What if someone told you it was possible to raise great kids without yelling at them, putting them in time-outs or otherwise punishing them? Wouldn’t you want to learn more?
The presentation—“Anxious, angry, disorganized or intense kids?”—will focus on “brain-smart, heart-smart methods of parenting that work,” says Kenney. The program is geared to parents of children with learning and attention differences—conditions that can cause extreme feelings of anxiety and frustration—but the information is beneficial to parents of all children.
Kenney authored the 2009 book The Family Coach Method: Raising Good, Kind, Ethical Kids 3 to 8 (in a Complicated World).
This month, she is publishing a new book, BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think, and Do with Anxious, Angry, and Over-the-Top Kids with co-author Wendy Young, LSMW, BCD. They purposely kept the book—which includes multimedia support materials accessible by a QR code—very strategy focused.
“It’s the first parenting book you don’t need to read [from cover to cover] to master,” says Kenney. The format is designed to help parents quickly glean tips to prevent or defuse stressful situations so that everyone can move toward problem-solving.
In her work and in her books, Kenney encourages parents to understand the developmental origins of behaviors and address them with skill-building techniques that produce real and lasting change.
Her approach integrates neuroscience and cognitive psychology to provide practical approaches to help children effectively self-regulate. For it to work, however, parents have to exercise the same skill.
“It’s learning a whole new strategy so you can make a decision to remain calm in the moment,” says Kenney, the mother of two teenage daughters and stepmother of two grown sons.
She suggests “mantras” to keep calm when a child is angry. For example, “My child’s anger is only as big as I allow it to be. I will be the keeper of the skills right now.”
When parents can self-talk in that way, it keeps a situation from escalating. “You can sit with children who are upset and say to them, ‘That’s really hard’ or ‘That stinks’ or ‘That’s really frustrating,'” Kenney says.
For young children, an offer to “hold the anger” for them can be very soothing, she says. “It’s hard to be in a body that’s hyper-aroused.”
“Timing is everything, especially when parenting,” says Kenney. “Teach the skills later.”
Get a sample of her approach in a free downloadable, printable page.
What you need to know
- When: 6pm Wednesday, May 13
- Where: Phoenix Police Department Mountain View Precinct, 2075 E Maryland Ave in Phoenix
- Cost: $10 ($5 for PEN Phoenix members)
- Register online: PEN-Phoenix.org/Events