• Great seminar. Really useful as a teacher to cover parent/ teacher/ student responses and prompt questions. Really helpful to hear explicit strategies to assist in the classroom and hear real examples and how to apply them.

    Teacher
    – Australia

  • Karen is an effortless and passionate presenter – a world of knowledge on this topic. Felt this [Anxiety in the Classroom] was a great add on to previously attended workshop ‘Hey Warrior!’

    Psychologist
    – Townsville

  • I found her amazing. I found it relatable and accessible. There were lots of good practical strategies and I acquired a much deeper understanding. It gave me tools, tips and hope.

    Teacher/Counsellor
    -Perth, Australia

  • Great session! So much information and knowledge. I could listen to Karen all day.

    Counsellor
    – Perth, Australia

  • I can’t put into words how helpful this seminar has been for me, personally as well as professionally.

    Counsellor
    – Central Coast, Australia

  • Great! I love the deep and wise understanding of what can be an elusive concept, and then Karen’s ability to make that understanding ‘come alive’ with her storytelling. I appreciate the tangible sense of deep understanding and care for children with practical, loving help – also extended to their parents. Warm, authentic, wise, and practical.

    Guidance Officer
    Brisbane, Australia

  • So well organised and expertly presented. Karen is an engaging, entertaining, and professional speaker who balances heavy information with relevant, memorable anecdotes. Karen is well-informed and imparts her knowledge with ease.

    Teacher
    – Newcastle, Australia

  • One of the best trainings I have attended. Nice to have a seminar whose facilitator is real, down-to-earth, and doesn’t use a lot of jargon. Fabulous to have had Karen as a presenter, lots of knowledge and brilliant to listen to! Thoroughly useful training to continue using with families. Lots of tools and ideas.

    Social Worker
    – New Zealand

  • The seminar was one of the best I have attended. Karen presents in an easy to understand and engaging manner. Her use of anecdotes made the day interesting and practical. She is one of the best presenters I have had the privilege of listening to.

    Art Therapist
    – Brisbane, Australia

  • Awesome presentation! Great break down of anxiety. I liked how there were lots of practical ideas and separation between working with parents and children. I feel much more equipped to work with children and families with anxiety.

    Occupational Therapist
    – Melbourne, Australia

  • Karen was absolutely wonderful – so engaging and informative. This has been one of the most useful and inspiring seminars I have ever been to.

    Counsellor
    – Melbourne, Australia

  • I hung on to Karen’s every word! Fantastic seminar with comprehensive background and fantastic practical strategies.

    Paediatric Occupational Therapist
    – Canberra, Australia


Upcoming Events

Neuro-Nurture (NZ) (Interactive Livestream)

Recent developments in neuroscience have expanded our capacity to be more effective in all areas of practice in child development. We now have remarkable insight into what the growing brain needs to thrive from infancy through adolescence and beyond. Drawing on neuroscientific insights, we can ‘neuro-nurture’ the developing child and dramatically influence the growth and development of the young brain to provide the foundations for a happy, successful life. As the need for neuroscientific knowledge amongst practitioners increases, its convergence with key approaches to attachment, trauma, and learning have seen watershed changes in how we understand and support optimal development, behaviour and social-emotional wellbeing. This opens the way for us to take a more compassionate, targeted and effective response when working with children and adolescents in any capacity. This dynamic workshop will translate neuroscience into powerful insights and practical strategies to support the holistic development of children and adolescents. 

Tuesday 21 September 2021, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Alexandra Park, Auckland, NZ (Interactive Livestream)
Thursday 23 September 2021, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Plymouth International, New Plymouth, NZ (Interactive Livestream)

Thriving in a Stressful World: Practical Ways to Help Ourselves and Our Children Feel Secure and Calm

As we emerge from the pandemic, stressors are heightened, and anxiety is an ever more common experience. We know from research that stress is “contagious” between adults and kids; therefore addressing the impacts of stress on ourselves is intertwined with our capacity to support the young people in our care. How can we help ourselves and our children to develop a foundation of security and calmness to prevail through the effects of this storm? 

I’ll be joining with Dr Marc Brackett and Dr Farah Shroff, as we explore the role of emotion regulation and the function of anxiety in our lives. Participants will learn ways to help express and regulate their own, and their children’s, emotions, even when our world may feel a little scary and stressful. Panelists will also share practical and holistic strategies that can be most effective in fostering well-being for both ourselves and children. 

In this webinar which will be hosted by The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education, you will have the opportunity to glean creative, evidence-informed takeaways to help you and the children in your care build resilience and foster a sense of security and calmness. Join us for this 1 ½ hour session, including a dynamic Q&A period.

Thursday 14 October 2021, 1:30 pm-3:00 pm
Online (Dates and times are PST times)

Hey Little Warrior

Designed specifically for early childhood settings, this workshop is based on ‘Hey Warrior’ and Hey ‘Awesome’, the best-selling, highly-acclaimed children’s books which turn anxiety into an ally, and explore and explain anxiety through a neuroscientific, child-friendly lens. The workshop will provide early childhood educators with the practical strategies and information to support a class-based approach towards strengthening all children against anxiety, expanding their capacity for brave behaviour, and understanding more about the brain. Upon completion of the workshop, early childhood educators will have the information and practical tools to work with children on a group or individual level to strengthen them against anxiety, build their capacity to calm big feelings (including anxiety and anger) and move towards brave behaviour.

Tuesday 15 February 2022, 9:00 am-12:00 pm
Atura Hotel Dandenong, Doveton, Vic, Australia
Wednesday 16 February 2022, 9:00 am-12:00 pm
Vibe Hotel Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Thursday 17 February 2022, 9:00 am-12:00 pm
Leopold Library, Leopold, Vic, Australia

Neurodevelopmental Theory to Practice (Aus)

Recent developments in neuroscience have expanded our capacity to be more effective in all areas of practice in child development. We now have remarkable insight into what the growing brain needs to thrive from infancy through adolescence and beyond. Drawing on neuroscientific insights, we can ‘neuro-nurture’ the developing child and dramatically influence the growth and development of the young brain to provide the foundations for a happy, successful life. As the need for neuroscientific knowledge amongst practitioners increases, its convergence with key approaches to attachment, trauma, and learning have seen watershed changes in how we understand and support optimal development, behaviour and social-emotional wellbeing. This opens the way for us to take a more compassionate, targeted and effective response when working with children and adolescents in any capacity. This dynamic workshop will translate neuroscience into powerful insights and practical strategies to support the holistic development of children and adolescents. 

Thursday 16 September 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Launceston Conference Centre, Launceston, Tas, Aus
Tuesday 26 October 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Vibe Hotel, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
SOLD OUT Register Now
Tuesday 16 November 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Skye Suites Parramatta, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Wednesday 17 November 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Rydges Sydney Central, 28 Albion Street, Surry Hills, NSW, Aus
Tuesday 22 February 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Fort Scratchley Function Centre, Newcastle East, NSW, Australia
Wednesday 16 March 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
ANZAC House, Perth, WA, Aus
Monday 21 March 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Vibe Hotel Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia

Hey Warrior (Aus)

For as many as one in five young lives, anxiety is an intrusive part of everyday life, with the effects often stealing into families, classrooms and friendships. Anxiety can potentially undermine the way children see themselves, the world and their important place in it – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Anxiety is very manageable when it is recognised and responded to. This dynamic workshop will help participants to recognise anxiety in children and adolescents (5 – 18yrs). It will delve into the obvious and not so obvious signs of anxiety, discuss where they come from and why they exist, and offer a range of practical, powerful, research-driven interventions to assist participants to respond effectively within their own professional context.

Monday 15 November 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Wollongong City Diggers, 82 Church Street, Wollongong, NSW, Aus
LIMITED SEATS Register Now
Monday 25 October 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Vibe Hotel Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Wednesday 23 February 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Rydges Sydney Central, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia
Monday 28 February 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Rydges Esplanade Resort, Cairns, Qld, Australia
Tuesday 01 March 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Rydges Southbank Townsville, Townsville, Qld, Australia
Wednesday 02 March 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Souths Leagues Club, Mackay, Qld, Australia
Friday 04 March 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Best Western Plus North Lakes Hotel, North Lakes, Qld, Australia
Tuesday 15 March 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
ANZAC House, Perth, WA, Australia
Friday 13 May 2022, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Vibe Hotel Darwin, Darwin, NT, Aus

Previous Events

Hey Warrior (Aus)

For as many as one in five young lives, anxiety is an intrusive part of everyday life, with the effects often stealing into families, classrooms and friendships. Anxiety can potentially undermine the way children see themselves, the world and their important place in it – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Anxiety is very manageable when it is recognised and responded to. This dynamic workshop will help participants to recognise anxiety in children and adolescents (5 – 18yrs). It will delve into the obvious and not so obvious signs of anxiety, discuss where they come from and why they exist, and offer a range of practical, powerful, research-driven interventions to assist participants to respond effectively within their own professional context.

Friday 21 August 2020, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
The Glen Hotel, Eight Mile Plains, Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Register Now
Thursday 03 September 2020, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Rydges Esplanade Resort, Cairns, Qld, Australia
Register Now
Monday 14 September 2020, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
The Function, Glenelg, SA, Australia
Register Now
Friday 06 November 2020, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Mantra Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, NSW, Australia
Register Now
Friday 13 November 2020, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Gosford RSL Club, West Gosford, NSW, Australia
Register Now
Monday 15 February 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Liverpool Catholic Club, Prestons, NSW, Australia
Register Now
Tuesday 16 February 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia
Register Now
Wednesday 17 February 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Vibe Hotel Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Register Now
Thursday 18 February 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Best Western Hobart, Hobart, Tas, Australia
Register Now
Friday 19 February 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Launceston Conference Centre, 50 Glen Dhu Street, South Launceston, Tas, Australia
Register Now
Tuesday 09 March 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Mantra Parramatta, Cnr Parkes St and Valentine Ave, Parramatta, NSW, Aus
Register Now
Thursday 11 March 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
ANZAC HOUSE, Perth, WA, Australia
Register Now
Friday 23 April 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Commercial Club, Albury, NSW, Australia
Register Now
Monday 03 May 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Vibe Hotel, Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Register Now
Monday 13 September 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Rydges Geelong, Cnr Gheringhap and Myers Streets, Geelong, Vic, Aus
Register Now

Neurodevelopmental Theory to Practice (Aus)

Recent developments in neuroscience have expanded our capacity to be more effective in all areas of practice in child development. We now have remarkable insight into what the growing brain needs to thrive from infancy through adolescence and beyond. Drawing on neuroscientific insights, we can ‘neuro-nurture’ the developing child and dramatically influence the growth and development of the young brain to provide the foundations for a happy, successful life. As the need for neuroscientific knowledge amongst practitioners increases, its convergence with key approaches to attachment, trauma, and learning have seen watershed changes in how we understand and support optimal development, behaviour and social-emotional wellbeing. This opens the way for us to take a more compassionate, targeted and effective response when working with children and adolescents in any capacity. This dynamic workshop will translate neuroscience into powerful insights and practical strategies to support the holistic development of children and adolescents. 

Monday 22 February 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Rydges Esplanade Resort, Cairns, Qld, Australia
Register Now
Tuesday 23 February 2021, 12:00 am-4:00 pm
Mecure Townsville, Townsville, Qld, Australia
Register Now
Wednesday 24 February 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Souths Leagues Club, Mackay, Qld, Australia
Register Now
Thursday 25 February 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Rockhampton Leagues Club, Qld, Australia
Register Now
Friday 26 February 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Northlakes Hotel, Northlakes, Qld, Australia
Register Now
Wednesday 17 March 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
City Golf Club, Toowoomba, Qld, Australia
Register Now
Friday 19 March 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
The Glen Hotel, Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Register Now
Monday 19 April 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Kingscliff, NSW, Aus
Register Now
Monday 07 June 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
The Function, Glenelg, SA, Australia
Register Now
Tuesday 31 August 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
ANZAC House, Perth, WA, Aus
Register Now
Wednesday 15 September 2021, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Vibe Hotel Hobart, Hobart, Tas, Aus
Register Now

Anxious to Brave: An online, interactive program for parents of children and teens with anxiety.

Parents don’t cause anxiety, but they can make the most profound difference in moving children from anxious to brave. The move through anxiety isn’t an easy one, for children or the adults who love them, but it is certainly possible. Like so many good things, sometimes the way through is clearer and easier with a little help – enter ‘Anxious to Brave‘, a series of eight weekly live online 60-90 workshops for parents of kids and teens with anxiety. Throughout the course of the program, I’ll be guiding parents through research-backed information and strategies to help strengthen children and teens against anxiety and move them towards brave behaviour. If you can’t make it to every session, not to worry – the workshops will be recorded and available to registered participants for a short while after the event. Groups will be kept small, to keep interaction big.

Thursday 22 July 2021, 7:30 pm-8:30 pm
Online. Every Thurs for 8 weeks from 22 Jul-9 Sep. (Time is AEST Brisbane)
Register Now
Wednesday 21 July 2021, 7:00 pm-8:30 pm
Online. First 7 sessions - every Wed from 21 July + 8th session on Tue 14 Sep.
Register Now

When They Push the Boundaries – A Webinar

In this webinar, I’ll be teaming up with Michelle Mitchell to equip parents, carers and professionals with strategies to help stay connected to tweens and teens, and build positive influence during the most challenging of moments. We’ll explore why all tweens and teens will push the boundaries at some point, why they might make risky decisions or break the rules, and how to respond in ways that strengthen them and preserve your connection. With some very specific strategies and solid information, those tricky teen years can be much easier. If you can’t make the date, not to worry – the webinar will be recorded and made available for you to watch any time.

Thursday 08 July 2021, 7:00 pm-8:00 pm
Online (Time is AEST, Brisbane)
Register Now

Overcoming Anxiety – Helping Children & Adolescents Find Their Brave (NZ) – (Interactive Live-Stream)

Anxiety is the most common child and adolescent mental health concern. Anxiety is a very normal human response, but for as many as 1 in 5 young people in New Zealand the symptoms become so intrusive so as to interfere with day to day living. The effects can ripple from children, to their families, to the classroom, and into friendships. Anxiety can potentially undermine the way children see themselves, the world and their important place in it – but it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right support, children can be empowered with the skills and knowledge to manage anxiety and move forward with courage and resilience. 
This dynamic workshop will help participants to recognise and respond to anxiety in children and adolescents. It will delve into the obvious and not so obvious signs of anxiety, discuss where they come from, why they exist and offer a range of practical, powerful interventions to assist participants to respond effectively within their own professional context. It will also explore how to work with parents and carers in ways that strip shame and guilt, and unlock their capacity to move their children through anxiety and towards brave behaviour.

Tuesday 26 November 2019, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Invercargill
Register Now
Wednesday 27 November 2019, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Dunedin
Register Now
Thursday 28 November 2019, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Christchurch
Register Now
Friday 29 November 2019, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Nelson
Register Now
Wednesday 02 June 2021, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington NZ
Register Now

Strengthening Children and Teens Against Anxiety at School and Beyond (NZ)

As much as school can nurture, nourish and build children and adolescents, the very nature of school means that it can also be abundant with anxiety triggers that can significantly compromise their growth and development. Anxiety can be fuelled by anything unfamiliar or any situation that comes with the potential for embarrassment, failure, humiliation, shame, or separation – and school is ripe with all of them. School presents many children with some of the greatest challenges to their mental health, but it also presents some of the greatest opportunities to strengthen against anxiety. 

This workshop is for any professional who works with or within the education system, or with children or adolescents struggling with anxiety at school. Participants will learn practical strategies to effectively respond to children and teens with anxiety, as well as ways to capture the powerful buffering role school can play in strengthening all young people against anxiety at school and beyond. 

(At this stage, this event will be live-streamed to the event because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.)

Tuesday 20 October 2020, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Auckland, New Zealand
Register Now
Friday 23 October 2020, 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Distinction Hotel, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Register Now

Strengthening the Relationship With Your Teen (Scotland, online)

Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution International Online Conference.

Cyrenians Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution are holding an all-digital festival of events in place of their annual conference. This exciting programme includes several internationally-renowned special guests. SCCR have made this available for free, and you are welcome to sign up to as many as you wish. I will be speaking on 15 October from 10:00-10:30am (Brisbane time) about ways parents and other important adults can strengthen the relationship, connection, and influence with their tweens and teens. The 30 minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Thursday 22 October 2020, 7:00 pm-8:00 pm
Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution, Online (Time is Brisbane, Aus AEST)
Register Now

Superpowered! – Transforming Anxiety into Courage and Resilience, with Renee Jain & Dr Shefali Tsabary

Join me for this Facebook Live event where I’ll be speaking with Renee Jain and Dr Shefali Tsabary about anxiety, courage and resilience.

Tuesday 22 September 2020, 10:00 am-11:00 am
Facebook Live (Time is Brisbane, Aust - AEST)
Register Now

Strengthening Children and Teens Against Anxiety at School and Beyond (Aus)

As much as school can nurture, nourish and build children and adolescents, the very nature of school means that it can also be abundant with anxiety triggers that can significantly compromise their growth and development. Anxiety can be fuelled by anything unfamiliar or any situation that comes with the potential for failure, shame, embarrassment, humiliation, or separation from a loved one – and school is ripe with all of them. School presents many children with some of the greatest challenges to their mental health, but it also presents some of the greatest opportunities to strengthen against anxiety. This workshop is for any professional who works with or within the education system, or with children or adolescents struggling with anxiety at school. Participants will learn practical strategies to effectively respond to children and teens with anxiety, as well as ways to capture the powerful buffering role school can play in strengthening all young people against anxiety at school and beyond.

Friday 04 September 2020, 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Mercure Townsville Resort, Townsville, Qld, Australia
Register Now

Supporting Children in Post-COVID Era (India, online)

Experts from the fields of education, psychology, paediatrics, philosophy and Montessori education will be joining together in a live Q & A to discuss how best to support children in a post-COVID era.
Wednesday 02 September 2020, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm
Vidyanjali Academy, Bangalore - Webinar
Register Now

Nurturing Self-Control

Self-control – what every parent/carer needs to know about this essential skill, including why it matters, how it impacts a child’s behaviour and how we can best support our children now and into their future.

Friday 05 June 2020, 7:00 pm-8:30 pm
Mother Duck Childcare & Preschool, Lawnton, Qld, Australia

Building Brave – For anyone who lives with or works with kids or teens.

What could our children do if they truly believed they were brave? In this transformational, heartfelt event, Karen Young and Michelle Mitchell come together to equip parents, carers and professionals with powerful strategies to help children and teens build resilience, thrive through anxiety and reach their potential. We will explore:

  • the powerful role that caring adults play in building brave;
  • a new way of understanding the role of anxiety and resilience in your child’s life;
  • the often unrecognised and different ways anxiety can manifest in children;
  • the impact of anxiety on friendships and school work;
  • proven, practical ways to respond to anxiety and make way for calm and courage;
  • how to build social resilience and equip them for the challenges of life;
  • how to strengthen your connection and influence.

    You know your child is capable of greatness. With some very specific strategies and solid information, we can make sure they know it too.

    If you would like BUILDING BRAVE to come to your school or community, please let us know. We will be touring nationally with this new project.

    Wednesday 11 September 2019, 6:30 pm-8:30 pm
    Wellington Point, Brisbane
    Register Now
    Thursday 12 September 2019, 6:30 pm-8:30 pm
    Bray Park, Brisbane
    Register Now
    Tuesday 22 October 2019, 6:30 pm-8:30 pm
    Rochedale, Brisbane
    Register Now
    Wednesday 23 October 2019, 6:30 pm-8:30 pm
    Toowong, Brisbane
    Register Now

    Raising Brave Kids

    With anxiety in children (and parents) on the rise, it’s more important than ever to learn what we can do as parents to help children thrive in this chaotic world. Join us for this 4 hour parenting event, with Maggie Dent, Karen Young, and Warren Cann.

    Sunday 13 October 2019, 9:00 am-1:00 pm
    UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Register Now

    Strengthening Kids and Teens Against Anxiety

    This transformational session will provide parents and carers with the essential information and strategies to support their children and teens to build courage and resilience, uncovering their strengths, and take anxiety back to small enough.

    Thursday 11 April 2019, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm
    Whitby School, Greenwich, CT, United States

    The Adolescent Brain

    During adolescence, the brain goes through a massive ‘renovation’. This talk is for anyone who lives or works with adolescents, and will explores changes that happen in the adolescent brain and how these influence relationships, friendships, and behaviour. 

    Tuesday 09 April 2019, 8:15 am-10:15 am
    Whitby School, Greenwich, CT, United States
    , -

    Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

    Whenever the brain registers threat, it organises the body to fight the danger, flee from it, or hide from it. 

Here’s the rub. ‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually dangerous, but about what the brain perceives. It also isn’t always obvious. For a strong, powerful, magnificent, protective brain, ‘threat’ might count as anything that comes with even the teeniest potential of making a mistake, failure, humiliation, judgement, shame, separation from important adults, exclusion, unfamiliarity, unpredictability. They’re the things that can make any of us feel vulnerable.

Once the brain registers threat the body will respond. This can drive all sorts of behaviour. Some will be obvious and some won’t be. The responses can be ones that make them bigger (aggression, tantrums) or ones that make them smaller (going quiet or still, shrinking, withdrawing). All are attempts to get the body to safety. None are about misbehaviour, misintent, or disrespect. 

One of the ways bodies stay safe is by hiding, or by getting small. When children are in distress, they might look calm, but unless there is a felt sense of safety, the body will be surging with neurochemicals that make it impossible for that young brain to learn or connect. 

We all have our things that can send us there. These things are different for all of us, and often below our awareness. The responses to these ‘things’ are automatic and instinctive, and we won’t always know what has sent us there. 

We just need to be mindful that sometimes it’s when children seem like no trouble at all that they need our help the most. The signs can include a wilted body, sad or distant eyes, making the body smaller, wriggly bodies, a heavy head. 

It can also look as though they are ignoring you or being quietly defiant. They aren’t - their bodies are trying to keep them safe. A  body in flight or flight can’t hear words as well as it can when it’s calm.

What they need (what all kids need) are big signs of safety from the adult in the room - loving, warm, voices and faces that are communicating clear intent: ‘I’m here, I see you and I’ve got you. You are safe, and you can do this. I’m with you.’♥️
    I’d love to invite you to an online webinar:
‘Thriving in a Stressful World: Practical Ways to Help Ourselves and Our Children Feel Secure And Calm’

As we emerge from the pandemic, stressors are heightened, and anxiety is an ever more common experience. We know from research that the important adults in the life of a child or teen have enormous capacity to help their world feel again, and to bring a felt sense of calm and safety to those young ones. This felt sense of security is essential for learning, regulation, and general well-being. 

I’m thrilled to be joining @marc.brackett and Dr Farah Schroder to explore the role of emotion regulation and the function of anxiety in our lives. Participants will learn ways to help express and regulate their own, and their children’s, emotions, even when our world may feel a little scary and stressful. We will also share practical and holistic strategies that can be most effective in fostering well-being for both ourselves and children. 

In this webinar, hosted by @dalailamacenter you will have the opportunity to learn creative, evidence-informed takeaways to help you and the children in your care build resilience and foster a sense of security and calmness. Join us for this 1 ½ hour session, including a dynamic Q&A period.
 
Webinar Details:
Thursday, October 14, 2021
1:30 - 3:00 PM PST
 
Registrants will receive a Zoom link to attend the webinar live, as well as a private link to a recording of the webinar to watch if they cannot join in at the scheduled time.

Register here:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/thriving-in-a-stressful-world-a-heart-mind-live-webinar-tickets-170348045590

The link to register is in my story.♥️
    So much of what our kids and teens are going through isn’t normal - online school, extended separation from their loved people, lockdowns, masks. Even if what they are going through isn’t ‘normal’, their response will be completely understandable. Not all children will respond the same way if course, but whatever they feel will be understandable, relatable, and ‘normal’. 

Whether they feel anxious, confused, frustrated, angry, or nothing at all, it’s important that their response is normalised. Research has found that children are more likely to struggle with traumatic events if they believe their response isn’t normal. This is because they tend to be more likely to interpret their response as a sign of breakage. 

Try, ‘What’s happening is scary. There’s no ‘right’ way to feel and different people will feel different things. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel.’

Any message you can give them that you can handle all their feelings and all their words will help them feel safer, and their world feel steadier.♥️
    We need to change the way we think about discipline. It’s true that traditional ‘discipline’ (separation, shame, consequences/punishment that don’t make sense) might bring compliant children, but what happens when the fear of punishment or separation isn’t there? Or when they learn that the best way to avoid punishment is to keep you out of the loop?

Our greatest parenting ‘tool’ is our use of self - our wisdom, modelling, conversations, but for any of this to have influence we need access to their ‘thinking’ brain - the prefrontal cortex - the part that can learn, think through consequences, plan, make deliberate decisions. During stress this part switches off. It is this way for all of us. None of us are up for lectures or learning (or adorable behaviour) when we’re stressed.

The greatest stress for young brains is a felt sense of separation from their important people. It’s why time-outs, shame, calm down corners/chairs/spaces which insist on separation just don’t work. They create compliance, but a compliant child doesn’t mean a calm child. As long as a child doesn’t feel calm and safe, we have no access to the part of the brain that can learn and be influenced by us.

Behind all behaviour is a need - power,  influence, independence, attention (connection), to belong, sleep - to name a few). The need will be valid. Children are still figuring out the world (aren’t we all) and their way of meeting a need won’t always make sense. Sometimes it will make us furious. (And sometimes because of that we’ll also lose our thinking brains and say or do things that aren’t great.)

So what do we do when they get it wrong? The same thing we hope our people will do when we get things wrong. First, we recognise that the behaviour is not a sign of a bad child or a bad parent, but their best attempt to meet a need with limited available resources. Then we collect them - we calm ourselves so we can bring calm to them. Breathe, be with. Then we connect through validation. Finally, when their bodies are calm and their thinking brain is back, talk about what’s happened, what they can do differently next time, and how they can put things right. Collect, connect, redirect.
    Our nervous systems are talking to each other every minute of every day. We will catch what our children are feeling and they will catch ours. We feel their distress, and this can feed their distress. Our capacity to self-regulate is the circuit breaker. 

Children create their distress in us as a way to recruit support to help them carry the emotional load. It’s how it’s meant to be. Whatever you are feeling is likely to be a reflection what your children are feeling. If you are frustrated, angry, helpless, scared, it’s likely that they are feeling that way too. Every response in you and in them is relevant. 

You don’t need to fix their feelings. Let their feelings come, so they can go. The healing is in the happening. 

In that moment of big feelings it’s more about who you are than what you do. Feel what they feel with a strong, steady heart. They will feel you there with them. They will feel it in you that you get them, that you can handle whatever they are feeling, and that you are there. This will help calm them more than anything. We feel safest when we are ‘with’. Feel the feeling, breathe, and be with - and you don’t need to do more than that. 
There will be a time for teaching, learning, redirecting, but the middle of a storm is not that time.♥️

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