Compassion Resilience Toolkit for Parents and Caregivers

  • 1. Why We Gather and Where We Are Headed

    Introduction

    In this toolkit we will explore ways to maintain a compassionate presence in our interactions with our children, family members and those we count on to support us. Throughout this toolkit we will explore our role in alleviating our family members’ distress while maintaining our own well-being. In other words, we will focus on growing our compassion resilience.

    Our first focus in the toolkit is to outline the content covered in the Parents and Caregivers Compassion Resilience groups, discuss group agreements, family goals and give participants a chance to get to know each other. 


    Applications

    Circle Agenda

    Circle Agenda for Section 1, In-Person
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session in-person. 

    Circle Agenda for Section 1, Virtual
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session virtually.

    Handouts to Support Content Covered in Circle Agenda

    Full Content Outline  

    Value’s List

    Self-Compassion Visual

    Self-Compassion Scale

     


    Links

    Dr. Kristin Neff’s Website on Self-Compassion

    Online Self-Compassion Scale
    This assessment is referenced at the end of the circle agenda for Section 1. Scoring is easier when completed online, so it is recommended you send a link to this assessment to your participants following the group. If you are leading your group virtually, you can put this link in your chat box during this session and if time allows participants can complete it during group. 

  • 2. Steps to Compassionate Action

    Introduction

    In this section we will look at how to act with compassion in response to a someone’s distress. It turns out that coming from a mindset of compassion greatly adds to our ability to parent and our own life satisfaction. Our goal is to be able to lessen our child’s distress while maintaining our well-being.

    Simply put, compassion is concern for the well-being of others. It includes both the awareness of others’ distress and a desire to lessen it. At the same time that we want to lessen another’s distress, we also understand that we cannot “fix” another person’s pain. This section helps us explore what compassion looks like in action.



    Applications

    Circle Agenda

    Circle Agenda for Section 2, In-Person
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session in-person.

    Circle Agenda for Section 2, Virtual
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session virtually.

    Handouts to Support Content Covered in Circle Agenda

    Steps to Compassion Action
    It is helpful to have a few copies of this visual in the center of the circle for every remaining section.

    Emotional Regulation Plans

    Strategies to Keep Calm

    “Just Like Me” Cards
    These are formatted so you can print four cards to a page. This format helps when printing these for a group of participants.

    “Just Like Me” Cards for Sharing Virtually
    This document has the “Just Like Me” activity formatted to a full page, best for when sharing this exercise with people virtually.

     

  • 3. Compassion Fatigue

    Introduction

    In this section of the toolkit we will delve more deeply into the concept of compassion fatigue and the stages that we might experience if compassion fatigue is not addressed. As we face the complex reality of parenting, our ability to maintain an open and compassionate approach to our children can be challenged. Compassion fatigue can develop slowly overtime and go unrecognized. This section gives us insights that can guide us to avoid or stop compassion fatigue as early as possible.



    Applications

    Circle Agenda

    Circle Agenda for Section 3, In-Person
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session in-person.

    Circle Agenda for Section 3, Virtual
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session virtually.

    Handouts to Support Content Covered in Circle Agenda

    Compassion Fatigue Cycle

    Wellness Compass Assessment
    This document is formatted as a fillable PDF that can be printed or completed on an electronic device. 

     

  • 4. Locus of Control

    Introduction

    As we have discovered in the previous sections of the toolkit, the goal of compassion resilience can be reached with the application of personal skills and perspectives combined with regular connections with individuals and organizations that operate from a base of compassion. In this section we will focus on the factors that can negatively impact our compassion resilience and explore our response and potential role in making
    positive change.

    Our families are imperfect systems made up of imperfect people. When we look outside of our own family to those that we rely on to provide for our health and well-being, we find more imperfection. The first step in lessening the negative impact of the systems we rely on is naming what it is about the systems that contributes to our compassion fatigue. The second step is to discover which items on that list we can change, which ones can those who support us address, and which ones we would best be served by letting go. This section will guide us through these questions together.



    Applications

    Circle Agenda

    Circle Agenda for Section 4, In-Person
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session in-person.

    Circle Agenda for Section 4, Virtual
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session virtually.

    Handouts to Support Content Covered in Circle Agenda

    Buckets Handout
    This is a fillable PDF that you can either send to participant to complete on an electronic device or print and distribute as a hard copy.

  • 5. Expectations from Self and Others

    Introduction

    Parents and caregivers experiencing compassion fatigue are often competent people with high expectations for themselves, who may feel overworked and underappreciated. We give the very best of who we are every day, yet all too often struggle to feel like anything we do is good enough. We carry with us beliefs about how a parent or caregiver “should” look, think, feel, act, and be viewed by others. We often expect more from ourselves than we can reasonably give. As caregiving demands add up, our self-image, self-esteem, and sense of worthiness may erode, thus changing our perceptions of ourselves and our children. Our compassion resilience may decline. Understanding, and at times challenging, our own expectations and perception of others’ expectations is key to learning to identify, transform and overcome unrealistic beliefs that may limit our ability to approach others and ourselves with compassion.



    Applications

    Circle Agenda

    Circle Agenda for Section 5, In-Person
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session in-person.

    Circle Agenda for Section 5, Virtual
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session virtually.

    Handouts to Support Content Covered in Circle Agenda

    Understanding Temperament

    Affirmation Worksheet
    This activity was also referenced in the Introduction Document for this section. Formatted as a fillable PDF, you can send this document to participants to complete on an electronic device or print and distribute as a hard copy.

    Caregiver Bill of Rights

     

  • 6. Compassionate Boundary Setting

    Introduction

    “Without boundaries, you will act, sleep, work, groan, feel used and fulfill basic responsibilities rather than make choices to live and love fully, to work hard and nobly, to fulfill your purpose and to contribute passionately to your world.” (Black, J. and Enns, G, Better Boundaries: Owning and Treasuring Your Life. Oakland, CA. Raincoat Books)



    Applications

    Circle Agenda

    Circle Agenda for Section 6, In-Person
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session in-person.

    Circle Agenda for Section 6, Virtual
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session virtually.

    Handouts to Support Content Covered in Circle Agenda

    Tips for Compassionate Boundary Setting

  • 7. Influencing Your Family Culture

    Introduction

    “Family culture is the manifestation of your priorities – not what you say, not what you wish were true, but what you actually do on a daily basis. You create your family culture with your choices.” — Lori Pickett



    Applications

    Circle Agenda

    Circle Agenda for Section 7, In-Person
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session in-person.

    Circle Agenda for Section 7, Virtual
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session virtually.

    Handouts to Support Content Covered in Circle Agenda

    Model of Influence Reflection Sheet
    This version of the Model of Influence Refection Sheet works best for printing and distributing as a hard copy.

    Model of Influence Reflection Sheet as a Fillable PDF
    This version of the Model of Influence Refection Sheet works best for distributing to participants to complete on an electronic device.

    Post-It Note Directions for In-Person Groups
    This activity is part of the circle agenda for Section 8. Distributing this direction sheet and post-it notes at the end of Section 7 will allow participants to complete the activity ahead of time. Prior to printing, download this word document and fill it in with the names of your participants. Please note, this activity is done differently when facilitated virtually.

  • 8. Wellness and Resilience Strategies

    Introduction

    The four sectors of the compass model — Mind, Spirit, Strength and Heart — not only contribute to our overall wellness, but also provide guidance on strategies to help build our compassion resilience. Before delving in further, you may want to take a self-assessment of your current wellness practices if you weren’t able to in Section 3. This assessment is meant to provide you with insight into your wellness practices and perhaps give some suggestions on additional things you can try.



    Applications

    Circle Agenda

    Circle Agenda for Section 8, In-Person
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session in-person.

    Circle Agenda for Section 8, Virtual
    Use this agenda if you are leading your group in a session virtually.

    Handouts to Support Content Covered in Circle Agenda

    Content Review Visual

    Wellness Compass Assessment
    This assessment was first distributed during Section 3 and is a fillable PDF that can be printed or completed on an electronic device.

    Appreciative Inquire Reflection Sheet
    Designed to support the virtual circle agenda, this document can be shared with participants as a fillable PDF to aid in completing the appreciative inquire activity towards the end of the agenda.

    Post-It Note Directions
    Download this word document and fill it in with the names of your participants. Include this direction sheet when you distribute post-it notes for the closing activity. This was also included in Section 7 materials. 

  • A. Additional Mindfulness Activities

    Introduction

    The goal of mindfulness is to be fully present with our emotions, with others, with our bodies, with our environment and with the universe (Davidson, 2012). It is through being fully present and aware and observing mindfully that we can participate most effectively in building our own resilience and wellness. We incorporated a mindfulness practice at the beginning of each agenda to model a compassion resilience practice and to give participants a moment to become mentally present in the space. The practice we incorporated into each agenda is the same one. If you’d like variety or if your participants would like additional time practicing mindfulness together, please feel free to utilize the resource linked below.


  • B. Facilitation Guide

    Introduction

    Before facilitating Parent and Caregiver Compassion Resilience groups, please reference this facilitator guide for tips and additional background on the contents of the toolkit.