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Power to Parent Series: The Vital Connection

4 Sunday afternoons (Jan. 29, Feb. 19, Mar. 12, Apr. 2), 1:30-4:30pm 
Cost: $90 (for all 4 sessions)*
Max. of 8 people

* Childcare for up to 3 children may be available at an additional cost. Please email if interested after registering for the program.


On four Sunday afternoons in January, February, March, and April, Dr. Shahar Rabi and Saskia Tait will be hosting screenings of Dr. Gordon Neufeld's esteemed course, The Power to Parent, at Bowen Island Yoga. This course is for individuals, couples, and professionals who are interested in expanding and/or deepening their understanding of attachment and child development in order to more skillfully meet the always-changing needs of infants and children. 

About the series

The Power to Parent series is a three part trilogy of eight session courses for parents and professionals designed by Dr. Gordon Neufeld, author of several renown parenting books including Hold on to your kids, with Dr. Gabor Mate. From Dr. Neufeld's website: 

This three-part Power to parent series delivers the best that developmental science has to offer to those who are our children's best bet - parents and those who support them. The effect of the material is to restore parents to their natural intuition as well as to their rightful place in their children's lives. The principles and dynamics apply to children of any age. Although some attention is given to the more perplexing problems of childhood, the general thrust of the course concerns issues and challenges facing most every parent.

This parent education series offers a complete approach to parenting. Rather than dumbing parents down with prescriptive solutions and superficial strategies, this series truly informs and educates so that parents can become the true experts in their children’s lives. The basic attachment and developmental needs of children are uncovered so that parents can become the answer to these needs. Challenging problems are explained is such a way that the root problems can be addressed.

Dr. Neufeld has had exceptional success as a parent consultant, working with thousands of families over the years. In this three-part series, he shares the insights and understandings that have changed the ways of countless of parents to the benefit of thousands of children.

The series consists of It is comprised of three video courses: (1) The Vital Connection; (2) Helping Children Grow; (3) Common Challenges (see below for details on each course). Each video-course consists of 8 one-hour sessions that are designed to be taken in sequence. 

Course Objectives

  • to provide the conceptual underpinnings to natural intuition
  • to restore parents to their rightful place in their children`s lives
  • to provide a working model of attachment that is applicable to children of all ages and to bring the dynamic of attachment to consciousness
  • to make parenting as easy and natural as possible
  • to increase the ability of parents and professionals to think critically with regards to the parenting literature
  • to interpret the science of relationship to those most involved with children and bring parenting in line with this science
  • to cultivate an appreciation of developmental design and an ability to work in harmony with Nature`s blueprint
  • to foster methods of discipline that are attachment-friendly and developmentally safe
  • to reveal common parenting practices that are harmful (e.g., time-outs, using what children care about against them, working the incident, using force and coercion, pushing independence) and provide safe alternatives
  • to provide a model of professional involvement that does not erode the parent-child relationship

Some of the many topics addressed include:

  • dealing with resistance and oppositionality in children
  • addressing the roots of aggression
  • preventing being replaced by competing attachments
  • disciplining in ways that do not divide
  • addressing separation problems and anxieties
  • raising children who are capable of deep and fulfilling relationships
  • dealing with kids who seek to dominate instead of depend on their parents


This course is suitable for both parents and professionals although it is addressed primarily to parents, with a focus on parenting. Usually one-third of the course participants work with families or children in one context or another. The material and principles discussed are applicable to children of all ages. The focus of this course is on everyday parenting and everyday problems but the material applies even more so to the more challenging scenarios and problems. This course can be used for professional development, personal growth, preparation for parenting and even as a primer or enrichment for grandparenting.

Course plan

Registrants are encouraged to commit to participate in all eight sessions of each course, though if only one party from a family can come due to childcare or other constraints, it is alright for members of a couple to alternate weeks. 

Following a video presentation of the course material, Shahar and Saskia will facilitate a discussion to ground the material in our own experiences, as well as relevant practices. 

Participation in the first course (The Vital Connection) is a prerequisite for participating in the second and third courses. See below for detailed course outlines.

Course Descriptions: 

1. The Vital Connection (January–April)

In the first volume of this three-part series, Dr. Neufeld focuses on the child-adult relationship as the context for raising children. Parents and professional learn how this relationship is meant to develop, what can go wrong, why peers must not matter more than parents, the true meaning of shyness, how to cultivate a context of connection, how to win back one’s child if need be, how to preserve the connection, and more. Parents and professionals also learn about the kinds of interactions and discipline that erode the relationship and effective alternatives that are attachment-safe.

  • Session 1: Why Children Need to be in Right Relationship to the Adults Responsible for Them
  • Session 2: How a Child`s Relationship to the Parent is Meant to Develop
  • Session 3: How to Harness the Power of Attachment
  • Session 4: How to Keep From Losing a Child to Competing Attachments
  • Session 5: How to Preserve (or Restore) the Ties that Empower
  • Session 6: How to Deal with Aggression Without Disrupting the Connection
  • Session 7: How to Deal with Resistance Without Sabotaging the Relationship
  • Session 8: How to Use Discipline that is Attachment-Safe and Developmentally Friendly: Seven Strategies for Imposing Order

2. Helping Children Grow (May–August)

How do we nurture our children and provide the necessary elements for growth? How do we remove the impediments to becoming their own persons? Building on the foundation of relationship in Part I of the series, The Vital Connection, this sequel focuses on how to help children realize their potential as human beings. Growing older is no guarantee of growing up. Childhood is when most of the growing up should occur but we need to know how to cultivate the maturing process. This course sheds light on the adult’s role in the miracle of maturation.The material is presented in such a way that engages parents while educating professionals as well. The videocourse consists of eight one-hour sessions. It is designed for both self and group study. The DVD format permits easy navigation and allows the videocourse to be viewed on ones personal computer, through the television set, or projected on a screen for small or large audience participation. 

3. Common Challenges (September–December)

Raising children is rewarding, but not always easy! Every child gets stuck from time to time on the road to maturation and every parent faces challenges at some point on the journey. At these times, we could benefit from experienced insight and practical suggestions that are in the best interest of our children. In this third part of the Power to Parent series, Dr. Neufeld helps equip parents to read the signs of a child in trouble, live with a sensitive child, cultivate resilience in a child, lead an alpha child, soften a defended child, discipline a stuck child, and more.  Dr. Neufeld offers effective and safe practices that honor and preserve the relationship, even when the problems seem daunting. In making sense of a child’s experience, parents are better prepared to lead them through challenging times. 


Part 1—The Vital Connection

  • Jan. 29, 1:30-4:30PM
  • Feb. 19, 1:30-4:30PM
  • Mar. 12, 1:30-4:30PM
  • Apr. 2, 1:30-4:30PM

Part 2—Helping Children Grow (TBA)

Part 3—Common Challenges (TBA)