It takes a village to raise a child. Nowhere is the context of community and relationship more relevant than with the raising of children – with parents, care-givers, siblings and friends taking on the role of guides and children the role of apprentices. Children learn and develop through guided participation and experience sharing (also known as narrative engagement or dynamic communication) which ultimately leads to dynamic thinking (or narrative competence).
I became interested in child development before I had my own children. My sister is a qualified occupational therapist and shortly after I obtained my degree in Public Relations I started noticing the fine thread of transformative relationships and communication that runs through almost every field that I could think of – in business but also in life. This insight, together with an ability to integrate emotions and thought, lead me to great successes as communication and creative strategist for brands such as Disney UK, Sticky Fudge, Toy Kingdom and many more. But it was only when I became a parent that I truly discovered the importance of dynamic thinking and communication within the context of relationships or communities when it comes to family life.
Today I help parents to guide their children in developing theory of mind, skills in experience sharing and the ability to collaborate. In short I help them to narratively engaged in dynamic communication which will, in the end, allow them to engage in meaningful reflection, adaptive thought and problem solving (creativity), mature emotional relationships (EQ) and optimal planning. To become compassionate, competent, mindful and self-aware adults children need to learn how to cross divides by expressing, recognizing, absorbing, interpreting and acting on their own and other people’s stories or experiences. Guiding families (my own included) in this journey is, in my opinion, far more important that the development of just emotional intelligence or static thinking (IQ).
But as a mother I have also come to realise how dependent I am on the role players in my children’s lives – some of who take their role and my input as mother seriously and some who unfortunately don’t. I therefore also help parents to empower themselves and learn how to express themselves successfully and achieve the sort of collaborations and communities that their children need.