Allen-Stevenson has partnered with four doctors who have worked with the School and know the community well to offer a four-part doctors dialogue series titled: Parenting in Today’s World.
Being a parent is both joyful and challenging at times. In today’s world, this role feels like it has become even more stressful and complex. The hope is that by discussing some of the questions and concerns parents have, parents, and thus students, will find themselves in a less stressful and anxious place.
The first two parts of the series were held in October and November respectively.
On October 16, the series kicked off with a discussion on play and the importance of scheduling time to play, led by Dr. Edward Corrigan. Among the points highlighted, Dr. Corrigan touched on the importance of incorporating joyful playtime into a child’s routine. Reality, at times, can be overwhelming for children, so play provides an opportunity for them to deal with some of the harder aspects of reality. They can break situations down into smaller parts making them easier to process. Dr. Corrigan also pointed out that it is okay for children to be bored. It provides many opportunities for them to be creative and figure out things on their own.
Dr. Schwartzman closed the discussion by saying, “If we can tap into our imagination, it helps us deal with something we are facing. In an imaginary land, kids can go where THEY want to be. It’s an opportunity to work through what’s in their heads that we aren’t aware of.”
Dr. William Dince led Part 2 on November 13, beginning by talking about glitches that can appear at different stages in a child’s development. Sharing a Venn Diagram
that highlighted the intersection of emotion, learning and attention with the sweet spot in the center, Dr. Dince explained that “School isn’t about the specific learning of facts. Students will learn what they need to learn if they are at the point where all three converge.” To avoid creating anxiety in children, “We need to remember that it is about them being great learners rather than about “a grade” or “a particular fact” being taught.”
Dr. Dince also advised parents not to confuse their own learning style with that of their children’s, or assume similar styles among siblings. While attention deficit and anxiety can be difficult to separate when trying to diagnose a learning challenge, development of executive skills is a stand-alone problem.
When it comes to homework, Dr. Dince suggested that parents need to empower their children with the strategy to find the answers, not answer the questions for them. He explained,“They [the boys] should know that they are not supposed to know all this information, that’s why they go to school”.
We are so grateful to Dr. Edward Corrigan, Dr. William Dince, Dr. Benjamin Harris, and Dr. Michael Schwartzman for graciously volunteering their time to speak.