Eps 45: Deborah MacNamara helps us Make More Sense of our Kids

Episode 45

Dr. Deborah MacNamara is a brilliant voice in parent education and if was so fun to get to know her on the podcast!

Dr. Deborah MacNamara is on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute and author of Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone who acts like one) She presents, teaches, and writes on all facets of child and adolescent development based on the relational-developmental approach of Gordon Neufeld. She is also in private practice where she offers counselling services to parents and professionals in making sense of learning, behavioural, and developmental issues in kids. Deborah is a dynamic teacher and experienced counsellor who makes developmental science come to life in the everyday context of home and classroom.

She was an amazing guest and I KNOW you will be left is awe of all you have learned while listening to our conversation!!

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Takeaways from the show

  • Core of her work is making sense of kids, to the adults that are responsible to them
  • Childhood is the unfolding of human potential – separate social and adapted human beings
  • Rest, Play Grow is about children ages 2-6 years old.
  • It takes 5-7 years for brains to resemble adult brain. Before then, their brains are impulsive, they are all about themselves, their goal is to focus on oneself and become a separate person. They are ego-centric
  • Play is the leading edge of development
  • Warm up act in preparation
  • Most of the growth happens for this age during play – free of consequences, kids are free to be expressive and exploratory…
  • Children express emotions at play – keeps them balanced and at the surface
  • Play is the unfolding of our early occupations
  • Play that leads development when they are playing on their own.
  • Release a child to play after offering contact and closest first… they know their attachment needs are met an they can move into play.
  • What is the space that your child engages in?
  • Temperament matters – 1/5 children are more sensitive and stired up by their environment… they take a little bit longer to be satiated with connection
  • Give each child what they need for play to unfold
  • Resistance and opposition – counter will instincts – instinct to resist others when we are feeling co-ersed
  • We have our own agendas and they have theirs
  • Attachment – if a child is not in active attachment with us (engaged) we have kind of disappeared
  • Growth occurs within relationship – we want to keep them receptive to our message.
  • Acknowledging the child has their own interest and move forward anyways. Children do need to realize that at certain times, the resistance is futile.
  • The more the relationship is in tact, easier it is for kids to roll with it.
  • Say no and give them permission to have their feelings.
  • Emotional self control is something we can get to – over time.
  • Encourage expressing feelings
  • Help them feeling feelings
  • Mixing their feelings
  • Reflecting – that it is about the child’s relationship with own feelings
  • In the practice – get to a place of deepening and developing relationship with others
  • The relationship must be with oneself in before one becomes a social being
  • In order to have a relationship with oneself, an adult must have a relationship with us…
  • A child must know who they are first, before they become a social being… The adult is responsible for helping the child know who they are.
  • Help child become civilized relating with emotional expression… Yes please, let’s all make this our goal!!

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