Chris has one child and lives in Macedonia.
What do you do to relax?
Yoga, hiking, reading
What else would you like to tell us about yourself?
I am passionate about promoting brain-based, heart-centered approaches to helping all kids. I think this is the key to repairing our society,
What benefits has Connecting for Kids brought to you and your family?
We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to connect with other families, such as with the Play at the Playground outings, yoga, etc. I can’t describe how nice it is to spend time around people who understand us and can relate to our challenges.
Which have been your favorite Connecting for Kids resources?
Probably the online community. I learn so much from reading through questions I would never have even thought of and the wonderfully informed answers they get.
The area where I have grown the most...
Is in my patience. I was always known to be pretty uptight with a short fuse. But having a kid who is the same was like looking in a mirror and I eventually realized something had to change. I sensed first that we needed to keep our environment more calm, but I didn’t know how. Umpteen books and Facebook groups later, I learned how to see the whys behind our reactions to things and have gotten into the habit of stepping back and saying, “OK, I think I’m feeling anxious about…”. And now I’m teaching my child the same thing.
How parenting a child who struggles has changed my ideas on parenting…
It has been truly transformative. I used to believe in a no-nonsense authoritarian style of child rearing that was sure to shape the blank slate of a youngster into a model citizen. Ha! It was only a few years in when I found myself completely baffled and realizing that children are born uniquely themselves and that I needed to rethink everything. Learning the neurology behind behavior was what did it for me. Understanding the roles of the amygdala and the child’s still-forming frontal lobe brought to light why I was seeing the behaviors I did and what to do so my child’s brain could send himself messages of safety and calm.
The most difficult part of parenting a child who struggles...
Is having to live in a society that still values sameness and very old-world approaches to parenting/teaching. We just don’t fit in with a lot of that and even though our lives are inherently good at this point, it’s hard to live among the “normal” families who stay clumped together and only make the occasional goodwill gesture toward the neurodivergent community. It can be a lonely life, but we’re slowly finding our community.
Do you have any recommended resources such as blogs, websites, or books that we can share?
Here are my absolute favorites…
Mona Delahooke’s Beyond Behaviors, Stuart Shanker’s Self Reg, anything by Ross Greene, anything by Dan Siegel/Tina Payne Bryson.
Greg Santucci Occupational Therapist, Tilt Parenting, Calm the Chaos Parenting by Lemon Lime Adventures, CFK Families (of course!)
Not an Autism Mom, The MEHRIT Centre, Kelly Mahler, Stuart Shanker, Dr. Mona Delahooke
Is there anything else about your journey that you would like to share with other parents?
I always say it’s not so much a journey but a pilgrimage. But through it all, we’re becoming some pretty strong, amazing people who are raising strong, amazing kids!