Hello, wonderful parents and caregivers! I’m Lauren, and I’m an advocate for young people and the grown-ups who care about them. I’m a mom, parent educator, former teacher and constant learner.
I’m so grateful to have found Hand in Hand. I actually began using the tools as a teacher, well before becoming a parent. I always gravitated towards working with children, and as someone who was known as a difficult child, I also knew I wanted to do things differently. When I “grew up,” I tried so many ways of being with young people, as a teacher, counselor, and program leader, but I was always left feeling that I wasn’t getting it quite right. I knew what I didn’t want to do, but didn’t know what to do instead. The how-to of it was missing.
Then, when I was working as an education director for after-school programs in New York City, I found the Hand in Hand Listening Tools. I started using them with the children (and adults!) in that program, and they completely changed how I worked, and how I felt at the end of the day. After leaving that job and moving across the country, I started teaching preschool and began using the tools in my classroom. I was often assigned to work with the children who struggled the most, and using the Listening Tools to help these children find connection and success was extremely gratifying. I enrolled in Hand in Hand’s instructor certification program, and when I became a preschool director, the Listening Tools were indispensible in building a program that reflected the values of the community I was working in.
Then, things got interesting…
A few years later, I had my own child. I thought I was prepared. I thought I knew what I was getting into. After all, I had been working closely with children and parents for years. But really, I felt like I had been thrown from a horse and left to hobble back home. I was lost in anxiety, confusion, and a sea of unhelpful advice. I had no idea what parenting would actually feel like. It was terrifying, and I needed so much more support than I felt like I was allowed to ask for. Through lots of listening partnerships, I slowly found ways to get the support I needed, and lead my family in a way that actually felt good. I leaned hard on the Hand in Hand Listening Tools, and learned to parent my sensitive and complicated daughter in a way that brought out the best in both of us. Most of all, I learned to build support for myself, because without it, I couldn’t be the parent I wanted to be.
Experiencing first-hand how hard it was to actually be a parent, fueled my respect for parents and my understanding of how much support we parents need to be able to parent well – and ALL of us want to parent well.
But I didn’t do it alone, and you don’t need to either.
I believe that the best path, for all of us, to a better world, lies in a revolution in the way we raise our children. When we are able to see through a child’s off-track behavior to the need for connection underneath, it’s a total game changer. And having the Listening Tools that actually meet that need, feels like a cheat sheet for building the world we want to live in.
If you are a parent, I’d love to work with you. I do individual consulting, small classes, workshops, and talks. I’ve been where you are, or helped someone who has, and would be thrilled to support you as you become the parent you want to be.
If you are a caregiver, teacher or school leader, I’d love to work with you. I offer classes, coaching, workshops, and do school observations in order to craft customized supports for staff. I really enjoy teaching about the connecting power of play and the healing that can happen as we listen to children’s upsets. I love helping teachers and parents find ways to connect even when time is tight – as it often is! Supporting school staff to find ways out of stuck patterns with children’s challenging behaviors and into connection and ease is a special skill of mine, and I’ve helped dozens of teachers find their groove this way. I come to this work with an anti-oppression lens, and have particular experience with (and love for) working with groups who want to make this a part of their learning and growth.
Don’t hesitate to reach out – I would love to support you on your journey!
I live in Seattle, WA with my husband and daughter. You can find me on my website at www.parentingforjoyandjustice.com or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lauren@handinhandparenting.org