered children.
new learning + adaptive behaviour = understanding + satisfaction
If you are frustrated or bewildered by your child’s behaviour; these resources will help you by providing new tools and ways of thinking.
This is what I wished I’d had 25 years ago before my (adopted) children arrived from the Care System
- Are you struggling to understand an adopted or foster child’s actions?
- Do you feel stressed, isolated and a rubbish parent who has lost control?
- Do you despair when well-meaning people say “all children do that”?
- Do you fear for their (and your) future?
- Have you tried other parenting courses? Stickers? Negotiation? Threats? Bribes? All to no avail?
- Are you a professional working with families whose parent hurt and/or maltreated children?
The problem is that adopted and foster children have a traumatic start to life which affects their ability to bond and trust. They take a double hit. Firstly their developmental needs were not met and secondly, they repeatedly had overwhelming and distressing experiences which lodged in their psyche.
They need therapeutic reparenting to undo the damage and fill in the gaps. This presents a unique leadership and parenting challenge for you, especially if no one around you understands.
The Trauma Triggered Behaviour Online Course offers you hope. Grounded in reality, based on sound research, proven behavioural science and leadership skills: this course offers understanding, a robust framework and fresh techniques to manage kids and yourself. Created and delivered by Helen Oakwater, an experienced adopter, coach and author who for decades lived with children who hurt. The live workshop has received high praise throughout the UK, Australia and New Zealand from parents and professionals.
The Benefits of Trauma Triggered Behaviour Online Course
- Get a clear picture of how childhood maltreatment and neglect impacts brain functioning and is outside our conscious control. This knowledge makes sense of apparently “nonsensical” behaviour.
- Tools for transformation.
- Several new, simple step-by-step strategies to control your own reactions and calmly manage children’s highly challenging, emotionally charged behaviour.
- Empower you and the child to understand how their traumatic past links to their present behaviour and influences their future life.
- A fresh perspective on contact and social media intrusions.
- A graphic model of child development and the impact of gaps.
- Watching the videos many times embeds the learning
- This is not a one size fits all approach. It’s a coherent framework for thinking ensuring you design a unique route map for your family, based on robust principles.
Bubble Wrapped Children
Written by Helen Oakwater
“Facebook threat to adopted children” was the front headline in The Times, five days after Bubble Wrapped Children was published in January 2012 and featured significantly in the article written by social affairs correspondent, Rosie Bennett. The story was picked up by other media outlets in the UK and Australia. Helen was interviewed by the national TV and radio including BBC, ITV, Sky, newspapers and Australian ABC News.
Numerous reasons cause adopted teens to reconnect with their birth family via Facebook, creating new challenges for adoption today and tomorrow.
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?
Written by Helen Oakwater : 2019
“Want to adopt, foster, be a special guardian or simply parent your own child who has experienced neglect, abuse, maltreatment, trauma or domestic violence? 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.” (This is a more accurate title, but sadly too long for the cover).
Who is it for?
- Existing adopters, foster carers and SGO’s
- Prospective adopters, foster carers and SGO’s
- Social workers
- Decision makers including local and national politicians
- Family and friends of the above.
Yes,it sounds like ‘everyone’ … and yes, ‘everyone’ would benefit from reading it.
Why read it?
- You will learn new models, skills and ways of thinking.
- It has a coaching/mentoring feel, tools for self-exploration and fresh ways of thinking.
- It sits alongside Bubble Wrapped Children. There is no duplication of material.
- There is an entire chapter on self-regulation and applying the polyvagal theory to living with traumatised children. It’s pioneering stuff.
- It’s what Helen wished she’d known before and during her 25+ years of adoptive parenting.
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