School and Homeschool Support
I have over 30 years of direct experience in helping troubled children and their families. I will engage with you in a process to better understand what is happening for your child and to implement strategies to promote the changes you want to see. Through my work in residences and treatment classrooms, I am familiar with a broad range of therapeutic techniques to support children and families in making positive changes in their lives, including:
- improved self-esteem
- improved relationships with family or peers
- enhanced parenting confidence
- identification of positive goals and strategies
- reduced anger and anxiety
- reduction in defiant, disruptive behaviour
- improved school performance
Furthermore, with seven years of experience as a professor in the Child and Youth Work Program at Humber College, I can teach you the skills necessary to bring about real, lasting change in the lives of your child and family.
I will seek to create with you, your child, and all members of your family a relationship of support, trust, and openness. Within this relationship, there is no judgement or blame, allowing for as honest and thorough an exploration of the relevant issues as possible.
I will try to understand as much as I can about the perspective of each family member regarding the situation and any changes he or she may hope to accomplish. The extent of involvement of any particular family member is always voluntary and negotiable.
I will discuss with you my impressions of the current situation, and identify with you options regarding the next steps to be taken. Together we will develop an intervention plan, including short and longer term goals and the strategies and techniques to be utilized. These may include individual or family meetings, school or home observation, etc.
The effectiveness of the interventions will be evaluated, discussed, and adapted on an ongoing basis.
At every step in the process, the choice about which changes to make or not to make will be up to you and your child. All lasting change must be self-chosen, and thus each individual’s inherent rights to freedom of choice and self-determination are given the highest priority.
As with any professional, I am required by law to notify authorities in any case where a child is in danger of harm.
All human behaviour, especially in children, represents an attempt to communicate and meet our basic needs. Psychologically, these needs tend to fall into three overlapping areas: relationships, competence, and autonomy. The better we can understand the needs underlying a behaviour the more effectively we can respond.
Children need relationships with the important people in their lives that are nurturing, empathic, supportive, and boundaried. They need experiences which recognize and celebrate their strengths and achievements, and which safely challenge their limits, in order to build a sense of confidence in their own abilities to solve problems and achieve meaningful goals in their lives, and to help them better cope with frustration and failure. They also need a sense of appropriate levels of choice and control in their lives, or meaningful participation in the decisions that affect them.
A child’s behaviour represents an attempt to meet one or more of these needs, although the attempt may often be ineffective, self-destructive, or troubling to others. Children may attempt to elicit a desired response, as when a child exhibits fearful, anxious or clingy behaviour in trying to pull in or keep her caregivers close. Alternatively, she may exhibit resistance to connection and inability to trust others, as a self-protective overcompensation against the anticipated vulnerability of letting herself care about others. Similarly, problems with one’s sense of competence may lead to an avoidance of challenges, or to a daredevil recklessness. Perceived lack of choice and control in one’s life may lead to defiant oppositionality, or to apathetic hopelessness.
As a parent, finding the appropriate balance in responding to these needs is exceedingly complex, as the needs are sometimes contradictory and constantly changing. For example, should I help my child with a difficult task so they feel supported, or should I let them overcome a challenge on their own to build their confidence? Should I insist on high achievement at school to enhance their sense of their own competence, or will that contribute to resistance and defiance? There are, of course, no simple answers to such questions. However, bearing these needs in mind helps us understand the child’s behaviour differently and gives us greater insight into the child and their struggles.