We welcomed back alumna and child psychologist Professor Gewirtz, who helps families to cope when stressful events are taking place.
As Leadership Faculty Chair of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development, Professor Gewirtz has consulted with many organisations on parenting, including the US Congress and UNICEF. She recently published her first book, When the World Feels Like a Scary Place, to help parents talk about issues such as climate change, racial injustice, bullying and Covid-19.
At the GDST Talks series event, hosted by Mrs Bingham, Professor Gewirtz focused on strategies to help parents raise engaged and confident children. She encouraged parents to reflect on their own coping mechanisms in response to stress, highlighting the importance of taking time to respond intentionally rather than reacting impulsively.
At a time when there is so much out of our control, she also highlighted the importance of routines. “As the pandemic has thrown our world into chaos, our job is to keep the walls of our home as solid as they can be.”
She reminded parents of the role they play in helping children to find solutions to their emotional challenges. She suggested a simple ‘take ten’, advising parents to talk and listen to each of their children for at least 10 uninterrupted minutes every day, without distraction. Even cynical teens, she suggested, could benefit from the chance to normalise their worries.
Thank you to Professor Gewirtz for sharing her advice and practical tips with so many parents. A recording of her talk is available here.
Abi Gewirtz left South Hampstead in 1983 to study at Psychology at UCL then Tel Aviv University, before completing her PhD at Columbia University, New York. Find out more about her memories of life at South Hampstead here. Her mother, Naomi Greenwood, is also a South Hampstead alumna, and worked as a school librarian in the 1990s.