The following blog series is part 3 of 3  written by certified consultant, Maisie Soetantyo.  We hope you enjoy this series leading up to Father’s Day.


Setting Good Examplespeeling carrot

To help Dads understand a current objective, Moms can provide real life examples by implementing the objective into day to day situations. Model a new objective as much as possible and only work on one objective at a time. Moms can ask for feedback or observations from their spouse, to make him feel included but not pressured.

In a Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) program, we ask parents to video tape each other on weekends and to take the time as a couple to analyze each other’s videos. Videotaping is a powerful way to learn from past mistakes and plan for better implementation of objectives in the future. In addition, we also try to include fathers as much as possible in team meetings, and ask for their observations of a current objective. An RDI consultant can also help to make a list of Dad’s potential activities to try at home.

Spotlighting Dad’s Competence

Praising our children for their competence has become second nature for us parents, and the same thing needs to happen between parents. Family lives are hectic enough, and at the end of the day it’s difficult to take the time to appreciate what we could not have done without the presence of our spouse. In RDI we say “competence builds motivation”, and if dads feel competent while spending quality time with their special needs child, then they would be motivated to do more.

One way we could do this of course, is to give them positive feedback in the moment. We could also take pictures or make video clips for later review to help fathers remember how far they have come in contributing to their child’s remediation journey. We recommend parents to go back to earlier photos and video clips from time to time to appreciate how far the whole family has come. In addition, during our team meetings, we often ask both parents to take turns using positive phrases such as “I notice that…” or “I am glad that ….” to spotlight each other’s progress.

I would like to conclude this article with this saying: “Mothers nurture, Fathers prepare”. Happy Father’s Day to all Dads, Papas, Babas, Haakoros, Apas, Ayahs, Bapaks, Bappos; who are always there when we need them. Thank you for all you do. The world would not be the same without you all!


About the Author

2012-08-30 16.18.48Maisie Soetantyo has been providing RDI supervision and training for families in California and South East Asia.  She firmly believes that through daily mindful engagements parents can make a difference in their special needs children’s long term outcome. Maisie and her husband, Pete Dunlavey, are both seasoned certified RDI consultants who run ‘Destination 4 Day RDI Parent Trainings’ all over the world. For additional questions or comments, contact Maisie at: or

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