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The Family Canoe

Being part of a family is akin to navigating a canoe together. Progressing and reaching your destination require good balance, clear communication, and the ability to stay alert, responding to each other's movements. Some canoes are more challenging to handle, demanding increased collaboration, while others may be cumbersome and difficult to navigate. Initially, the journey may seem daunting, with a few setbacks along the way. However, viewing the entire process, including the learning experiences and occasional mishaps, as integral to the shared adventure ensures that you reach your destination with smiles on your faces.

At Ripple Effect, we endorse what we refer to as "The Family Project." There may be specific issues prompting you to consider counseling for your family, and we encourage each family member to explore how understanding the unique workings of their brains and bodies can be beneficial. Developing self-awareness enhances communication and self-advocacy, transforming the quality of family conversations. With these skills, there's a greater capacity to listen, observe, share, and collaborate, eliminating the need for demanding, coercive, deceitful, or evasive strategies to meet individual needs.

Engaging in the "family project" offers numerous advantages. It fosters an environment where no individual is blamed for challenges, avoiding the imposition of shame for past setbacks. Instead, these moments become opportunities for learning and refining the collaborative process. Embracing curiosity about what works and what doesn't normalizes the collective journey, acknowledging that every canoeist began as a novice.

Further benefits include a deeper understanding of each family member, being attuned to their skills, struggles, and needs. This knowledge allows for more adventurous undertakings or the exploration of different activities. Celebrating the uniqueness of each individual strengthens relationships and makes them more resilient and cherished. Ultimately, like any canoe trip, the family project generates wonderful stories to share and treasure for years to come.

In our work at Ripple, we invite parents or any adult in a parenting role to participate in our free Parent Workshop and take advantage of Parent Support Sessions, tailored to their preferences. Adults may occasionally join sessions with their children, offering coregulation or participating fully based on the family's needs. The uniqueness of each family is respected, and there is no prescribed recipe or singular approach.



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