My Learning Curve: Got It?


In 2009, I launched My Learning Curve, a series of posts with practical tips for parenting children from early adversity. I’m reaching back into my archives to share some of these updated posts with you. We are many years into our adoption journey, while some of you are at the beginning. I remember how desperate we were for help. I hope these posts are useful to you.

Here is my quick tip of the day. As I watched the therapist work with Kalkidan, I noticed that when she gave an instruction, she looked in Kalkidan’s eyes and said, “Got it?”

In contrast, I often say, “Do you understand?” or “Do you hear what I am saying?”, or “Show me that you understand me.” This short question is simple and more direct.

This reminds me of what Dr. Karyn Purvis says about using few words when correcting children. We tend to go on and on explaining and overloading our children with words; eventually we sound like the adults in Charlie Brown. Their brains cease to listen and process what we are saying.

We can keep it simple and use two words that have quick impact.

Give it a try. Got it?

Let me know if this works for you!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. cathylank
    January 28, 2016

    "Got it?" is also a useful substitute for "okay?" which I think many people reflexively use but which can come across as asking for approval or implying that the direction is optional. For example — "Make your bed when you go upstairs, okay?" vs. "Make your bed when you go upstairs — got it?" I find I sometimes slip into the "okay?" mode and need to work on sticking to "got it?" when I'm not trying to offer a choice.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 28, 2016

      Exactly, Cathy! It's so much better than "Okay," it works so well with my kids.

  2. cathylank
    January 29, 2016

    Another one I use is "capiche?" ("do you understand?" in Italian). To which I expect the answer "caposh." (I don't think that actually means "I understand" but they think it does.) More jokey but the same idea of few words!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 30, 2016

      Cathy, this made me laugh. I love it!


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