Therapist and anti-spanking advocate Robbyn Peters Bennett
Three therapists have teamed up to help with overwhelmed, stressed parents by offering a free workshop each remaining day this week: Pandemic Parenting!
Robbyn Peters Bennett from Portland, Oregon, Lori Petro from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Amy Bryant from Decatur, Georgia, organized the event to help parents who have been struggling during the pandemic. Here are the details on what they’re offering and how to attend.
Bennett said recent research shows the alarming negative impact that chronic pandemic stress has had on children and their parents. Several studies have shown:
- A majority of parents (52%) said financial stress and social isolation are getting in their way of parenting
- 1 in 5 said they spanked/slapped their child at least once in the past two weeks, and 12% did it more often
- 4 in 10 parents shouted at their child in the past two weeks
- 1 in 5 said they are shouting and spanking more often
“Probably one of the most stressful aspects of the pandemic has been the breakdown of community support for families,” Bennett said. “Parents feel isolated, overwhelmed, burdened with the task of also being their child’s teacher while continuing to hold a full-time job and of course many are struggling with financial worry and feeling isolated. We are shouting across the street to our neighbors and trying to connect through the muffled sounds of face masks. Children have few social interactions and are more dysregulated as a result.
“So my colleagues and I wanted to create a “Community of Care,” said Bennett.
"This parenting event is trauma-informed and is structured to support parents in a way that respects their need for connection, movement, meditation, and science-based parenting support," said Bennett.
What is it?
The event runs April 20-24, and sessions are free. Each day parents receive a free learning module in their inbox that includes:
- movement and meditation videos to prepare for, integrate and process all the learning and experiences
- parent stories to inspire and connect
- multiple interview sessions to help parents better understand child development, stress responses, and what children - and parents - need to feel more connected and less overwhelmed
Organizers also are offering a live event each night for a modest fee of $25. These events are aimed at helping create a feeling of community and fun, and the fee will help Bennett and her partners create more events in the future.
Who can attend
The workshop is designed for parents, grandparents and anyone who loves children and would like to feel more supported in caring for them. So that can be teachers, coaches, ministers and daycare providers as well.
Ask the Warden: What Makes Kids Delinquent? Led by George Davis, M.D.
It is amazing how many parents use harsh punishment (even though they don’t want to) out of fear for their children and a strong commitment to keep their child out of trouble. There will be a live Q&A with Davis, the former director of the New Mexico Juvenile Justice system. He is publishing some amazing research on delinquency and adverse childhood experiences.
Movement Medicine: Calming the Nervous System through Therapeutic Movement. Led by somatic therapist David Mooney
Experience the restorative practice of movement so parents feel better and are better resourced
Game Night! Movement for Regulation, led by occupational therapist Tinsley Martin
Children/s challenging behaviors are often driven by dysregulation – so mirroring their feelings or talking logically to them isn’t enough. This session is a playful approach to helping children regulate their nervous system and emotion -- and parents will feel better too.
Game Night! Play to Connect, led by Sheena Hill, Parenting Works
There just isn’t enough fun right now! This is a way to join community and play and connect and simply feel good.
Addressing Our Triggers, led by psychologist Lynyetta Willis, Ph.D.
Feeling activated into flight-fight-freeze is the new normal for a lot of parents who simply have too much stress and not enough support. This session will help parents feel more connected to themselves and will give them some tools to help with their own reactivity.
What to say when you wanna say, "Do as you're told!" with Mr. Chazz Lewis, M.S.
Mr. Chazz, an inspirational parenting coach on TikTok, talks about why it is difficult for dads, especially, to give up fear based parenting
Feeling overwhelmed by your toddler? How to set limits that meet your own needs, with Devon Kuntzman
Practical helping parents know what to expect of toddlers and how to help them develop impulse control.
How to deal with irritable and defiant kids, with Robbyn Peters Bennett, LPC, CMHS
Addressing trauma specifically and how to work with children who are often dysregulated and may be thought of as oppositional defiant.
The link between juvenile delinquency and discipline, with George Davis, M.D.
Davis talks about his second ACEs study with children in the juvenile justice system.
What's my kid supposed to be learning? Trauma-sensitive approach to helping kids learn during a pandemic, with Erin Hambrick, PhD
Parents have intense expectations about child’s academic progress during the pandemic. Hambrick, from the ChildTrauma Academy, talks about how to prioritize your child’s learning needs and how to deal with the school who may lack a trauma-informed lens.
Building lifelong relationships with kids and teens (and why it matters), with DeAntwann "DJ" Johnson
How to stay close to your teenagers, when they need you the most!
Tools to identify and release triggers, with Lynyetta Willis, Ph.D.
We are all feeling triggered more than usual these days. Willis helps us sort through and validate our triggers.
- Communicating with neurodiverse kids and teens, with Lori Petro
- When kids steal: supporting your child's inner guide, with Vivek Patel
- What grumpy kids need, with Sheena Hill
- Tired of nagging? Untriggering to parent the next generation, with Iris Chen
- When siblings hit: setting limits that nurture empathy, with Laura Markham
Bennett said the therapists' goal is to help parents feel more connected and supported by community, and to feel more regulated themselves so that parenting is easier. "We want to raise awareness on the dangers of harsh parenting. A recent study showed that getting angry, hitting, or yelling at children when they are little is linked to inhibited brain development. We know that tending to the connection between the parent and child is the most powerful way to ensure the well-being of children into the future. We want to help parents understand how to deal with challenging behaviors, but also provide them with the care and support they need so that their nervous system can manage it. If we want parents to do better, we have to help them feel better!"
How to attend:
Here is the link to the event landing page: https://event.stopspanking.org/a/46212/hDNZKYhX
If parents can’t find time to watch all the videos during these five days, they can access all the seminars for free until the end of the month. If they want to hang on to them longer, they only need to pay $25.