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The gift of being with your child in lockdown

The gift of being with your child in lockdown

Introduction An unforeseen consequence of the COVID-19 lockdown is that many families are being forced into close proximity, working, playing and learning all at home. Parents may feel burned out after weeks of having to be everything for their kids. A neuroscientist...

Lobbying the government to support people with ADHD

Lobbying the government to support people with ADHD

September 2018 One of the key aims of the Connections in Mind Foundation (www.cimfoundation.org.uk) is to influence policy and to increase awareness of Executive Functions (EFs) at a national level. As part of this strategy we have established a working group of...

The Incredible Conversation Podcast

Welcome to Incredible Conversation a podcast for adults supporting teenagers. We use the same principles in the podcast as we used in our book: What’s the neuroscience and how parents, teachers or any supporting adult use that neuroscience to help teens reach their potential. Listen to Bettina and Jane discuss topical issues. Join our conversation here.

Our remit is changing slightly. With our second book in the printing pipeline (How to have an Incredible Conversation with your child), we are expanding our brief to include children of all ages (from toddlers to mid 20s), including the teenage years. In episode 6 we take questions from teachers, with relevance to anyone supporting a young person around the topic – how can we prepare well for the teenage years. Listen in for conversations on the following; three top tips for school leaders in how to prepare young people for the teenage years (5:36), how can teachers and parents provide certainty and safety for young people when there is so much uncertainty around with covid (10:35), how to deliver both nurture and independence for young people (14:37), how to support young people with potential losses and trauma (18:11), are parenting classes helpful (22:58) and should we encourage parents not to worry about making a few mistakes as we do children (29:25)?

Episode 5 includes a discussion of why teens may be vulnerable to extreme views on the internet (1:42), why toxic stress may be particularly harmful in adolescence but day to day stresses are beneficial (12:25). We figure out why teenagers who were managing their health condition well before puberty, suddenly seem to forget it all (19:42) and why living through COVID is a masterclass in tolerating uncertainty which will have advantages as well as losses (29:40).

Episode 4 includes a discussion of the impact of screen time on sleep pattern and quality (1:53) and tips for how teachers (and parents) can help teens manage the uncertainty they experiencing right now (13:48). We discuss the question of whether teen lack of peer contact due to the pandemic will negatively impact on their social development (22:48) and, given the wide variety of learning experiences and engagement during lockdown, how can teachers ensure all their students flourish (30:30).

Episode 3 has a focus on how to cope with a young teen who would benefit from catch-up classes in school but is resistant (1:26) and another case of a teen who is resistant to socialise in person with his peers even though rules allow (8:48). We discuss a question regarding a child with special needs whose parent is struggling with how to support him towards autonomy (15:06) and how a parent can enable a young person to take part in the black lives matter movement without putting themselves or others at increased covid risk (27:59). We also consider how a parent can manage the challenge of co-parenting a teen who is struggling (34:00)

In episode 2 Bettina and Jane discuss what to look for as signs of mental health difficulties in young people such as low mood and how to support them (1:40) as well as how to help a young person go back to school after friendships have shifted during lockdown (10:10). There is a discussion about how to help teens and their parents with underlying health conditions manage anxiety regarding covid (18:58). A question is address for how to help a teen on the Autism Spectrum cope with the ‘new world’ such as mask wearing (28:37) and finally there is advice for teachers about how to support teen transition back to school (33:15).

In episode 1 the issue of teens sleeping late and how to handle it is debated (1:17) along with ideas for how parents can set the environment up optimally for their teens to learn at home (6:48). The tricky issue of technology is addressed with a question of whether parents should let their teens have their phones while studying (15:28). A concern about the impact on teen motivation about exams being cancelled is considered (20:30) as well as considering specific risks to neurodiverse teens with home and online learning (24:11). The final question from a teacher for this episode is whether it should be compulsory to turn screens on during home learning (29:02) and Jane and Bettina finish this episode with ideas about how the new world order in schools and beyond may impact teens (32:45).