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Gillispie School / Early Childhood  / Speaking Event with Dr. Adria O’Donnell

Speaking Event with Dr. Adria O’Donnell

Recently, Gillispie welcomed Dr. Adria O’Donnell who spoke on ways in which we can instill resiliency in children, which in turn allows children to handle life’s stresses and to take on challenges. Having resiliency contributes to a child’s ability to recognize and regulate emotions. Dr. O’Donnell shared some helpful illustrations:

The Blender
When your child is emotionally charged, it is like a blender on full speed without the lid. In this state, it is not the right time to have a conversation. Do not put more things in the blender (such as “I told you so,” or “Why didn’t you…”) and do not stick your hand in the blender (to stop the emotion). Wait until everyone is calm so that your child can reflect and process more easily.

Rabbit Hole
Don’t get sidetracked by other issues that your child may bring up to change the direction of the conversation. For example, when a child has not completed a task and comes up with excuses, don’t chase the excuses. Instead, stay focused on the issue at hand.

The Window
Dr. O’Donnell described the relationship between a parent and child as having a window in between them. The child being open to conversation is the lifting of the window, but if the parent is too intense, the window shuts. When the child opens the window (is ready to speak), the parent needs to make themselves available. She quipped that often this time is right before they go to bed, when you are the most tired, yet the child needs to process… So be available when the window opens.

Her humor, experience, and intelligence strongly resonated with parents. We hope to welcome her back next semester for an evening presentation about sibling relationships.

Alison Fleming
Head of School

Dr. Mindy Coates Smith
Director of Early Childhood

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