Carmen Lee Wonderplay Conference Nov 15, 2013
Dr. Ron Taffel held a workshop called “Disruptive Kids, Disruptive Parents: Concrete and Proven Strategies that Work” that talked about the anxieties of post-boomer society and its effects on the classroom. With modern society placing more demands on young children and an overload of information regarding “best practices” of raising them, it is no wonder that parents are often overwhelmed and teachers find themselves battling against their anxieties. Dr. Taffel emphasized building alliances with these parents, educating them about developmentally appropriate practices, and setting professional boundaries to maintain your authority as a childcare professional. Parents of the post-boomer society have been bombarded by a slew of parenting techniques that have emphasized constant stimulation and social interaction to further their children’s development. While socializing and interacting with your children should certainly be encouraged, the problem is that some parents have taken this to an extreme level where they are narrating every experience for their child. They are also filling every minute of the day with an activity because they fear their child’s development will be left far behind others. This has resulted in “acquired attention deficit disorder”, a situation in which children need near constant stimulation and cause disruptions in the classroom because they have lost the ability to self-regulate without adult interference. Dr. Taffel notes that research has shown children’s brains synthesize information during rest times, but the latter has almost disappeared in a fast paced society that places high demands on children becoming successful products. He suggests that teachers avoid the growing problem of overpraising and to focus on giving attention to children’s processes instead of their results. He also suggested slowing down the classroom and incorporating things such as yoga, meditation, and open studio time to allow children time in which they are not in a constant stage of movement towards something. Overall, it was a great workshop with wonderful insights into how to help anxious parents and anxious students.