Gottman’s Sound Relationship House: Love Maps
Brag Alert! One of our families is anticipating placement in the next week of two kids (elementary & middle school ages). In planning for connection, the family has been researching questions and putting them on index cards for dinner-time conversations. The kids and parents can pick a card and then go around the table with each taking a turn to answer the question. In explaining the idea to me, the future mom said, “This way not only do we get to know them, but they get to know us and know we are safe.”
Here are some sample questions:
- · If you could pick one animal and shrink it to a small, house-sized pet, what animal would you choose and why? What would you name it?
- · What do you think would be the best part about being an adult?
- · Is there anyone in the world you would want to swap places with for one day? Why? What do you think it would be like?
These questions are essentially the same as the Gottman Institute’s Love Maps, which is the foundation for Dr. John Gottman’s Sound Relationship House theory. Dr. Gottman’s research shows that solid, emotionally connected couples have a pertinent working knowledge of one another’s lives. The key in continuing this solid foundation is to constantly keep updated on information about who a partner considers their current closest friends, their current favorite way to spend an evening, and other tidbits of information. This data changes over time and so continually making the effort to keep up-to-date is important. It is the same with our kids. Even if they have been yours since birth, or for the last year, they are constantly gaining experience that changes their view of the world. Making the effort to keep up not only demonstrates your commitment to them, but also helps you get through tough times.
The best part about building Love Maps with your children is that you can be as silly and creative as you want. This can happen in the car, on a walk, in between math equations, standing on your heads, or while throwing a football around. You can ask in your best Kermit the Frog voice, you could write it in their journal, and you can tailor the questions to your kid. You can let the kids ask you the questions. Just go ahead and regardless of the question, be mindful of going the next step to follow-up on their answer with an open-ended question to keep the conversation going.
This may seem simple, but some of our most basic emotional needs as a human being are to be seen and to be heard. Our children have not often had the experience of a caregiver who pays attention to details or works to give them a voice. In regularly doing so, our future mom is right: we can show our children they are safe in our care and we see their preciousness.
Check it out! The Gottman Institute even has a Your Child’s Love Map app.
What is TBRI®?
TBRI® is an attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI® uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing, and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI® is connection.
TBRI® is designed for children from “hard places” such as abuse, neglect, and/or trauma. Because of their histories, it is often difficult for these children to trust the loving adults in their lives, which often results in perplexing behaviors. TBRI® offers practical tools for parents, caregivers, teachers, or anyone who works with children, to see the “whole child” in their care and help that child reach his highest potential.
Want to know more? Visit TCU’s Institute of Child Developmenthttp://child.tcu.edu/.