We really think that the Adoption Team should take this course on board. It was certainly a light at the end of a very dark tunnel for us in terms of our eldest son’s behavior. When you adopt – as we did two boys – it’s such an unreal experience. You’ve spent years trying for children then going through the “process” without ever knowing if you’ll be successful or not. Then suddenly eight days after meeting two boys – then aged 2 and 5 – you are parents. A lot of emphasis is put on how you’ll talk to the children about the fact that they are adopted, how you’ll explain their early years to them, how you’ll cope meeting the birth parents, but not much on how to build and sustain a good relationship with your children.

Adoption is such a drastic, life changing experience, it is hard to see how you could ever be really prepared for it, but we firmly believe that Webster-Stratton is an excellent foundation on which to build. When we started the course we were desperate, our eldest son’s behavior had continued to deteriorate at home, at school, and at any outside activity he had joined.

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The pyramid was a revelation. The idea of child-led play gave us a forum for our eldest son to do something which we could praise and use to build up his confidence and self-esteem. We’d just got caught in the “nag trap” where everything he did or didn’t do was wrong. The emotional piggy bank made such sense. In fact, the whole process has reached further into our lives, and we use the model at work and with family members. It’s good to know that what we are doing now is helping our sons to develop confidence and self-esteem, and that we are helping them to learn how to problem solve.

Like anything worthwhile it’s not easy. It requires effort and consistency, but it has given a framework that has produced good results, and we are very grateful to our facilitators for introducing us to the Webster-Stratton way.

Two adoptive parents