Based on the relational and developmental approach of Gordon Neufeld, the following presentations address a range of topics on raising children and adolescents.  They can be delivered to a range of audiences including parents, teachers, child care, and health professionals.

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Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 5.09.50 PM 1. Making Sense of Young Children

No one is more susceptible to being misunderstood than the preschooler. Precocious, brazen, obsessive, endearing, hysterical, impulsive, anxious, delightful, unreflective, dogmatic, generous, unstable, aggressive, resistant, compulsive, and anything but consistent – the preschooler could qualify for any number of personality and behaviour disorders. Unlike infants and toddlers, preschoolers actually bear a resemblance to grown-ups and therefore fool us into thinking that they are much more like us than they really are. Projecting our psychology onto them is a typical mistake. This presentation will address commonly misunderstood preschooler behaviour including resistance, frustration, attachment, the need for play, and impulsiveness.


angry2. Understanding Resistance in Children and/or Teens: “You’re Not the Boss of Me”

Children are naturally inclined to resist and oppose when feeling pressed upon or controlled. Although the reaction is quite normal and even healthy in certain circumstances, its manifestations and impact can be highly disruptive and disturbing, making life difficult for parents and teachers. Counterwill can take many forms from negativism to noncompliance depending upon the age and personality of the child. We will discuss the meaning of this deep-rooted instinct as well as the dynamics that control its existence and expression.

portrait of a crying child3. Tears, Tempers and Tantrums: Understanding Frustration And Aggression

The expression of frustration and aggression in children can take on many forms including temper tantrums and various forms of attack. Part of making headway requires understanding the roots of frustration and aggression and how to deal with the resulting behaviours. This presentation will focus on strategies for dealing with a frustrated child while preserving one’s relationship to them. It will address the importance of setting limits and helping children realize they can survive the futilities that are part of life.


ブナの木を見上げる子供4. Nurturing the Natural Roots of Self Esteem

Self-esteem has become a popular concept, with varying ideas on how to cultivate it in our children. There are two main strategies used to develop self-esteem, one built on shaky grounds and another that is more sustaining and enduring. The developmental roots of natural self-esteem will be discussed, along with strategies for providing for its growth. Parents are ideally positioned to nurture an intrinsic sense of self worth in their child which will help grow them into their full human potential.


street kid5. Making Sense of Anxiety

As many as 20% of children qualify for an anxiety disorder diagnosis, making it the most common mental health issue. Anxiety can take many forms including obsessions, compulsions, phobias as well as other perplexing behaviours. We cannot treat something we do not understand, so making sense of anxiety is fundamental in making headway. This presentation will bring a fresh and promising perspective to one of our most troubling human problems.


Herz6. Heart Matters: What to do with a Child’s Feelings?

Constructs like emotional intelligence, emotional self-regulation, emotional well-being and emotional social learning are being bandied about like never before. Emotion, long dismissed as a nuisance factor, is now confirmed to be at the core of development and well-being. What are the implications for raising children? How can we ensure healthy hearts and what does heart hygiene look like? How do we teach our children the language of the heart? Should we be discouraging negative emotions’ and encouraging our children to calm down? This presentation will bring clarity to the plethora of confusing information bombarding parents and educators today.


happy boy on swing outdoors7. The Lost Art of Play: How Children Become Their Own Persons

Play – at least the kind that builds brains and forwards development – is becoming an endangered activity among those who need to engage in it most. Part of the problem is the premature pressure on children to learn and to become socialized. Another factor is that play has increasingly become associated with a sport or a screen activity. Probably our most significant failing is our lack of collective understanding concerning the pivotal role of play in development. We have never known more about the value of play and at the same time, we have never been so in need of this knowledge. The importance of play has become eclipsed by the urgency surrounding children’s conduct and achievements.

Confident little boy8 Alpha Children: “Who’s in Charge?”

A growing number of children are presenting as demanding, prescriptive, bossy and controlling. A disturbing number of these alpha children are turning into bullies as well. Alpha children tend to have difficulties letting themselves be parented or taught. This is making the child-adult dance much more difficult than it used to be or needs to be, despite the plethora of advice-giving and strategies available today. The surprising roots of the alpha complex will be examined, opening the doors for lasting change in the family, classroom, and society.

Resilience sign with a desert background9. Roots of Resilience and Resourcefulness

Humans are some of the most adaptive creatures on the planet, with the capacity to overcome adversity and find creative solutions to our problems. While it is within everyone’s capacity to be resilient and resourceful, this potential is not always realized for everyone. Raising resourceful and resilient children has never been more important and the role of tears in this process never more misunderstood. Adults play a key role in cultivating the roots of resilience that have lasting effects on their capacity to endure adversity and find a way through.


Learning10. Raising Children in a Digital World
The digital world is here to stay, changing our society in a way that has far-reaching consequences for our children. What are the implications for raising children? How do we harness the spectacular connecting potential and yet avoid the pitfalls of attachment technology gone awry? How do we prepare them to live in this new world and yet preserve what is required for healthy development to take place? We have followed our children into the digital world and yet for their sakes as well as ours, need to restore our lead in order to avoid the insidious dangers that live in the shadows of this potent technology. We will consider the digital revolution through the lens of developmental science, committed to helping adults help children reach their full human potential.


Elementary pupil in class11. Setting Kids up for Learning Success: The Role of Home

The teachability of a child is the single most important factor in learning success. The psychological determinants that govern a child’s capacity to learn are ideally fostered and cultivated in the home.  What is the role of a parent in helping their child be ‘school ready’ and surviving the ‘ups and downs’ that come with it?  How do we measure success in a way that goes beyond test scores and academic assessments and focuses on the realization of human potential?  This presentation will tease apart the psychological determinants behind a child’s learning success and the role of parents in getting them there.


little heart12. Cultivating Caring Children: The Roots of Social Responsibility

We all desire caring and considerate children but there is much confusion regarding how to get there. This presentation addresses the developmental roots of these highly held virtues and the negative effects prevailing parenting practices have on caring. This presentation will focus on how parents and teachers can best cultivate these characteristics and social responsibility as a whole.


Happy father and child in autumn13. Relationship Matters: Building Strong Connections with Children

The desire for relationship and connection is the greatest need humans have. This presentation will focus on the importance of adult relationships for children, how they develop, and can be protected in light of disciplinary issues. The importance of human relationships in the maturation process will be discussed as well as the role of shyness in protecting attachments.



Rope Bridge Above The Clouds14. Discipline that Doesn’t Divide

One of the biggest challenges faced by parents, caregivers and educators is the safe discipline of children in their care. Given that connection is the greatest need a child has, discipline that protects this attachment is critical. Seven principles of attachment safe discipline will be discussed along with an understanding of the 4 most common principles that erode attachment and threaten development.


Human hands showing unity15. Holding Onto Kids: Preventing Peer Orientation and Reclaiming a Child

Our children and teens are attaching to each other like never before with adult relationships taking a back seat to peer friendships. From a loss of influence in the home to the classroom, peer attached kids seek to be with their friends over parents and teachers. Adults were meant to guide a child or teen to maturity, peers are a poor replacement. The fallout from peer orientation includes behaviour and learning problems. Strategies to reclaim a child will be discussed as well as how to prevent losing them to their peers in the first place.


Watering Sweatpea Seedlings16. Nature’s Answer to Immaturity: Helping Children Grow Up

The capacity for self-control and consideration is at the root of a mature temperament. Understanding how this unfolds in a child and culminates in the capacity for increasing self-control, social responsibility, and reflection is at the heart of this presentation. The cultivation of a mature temperament is critical in helping our children reach their full human potential and adults play a key role in creating the conditions for growth. Through the lens of developmental science we will examine how nature provided an organic solution to immaturity and how we can foster independence in our kids.


paper chain17. Building Attachment Communities to Raise Children In

Who is to raise our children? The only answer compatible with nature is for parents and adults entrusted with their care to serve as their mentors, guides, nurturers, and role models. Today’s culture lacks rituals and customs to foster attachment villages for children to be raised in. We can create a sense of home for children by providing a sense of rootedness, belonging and connection wherever they are. If parents and other adults are to share the task of raising children then we must actively cultivate the village they need.


watching tv18. Making Sense of Sensitive Kids

Some children seem to be more intense and sensitive in their response to sensory stimuli in their surroundings. We can all feel overwhelmed at times but for some sensitive kids it can get very stressful, evoking strong emotions they don’t know how to make sense of. In order to help sensitive children live in their world we need to start by making sense of them and appreciating things through their eyes. There is much parents and teachers can do to help sensitive children find rest so that they can play and grow.


two little girls  in quarrel isolated on white19. Sibling Conflict: Understanding Feuds and Cultivating Friendship

When children don’t get along adults are left to manage disputes, upset, frustration and aggression. Rivalry between children can be exhausting and leaves adults wondering how to make headway in the situation and over the long term. Understanding the causes of sibling conflict  can help parents and caregivers in managing outbursts and in getting to the heart of the matter. Cultivating relationships, dealing with disputes, and strategies for decreasing conflict will be provided.


Straßenschilder20. Making Sense of Attention Problems

Attention and agitation issues are increasing at alarming rates among our children and youth. Such restlessness can pose challenges for learning and behaviour at home and school. Adults often feel overwhelmed and confused how to make headway with a child who cannot seem to focus or sit still. In trying to alleviate symptoms we can unknowingly employ measures that serving to exacerbate their attention problem. There is much that can be done to help bring a child to rest by understanding the two common roots of attention problems.


mutter und tochter liegen entspannt im gras21. Sex Education: A Developmental and Relational Perspective  

Sex education has become divorced from issues of human attachment and vulnerability, as well as rendered solely scientific in discussions. Parents have a key role to play in helping children grow into mature adults who are capable of having an intimate healthy sexual relationship. What is a parent’s responsibility in this area? How do we prepare our children for what lies ahead yet remain sensitive to what is developmentally appropriate?  What can we do about the hyper-sexualized world they grow up in? Based on developmental science, embedded in human relationships and vulnerability, these questions and more will be addressed.


22. BullyiNo bullyingng: A New Approach to an Enduring Problem

Bullying is an age-old problem with a new face in today’s increasingly digital world. Cyber bullies are now replacing playground bullies at an alarming rate and the need to protect our kids is great. Efforts to curb bullying are failing and children are being wounded at the hands of their peers like never before. Protecting our children from bullies is possible when we understand the modus operandi driving bullies, how to thwart attacks, and guide our children through situations where bullies are involved. Parents and educators often feel helpless to protect children from bullies but there is much we can do to address this age-old problem.


young father with his little daughter reads the Bible23. Growing Pains: Becoming the Parent our Child Needs

What do we do as parents when we fall short of our own expectations for caring for our children? What can we do about the guilt we feel and the grief we may have caused? While we cannot stop ourselves from feeling strong emotions nor would we want too, we need to assume our rightful position in a child’s life by seeing ourselves as their best bet. Nature has a plan for parents in terms of growing us into the caretakers our children need.



ring of female friends outdoors, (portrait)1. Making Sense of Adolescence

Crossing the bridge from childhood to adulthood has never been so daunting. The time of adolescence is longer than ever and yet society today offers little support in understanding or facilitating this transition. What is meant to happen? What is nature’s purpose and design? Discussion will center on understanding the maturing dynamics occurring for the adolescent and the tools to help them through this journey. Topics may include (depending on time available) the seven rites of passage, increasing awareness and need for autonomy, teen resistance and becoming a sexual being. This presentation is suitable for participants with tweens in preparation for the adolescent years.


2. Understanding Resistance and Opposition in Adolescents

The shift to adolescence brings about a natural shift to increasing resistance and opposition when feeling pressed upon or controlled. Although the reaction is quite normal and even healthy in certain circumstances, its manifestations and impact can be highly disruptive and disturbing, making life difficult for parents and teachers. Resistance can take many forms from negativism to noncompliance depending upon the age and personality of the child. We will discuss the meaning of this deep-rooted instinct as well as the dynamics that control its existence and expression.


GGroup of Students3. Becoming a Sexual Being

Today’s adolescents live in a hypersexualized culture. Most have received a school-based sex education where safe sex typically refers to physical intimacy that is free of sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancy. Despite their greater exposure and education, current evidence suggests that many youth are in trouble sexually and that their sexual development is not unfolding as it should. How is sexuality meant to develop and how is sex affecting the brain and bonding? The meaning of safe sex from an attachment-based developmental perspective will be provided as well as suggestions for contributing to the healthy unfolding of sexuality in our youth.



Full length of students walking in corridor1. The Teachability Factor 

Teaching doesn’t always result in learning and this discrepancy seems to be widening. Despite advances in curriculum, technology and pedagogy, the teachability of students is on the wane, making teaching much more difficult than it used to be or than it needs to be. Although the teachability of a student is the single most important factor in learning, this variable is rarely addressed. The psychological determinants of learning will be teased apart to reveal the impact of attachment, immaturity and vulnerability in facilitating or impeding the learning process. Practical suggestions are provided as to how to improve the teachability of students will be discussed as well as the 4 natural contexts for learning.

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