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Guiding Principles: Family First

The family has evolved as the optimal environment for the maturation of children.

This first principle seems obvious, doesn’t it? By keeping this principle front and center always, it helps us as parents weigh the value of all the voices in our world that, subtly and with all good intention, tell us otherwise. No one would say it out loud, but have you ever felt just a little pressure to:

* sign your toddler up for team sports and other athletics where their parents sit on the sidelines so that their child won’t be overlooked for community and school sports later on,

* enroll your preschool child in an academically rigorous program before the age of six so they will have a leg up when they enter school, or

* attend an endless string of play dates, sleepovers and over-stimulating children’s birthday parties in the name of socializing your young child?

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with introducing children to athletics, reading and math readiness, or socializing with other children at an early age. These activities can not only be fun learning experiences for your child and, let’s face it, it's nice to have a little adult conversation while the kids are otherwise engaged. Goodness knows my children would not have achieved what they have if not for talented, committed and inspiring coaches, teachers and mentors. On the other hand, over-scheduling, pushing children to acquire skills they are not developmentally ready for, or inattention to a child's needs for consistent connection with their most trusted and loving adults, can also give rise to anxiety, perfectionism, resistance to coaching or teaching later, inappropriate reliance on peers for approval, and other behavioral issues. By understanding and appreciating human development, the importance of the family, adult-child attachments, and their impact on maturation, socialization, readiness for academics, managing emotions and learning values, we can make more informed choices about how much immersion in the world outside is truly in our child’s best interest.

When we are intentional about "passing the torch" of adult responsibility and then reconnecting with our child when we see them again, we give our child the security of continuity, the assurance that we are always there for them. By learning how to manage these transitions to school, community and social activities where peers and other adults will have an impact on your child’s values and behavior, you can maintain the family as the light to which your child looks first for a mooring place, even as they navigate adolescence.

Whether you are their biological or adopted parent or a loving adult fulfilling that role for your child; whether they are two or twenty (yes, twenty), they need you to achieve their full potential. We hope to raise independent, self-reliant young adults. Without a secure sense of self and a solid foundation of meaningful relationships with trusted adults, real maturity cannot blossom. Understanding our role as parents and the importance of family in nurturing your child's maturity is always at the core of what I do. Regardless of how much the world offers your children, it’s you they need most of all.

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