Social Emotional Learning (SEL) - June 2019

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) - June 2019
Posted on 06/17/2019
By Erin Spencer, Haggerty Social Worker

It is not at all surprising that at this time many parents and children are managing high levels of anxiety. A lot of anxiety is transmitted through the environment, often inadvertently through what Lynn Lyons, international speaker and psychotherapist, refers to as “safety chatter,” which can be overt parental expression of fear and worry or a more subtle expression of fear through excessive explanation and accommodation.

While adult support, advocacy, and accommodation can be essential for creating the conditions for success for many of our children, certain adult responses and interventions can inadvertently be limiting and diminish resiliency if it unnecessarily sends anxious children the message that something in fact needs to be fixed for them and that any discomfort or uncertainty is not something they can manage or problem-solve independently. Similarly, when our kids discover a particular pattern of behavior works, often a pattern that ensures adult support and attention, they will often continue to use it as long as it is intermittently reinforced. As parents, we are tasked with being mindful to our own responses and reactions to the challenges and difficulties our children face. It is particularly hard to watch our kids struggle and it is a natural urge to make our children happy and remove the obstacles in their way.

This NPR report on Morning Edition discusses a program that encourages parents to learn to let anxious children face their fears. At the Haggerty, we are always considering the question: what are our practices both within school and supporting families that allow our youth to effectively cope with stressors through discovering their own solutions, resources, and resiliency? Please read or listen to the following link.
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