Parenting By Connection: A respectful and relational approach to raising children who thrive. Workshop by Angela Jernigan.
As parents, most of us begin the parenting journey with visions of the happy, peaceful, and loving life we will build with and for our children. As the months and years go by, we certainly feel that love grow and develop, and it can become one of the most satisfying aspects of our lives.
Most parents, however, also experience times that are bafflingly hard: when the baby won't sleep, the toddler won't stop whining, the siblings are fighting, or the older child refuses to do homework--in these moments, parents struggle to find ways to respond that reflect the love and hope they have for their children in their heart of hearts.
Common parenting practices focus on changing the behavior of the child through some mechanism of control (giving consequences or time-outs, taking away privileges, raising voices and/or withdrawing affection). While these common strategies can sometimes be effective in the moment, they can also create longer term difficulties in the parent-child relationship, setting the family up to be an environment of increasing conflict and upset.
Ultimately, approaches to parenting that focus on controlling behavior do not work because they do not address the underlying need that a child's misbehavior communicates.
In this talk, Angela Jernigan will introduce the brain science behind emotional connection and explain why "feeling felt" by parents and other care providers sets a child up to cooperate, communicate, self-regulate, and ultimately, to thrive. The talk will address common behavior challenges in families with children ages 0-10. We will talk about how to understand what a child is communicating through his or her misbehavior, and how to respond in a way that meets the child's underlying needs. This is not a permissive approach to parenting. Rather, this is an approach that demonstrates that limits can be set, and high standards for behavior maintained, in ways that deepen the sense of safety and closeness in the family as opposed to fracturing emotional connection.
In this workshop, Angela will draw on her years of experience in working directly with parents from a range of cultural backgrounds to help participating parents to arrive at strategies that are in alignment with their highest hopes and deepest values for their children.
Angela Jernigan, M.Div., is an artist and Family Minister in private practice in Berkeley, California. Rev. Jernigan left traditional ministry to build a community-based practice of support and education for parents of young children – regardless of their stated faith or spiritual beliefs.
In her words, “As ministers, we preach about love and justice, but for parents of young children, the most challenging moments are the ones we don’t talk about. What happens when a toddler is having a meltdown on the kitchen floor while dinner burns, and her older brother refuses to do his homework? What does LOVE look like then? What can JUSTICE look like in this moment?”
Rev. Jernigan has a life-long commitment to addressing the needs of children, youth, and the people and systems who support them. Her earlier work focused at the level communities, institutions, and public policies. More recently, her work focuses on the level of the family, supporting the parents and children to co-create a family system that helps them all thrive.
Rev. Jernigan works directly with parents through coaching, classes and community events.. A life-long artist, she also teaches classes and camps for children, using art, play, and connection to support their social and emotional development.
Prior to her direct-service work with families, Rev. Jernigan spent twelve years in the non-profit sector as a researcher, trainer, and organizational consultant working on local and national efforts to improve the life trajectories of some of our country’s most marginalized youth and children. This work involved researching, developing, and testing new models to support the advancement and empowerment of these populations, so they can succeed in their lives. Her clients included Public/Private Ventures, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Community Network for Youth Development, Vanguard Management Group and Community One Consulting.
Rev. Jernigan holds an honors degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her BA in Sociology with an emphasis on the social construction of race and poverty. She hold a Masters of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. In 2012, Rev. Jernigan was ordained with the Northern California Conference of the United Church of Christ.
She resides in Berkeley, CA with her partner and daughter.