Not everyone grows up as they get older. The construct of psychological immaturity is not new, but only recently has developmental science advanced to the point where the idea of developmental arrest can be spelled out and employed as a powerful explanatory tool for problems in learning and behaving. Once kids are stuck, the usual ways of dealing with behaviour - including sanctions, consequences, and time-outs - actually make things worse. This flagship course, organized around the constructs of maturation and stuckness, provides a grounding in the conceptual foundations of Dr. Neufeld's formulation of the attachment-based developmental approach.
Most problem behaviour is rooted in instinct and emotion and is therefore unresponsive to conventional forms of discipline or behaviour management. Building on the foundations of the Intensive I, this course sheds light upon the profound impact of separation on a child's personality and behavior, with special attention given to the problems of aggression, resistance, oppositionality, bullying, distractability, impulsiveness, anxiety, alarm problems, alpha problems, attachment problems, and more. When the developmental antecedents are understood, the path to effective intervention becomes clear.
The task of turning children into adults has never been more daunting. An adolescent is neither child nor adult - and therein lies much of the difficulty, turbulence, confusion, and challenge. They need us, yet need to not need us. We are their best bet, yet their instincts are to resist us.
There are many indications that aggression is escalating among our children and youth - between the more violating acts of aggression that capture media attention, and also the ground swell of attacking energy that erupts in our kids' interaction, music, language, play, games, and fantasies - not to mention the alarming increase in suicide and suicidal ideation among children.
Anxiety in children is reaching epidemic proportions, as one of the most common diagnoses in children. Anxiety takes many forms, including obsessions, compulsions, phobias, and panic. Various hand-me-down strategies attempt to address this age-old problem. But anxiety begs for an explanation in order to arrive at a solution that addresses the roots, not just manages the symptoms.
There are many kinds of attention problems - most rooted in emotional and developmental dynamics. Many professionals diagnosing attention problems are experts at describing the symptoms, but come up short on explanations - without the foundational understanding of how the attention system develops, what can go wrong, and why. Knowing the nature of the problem is key to managing the symptoms and addressing the root cause.
Counterwill is the instinctive reaction of resistance to being controlled - so universal at certain stages of development that it has given rise to terms like 'terrible twos' and 'rebellious teens.' This resistance can come out as opposition, negativity, laziness, noncompliance, disrespect, lack of motivation, belligerence, incorrigibility, resistance to learning, and even antisocial attitudes and actions.
Time-out? Consequences? When dealing with children, parents and teachers often want to know what to do when. However, a larger context, including an understanding of the underlying emotions and instincts in a child, is of the utmost importance when considering how to impose order and teach responsibility. In this course, common discipline strategies are discussed in the context of what a child needs for healthy development, and attachment-safe and developmentally friendly discipline strategies are introduced.
Play is becoming an endangered activity, even though the term has become ubiquitous. We play piano, play cards, play games, play ball. Our children use PlayStations and have play-dates. We've never had more toys, games, and apps. but that doesn't necessarily translate into the kind of play that builds brains and forwards development.
No one is more susceptible to being misunderstood than the preschooler - especially when adults are trying to rush them out of their untempered nature, inconsiderate relating, or separation problems. Making sense of these wondrous and confusing beings lays a foundation for intuitive and fruitful interaction with them, and helps us provide the conditions that are conducive to their transformation.
Resilience is a remarkable construct - an overarching metaphor that touches on the arenas of stress, neural plasticity, emotional health, recovery, healing, mental illness, adaptation, defendedness, and therapy. It is relevant to everyone in most every role and regardless of age: teachers, therapists, youth workers, parents, support workers, etc. Fresh understandings are coming to the fore as we glean more working knowledge of the brain as well as the nature of emotion. The implications for working with children are profound, never mind the implications for dealing with stress in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones.
A growing number of children and youth are presenting as demanding, prescriptive, bossy, and controlling. Alpha children are more challenging to parent and predisposed to a number of problems including anxiety, aggression, oppositionality, and eating problems. An understanding of the alpha dynamic opens the doors to change in the family, classroom, and society.
Despites civilization's advances, the human mean streak is not going away. Dr. Neufeld dissects the bully syndrome to expose its deep instinctive roots in attachment and emotion, revealing in the process why this behaviour is so immune to conventional means of intervention. The key to the bully's unmaking is to first understand how bullies are made.
Emotion, long dismissed as a nuisance factor, is now confirmed to be at the core of development and well-being. Yet little is being taught about the nature of emotion or the implications for parenting, teaching, and treatment. To make sense of emotion is to make sense of us all. There is no better way to glean insight into oneself and others than through a working knowledge of the science of emotion.
Teaching is getting harder, not easier - even though teachers have never been more educated, technology so advanced, curriculum so refined, and pedagogy so honed. Although these factors are important, the true problem in learning lies elsewhere - in the teachability of our students. The answer to the waning teachability of students is not to teach harder, but to teach differently, harnessing the most powerful motivating force of all: attachment.
The science of relationship exists in fragmented pieces all over the empirical map: biology, sociology, embryology, ethology, epigenetics, neuroscience, psychology, medicine, and so on. We have never known more about the relational context required for parenting, teaching, and treatment. Yet this knowledge fails to inform our everyday practice and policy. This course distills the science of relationship to its essence and explores the implications for working with children.