Teacher and therapist Tom McSheehy will help parents develop their own comprehension of the ways in which they can guide their children in their social and emotional triumphs and trials, with his coming lecture series at Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library May 23-24.
The two-part discussion will delve into different dimensions of childhood developmental and emotional psychology, as part of the “Tell Mama Series” sponsored by Bright Futures and the library. McSheehy’s ideas are grounded in more than 20 years of experience of working with children and their parents, identifying and strengthening the innate intelligence that every child possesses.
The first evening’s discussion will explore the work of developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, and the concept of the eight different intelligences children possess. Simply by learning about their attributes, parents can help their children understand that they are brilliant in one or multiple areas.
“I believe that all kids come into the world with a gift or gifts to share, which are strengths or areas of intelligence,” McSheehy says.
The lecture will give parents the tools they need to identify the different intelligences in which their children excel, and suggestions for ways to foster that particular kind of intelligence.
As McSheehy explains, “When children are affirmed for their forms of intelligence or strengths, they naturally want to work on their weaknesses.” This philosophical shift from identifying the weaknesses of children to affirming their strengths is at the core of McSheehy’s research.
In the second evening, McSheehy will explore the attributes of a sensitive child.
Research conducted by Elaine Aron suggests that 15 to 20 percent of the human population is highly sensitive. A highly sensitive child perceives and feels things on a more intense and deep level than the average individual.
McSheehy suggests that “while this is a real gift to have, the downside is that these children have a highly active nervous system that can be easily overwhelmed by the world and ultimately lead to emotional meltdowns.” In many cases, a highly sensitive child is often the product of a highly sensitive parent, and the typical coping method for these parents is to shelter their children from any forms of emotional turmoil. Yet McSheehy believes that providing parents with some tools for coaching their children is the best way to help the child develop healthy coping mechanisms that will benefit them as a child and, later, as an adult.
“Parents often feel challenged to take care of a highly sensitive kid. I’m going to make them aware of the benefits and the challenges, and ways to help their child cope and thrive in the world,” McSheehy says.
McSheehy’s discussions will take place Monday, May 23-Tuesday, May 24, in the Telluride Room at the Wilkinson Public Library. For more information visit www.wplkids.org.