Fiona Biggar is an adoptive parent, psychology graduate, coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) master practitioner who has supported adoptive families for many years. Her new book, Everyday Ways to Connect with your Adopted or Fostered Child, introduces a range of strategies and tips on how to use therapeutic parenting to improve relationships within families affected by trauma.

Neuro Linguistic Programming is about understanding our brain, our language and the constructs that shape our beliefs and behaviours and this fits beautifully with the attachment parenting ethos of playfulness, love, acceptance, curiosity and empathy. Each child and each adult is unique and how they think, feel and behave will be influenced by their experiences. My background in coaching and NLP alongside my training in therapeutic parenting and experience as an adoptive parent gives me lots of invaluable personal and professional skills that I have shared with many families over the years.

In my sessions with families, I am often reminded of how I felt in the early days of adopting our son. The snatched hours late in the evening reading books on therapeutic parenting desperate for insights, for things to do to help my son and help our family. All this reading filled my mind with knowledge about the impacts of early life trauma and the certainty that I needed to parent differently but, as I was so overwhelmed each day, I just didn’t have the headspace to work out what changes I could or should make.

Many of the books I read in those early days gave me the theory, the impacts of trauma, the WHY therapeutic parenting is important. Others gave me areas to focus on, the WHERE to make changes, but I still felt unsure about WHAT to do. The mountain felt too big to climb when I was already so exhausted, and this sense of impotence fed my guilt and anxiety.

Working with families I could see how important it was for parents to have someone alongside them who had real world experience. Knowing the theory is important, but when someone feels lost and overwhelmed, alongside understanding the context, they need practical next steps to take. They need examples, tools and strategies that can be implemented straight away. I could see what a difference having someone sharing straightforward, easy to use ideas made to their daily lives and the connection that they had with their children. I began to see that there were lots of strategies that worked for many families and although every family is unique, I could see how I could share this knowledge with more families if I wrote it down.

I am passionate about empowering other parents and in writing this book I have tried to distil my personal and professional experience and give adoptive and foster parents the help that I sought in those early years. To share the advice and strategies that worked for my family and the families I’ve worked with over the years to build the connection and weave therapeutic parenting into everyday life.

It’s a practical guide that can be read cover to cover but can also be a resource to dip into to get simple, straightforward ideas in the moment. A toolbox to help parents to support their children to handle big thoughts and feelings, manage relationships, emotions and behaviours and deal with change and conflict. Tools to teach children to learn from others, to see that there are always choices, to develop flexibility and the curiosity to see mistakes as routes to learning. And, above all, ways for parents to create connection and build a more positive, constructive relationship with their children to nurture them as they grow.

This is the book I would have loved to have in those early months and years. I hope that it will help parents to parent therapeutically in easy to implement, practical ways. Support them to build stronger connections and better communication and understanding within their families. I also hope it will help them to recognise all the amazing things that they already do and see how far they have already come.

Everyday Ways to Connect with your Adopted or Fostered Child can be purchased directly from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. For a 20% discount, enter the code EVERYDAY when you check out.