Guiding Kids Through the Tough Moments
Techniques to Build a Space Where Children Can Thrive
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Families, classrooms, all kinds of human groups are intricate, evolving social and emotional worlds. They exist to protect and nourish but living in them is not always easy. And, when one of us is not doing well, none of us are. This makes them a delicate, dynamic, messy, and endless work in progress.
This book centres around those moments when we must get involved, or call a child out on an unsafe, careless, or selfish action. Pitched well beyond the superficiality of making "happy families" or "obedient classes," this book dives into the colour and chaos of life. It provides guidance for navigating the commotion and the processes, as well as the grit required in the tougher moments. It’s these moments that reveal what is really happening between children and their parents, educators, or carers. The book outlines a special set of attitudes and skills described as using our "soft eyes and warm hearts." In this space, we hold a child or teen accountable using an almost counterculture mindset. One that connects leadership and strength directly with kindness. This humane approach is more likely to leave young people in a position where they might want to feel responsible, make amends and changes, rather than being forced to. If we are to improve our relationships, outcomes, and futures with this generation of kids we must commit to truthful conversation, reflection, and preparation.
Written by trusted author Mark Le Messurier, an experienced teacher, counsellor and public speaker, this is an essential guide for parents, carers, teachers, educational leaders, and allied health professionals responsible for the wellbeing of young people.
Table of Contents
1. Family: an evolution and revolution 2. Which quadrant reflects your parenting or teaching style? 3. ‘MIS’behaviour 4. Understanding the stubbornness of behaviour 5. A language that tames shame 6. The ‘art’ of redirecting unwanted behaviours 7. The ‘art’ of holding a child accountable, with poise 8. The ‘art’ of applying an educative consequence, calmly and staying emotionally connected 9. The star act: praise and building credit 10. One size does not fit all: a worthy alternative 11. Wise-guides and self-care 12. Close: thoughts and reflections
Mark Le Messurier is a teacher, counsellor, public speaker, and author. He works in private practice as a mentor to young people, a coach to parents, and a teacher educator. He is the recipient of the Australia Day Council’s 2022 Senior South Australian of the Year award. His generosity and consideration for others was recognised as profound. He’s helped many families, and has improved the self-worth, mental health, and life outcomes of children, adolescents, parents, and educators.
‘With increasing pressures e.g., from pervasive social media, parents often feel anxious about how to best manage their child's difficult behaviour while still preserving their relationship and their child's mental health. They need hope and skills… and this book gives them both. Hope comes from the variety of parenting approaches Mark discusses rather than just one way which parents can easily feel they fail, and skills come from the practical strategies he gives parents to try out in their family.’
Lindy Petersen, M.Psych(Clin), author of Stop Think Do.
‘Guiding Kids through the Tough Moments is a book that speaks to the heart of what every child needs from the adults in their life. Mark understands the struggles that parents and teachers face, he presents evidence-based, practical strategies with gentleness and support. As a parent of three kids and a primary school teacher, I hope every parent and teacher in Australia will have the chance to read Mark’s latest book.’
Ben Chesser, Inclusive Learning Coordinator (Junior School), Encounter Lutheran College, Australia.
‘In this book, Mark leads us to take an introspective look at our behaviours as parents and educators when interacting with a child’s behaviour. In placing the child at the centre of our conversations, we are challenged to reflect on our experience of behaviour education where power and control or conversely, freedom, impact on the developing child. Through language that connects, strategies that build social behaviour, while teaching accountability, Mark helps us all to navigate the ‘tricky moments’ in a child or young person’s journey to adulthood placing what it truly means to be human at the centre of those conversations.’
Gennaro Mannella, St Brigid’s Catholic School, Australia.