A Parent and Teacher’s Evolution to Neuroeducator

Photo by Roel Dierckens on Unsplash It began with a love of learning and a passion to empower my students throughout the learning process, particularly the underperforming and those with ADHD or learning disabilities. As a mom and life-long educator, you can imagine my dismay when by 4th grade, my sons said they hated school. The spark they once had for school was barely a flicker. When asked, “How was school?” “Boring” was the daily refrain. “What did you learn?” “Nothing” was the typical response. I found this particularly frustrating because I was a teacher. A special educator to boot. Yet, I was unequipped to get to the root of the problem and felt I had fallen short as a parent and educator. I wanted to know why my sons, who loved learning, hated school. Over the years, I discovered they weren’t alone. In my classroom visits to schools across the country, I observed an increase of students in negative emotional states — anxiety, frustration, anger, boredom and lack of relevance to subject matter, causing them to act out or zone out — the same emotions my own sons were experiencing. And it wasn’t just me noticing these behaviors. I found myself in numerous conversations with teachers, coaches and parents who expressed frustration that their students, players or children lacked focus, motivation, resilience, self-regulation and self-direction, despite best efforts to instruct them. What was going on? It wasn’t until the diagnosis of a family member with Post-Concussion Syndrome that I started to get some answers. I became a regular participant at Neuroscience and Learning and the Brain Conferences where...

The Ways Your Parenting Language and Approach Impact Your Child

Kids learn more from our examples than any lecture. This includes how we communicate, face obstacles, manage anxiety and accept feedback. This can be challenging on a “good day,” never mind during a pandemic. If there were ever a time when kids are looking to parents for ways to process and interpret the uncertainty and fear associated with the current health crisis, it’s now. If there were ever a time when parents needed information and support to help them do just that, it’s now. Concurrently, there’s a powerful opportunity for you to learn about the brain and use that knowledge to your advantage in your parenting. How do you know if your parenting approach could use an upgrade? Consider the following: What messages are you sending your kids about how to handle anxiety provoking situations? Do you pay attention to your “warning signs” and employ strategies to help you re-set? Or, do you ignore your well being and hear yourself using reactive, dismissive or catastrophic language? My husband and I were four sons into our parenting journey and still lacked an understanding about stress, effective coping skills and the power of communication, often repeating the same ineffective statements we heard as kids. If you asked my kids where they learned anxiety from, they’d all point to me. If you asked them where they learned anger, they’d point to their dad. Modeling and environment matter. Accepting these truths and being willing to make adjustments in our habits and ways of communicating cultivated a healthier environment for our family, strengthened us as parents, and ultimately empowered our sons. The same can...

The Ways Your Parenting Language and Approach Impact Your Child

Kids learn more from our examples than any lecture. This includes how we communicate, face obstacles, manage anxiety and accept feedback. This can be challenging on a “good day,” never mind during a pandemic. If there were ever a time when kids are looking to parents for ways to process and interpret the uncertainty and fear associated with the current health crisis, it’s now. If there were ever a time when parents needed information and support to help them do just that, it’s now. Concurrently, there’s a powerful opportunity for you to learn about the brain and use that knowledge to your advantage in your parenting. How do you know if your parenting approach could use an upgrade? Consider the following: What messages are you sending your kids about how to handle anxiety provoking situations? Do you pay attention to your “warning signs” and employ strategies to help you re-set? Or, do you ignore your well being and hear yourself using reactive, dismissive or catastrophic language? My husband and I were four sons into our parenting journey and still lacked an understanding about stress, effective coping skills and the power of communication, often repeating the same ineffective statements we heard as kids. If you asked my kids where they learned anxiety from, they’d all point to me. If you asked them where they learned anger, they’d point to their dad. Modeling and environment matter. Accepting these truths and being willing to make adjustments in our habits and ways of communicating cultivated a healthier environment for our family, strengthened us as parents, and ultimately empowered our sons. The same can...

Empower Your Parenting with Less Anxiety

  I was four sons into motherhood and still hadn’t reckoned with my anxiety. I hadn’t gotten help, mainly  because I had no awareness I could have any power over my anxiety and didn’t have a clue anxiety was treatable. My anxiety was on spin cycle…What if my sons didn’t like school or played too many video games? What if they got hurt in contact sports? Was their diet healthy enough? Was the youngest child getting ripped off…when was the last time I read that child a book? And fast forward several years…What if they crashed the car? (they did). Catastrophic thinking, “what ifs,” and fears of uncertainty and imperfection seemed “normal” parts of my day I’d just have to get used to. Physiological manifestations—rapid heart rate, jumpy knees and tight chest—were sensations I’d just had to live with…permanently. How wrong was I. When one of my sons was diagnosed with post concussion syndrome, I immersed myself into a world of neuroscience and learned about the impact of stress on the brain. For the first time, I became aware that an anxiety disorder was a combination of nature and nurture. Whoa! This nurture part was breaking news and sparked a new way of thinking about my anxiety: I couldn’t change my genes, but I could change my environment. To do this, I had to take an honest look at how anxiety was affecting my parenting. This was a wakeup call moment, and it might be for you as well. Our children are sponges and interpret the world by how we face situations. Not only did I want to begin...

Empower Your Parenting with Less Anxiety

I was four sons into motherhood and still hadn’t reckoned with my anxiety. I hadn’t gotten help, mainly  because I had no awareness I could have any power over my anxiety and didn’t have a clue anxiety was treatable. My anxiety was on spin cycle…What if my sons didn’t like school or played too many video games? What if they got hurt in contact sports? Was their diet healthy enough? Was the youngest child getting ripped off…when was the last time I read that child a book? And fast forward several years…What if they crashed the car? (they did). Catastrophic thinking, “what ifs,” and fears of uncertainty and imperfection seemed “normal” parts of my day I’d just have to get used to. Physiological manifestations—rapid heart rate, jumpy knees and tight chest—were sensations I’d just had to live with…permanently. How wrong was I. When one of my sons was diagnosed with post concussion syndrome, I immersed myself into a world of neuroscience and learned about the impact of stress on the brain. For the first time, I became aware that an anxiety disorder was a combination of nature and nurture. Whoa! This nurture part was breaking news and sparked a new way of thinking about my anxiety: I couldn’t change my genes, but I could change my environment. To do this, I had to take an honest look at how anxiety was affecting my parenting. This was a wakeup call moment, and it might be for you as well. Our children are sponges and interpret the world by how we face situations. Not only did I want to begin managing...