I came to Hand in Hand Parenting by chance after a friend shared her personal experience using this approach with her daughter. I instantly thought it sounded great, but was concerned about adding one more thing to my already overflowing plate of responsibilities. I had just given birth to my third daughter and thought “I don’t want to rock the boat!” However, I was so moved by my friend’s story that I decided to learn more about the approach and I was particularly interested in how the Staylisening tool might work with my children.
One evening my oldest daughter (7 years old at the time) was having a difficult evening cooperating with our family. It felt as though she was trying to push all of my buttons, having loud outbursts, and I could feel the tension rising within my body. Then I remembered what I had read about the Hand in Hand tools and chose to stay close to her, bringing my warm presence, and listening to her. Sounds easy enough, right?!
As I listened to my daughter I could feel how strong my urge was to “fix” her upset or to redirect her feelings by making her laugh. For the first time, I saw what I did as a parent to try and make it better, came from my good intentions, but I was really in the way of her being able to move forward from the emotions she was carrying. By allowing my daughter to share herself with me in this way I discovered a new way of being with my children that brought our family closer in ways I never knew were possible!
For me, Hand in Hand Parenting is not one more thing to do, but rather a foundation for how I choose to be with my children. I believe that this approach not only makes an impact on how parents support their children but also in our relationship with ourselves and how we contribute to our world.
Kristan Kats lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband and three daughters. She has a Master’s degree in the Art of Teaching with a Certification in Elementary and Special education. She became a certified Hand in Hand Instructor in 2018 and currently co-leads Starter Classes in the Baltimore area. Kristan has experience using the Listening Tools to support her daughters with life-threatening food allergies, learning differences, separation anxiety, and creating a thriving parenting partnership with her husband. You can find Kristan at https://www.facebook.com/