Serve & Return: An Important Step in Brain Development

Serve & Return: An Important Step in Brain Development

October 11, 2017

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When a young child (or infant) babbles, gestures, or cries, and an adult responds with eye contact, words, or hugs, neural connections are built and strengthened in that part of the child’s brain supporting communication and social skills development. A breakdown in serve and return interactions can cause children to feel insecure and frustrated.  Stresses brought on by financial, marital, or health issues may result in parents’ unintentional neglect of positive responses.

Separation is Difficult... Especially for Children

Separation is Difficult... Especially for Children

October 11, 2017

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Meet Sarah and her 6 y.o. twins... two bright, precocious boys. After she and their father divorced three months ago, the twins started having serious behavorial problems at school... withdrawing from teachers, difficulty paying attention, and even acting out aggressively with friends.  

Loving Parents Can Still Struggle

Loving Parents Can Still Struggle

February 8, 2017

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“I no longer look at him and wonder what to do.” Anne said, crediting the parenting class with giving her a new “instruction manual” for interacting with her son.

Clean and Sober: A Child’s Wish

Clean and Sober: A Child’s Wish

January 12, 2017

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Diane’s breakthrough moment came when she asked her 13-year old what she wanted for Christmas. Her daughter asked for no gifts, only that her mother seek help to beat her drug addiction.

Divorced parent’s guide to handling the holidays

Divorced parent’s guide to handling the holidays

December 6, 2016

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Marketers tell us the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but that feeling is often lost on divorced families. The Family Center’s Sandra Brunelle, instructor for the Divorcing Parents Seminar, reminds that co-parenting calls for cooperation not competition. She offers these tips for drama-free parenting this holiday season.

Children: the other victims of domestic violence

Children: the other victims of domestic violence

November 3, 2016

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Jamaica was good at hiding the truth. Her coworkers at a Nashville-based corporation didn’t know. Her neighbors never suspected. Even her friends weren’t aware because she hid the tell-tale signs of her husband’s escalating physical and emotional abuse so well. But she couldn’t hide the violence from her four children. They saw it all.

Poverty: a toxic environment for Tennessee children

Poverty: a toxic environment for Tennessee children

September 28, 2016

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“Parents raising families in poverty are constantly stressed. They worry about paying bills and meeting the basic needs of their children while working minimum-wage jobs. Their children are stressed both at home and school, where they are teased for being dirty, tired and hungry.”

The Traumatic Life of Tyrell

The Traumatic Life of Tyrell

August 23, 2016

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“Stability and love were like a foreign language to him.” 
At age 4, Tyrell was already headed for a lifetime of trouble. Pre-K teacher Ellen Summer often found him playing alone in the street, noting rare adult supervision, and she never saw anyone hugging or kissing the little boy. Even at a distance Ellen could see the ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) adding up.
Parenting Groups Tackle Childhood Trauma

Parenting Groups Tackle Childhood Trauma

August 23, 2016

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When young children go through long periods of stress and trauma, the effects go deep. The experiences have a lasting effect on their emotional well being and how their brains develop.