The UCLA Family Commons’ commitment to families and the community extends beyond our center and throughout homes and schools in Santa Monica. Parent Education programming helps to provide parents, community leaders, administrators and teachers with a wealth of educational resources, expert support and helpful tips to identify and manage common challenges relevant to local youth.
Parent Education is highlighted by wellness presentations and community collaborations, as well as customized “Build-A-Workshop” programs that are perfect for local schools and youth organizations.
Families are children's safety net throughout life, and creating a safe space for children to grow and develop is an important part of parenting. However, when parents interpret this as a need to protect children from every stress, hurt, and rejection, they do their children a disservice. Because all parents want the best for their children, they sometimes aggressively pursue their children's "right" to have the best of everything: schools, teams, music lessons, teachers, vacations, even friends. The down side of this kind of parenting is that children lose out on opportunities to have a full range of life experiences, learn to deal with adversity, and develop a sense of their own power in life.
It is normal to be bored sometimes. If children never fail, do not fight, are not rejected or neglected at some point in childhood, life as adults will be more difficult for them. The job of parents is to help find the golden mean, to make sure that children have neither too much nor too little stress. Too much or too little stress decreases competence, physical and mental health. When the amount of stress is "just right," children will develop skills and strengths to serve them through childhood and into adulthood.
This workshop will show you how to assess different kinds of stress. Learn when you should step in to help children (for example, if they're being bullied), and when stress at school, with siblings, or on a sports team may help their long-term development. We'll also look at how to get rid of unnecessary stress that gets created when parents have unrealistic expectations about children's needs or capabilities.
It's not always easy for children to ask adults for help, make friends, refuse other people's requests, cope with their feelings, handle criticism or manage stress. However, all children are confronted with these challenges as they grow and develop. The good news is that children can learn the skills they need to effectively navigate their childhood and become socially competent and successful individuals. This workshop will give parents tools that expand children's ability to get their needs met effectively in social interactions, while still keeping the child, his or her friends, and even parents happy. Topics covered include assertiveness training, emotional recognition and self regulation.
Rituals are one of the primary ways families transmit their values and express their identity. Rituals include holiday celebrations, family dinners and bedtime routines – any meaningful activities parents and children do together on a regular basis. Learn how rituals contribute to children's healthy development, and explore new ways to create rituals the whole family will enjoy.
Research shows that how children navigate certain key transitions can have lifelong impact. For instance, 15% of students who've been doing just fine when they start middle school run into challenges from which they never bounce back. And what kind of start children get off to in kindergarten can set the stage for the challenges and successes they'll experience for the rest of their school career.
Knowing what to expect and what you can do to help children navigate these changes makes an enormous difference. Whether your child is starting kindergarten or middle school, you'll gain practical tips on preparing them for what's to come and tools that help them make the most of this new phase of life.
Parents today are the first to be raising children in the digital generation. Social networking, video games, text messages, cyber-bullying – digital technology is everywhere, as much a part of children's world as the air they breathe. They are the natives in the digital world, and parents are the immigrants.
Parents can't afford to be ignorant of social media. They must make decisions – often at a younger and younger age – about when to give children cell phones and when to allow access to online networks like MySpace or Facebook. They need information about alternatives for younger children, like Togetherville.com or Disney.com. They need to supervise and monitor children's use of all these media, teaching about safety, privacy, cyber-bullying and appropriate communication. And they need to set limits, balancing the inescapable fact of social media with what best suits their own families.
We offer parents information to keep up with their children's digital expertise, so they can understand and supervise their children's activity online while developing a trusting relationship.
Compassion is defined as understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it. Children develop the capacity for compassion in middle childhood: the emotional and cognitive skills of empathy, problem solving, perspective taking, and generosity towards others. Failure to develop compassion by age 11 or 12 often results in significant challenges in adolescence and beyond, when teens are more likely to be unpopular and to do poorly in school. Compassion is at the root of meaningful, lasting relationships and is a key ingredient of mental and emotional well-being.
The roots of compassion start young, and parents can help by having expectations for reciprocity in their family life. Children develop compassion when they learn to give to others and be aware of others' feelings; when their holiday experience involves both receiving and giving; and when they learn early on that they are expected to contribute to the family's well-being.
This workshop will focus on activities and experiences that help children become compassionate. Taking the perspective of others is a fundamental element of learning compassion and acting compassionately, but it is also a developmental capacity. Learn to assess when your child is ready to see things from other people's point of view. Explore how to use family meals, expeditions and volunteering to help build your children's capacity for compassion.
As anyone knows who has ever watched (or helped) toddlers play together, children aren't born knowing how to be friends. They have to learn – which they do, by trial and error, all through the elementary school years.
We address bullying in the context of natural learning about friendship. Even the most compassionate children engage in bullying at one time or another (perhaps with a sibling). Even the strongest children may sometimes be teased in a way that makes them feel bad. None will get through elementary school without seeing others be bullied.
We offer parents tools and information they can use to help their children build healthy connections, learning things like:
• How to tell when someone is a good friend
• How to be a good friend to others
• What to do when someone makes a mistake in friendship
We also cover essential topics for parents, such as:
• How to tell if a child is bullying or being bullied
• Knowing when to notify parents, teachers or administrators
• Creating a "bully-free" home environment
Children gain many important life skills from living with siblings. They learn about peer relationships, hierarchies and negotiating power with their brothers and sisters. Learning to fight is one of the greatest challenges that only children face; children with siblings do not have this problem. Yet, managing sibling conflict is never easy for parents. In this seminar, we help parents establish rules for managing conflict and resolving differences in a way that help children build strong, positive and lasting connections with each other.
All parents know that boys and girls are different, yet the gender differences beginning at birth are far less than many imagine. Each culture has beliefs, feelings and behavioral expectations about boys and girls that unconsciously affect how parents interact with their sons and daughters. In this two-part seminar, parents learn more about the qualities we typically encourage in sons and daughters and how gender differences create different challenges for fathers and mothers, along with tips for how to address these challenges.
All skills are built slowly over time with small steps. This holds true for learning to cope well with money. Regardless of your financial status or your children's future earning ability, children's values and attitudes towards money, financial responsibility, and managing their own resources are critical to long-term health. Managing time well and taking care of their things is just as important as managing money In Raising Financially Literate Children, we review the developmental milestones that, little by little, increase children's abilities to handle money reasonably and responsibly.