We know that early experiences matter in a child’s development. These experiences play a role in who that child becomes as an adult. I believe strongly in giving every child the best chance they can have to move into the world as a thriving adult. To me this means giving parents and primary caregivers the tools, resources, and support they need to support their children, and at the same time take care of themselves. This doesn’t mean we have to be perfect parents; there is no such thing. What it means is that we are thoughtful about how we parent, and if we don’t have the reserves or knowledge to do this, we have access to support that helps us get there.
I believe in the following:
Certain conditions help children thrive. I believe in sharing the latest research, best practices, and varied perspectives.
Developmentally appropriate behavior is confusing. Knowing when and what a child can do is important so that we can set appropriate expectations.
Outside factorsmatter. Stress, family history, and environments all impact children.
Each parent is different. There is no one way to parent and my goal is to help you define your parenting style based on your goals, values, and beliefs.
Children need the appropriate balance of limits and independence.
It's all about the relationship! A connected, responsive, and caring relationship is essential for your child.
My approaches to parent education: The following approaches are the backbone for the work of Growing Great Families. They are rooted in my philosophy on supporting parents in building strong relationships with their children while teaching them skills necessary for living in today’s world.
Strengths-based approach: There is no such thing as a perfect parent. As parents, we all have successes and we all have challenges. Rachel works to normalize our parenting struggles by acknowledging both our wonderful and our difficult moments with our children. Building upon a community of parents, Rachel helps parents understand that we all struggle with raising our children at times; this allows parents to relax and remember their strengths as parents.
Evidence-based approach: There is so much research about child development and parenting. However, it is either not well-translated into our everyday parenting struggles, or it is hard to wade through. Rachel breaks down current and relevant research and helps parents apply it to their individual family dynamics, goals, and values. Rachel’s work is grounded in attachment science, brain development, positive discipline, and mindful living.
Connection and teaching skills: Rachel believes that two of the most important jobs of parents are 1) to connect with our children by understanding them, loving them unconditionally, accepting them for who they are, and building a strong relationship; and 2) to teach our children the skills they need to become well-adjusted, kind, and healthy adults. Through teaching about brain development and children’s typical developmental abilities, Rachel helps parents consider the world from their children’s perspective. As adults, we all want to feel understood; our children are no different. Once we have an understanding of where our children’s behaviors are coming from, we can empathize with them. Once they feel safe and understood, we can begin to teach our children important skills such as emotional regulation, impulse control, decision making, relationship skills, prioritizing, and how to complete tasks - all crucial skills for today’s adults. Teaching skills includes having boundaries, setting limits, and adhering to family rules.
Managing our own strong emotions: We can all get triggered by our children’s emotions or behaviors, which can often seem irrational and feel frustrating. Knowing that our children’s behaviors are often normal, and have a meaning behind them, and realizing our own triggers, we can begin to manage our reactions so that we can meet the emotional needs of our children. Rachel helps parents learn to connect with their children when it is often hardest for them to connect, but often when the children need it the most. She discusses tools parents can use to calm their own strong reactions.
Applied learning: Rachel believes that we learn best when a) the learning is relevant to our lives, and b) when we are exposed to a variety of ideas and perspectives. Rachel teaches concepts about parenting and child development by using real life scenarios. These scenarios are most often anonymously written by parents, but Rachel also uses video or scenarios found in books or on the internet. Group discussions allow for parents to learn from each other, a process that allows parents to realize their strengths, support one another, and consider novel ways for interacting with their children.
My philosophy on teaching: It is not my place to tell anyone how to parent. Rather, together with parents I discuss ideas, offer tools, and bring up research-backed information about the parent-child relationship and child development that assists parents in making their own parenting decisions.
Please join me in a community of parents to explore your relationship with your child!
For a more detailed overview of Growing Great Families, click here.