Preparing the Child for the Path

Our PTO brought a terrific speaker to their January general meeting – Dr. Renee Dominguez from the Family Service Center. You may have seen photos on the District Facebook page. The title of her talk was “Preparing the child for the path, not the path for the child: Raising resilient children in a highly-competitive, digitally-driven world”. She talked about overparenting, growth mindset, and the use of technology.

Dr. Dominguez referenced the Madeline Levine book “The Price of Privilege”. I highly recommend this title. The author reminds us of the importance of letting our children struggle. We live in a culture of immediate gratification and we have the tendency to shelter our children from feelings of discomfort, anxiety, and boredom. However, in our sincere effort to help our children, we are preventing them from developing the very social-emotional skills they will need for success later in life.

Growth mindset and the work of Carol Dweck & Jo Boaler are something we are very familiar with in District 30. Many of our teachers have studied their work and our Superintendent often references these concepts. As a parent, it is helpful to focus on process (i.e., effort) over product. We can talk to our children about basic neuroscience – there are no fixed traits. We are all life-long learners. Furthermore, we need to embrace failure and risk-taking. This is what leads to self-efficacy and future happiness. Dr. Dominguez recommended “The Whole-Brain Child” by Dan Siegel.

One of the most exciting resources that Dr. Dominguez shared was the Family Media Use Plan from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Academy has a Media and Children Toolkit. You can find an online template that will quickly generate a custom media plan for your child that includes aspects such as screen-free zones, screen-free times, device curfews, good media manners, safety, sleep & exercise. I cannot wait to implement this in my home.

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