Thanks to the hard work of the school's Parent Community Network--particularlySpeaker Series CoordinatorMarleigh Greaney--on December 3rd Traf parents and other guests took part in the firstSmart Parentingworkshop of this year, led by (former Traf parent) Dr. Nancy Heath.
An award-winning professor in the Counselling and Educational Psychology Department at McGill's Faculty of Education, Dr. Heath has devoted many years of both applied and basic research to addressing issues of mental health resilience in students of all ages. She and her team are drawing on lessons learned through this research now more than ever, as young people live through these "unprecedented" times, and cope with record levels of stress and anxiety. Not surprisingly, this is placing huge demands on parents, as they try to support and help them.
Dr. Heath talked about the importance of recognizing stress as “the internal experience we have when we perceive the demands of the situation are more than we can cope with” rather than something that happenstous. And while some stress can be helpful, too much is unhealthy, especially when it interferes with day-to-day functioning. She shared many tips and strategies for parents to model good stress management, including body relaxation, mindfulness, and taking care of self. These are covered in more detail in the materials participants will receive as a follow-up to the evening.
Judging by the questions and comments after the talk, attendees found it highly informative and helpful--perhaps even de-stressing!