Helping Our Children Become Resilient as They Grow Up Facing a Complicated World
Join grief specialist and keynote speaker Maria Trozzi for an interactive evening where she will explore the typical and not-so-typical speed bumps that adolescents may encounter growing up in today's complicated world. When their child or adolescent faces these speed bumps, parents need words, a developmentally informed approach, and their confidence shored up as they scaffold their son or daughter during difficult times. Her refreshing and honest approach focuses on strategies that are often counterintuitive for parents, but help children master the coping skills that promote resilience. Highlights include:
- Dealing with life's disappointments: When our children hurt, what to say and not to say.
- Too many choices: How affluence can complicate parenting touchpoints.
- To push or not to push: The race to get ahead and what it means to your child.
- Who's driving the bus? You or your child? Where is it headed? Navigating the future.
- Self-efficacy: What it is, why it's important, what to do about it.
- How to not hover: Moving towards scaffolding your teens as they problem solve.
- The world news events: Facing them with your child.
The Grief That Keeps on Giving: A New Paradigm to Support Families of Children with Special Needs
When a child is born or diagnosed with a disability, each family member faces a loss that is ongoing, powerful, and idiosyncratic. How can the special educator be proactive in her relationship with the parent that actually promotes family resilience? Are there factors that predict better outcomes for the healthy siblings? Are there predictable times when the grief is exacerbated for the parents? This lecture will include a conceptual framework and strategies that help the special education professional join the family challenged by a child with a disability.
Building Resiliency in Children & Families Facing Stressful Life Events
Using an interactive format, Maria Trozzi will explore the psychosocial issues that challenge children who must face the inevitable losses of childhood as well as the less predictable losses that many children will face as they grow up, such as family illness, divorce, disabilities, transitions, incarceration, foster care and adoption, and community tragedies. More specifically:
- How professionals can assist children and their families facing a death.
- The critical issues that the schools must identify to respond to their community losses in a way that promotes resilience, especially when the death is unanticipated, multiple, and stigmatic (using case studies from Columbine and the World Trade Center).
- The hidden dynamics of grief embedded in the foster care/adoption system; specifically, moving from a triangulation model to a cooperative model, identifying our biases that interfere with advocating for the child, and specific language that assists the child whose losses are many and complicated; assisting all caregivers with the oxymoronic task of promoting "temporary attachment"; and finally, exploring strategies that promote attachment and minimize disruptions.
- Describing a new model for special education teams that responds to the parental grief that "keeps on giving" throughout the developmental life of their child with a disability and identifies strategies that the team can employ that ameliorates the tension and promotes better shared decision making.
Special attention will be focused on how children at different stages of development are likely to understand loss; the biases that professionals may unwittingly bring to the work that interferes with resilience; words, strategies and wisdom for giving bad news; and, finally, identifying professional burnout and strategies that prevent it.
It Takes a Village: A Community Approach for Promoting Resilience in Our Children
The simple well-worn phrase "it takes a village" is rarely simple when a community attempts to execute an approach. As professionals and agents of the community, we will explore the what, who, how that defines scaffolding our adolescents, and in particular, those who are at risk now. We will think broadly and creatively to consider strategies that build adolescents' capacity to master coping skills, preparing them to face a range of issues. In particular, we will consider a common language for responding to crises of loss that stress our adolescents and impact our community's well being. Using a lively, interactive team approach, we will dialogue and listen, react and plan for what it actually takes to promote mastery of coping skills and prevent the long-term sequalae of depression, suicidal and risk-taking behavior.
Words, Strategies & Wisdom That Build Resilience in Families with Children with Special Needs
Maria Trozzi will discuss the stresses that our families face as they deal with the often complicated tasks of living with a child with a disability. She has recently concluded a two-year research study, funded by a regional center for disabilities in Los Angeles County, which explores the stresses, both obvious and hidden, that can sometimes feel overwhelming and never ending.
She will offer strategies for help parents to understand and cope, particularly at identified "touchpoints" in the developmental life of their child. She will share her nationally recognized conceptual model for working with educators that helps them "walk in the parents' shoes" in order to understand and transform even the most difficult and challenging parent/educator relationships.
Lastly, Trozzi, a typical sibling of a brother who is disabled, will offer insights for helping siblings cope with the losses and gains inherent in a family with a child with special needs. Her book, Talking with Children About Loss (Putnam-Penguin), will be available for a book signing.
Helping Our Teens Sail Through (& Their Parents Survive!) Adolescence
In this speech, Maria Trozzi will explore the normal developmental stresses that adolescents face as they lose their childhood and move towards adulthood. Often, adolescents are required to cope with any number of situations, ranging from when Barry breaks up with Susan (even if they "went out" for only days... or hours!), being on the outside of the "in" group, not making the varsity soccer team, leaving the safety and familiarity of the middle school, not getting into their chosen college. At times, the problems seem overwhelming and the solutions seem out of reach for both teens and their parents.
How can parents and other caring adults help? When should they get involved? When is it interference? What techniques generally stop communication? What approaches work most of the time? And, given the lives of dual working parents, hectic schedules for both parents and kids, and few if any opportunities for "family times," what "real life" strategies can adults employ that create a base of support for their teens during the many "crises" they face?
Finally, what specific tools can parents use that will ultimately have the greatest impact on their teens' lives: to assess the many risks that alcohol, drugs, and sex present to our teens and assisting them to move beyond their peer group's influence to make safe choices.
Trozzi, who is an assistant professor of developmental pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, combines insight, research findings, experience as a parent of two teens, and humor in her talk to parents and other adults who care about teens!
Juicy Living: Squeezing the Most Out of Your Life
Are there really secrets to squeezing out the very most of your life at any stage of adulthood? To creating the life you want to live? To mastering time and energy and relationship issues? Magazines and self-help bookshelves are full of engaging promises to transform your bodies, de-stress your lives, and fix your relationships, but is there really a way?
With humor, empathic experience, and wisdom, Maria Trozzi will help us examine our current lifestyles for "juiciness" quality, and will challenge us with selected real-life, do-able strategies that have the transformative power to enhance anyone's life. Really!