Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Sessions Summary
“Happy Kids, Healthy Kids”, panel discussion
“Keynote:  Self-Regulation”, Barry MacDonald
“Temperment Matters”, Barry MacDonald
“Setting Boundaries”, Raj Dhasi
“Plenary:  Communicating Effectively”, Raj Dhasi

The theme of these sessions all related to how parents can understand and help in developing stronger, calmer, happier children.  In today’s schools, children are exposed to a much more complicated world than we were and anxiety in youth is increasing.  As parents we are at the forefront of setting boundaries for our children, witnessing their break-downs, teaching them to deal with uncertainty, competition and change.  We are blessed to be the ones they turn to share their daily highs and lows and we get to watch them grow into amazing, responsible, intelligent, assertive and engaging adults.

Barry MacDonald is a champion for strong families and schools, and we are fortunate that here in North Vancouver, many of our parents have had the opportunity to see Barry present before.  Barry is best known for his work with boys, his book Boy Smarts and even though his website is, Barry’s extensive knowledge applies to all children and is valuable for all families.  You can get access to much of Barry’s strategies on his website.  An overview of his presentation was included in the Spring 2015 BCCPAC Magazine.

In the sessions that Barry lead, he spent a lot of time addressing the types of stressors that are present today, especially those that result from technology overload.  He reviewed strategies for recognizing stress response patterns and provided simple tools to help parents work with their children to discharge stress.

He also spent time reviewing types of temperament and how through discovering and better understanding your child’s (or your spouse’s) temperament you can better manage times of stress.  Having insights into your child’s temperament and how it is similar or different to your own can be a huge tool for parents – and for educators as well.

Barry left us with 10 practical suggestions to help keep our kids calm, health & happy:
  1. Anticipate emotional needs
  2. Support your child’s temperament
  3. Lead the way with your own calm response
  4. Meet basic needs for nutrition and rest
  5. Limit & monitor technology use
  6. Be aware of how demanding eye contact can trigger reactivity
  7. Discuss how to manage anger
  8. Get moving
  9. Get outside
  10. Develop a plan to relieve stress
In addition to understanding stress and stress management, Raj Dhasi discussed how to how to better recognize those stressful moments, and how setting boundaries and communicating can greatly aid stress management at home and at school.  Raj is a leading expert in conflict management and has been providing valuable intervention services to workplace organizations, school districts, families and communities for over 15 years.  Many of Raj’s points and strategies can be found on her website

Before discussing additional strategies for dealing with conflict, we defined what makes a moment difficult and signs of heightening emotions… things like:
  • A sense of powerlessness or lack of control, buttons are being pushed, things like lack of sleep/food/water are triggers, starting to fidget or changing posture, disregard for relationships, heightened sense of fear, etc.. .
Raj also discussed how best to be assertive in setting limits with your children so that parents can be more effective in challenging situations.  What is being assertive?...  Standing up for yourself at the right time, with the right person, for the right reason.  At times being assertive can be confused with being aggressive, so Raj reviewed the pros and cons of passive, aggressive and assertive behaviour and how the brain actually works in a challenging situation.  We also discussed how effective communication is critical in dealing with our children, or anyone, in a stressful situation.

Raj left is with a 5-step self regulation plan, critical for helping in conflict resolution:
  1. Manage body movements
  2. Regulate para-verbal presentation (tone, volume, rhythm…)
  3. Manage self-talk
  4. Attune
  5. Respond
In support of all of these strategies, expert panelists including Jane Garland (Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UBC and Children’s Hospital), Christine Yu (Registered Clinical Counsellor), Brian Gluvic (Naturopathioc Physician), Farah Shroff (Public Health Researcher) and our own MLA, Jane Thornthwaite.  These panelists provided brief insights from their own fields on how best to deal with, and help our children learn to deal with, anxiety, stress and conflict with our children.

Jana Madill, Chair Montroyal PAC

No comments:

Post a Comment

Parents, you are welcome to comment on our blog, but please keep the community in mind when you do so. We will remove any objectionable material.