Ali Wentworth Moderates Discussion Focused on Changing Expectations About How Children are Expected to Act in the World and Interact with Peers

New York – The Child Mind Institute today hosted its 2018 Spring Luncheon, featuring a panel discussion “Raising Strong and Empathetic Kids: Nurturing Healthy Relationships and Boundaries at Every Age,” highlighting the some of the unprecedented – and often daunting — challenges parents face in today’s social environment and guidance about how to address them. The event was moderated by actress and comedian Ali Wentworth and featured Jamie Howard, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Anxiety Disorders Center and Director, Trauma and Resilience Service, and David Anderson, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Senior Director of the ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center and Director of Programs at the Child Mind Institute.

“Being a parent today has become more challenging, because our children are challenged with more than we were,” said Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, founding president of the Child Mind Institute. “The pace of the way we receive news, the way we are exposed to things today, has made their lot more difficult and our challenges as parents much greater. There is a more information out there that can be very despairing and very scary, and the information is coming 24/7. We have to remember that children are remarkably resilient, and yet they are still going to need our help.”

The ways our children are expected to act in the world and interact with peers are swiftly changing, even as the influences that vie for their attention multiply. One thing hasn’t changed: parents are the greatest influence in a child’s life (even during adolescence), and their values are important to kids — even when it doesn’t seem like it. In this panel discussion, Drs. Howard and Anderson discussed how parents can raise empathetic children who know how to set boundaries with themselves and other people, at every age.

“We want to be sure parents aren’t just limiting screens for the sake of limiting screens, but are thinking about what’s being replaced – activities that enrich kids – and how to make sure kids have access to that when they’re told ‘you need to be off the screen,’” said Dr. Anderson.

When discussing whether parents must always immediately address difficult topics, such as specific questions surrounding sex, “you only want to answer as much as they’re actually asking for,” says Dr. Howard. “You can take some time to collect your thoughts, and say ‘that sounds like an important question, I need to think about the answer’ and then come back to them. I do think you should go back to them and be the one to tell them, because otherwise they are going to look it up.”

The luncheon was co-chaired by members of the Child Mind Institute Board of Directors, Christine Mack, Zibby Owens, and Debbie Perelman. Other notable attendees included Roxanne Bok, Ellen Cohen, Samantha Greenberg, Jennifer Harris, Tania Higgins, Preethi Krishna, Tammy Levine, Heather Ouida, Eileen Riano and Sara Weiner, PhD.

The luncheon and other events like it are part of the Child Mind Institute’s public education mission, giving families and professionals accurate information about mental health and learning disorders and how to find effective treatment.

About the Child Mind Institute

The Child Mind Institute is an independent national nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Our teams work every day to deliver the highest standards of care, advance the science of the developing brain, and empower parents, professionals and policymakers with resources to support children when and where they need it most. Together with our supporters, we’re helping children reach their full potential in school and in life. We share all of our resources freely and do not accept any funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Learn more at childmind.org.