Needs of Every Child with Dr. Jeffrey and Amy Olrick
Today on Walk it Out, I’m chatting with Dr. Jeffrey and Amy Olrick about their new book The 6 Needs of Every Child.
I’m not a huge fighter. I’m more likely to back down from a fight. I’d rather give in than stir up trouble, but there are a few things worth fighting for. For me, that’s my kids adopted from foster care.
From the moment my kids entered my care, I wanted to make sure they got the help and support they needed to find stability and be able to thrive. I emersed myself in being trauma-informed, and I learned how to parent differently. Helping my kids has meant understanding my kids. It’s seeing connection as a key in helping my kids to be emotionally regulated and stable.
“Faith teaches that we are made for and formed by relationship. Science powerfully reveals this to be true,” says Dr. Jeffrey and Amy Olrick, authors of The 6 Needs of Every Child. “And the most foundational of all human relationships is the relationship between parent and child. WE ARE MADE TO CONNECT.”
By far the hardest thing I’ve ever faced as a parent is attempting to build a bond with kids who fight against that very thing. They want to feel loved, but their hurt puts up walls. They desire connection, but having an adult draw close fills them with anxiety and fear.
And as someone who’s also raised kids without these struggles, how I parent takes a complete shift in thinking. I’ve learned how to get kids to obey. Instead of figuring out the best discipline methods when kids act out, I’ve learned how to pause and really take note of what’s going on inside of my child’s heart, mind, and emotions. When kids feel seen, heard, understood, and loved they will want to do the right thing. They will want to obey.
I’ve also learned that obedience shouldn’t be our ultimate goal as parents: connection is. The relationships we build now will prepare our kids for every other relationship in their life. (No pressure there!)
Because I’m learning to parent in a whole new way, some of my go-to parenting advice from times past just doesn’t apply. And that’s why I’m so excited when I discover authors who “get it.” I have to say as I started reading The 6 Needs of Every Child, my mind was saying over and over again, “Yes, yes, yes!”
The amazing thing is, the parenting techniques that help to parent kids from trauma are wonderful techniques that any parent can use. I shared a lot of what I learned in my book Calming Angry Kids, and my advice lines up perfectly with the advice given within the pages of The 6 Needs of Every Child.
There are many things we can “do” as a parent, but what our kids really need is less of us doing together and more about us being together—about drawing close. It’s not about finding the answers to problems, it’s about finding each other. It’s seeing the hard stuff of parenting as reminders to lean into God and each other. It’s discovering how to connect with another person, even when you just want to throw up your hands walk away. We talk about all these things on this Walk It Out Podcast.
I love with Jeffery and Amy wrote on a recent Facebook post, “The difficult patches of life are just part of it. Traveling faithfully through the hard times is how we arrive somewhere true. Accepting your imperfect self and your imperfect life and loving your imperfect people, even in the hard moments, will establish a foundation of joy and peace for your family that will extend generations.”
And they give these examples:
“So if that tantruming toddler is yours, sit quietly on the floor close to him until he cries himself out. When he gets tired enough, he’ll probably crawl over to your lap and collapse in your arms.”
“Is the sulky teenager in your house tonight? Try making a cup of tea and setting it outside her door, then tap to let her know that it’s there and you love her. She still might not want to talk, but she’ll remember you were there, and she might crack a smile in the morning.”
“Fighting for” my kids can be summoned up with this: getting over myself and my right to be heard/obeyed/respected in emotional moments, and fighting to connect with my kids instead.
It’s understanding that in emotion-laced moments “winning” is figuring out how to connect with my kid’s heart instead of attempting to control the kid or the situation. My kids do not need a consequence or a lecture, in a hard moment, but rather a hug or an understanding look. (Yes, it’s okay to save those talks about obeying, caring, and listening for the next day, once big emotions have settled down.)
I’ve become more of a fighter as I parent these kids, and that’s good. I’m fighting for the right things—I’m fighting for their hearts and not just obedient kids. In the end, this is always worth fighting for. You’re going to LOVE this podcast!
Who is Dr. Jeffrey and Amy Orlick?
Dr. Jeffrey Olrick is a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children and families. Dr. Olrick has over twenty years of experience working in a variety of settings, including the University of Virginia, residential treatment, the public school system, community mental health, and private practice. He lives in New Zealand with his wife and their three children.
Amy Olrick is an author and a techie who has spent her professional life working with organizations to build social movements grounded in the ethic of love. Her work and writing have been featured in The Guardian and USA Today. She lives in New Zealand with her husband and their three children.
You can order The 6 Needs of Every Child HERE.
About the Book:
Faith teaches that we are made for and formed by relationship. Science powerfully reveals this to be true. And the most foundational of all human relationships is the relationship between parent and child.
WE ARE MADE TO CONNECT.
Drawing on decades of psychological research, neuroscience, and our own experience as parents and people of faith, The 6 Needs of Every Child: Empowering Parents and Kids through the Science of Connection presents six relational needs for human growth that will transform the way you think about your child—and yourself. Together, the needs form a trustworthy compass to guide you and your child to a path of purpose and relational wholeness.
Walk It Out Scripture
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13
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Resources, books, and links mentioned in this episode:
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