Managing Anxiety

Wellbeing is a major focus this year and we are trying to provide opportunities for our community and staff to learn more about the brain and what actions support a positive way of being.

This week we held the first of our parent evenings where Kylie Taylor from Family Works spoke to us about anxiety; the causes and ideas of how to normalise worry.  She explained to us that when a worry becomes big, the tiger part of our brain takes over and we lose any ability to reason or problem solve. Flight, fight and freeze are the responses.

She reminded us of the importance of acknowledging the feeling a child may be experiencing at that time and reassuring them that it was OK to feel that way. Any talk of strategies or understanding the situation further needs to wait until the child has calmed and is able to process. 

Kylie also acknowledged that as parents we too can become anxious in the moment and that it is OK to give yourself time to calm and be able to think.

The last thing we need is two tiger brains fighting each other. A key message was that it is normal to feel anxious and we get brave by doing what is worrying us anyway. This is the way we programme our brain to become brave.

Next Chapter Parenting

Brigid Carkeek is a registered Social Worker, who has had training in Child Centred Play Therapy as well as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She has a company called ‘Next Chapter Parenting’

Brigid is offering parenting support that is fresh, frank and provides strategies for specific behaviours from young toddlers through to teenagers (teenage material is provided only to those parents who are requiring it), being able to answer any questions which may arise. The parenting support focus is on strengthening families, and empowering both parent and child. There is specific focus on sibling rivalry and boundaries older children need to face. As well it focuses on the importance and connection between attachment, parenting styles and stages of growth development.

The course helps children express their feelings, assume responsibility for their behaviours and develop problem-solving skills. Brigid bases much of her work from Filial Therapy but goes further by dealing to the difficult behaviours, and means of dealing with confrontational moments. At the core of her course is communication, which develops rapport and understanding and provides a connection to behaviour.

Generally, Brigid runs a 10-week sessions remotely via zoom, but she can be flexible in this.

Some of the topics covered in the course are:

  • Session One covers communication - primarily reflective listening, which she believes something parents rarely do. It is a useful tool for communicating with your child, partner, or anyone for that matter.
  • Empathy is the topic for Session Two - this and reflective listening are the core element for successful interaction, and resolving conflicts as well as setting limits.
  • Session Three is all about setting limits and compliance, and one method she  teaches is called ACT limit setting (A=acknowledge, C=communicate limit, T=target alternative)
  • Session Four is all about quality time. Quality time is based on Child Centred Play Therapy, which can be taught to parents. It is designed so that children can play out issues they have, and through reflective listening and empathy a parent can be an observer of what their child is going through. It can sometimes be patently obvious what issues a child might be having through the themes that can pop up in their play.
  • Session Five - is geared around choices and consequences, and alternatives
  • Session Six - problem behaviour, giving guidance and for specific problem behaviour
  • Sessions Seven - covers various topics - Pick your battles - time out vs time in - Compromise - the power of a simple pause - praise vs encouragement - doing too much for your child - returning responsibility. Sleeping patterns, temperaments. Alternative Session seven focuses on the parent, self-care and growth in parenting This is discussed through a series of questions.
  • Session Eight - is all about attachment styles, developmental stages per Erik Erikson, and personality types, and how it would affect your child as they grow older.
  • Session Nine - covers sibling rivalry (and so may not be applicable to some) It covers the problems that arise and offers solutions.
  • Session Ten - covers teenage boundaries (and this module may not be applicable for some), and let me say teenagers these days can start a lot earlier than 13 ; This session also covers specific problems faced.

Each session lasts for an hour.

Bridget claims that this course will not only build confidence in parents, it will also assist parents to in turn be responsive and attuned to their children’s needs, while at the same time also build self-esteem, self-confidence and autonomy in their children.

This course does cost, but there is some flexibility with rates if funding is not available. For those parents that are eligible for assistance by WINZ (either as a beneficiary or low income earner) the course may be paid as a disability allowance upon application. The course otherwise for one to one sessions costs $50 per session. (Some parents choose to have sessions once a fortnight).

If you are interested in finding out more or decide that this is what you have been looking for contact Brigid.