Welcome The Wishing Star Lapointe Developmental Clinic! Formerly “To the Moon and Back” in South Surrey, British Columbia, we have renamed our practice to reflect our desire to expand our capacity to support, nurture, and empower children, parents, students, and professionals.

The choice of our new name was not a difficult one – we knew immediately that our name must carry with it a message of hope. Whether a parent calls our office out of concern for their child’s well-being, a professional organization calls wanting more information for their staff to support children who are struggling, or any other number of reasons we might be contacted, the most important “service” we might offer is to impart hope – hope that things can and will be better.

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The Wishing Star Lapointe Developmental Clinic proudly presenting a 6-part workshop series: Through the Child’s Eyes with Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R. Psych. #1856 and Ms. Rebecca Mitchell, RCC.

This series is specially created for every "big person" out there – moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, caregivers, teachers – who are invested in the growing up of children. Created and delivered by Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, Registered Psychologist, experienced dynamic speaker and Ms. Rebecca Mitchell, RCC, this workshop series is now in its fourth year. Each of the workshops in this series are meant to stir in each participant the wonder of seeing the world Through the Child’s Eyes. Dr. Lapointe firmly believes that if each of us big people can find ourselves looking out at the world, experiencing and knowing the world, and feeling and responding to the world the way a child does, we are infinitely more capable of responding to children in ways that resonate with the science of development. That is, to do right by our children we need to see the world through their eyes.

Each workshop is a "stand-alone" workshop, and does not require participation in any of the previous workshops.

Registration

Registration for each workshop in the series is now open! Seating is limited so early registration is strongly encouraged.
Tickets: $20 + GST / person per workshop  |  $30 + GST / parenting couple per workshop




* Secure Payments by PayPal – Please print out your Paypal receipt and bring it with you to the workshop.

Registration is open until the day before each workshop is presented provided space is still available.
You can contact us via email or phone if you have any questions.

Location

All workshops will be offered at The Wishing Star Lapointe Developmental Clinic:

128-3388 Rosemary Heights Crescent, Surrey, BC V3Z 0K7.
A note about parking: there is a parking lot in the back of the building; there is also street parking on Rosemary Heights Crescent and on 34 Ave.


View Larger Map


The Series

We are thrilled to present the following 4 workshops in our sixth year of the "Through the Child’s Eyes" series:

1. GROWING A SECURE CHILD

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 – from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Ms. Rebecca Mitchell, MA, RCC

How many times have we heard ourselves saying, «our children needed to come with a manual!» This workshop introduces you to the Circle of Security Parenting program which will be offered at The Wishing Star this coming Winter! It offers a clear road map to the needs of children, which if met much of the time, leads to security. Much of the time we inadvertently make parenting harder than it needs to be, not seeing what is right in front of our eyes! This workshop will offer an opportunity to unlock your innate capacity as a parent to recognize and meet these needs. Please join us in sharing our positive intention to grow our children in the best possible way.

2. What it Means to Be a Parent: Growing ourselves to grow our children

Monday, February 19, 2018 – from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R. Psych. (#1856)

Becoming a parent doesn’t come with a manual and often it leads to significant emotions and upheaval in ourselves as we wonder if we are doing it right. What we often don’t realize until we are in the middle of it is that growing up a child comes with the incredible opportunity to finally grow up ourselves. And in fact, when we have made sense of that we will finally be able to make sense of our children. This workshop will address the key elements of growth we must recognize and cultivate within ourselves as parents in order to do right by our children.

3. Parenting in the Early Years: What moms and dads of children 0-3 years need to know

Monday, April 16, 2018 – from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R. Psych. (#1856)

Should you sleep train? What are you supposed to do when your 2-year-old has a tantrum? What if potty training becomes a battle? How should the transition into daycare be handled? If you have a child 0-3 years and have wondered about these and other key questions this workshop is for you. Making informed and wise decisions now about these things promotes resilience and improves outcomes ongoing. Using the science of child development we will address the big issues that come with raising your little one.

4. LARGE & IN CHARGE

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 – from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Ms. Rebecca Mitchell, MA, RCC

Sometimes things get turned upside down and you find your child telling you what to do and how to do it. In other words, being bossy, demanding, prescriptive, and generally large and in charge! There is a reason this is happening with increasing frequency for our children. Contrary to popular culture, this reason is not that children need a firmer, stricter hand. The true reason for why children are adopting the large and in charge stance is much more complex. This workshop will focus on understanding how things get flipped upside down in today’s parenting culture, and will provide ideas for taking steps toward turning it right side up!

To download and print out the information, click here.

Click to look back at:

"Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat?"
- Goldie Hawn, Founder of MindUP



Who, me? Yes, you!

  • Are you the parent of a highly sensitive, intense or challenging child or teen?
  • Do you often find yourself reacting rather than responding?
  • Is something stopping you from parenting the way you’d like to?
  • Do you find the daily hassles of parenting get in the way of simply having fun with your child?

What is mindful parenting?

Parenting can often feel like a juggling act. Balancing the demands of work and home life, coordinating schedules, and dealing with daily hassles can leave little time for joyful connection with our children. In this 8-week program, parents will learn how shifting the emphasis from doing to being has a profound effect on parent-child relationships. We will explore how a mindful approach to parenting moves us from reactive to reflective, and helps us to recognize and respond to the needs of our children.

Through meditation, group exercises, and discussion, parents will gain greater awareness and acceptance of themselves and their children in order to shift from mind full to mindful parenting.

How will mindful parenting help me?

  • Decrease parenting stress
  • Increase confidence in parenting
  • Improve communication within your family
  • Cultivate connectedness with your children
  • Develop healthy emotion regulation skills in parents and children
  • Learn to see it, feel it, and be it for sensitive and intense children



Fees (for 8 sessions):

$525 / person | $900 / parenting couple

Dates & Times:

Thursdays 6pm – 7:30pm | March 30th – May 18th, 2017

Registration:

Call 778-294-8732 or E-mail us at info@lapointepsychology.com
Seating is limited! Book Early!!

Location:

All workshops will be offered at The Wishing Star Lapointe Developmental Clinic:

128-3388 Rosemary Heights Crescent, Surrey, BC V3Z 0K7.
A note about parking: there is a parking lot in the back of the building; there is also street parking on Rosemary Heights Crescent and on 34 Ave.


View Larger Map




Presenter: Dr. Jill Haydicky

Registered Psychologist #2208

Dr. Jillian Haydicky is a Registered Psychologist who cherishes the opportunity to walk alongside children, teens, and parents in her clinical practice. She is committed to promoting wellness and resilience through the use of family-focused treatments.

Dr. Jill is a certified facilitator of an evidence-based mindfulness program for parents and youth. Her research on mindfulness has been published in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at national and international conferences.



From Mind Full to Mindful: A Group for Parents 2017 Spring

To download and print out the information, click here.

The ABCs of Mental Health for Children | Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R. Psych #1856

In this workshop, we will seek to understand the most common mental health challenges in young children, including behaviour disorders, anxiety, and depression, through the lens of attachment. We will examine our approaches to understanding the needs of children presenting with mental health concerns, as well as the methods we use to intervene and nurture change in their worlds.

Presented by:

The Shuswap Local Action Team of the Child and Youth Mental Health & Substance Use Collaborative

Dates & Times:

Saturday, November 19, 2016 from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Registration:

Registration is now closed.

Location:

SD83 District Education Support Centre | 341 Shuswap St. SW, Salmon Arm, BC, Canada.






To download and print out the information, click here.

The Wishing Star Lapointe Developmental Clinic proudly presenting a 6-part workshop series: Through the Child’s Eyes with Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R. Psych. #1856, Ms. Rebecca Mitchell, RCC, and Dr. Jill Haydicky, R. Psych. #2208.

This series is specially created for every "big person" out there – moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, caregivers, teachers – who are invested in the growing up of children. Created and delivered by Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, Registered Psychologist, experienced dynamic speaker, Ms. Rebecca Mitchell, RCC and Dr. Jill Haydicky, Registered Psychologist, this workshop series is now in its fourth year. Each of the workshops in this series are meant to stir in each participant the wonder of seeing the world Through the Child’s Eyes. Dr. Lapointe firmly believes that if each of us big people can find ourselves looking out at the world, experiencing and knowing the world, and feeling and responding to the world the way a child does, we are infinitely more capable of responding to children in ways that resonate with the science of development. That is, to do right by our children we need to see the world through their eyes.

Each workshop is a "stand-alone" workshop, and does not require participation in any of the previous workshops.

Registration

Registration is now closed.

Location

All workshops will be offered at The Wishing Star Lapointe Developmental Clinic:

128-3388 Rosemary Heights Crescent, Surrey, BC V3Z 0K7.
A note about parking: there is a parking lot in the back of the building; there is also street parking on Rosemary Heights Crescent and on 34 Ave.


View Larger Map


The Series

We are thrilled to present the following 6 workshops in our fourth year of the "Through the Child’s Eyes" series:

1. From BIG FEELINGS to CALM: How do children develop emotional regulation?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Ms. Rebecca Mitchell, MA, RCC

Children are born with the capacity to feel all range of emotions, yet they are not born with the capacity to manage all of these big feelings. This workshop will explore how emotional regulation develops in children and our role as caregivers in this development. What do we need to understand and who do we need to be to a child, to grow settled and resilient brains that can manage much of what life brings.

2. Sleepless in Surrey? How parents can support healthy sleep patterns in growing children

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R. Psych. (#1856)

Sleep is something that our bodies need in order to restore us to full capacity. For children, healthy sleep patterns are a key part of optimal development. And every parent knows just how awful it can be – for both the child and the family around the child – when sleep is not going well. At this workshop we will discuss the development of healthy sleep patterns in growing children, dispel some myths about sleep that can sometimes hijack our efforts to get our kids sleeping better, and review some rescue strategies for getting your sleep game back on track.

3. From Mind Full to Mindful Parenting: How to strengthen relationships and foster resilience in children

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Dr. Jill Haydicky, R. Psych. (#2208)

Parenting can often feel like a juggling act. Balancing the demands of work and home life, coordinating appointments and activities, and dealing with daily hassles can leave little time for joyful connection with our children. In this workshop, parents will learn how shifting the emphasis from doing to being has a profound effect on parent-child relationships. We will explore how a mindful approach to parenting moves us from reactive to reflective, and helps us to understand and respond to the needs of our children. We will seek to understand how taking care of yourself and your child supports the development of emotion regulation skills and fosters resilience in our children. Parents will be introduced to mindful practices appropriate for adults and children alike.

4. Fostering More Peaceful Sibling Relationships

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Ms. Rebecca Mitchell, MA, RCC

Sibling rivalry is inevitable and normal. It can however lead to a great deal of frustration and worries within many families. This workshop will share ideas that will prevent and transform sibling tensions, bringing more peace into the home.

5. Help! I’m Raising a Teenager!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Dr. Jill Haydicky, R. Psych. (#2208)

Adolescence has been traditionally known as a time of "storm and stress," but research indicates that this developmental period need not be so stormy. In this workshop we will explore the particular challenges – and strengths – of the teenage brain, in order to understand the biology that drives the behaviour of our teens. We will discuss the role of caregivers in supporting teens through this transitional period, and provide ideas for maintaining healthy relationships while helping teens manage bumps along the road to adulthood.

6. Discipline Without Damage: How to get your kids to behave without messing them up

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
PRESENTER: Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R. Psych. (#1856)

When your child is threatening a meltdown in the grocery aisle, is it really possible to keep your cool, get the behaviour turned around, and support healthy development, all at the same time?! Parents, caregivers and big people of all kinds will discover how discipline affects children’s development, why our reactions to our children’s behavior should reinforce connection instead of introduce more upset, and why the disciplinary strategies that may have been used on us as children are not the ones that children really need. In addition, you’ll learn:

  • How the concept of "childhood" has been understood in different ways historically and why we must understand it anew today.
  • The basic and impactful truth behind Dr. Vanessa’s mantra "See it, feel it, be it."
  • The foundation of a healthy, effective approach to discipline that respects your child’s developmental needs… and works!

Autographed copies of Dr. Vanessa’s bestselling book by this same title will available on site at this workshop!

To download and print out the information, click here.

Click to look back at:

"Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat?"
- Goldie Hawn, Founder of MindUP



Who, me? Yes, you!

  • Are you the parent of a highly sensitive, intense or challenging child or teen?
  • Do you often find yourself reacting rather than responding?
  • Is something stopping you from parenting the way you’d like to?
  • Do you find the daily hassles of parenting get in the way of simply having fun with your child?

What is mindful parenting?

Parenting can often feel like a juggling act. Balancing the demands of work and home life, coordinating schedules, and dealing with daily hassles can leave little time for joyful connection with our children. In this 8-week program, parents will learn how shifting the emphasis from doing to being has a profound effect on parent-child relationships. We will explore how a mindful approach to parenting moves us from reactive to reflective, and helps us to recognize and respond to the needs of our children.

Through meditation, group exercises, and discussion, parents will gain greater awareness and acceptance of themselves and their children in order to shift from mind full to mindful parenting.

How will mindful parenting help me?

  • Decrease parenting stress
  • Increase confidence in parenting
  • Improve communication within your family
  • Cultivate connectedness with your children
  • Develop healthy emotion regulation skills in parents and children
  • Learn to see it, feel it, and be it for sensitive and intense children



Fees (for 8 sessions):

$525 / person | $900 / parenting couple

Dates & Times:

Thursdays 6pm – 7:30pm | Oct 6th – Dec 1st, 2016

Registration:

Call 778-294-8732 or E-mail us at info@lapointepsychology.com
Seating is limited! Book Early!!

Location:

All workshops will be offered at The Wishing Star Lapointe Developmental Clinic:

128-3388 Rosemary Heights Crescent, Surrey, BC V3Z 0K7.
A note about parking: there is a parking lot in the back of the building; there is also street parking on Rosemary Heights Crescent and on 34 Ave.


View Larger Map




Presenter: Dr. Jill Haydicky

Registered Psychologist #2208

Dr. Jillian Haydicky is a Registered Psychologist who cherishes the opportunity to walk alongside children, teens, and parents in her clinical practice. She is committed to promoting wellness and resilience through the use of family-focused treatments.

Dr. Jill is a certified facilitator of an evidence-based mindfulness program for parents and youth. Her research on mindfulness has been published in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at national and international conferences.



To download and print out the information, click here.

5 Ideas for Transitioning Your Child From School to Summer

The lazy days of summer are nearly upon us again and many families may feel a sense of excitement at the thought of holiday fun and enjoying a slower pace of life. Yet some parents report feeling a sense of dread at the lack of the predictable structure and routine the school year offers them. In case you fall in the latter group, here are 5 ideas for transitioning to the school-free days of July and August:

  1. Create a Bucket-List:

    School-aged children love to contribute to this type of activity. Creating a bucket-list of activities to do (or sights to explore, activities, foods to try) can be a fun way to plan your summer and serve as a base for strengthening any parent-child relationship. I know of one family who loves chalk-board art and they spend considerable time artfully displaying their family bucket list for each summer. It truly can be a fantastic way to create memories and expose your children to new and enriching opportunities.

  2. Sleep:

    School-aged children still require a solid 10 hours of sleep per day, so aim to keep this part of your child’s routine consistent throughout the months of July and August. Consider keeping the same bedtime cues (i.e. bath, story, snuggle) as your child is used to during the school year so that these powerful signals will still be associated with sleep. It will also set them up for a more successful star to the school year in September.

  3. Prep:

    If your child leans more towards a sensitive temperament, they will benefit from family conversation related to the summer plans and routine. Envisioning this ahead of time and co-creating a plan may help them feel more at ease as they say goodbye to friends and activities that organize how their world is set up. Maybe there are summer camps to be looked forward to, or the annual trip to visit grandma. Whatever it may be, meeting your child’s need for a sense of predictability will go a long way in easing the transition.

  4. Take a Tech Holiday:

    Yes, this may seem crazy in today’s world…but think of the countless benefits for you and your child. We are so reliant upon our technology that we have forgotten how to simply be without it. A tech holiday doesn’t have to mean zero screens for the entire summer, but could be a decision to reduce screen time, or leave screens at home when going out. For one family I have worked with, this meant the children were able to watch their favourite shows on 1 day per week, as opposed to having a daily dose of tv. For another family it could mean, the phones go in the tech bucket for the evening. The key is to have a plan for replacing screen time with something else, such as face to face connection, outdoor activity, reading, bike rides, etc. You know your family best and use this knowledge in your planning ahead.

  5. Be Okay with Boredom:

    This relates to our propensity to engage in technology/social media and live highly structured lives during the school year. We tend to have endless entertainment at our fingertips and this can be a wonderful thing. But when we resist the urge to structure every single hour of the day, and allow our child to feel bored, it creates opportunities for them to begin engaging their creative juices in ways that technology or structured activities can never afford them. Here’s to more fort-building, more game playing and more time for connection with your loved ones.

  6. Wishing you and your family a wonderful summer of 2016!

    Nathalie Scott MSW, RSW, RPt

    Reg. Clinical Social Worker

    Read other articles of Discovering Treasures in the School Aged Years

5 Ways to Cultivate Family Rituals

The benefits of having regular connecting time with your children are endless. As the primary caregiver, consider the value in creating a space that feels emotionally safe for your child. Their world outside of the home can be full of stress-filled experiences so coming home to a sanctuary with you as their nurturing anchor will help soothe and calm their beings so there is room and energy for all the growing up that they are busy doing! Here are some thoughts on intentionally creating this soft nest for your child to land in at the end of each day.

  1. Meals: Whenever possible, eat together without distractions. There’s no need to fuss over fancy food, but focus instead on creating a warm, nurturing environment for family meals to take place. Your children will grow up with these memories as part of their blueprint for family life and will feel more connected to you, both now and in the adolescent years.
  2. Upping the Fun Factor: With school-aged children it can include a weekly games night, baking your traditional cinnamon buns, or Sunday trips to the local library. The bottom-line is that if it is a time where you and your little one(s) can spend quality time together, it really means the sky is the limit. What makes rituals so meaningful, is that there is a repetitive aspect to it. Children (and adults) find comfort in repeatedly engaging in these ordinary (yet extraordinary) moments and we, as parents, have the privilege of helping them create these experiences.
  3. Avoid a sense of obligation, when carving out time for your family’s rituals. Try to find a way to meet the needs of all your family members so that you all enjoy being together as opposed to doing things you may feel obligated to engage in.
  4. Celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Any excuse to highlight their budding strengths or interests will help your child feel loved and reinforce a healthy self-image. Perhaps this is done simply with a mention over dinnertime or in a more concrete way by writing it out as a complement on a family chalkboard.
  5. Bedtime reading is still an invaluable connecting activity in the school-aged years. Even though your child may be an independent reader, reading to them at bedtime is such a fantastic way to bond with your child at the end of each day.

Lastly, holidays are typically already filled with rituals and traditions and if the emphasis remains on togetherness and a sense of unity, these rituals will go a long way in creating your own family’s unique culture. If it gives you a sense of “this is who we are”, you are on the right track!

Nathalie Scott MSW, RSW, RPT

Read other articles of Discovering Treasures in the School Aged Years

The Wishing Star Lapointe Developmental Clinic in connection with Bold New Girls to present:
Growing Up Strong Workshops for Girls with with Lindsay Sealey, B.A., M.A. Ed.

The Growing Up Strong Workshop Series offers girls, ages 9-13, the opportunity to explore the meaning of strong in terms of: girlhood, anxiety, social media, and perfectionism. Workshops are a fun combination of: learning tools and strategies, discussion and sharing, activities, and reflecting – workbooks and snacks are also included.

Registration

Registration is now closed.

Location

All workshops will be offered at The Wishing Star Lapointe Developmental Clinic:

128-3388 Rosemary Heights Crescent, Surrey, BC V3Z 0K7.
A note about parking: there is a parking lot in the back of the building; there is also street parking on Rosemary Heights Crescent and on 34 Ave.


View Larger Map


The Series
1. #Like A Girl

Saturday, February 27, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

When did doing something "like a girl" become an insult? This workshop is designed to explore what "like a girl" and girlhood means as girls grows into greatness. This workshop is all about championing girls and includes: a short empowerment yoga session with Yoga It Up! followed by self-exploration, discussion of "femaleness", positive affirmations, and goal setting towards personal best. "Like a girl" needs to become a phrase that means something amazing and powerful!

2. Growing Up Strong in an Anxious World

Saturday, March 26, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Girls today live in an anxious world – girls can feel over-stimulated, over exposed, and, oftentimes, overwhelmed by everything! It makes perfect sense why girls feel anxious – there seems to be a lot to worry about! This workshop has been designed to explore anxiety: learning to pay attention to your body, focusing on breathing and relaxation techniques, asking questions of curiosity and interest, challenging "worry thoughts", and using tools to manage anxiety for inner strength!

3. Media Madness and Mixed Messages

Saturday, April 30, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Social media – Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter – is all around us. Girls today are bombarded with images and messages 24/7. There is no break from social media and although it may help girls to feel connected, engaged, and informed, it can also contribute to feeling anxious and "not good enough". This workshop looks at all aspects of media: the benefits, the drawbacks, time limitations and healthy boundaries, understanding how media affects girls, and what they can do to stand strong in all this media madness!

4. The 3 P’s: Pleasing, Performing and Perfecting

Saturday, May 28, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

There is no doubt about it: girls have social pressures to please people, perform for people, and try to perfect all they do to be all things to all people! The 3 P’s workshop looks at each at the 3 P’s together and separately – what they are and the why they exist. The workshop focuses on ideas for: developing a strong self, social awareness, learning curiosity and compassion, letting go of the need to be "perfect" and the "disease to please", and learning to develop their authentic selves to make meaningful and positive social connections.

To download and print out the information, click here.

Helping Your School-Aged Child Make Sense of the Recent Terrorism Attacks

It has been a few weeks since the terrorist attacks in Paris, and the media coverage on the aftermath continues on a daily basis. Parents often wonder how to help their children make sense of such horrifying events, particularly if they have already been exposed to some news coverage or social media.

As a general rule, I would recommend leaving the TV off during the news hour so that children are not unnecessarily taking in graphic content that may be frightening or disturbing to them.

Children under age six are best off not knowing about these events. They are much less likely to be hear or see any details of these events and there is no need to discuss this with them, unless they are directly affected by the event or have already heard about it.

School-aged children are more likely to hear about big world events, includ-ing terrorist attacks. This can happen in a myriad of ways, whether through friends at school, viewing a news article or photo on the Internet or around the dinner table when older siblings may be inquiring about the bombings. The urge may be to shield your child from the entire event. This instinct is something many parents grapple with and is worth paying attention to. In my practice with families, I remind parents that they know their child best and that it is worthwhile listening to this instinct. You know what your child’s distress tolerance is and if you determine that your child has no knowledge of the events yet, it may be just fine to shield them from hearing about it (at least for the time being).

If your school-aged child has already heard about it, you can take this as an opportunity to be your child’s compass point in the process of making sense of the Paris terrorist attacks.

Here are some points to consider:

  • If you can initiate a conversation with your school-aged child, this would be ideal, because it allows you to set the stage and provide simple facts. It also means that if your child hears erroneous details at school, they will recall what they have been told by you and can come back and process this with you.
  • Less detail is better than more. Try to gauge what your child may know already and fill in gaps where needed. A clear, simple narrative is adequate.
  • Give your child the time and space to express all their feelings. You can reassure them that feelings are neither good nor bad, but that feelings just are. It is totally normal to be sad, scared, angry, indifferent or what-ever else your child may be feeling. The important thing is that your child will benefit from your kind and strong presence as they process.
  • Your child will need to hear a sense of confidence in your voice as you convey to them that they are safe with you. While terrible things have happened far away from home here in Canada, they will benefit from being reassured that their world is safe.
  • It is very likely that their primary concern will be their own (and their family’s safety. Your child may need to hear your reassurance but may not articulate this need to you. Listen to your child and read between the lines what they may be most concerned about.
  • Emphasize the good that is happening after the attacks. You can describe the helpers (neighbours, medical professionals, community centres) and the efforts to ‘catch the bad guys’.
  • Lastly, with the holidays around the corner, there may be a variety of ways to “give back” within your own community. Finding tangible and creative ways for you and your child to be altruistic together, can be real reminders of all the good that exists in our world.

Nathalie Scott MSW, RSW, RPT

Read other articles of Discovering Treasures in the School Aged Years

Supporting your Highly Sensitive Child

We hear a lot about the sensitivity in children; many parents report feeling a sense of urgency in helping their child ‘get over’ being sensitive so that they can cope better with the ups and downs of life. Temperament refers to individual differences in behavioural style and is not something we can get rid of or change. Temperament is present at birth and determines in part, how we respond to the environment around us.

Sensitive children are highly attuned to the world around them, having a heightened awareness of one or more of the following: the emotional climate in their surroundings, sound, touch, taste or smell coming their way. Research has shown that there are neurobiological distinctions in these children. They may be easily overwhelmed, irritable and very empathic to others around them. No two highly sensitive children are the same, and each one will be somewhere along a continuum in terms of receptivity to each sense. For example, one child may become undone in a loud and busy shopping centre, while another child may be cognizant and bothered by the tags on the inside of their clothing.

What is most important to remember is that it is the quality of the child’s relationship with his or her caregivers that sets the stage for optimal child development. The neurobiological differences are indeed very helpful to keep in mind for your child, because knowing the nuanced ways in which your child operates will enhance your capacity to be attuned to their needs. But above all, it is your child’s relationship with you, their very own big person, that is the context within which they can flourish and grow into their full potential.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be a nurturing “hulk” in your relationship with your child. Establish a sense of caring dominance within your relationship that invites your child to rely on you and know that you have got their back in all situations. When your child senses they can rest in the loving relationship they have with you, they are less likely to be susceptible to a low self-esteem or experience shame. When you introduce them to new situations or people, it helps your child adjust when these introductions are done in a thoughtful and planned way.
  2. Many parents tell me they feel embarrassed with their child’s low frustration tolerance, especially when this occurs in a public setting. When parents can consistently stay in charge of difficult situations by using empathy and delaying the processing about the incident to a later time when the child’s (and parent’s!) big feelings have subsided, children can be regulated in more adaptive ways. Never use disconnection as a method of discipline so that the child can know that nothing (no misbehaviour, no tantrum or outburst) can divide them from your love and acceptance.
  3. 3. Less is more. Sometimes the temptation may be to fill the child’s schedule with a variety of stimulating extra-curricular activities. A sensitive child will need down time to re-charge their batteries and process all their experiences. Intentionally carve out time for child-led play, time outdoors or other non-structured activities in the comfort of your own home. You know your child best and should determine how much your child can handle in terms of activities.
  4. 4. Regulate your own feelings. We can all become undone or lose our temper but it will be especially important to remain in charge of our own strong feelings or at least appear that way to our child. We need to model healthy coping to our children because they learn so much about regulating their own emotions from the grown-ups around them. Sometimes we may need to take a short break and remove ourselves from a heated situation. You can make up an excuse like you have just remembered you need to make a quick phone-call or use the washroom. If this is not possible, some reflection on what went on for us after the incident has passed can provide insight and help us stay in charge of our feelings the next time.
  5. 5. Help your child feel safe enough to have their tears and share their vulnerable selves with you. This is essential for all those times they cannot get their way and are facing frustration or a sense of disappointment. When children learn that they can move past experiences of frustration and be okay afterwards, they develop resiliency. Your child can do this best with you! You are their kind and strong big person who will help them move through their angry feelings towards feelings of sadness and acceptance. A big embrace, empathic words and a gentle touch can all go a long way in this delicate process.

If you have questions or concerns relating to your child’s temperament, feel free to call our office to book a parent consultation with one of our skilled clinicians. In addition, a useful resource for parents is Elaine N. Aron’s book, “The Highly Sensitive Child”.

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