Speaking

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For Parents

Strengthening Children and Teens Against Anxiety

Anxiety is a very normal part of being human, but for as many as one in five children it can reach intrusive levels, interfering with family life, friendships, and school performance. This transformational session will provide parents and carers with the essential information and powerful, practical strategies to help their children and teens thrive through anxiety, whether it’s everyday levels of anxiety or more intrusive.

The Power of the Adolescent Brain – What All Parents Need to Know About the Changes During Adolescence

During adolescence, the brain goes through remarkable changes to support the transition from childhood to adulthood. Understanding these changes can be powerful in helping parents strengthen their connection, increase influence, and support their teens as they navigate towards becoming healthy, happy adults. It will also help make sense of the behaviours and challenges that can be so confusing during adolescence, for both adolescents and the adults who love them.

Building Courage and Resilience.

Courage and resilience are vital qualities that help children adapt in the face of adversity and challenge. It is impossible to ensure our children will always have a smooth path ahead of them. What we can do is nurture in them the qualities they need to move through change, challenge and adversity in ways that will flourish them. Learn the language and strategies that will encourage brave behaviour and resilience in children, and strengthen them from the inside out. Both courage and resilience are qualities that can be cultivated in any child, and parents are in the perfect position to do this.

 

Building Self-Control and Emotional Regulation in Children – Why It’s So Important and What Parents Can Do

Self-control is a vital skill that is instrumental in helping our children develop into healthy, happy adults. It will take time to take shape – nobody was born knowing how to manage big feelings and delay immediate wants in favour of a longer-term goal, but parents have enormous power to provide children with the experiences that will build this vital skill in their children. This seminar will explore the powerful ways parents can, quite literally, influence the strengthening of the brain in ways that will build self-control, emotional regulation, and resilience in their children for life. We will look at the importance of relationship in nurturing self-control, and how parents can strengthen their connection and influence with their children during childhood and beyond.


For Professionals (Therapists, Educators, Teachers)

These talks can be adapted to be full-day workshops or presentations for one, two, or three+ hours.

Working With Anxiety in Children and Teens

Anxiety is a very normal human response but for as many as 1 in 5 young people, the symptoms become so intrusive, they significantly interfere with day to day living. They can undermine the way children see themselves and shrink their world – 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 offer a range of practical, powerful interventions to assist participants to respond effectively within their own professional context. 

Anxiety in the Classroom – Helping Children Thrive Through Anxiety at School

Anxiety loves anything unfamiliar or any situation that comes with any potential for embarrassment, failure, humiliation, shame, or separation from a loved one – and school is ripe for all of them. Anxiety can significantly affect friendships, confidence, and school performance – but it doesn’t have to be this way. All children and teens need the right support to thrive, and even the smallest considerations can go a long way to helping children with anxiety find the very best version of themselves. This presentation is for teachers or any professional who works with children. It will be packed with practical, powerful, proven ways to strengthen kids and teens against anxiety and build courage and confidence at school.  


For Adolescents (High School)

Anxiety During Adolescence – How to Strengthen Against Anxiety.

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point, but add in the whirlwind of changes that come with adolescence, and anxiety can feel like an intrusive beast of a thing that undermines and overwhelms – but it doesn’t have to be this way. This presentation will provide adolescents with information and powerful strategies to strengthen themselves against anxiety, and discover their remarkable capacity for courage and resilience – because the world can’t be brilliant without them.

Thriving Through Adolescence – Making Sense of the Changes and Challenges by Understanding Your Changing (and Amazing) Brain

During adolescence, the brain goes through the most remarkable changes. This is to provide adolescents with the neural power to learn new skills, experiment with the world and their place in it and stretch beyond the familiar as they make the transition from dependent children to independent, healthy, happy adults. The adolescent brain is wired to drive them through this transition, but there will be challenges along the way. Information is power, and with the right information, adolescents will have an expanded capacity to navigate through the challenges, and see the changes they are going through as positive and dynamic.  


For Primary School Children

‘Who Doesn’t Get Anxiety!’ – Discovering Your ‘Brave’

 Children are powerful when we empower them. The more children and young people can understand about the workings of the brain, the more empowered they will be to make choices that help them thrive. This presentation will focus on providing young people with the information and strategies they need to strengthen and protect themselves against anxiety, so they can discover the calm, courage, and resilience that is in them.

How to be the Boss of Your Brain – Building Social and Emotional IQ

 If you could teach one set of skills to every child in the world, what would it be? What if it could be something that would bring intelligence and compassion to decision-making, reduce (or end?) violence, embed within humanity a drive towards kindness, empathy and relationships that connect, heal, nurture and flourish those who are in them? Social-emotional intelligence lies at the heart of this. It has also been shown by abundant research to be vital to individual success and happiness at school and in life. This presentation will provide children with information and strategies to strengthen emotional IQ.

    Work With Me.

    Karen is available to deliver talks to school, parent and professional groups. These dynamic presentations offer key insights and practical strategies for understanding and strengthening children and adolescents. Presentations can be delivered as professional development seminars, staff in-services, keynotes, or presentations to parents, and/or students, and tailored to suit the individual needs of your audience.

    Topics include:
    For Parents:
    • Kids and Anxiety – How to Help Kids Find Their ‘Brave’.
      (This talk can also be adapted to be given directly to children.)

      Anxiety is a very normal part of being human. Who hasn’t felt anxious sometimes! This presentation looks at discuss where anxiety comes from, what kids need to know to thrive through anxiety and ‘be the boss of their brains’, and how parents can empower kids to find the courage that is in them.

    • How to build courage and resilience in children.
      (This talk can also be adapted to be given directly to children.)

      Courage and resilience are vital qualities that help children adapt in the face of adversity and challenge, and give them the confidence move towards life-giving opportunities. We will discuss why resilience is so important, and how to nurture these essential qualities in our children.

    • Play and the Developing Brain – A Talk for Parents/ Teachers
      Play is vital for the development of happy, healthy, socially and emotionally intelligent children. This presentation discusses the role of play in development, and ways to maximise the potential for play to build creativity, and social and emotional intelligence in children.
    • Dealing with School Anxiety
      How to find happy goodbyes and empower children to find calm at school.
    • Building Self-Control in Children
      In a landmark study, self-control has been found to be one of the greatest predictors of success. In this talk, we will discuss why it is so important, and ways to strengthen this vital skill in children.
    • Strengthening the Connection With Your Teen
      What Parents Need to Know About The Changes That Come With Adolescence, and Using This to Increase Influence and Connection.
    • They’ll Do What!?
      Understanding the changes that come with adolescence with a view to increasing your connection and influence with your teen. This talk explores adolescent brain development and its impact on family relationships, friendships, and all forms of adolescent behaviour.
    • Anxiety in Teens.
      What parents need to know about anxiety to empower their teens to thrive through anxiety.
    • Friendships – Nurturing the Good, Thriving Through the Bad, Dealing with the Difficult
      In this talk, we will focus on how to empower teens and/or children to have healthy, happy relationships. Specifically, we will focus on how to deal with bullying, rejection and exclusion, how to be a good friend, why kind kids are cool kids, how to deal with peer pressure, and how to set and protect healthy boundaries.
    • Nurturing Social and Emotional Intelligence in Children (This talk can be adapted and given to children, teens and teachers).
      This talk explores how to help children develop emotional and social intelligence, and how to be the ‘boss of their brains’. We will cover anxiety, self-control, anger, empathy and kindness, and why mindfulness, sleep and exercise are so important for developing brains.
    For Teens:
    • Stress, Depression and Anxiety
      The signs to watch out for and how to manage them.
    • The Adolescent Adventure
      Your brain is changing and it’s AMAZING! What you need to know about your changing brain and how to use this information to manage behaviour, friendships addiction and family.
    • Who Doesn’t Get Anxiety!?
      How to thrive through anxiety.
    • Let’s Talk About Your Tribe
      Bullying, friendships, healthy relationships and how to identify and steer clear of the ones that cause breakage.
    For Teachers:
    • Anxiety in the Classroom
      How teachers can bring out the best in anxious kids & teens.
    • Understanding Adolescence: A Brain Under Construction
      A talk for teachers.
    FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (Educators, Teachers, Counsellors):

    Each of these topics can be delivered as keynotes or professional development workshops. Topics will be tailored specifically to meet the individual needs of your audience, and presentations can be designed to run from one and a half hours to full day.

    • Working with Anxiety in Children and Adolescents
    • Anxiety at School – Primary Teachers
    • Anxiety at School – High School
    • Anxiety at School – A PD for School Professionals

    Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

    Today was an ending and a beginning. My darling girl finished year 12. The final year at school is tough enough, but this year was seismic. Our teens have moved through this year with the most outstanding courage and grace and strength, and now it is time for them to rest and play. My gosh they deserve it. 

It is true that this is a time of celebration, but it can also be an intense time of self-reflection for our teens. (I can remember the same feelings when my gorgeous boy finished so many years ago!) My daughter has described it as, ‘I feel as though I’ve outgrown myself but my new self isn’t ready yet.’ This just makes so much sense. 

There is a beautifully fertile void that is waiting for whatever comes next for each of them, but that void is still a void. At different times it might feel exciting, overwhelming, or brutal in its emptiness.

We also have to remember that this is a time of letting go, and there might be grief that comes with that. Before they can grab on to their next big adventure, they have to let go of the guard rails. This means gently adjusting their hold on the world they have known for the last 12+ years, with its places and routines and people that have felt like home on so many days. There will be redirects and shiftings, and through it all the things that need to stay will stay, and the things that need to adjust will adjust. 

To my darling girl, your loved incredible friends, and the teens who make our world what it is - you are the beautiful  thinkers, the big feelers, the creators, the change makers, and the ones who will craft and grow a better world. However you might feel now, the lights are waiting to shine for you and because of you. The world beyond school is opening its arms to you. That opening might happen quickly, or gently, or smoothly or chaotically, but it will happen. This world needs every one of you - your voices, your spirits, your fire, your softness, your strength and your power. You are world-ready, and we are so glad you are here xxx
    When our kids or teens are in high emotion, their words might sound anxious, angry, inconsolable, jealous, defiant. As messy as the words might be, they have a good reason for being there. Big feelings surge as a way to influence the environment to meet a need. Of course, sometimes the fallout from this can be nuclear.
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Wherever there is a big emotion, there will always be an important need behind it - safety, comfort, attention, food, rest, connection. The need will always be valid, even if the way they’re going about meeting it is a little rough. As with so many difficult parenting moments, there will be gold in the middle of the mess if we know where to look. 
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There will be times for shaping the behaviour into a healthier response, but in the middle of a big feeling is not one of those times. Big feelings are NOT a sign of dysfunction, bad kids or bad parenting. They are a part of being human, and they bring rich opportunities for wisdom, learning and growth. .
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Parenting isn’t about stopping the emotional storms, but about moving through the storm and reaching the other side in a way that preserves the opportunity for our kids and teens to learn and grow from the experience - and they will always learn best from experience. 
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To calm a big feeling, name what you see, ‘I can see you’re disappointed. I know how much you wanted that’, or, ‘I can see this feels big for you,’ or, ‘You’re angry at me about .. aren’t you. I understand that. I would be mad too if I had to […],’ or ‘It sounds like today has been a really hard day.’ 
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When we connect with the emotion, we help soothe the nervous system. The emotion has done its job, found support, and can start to ease. 
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When they ‘let go’ they’re letting us in on their deepest and most honest emotional selves. We don’t need to change that. What we need to do is meet them where they and gently guide them from there. When they feel seen and understood, their trust in us and their connection to us will deepen, opening the way for our influence.
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#parenthood #parenting #positiveparenting #parentingtips #childdevelopment #neuronurtured #anxiety #anxietyinchildren #childanxiety #motherhoodcommunity #parenti
    When they are at that line, deciding whether to retreat to safety or move forward into brave, there will be a part of them that will know they have what it takes to be brave. It might be pale, or quiet, or a little tumbled by the noise from anxiety, but it will be there. And it will be magical. Our job as their flight crew is to clear the way for this magical part of them to rise. ‘I can see this feels scary for you - and I know you can do this.’ 
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 #mindfulparenting #neuronurtured #parentingteens #neurodevelopment #braindevelopment #positiveparenting #parenting #parenthood #childdevelopment #parentingtip #adolescence #positiveparentingtips #anxietyawareness #anxietyinchildren #childanxiety #parentingadvice #anxiety #parentingtips #motherhoodcommunity #anxietysupport #mentalhealth #heyawesome #heysigmund #heywarrior
    When our kids or teens are struggling, it can be hard to know what they need. It can also be hard for them to say. It can be this way for all of us - we don't always know what we need from the people around us. It might be space, or distraction, or silence, or maybe acknowledging and being there is enough. Sometimes we might need to know that the people we love aren't taking our need for space, or our confusion or anger or sadness personally, and that they are still there within reach.
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What can be easier is thinking about what other people might need. Asking this when they are calm can invite a different perspective and can give you some insight into what they need to hear when they are going through similar. Don't worry if you just get a shrug, or a disheartened, 'I don't know'. They don't need to know, and neither do we. The question in itself might be enough to open a new way through any sense of 'stuckness' or helplessness they might be feeling.
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#parenthood #parenting #positiveparenting #parentingtips #childdevelopment #parentingadvice #parentingtip #mindfulparenting #positiveparentingtips #neurodevelopment #parentingteens
    Give them space to talk but you don’t need to fix anything. You’ll want to, but the answers are in them, not us. Sometimes the answer will be to feel it out, or push for change, or feel the futility of it all so the feeling can let go, knowing it’s done it’s job - it’s recruited support, or raised awareness that something isn’t right.

Sometimes the feelings might be seismic but the words might be gone for a while. That’s okay too. Do they want to start with whatever words are there? Or talk about something else? Or go for a walk with you? Watch a movie with you? Or do a spontaneous, unnecessary drive thru with you just because you can - no words, no need to explain - just you and them and car music for the next 20 minutes. 

The more you can validate what they’re feeling (maybe, ‘Today was big for you wasn’t it’) and give them space to feel, the more they can feel the feeling, understand the need that’s fuelling it, and experiment with ways to deal with it. Sometimes, ‘dealing with it’ might mean acknowledging that there is something that feels big or important and a little out of reach right now, and feeling the fullness and futility of that. 

Part of building resilience is recognising that some days are rubbish, and that sometimes those days last for longer than they should, but we get through. First we feel floored, then we feel stuck, then we shift because the only choices we have we have are to stay down or move, even when moving hurts. Then, eventually we adjust - either ourselves, the problem, or to a new ‘is’. But the learning comes from experience.

I wish our kids never felt pain, but we don’t get to decide that. We don’t get to decide how our children grow, but we do get to decide how much space and support we give them for this growth. We can love them through it but we can’t love them out of it. I wish we could but we can’t.

So instead of feeling the need to silence their pain, make space for it. In the end we have no choice. Sometimes all the love in the world won’t be enough to put the wrong things right, but it can help them feel held while they move through the pain enough to find their out breath, and the strength that comes with that.♥️

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