Heart-Mind 2015 In Profile: Deborah MacNamara

We all want our children and students to thrive and to become all they were meant to be, right? But how is this accomplished? What conditions are required?  What experiences are essential to unfolding of human potential? These are just a few of the questions that Deborah MacNamara wants to answer at Heart-Mind 2015.

Clinical Counselor in Private Practice on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute, Deborah specializes in child and adolescent development. She brings over twenty years of experience as a teacher, researcher, and experienced counselor who makes developmental science come to life in the everyday context of the home and classroom.

At Heart-Mind 2015, Deborah will provide a comprehensive developmental map for parents and professionals who want more than just strategies for handling problem behaviour. She will explore how adults can build connections with children in spite of what she calls “technology attachment”.

“Digital devices provide kids with the capacity to connect with each other like never before,” Deborah says. “Social media and the enhanced capacity to keep one’s peers close was born from and is fuelled by our children’s relational hunger for each other."

"The best inoculation against losing them to their peers and an online world are deep nourishing relationships with the adults.”

“When kids rest in the care of their adults, they can grow into the people that nature intended.” 
                                                             - Deborah MacNamara

Deborah offers these three tips for parents and educator trying to connect with children in the digital age.

  1. Preserve the Connection – When a child feels there is a generous invitation to exist from their adults they are more likely to orient, be guided by, follow and adopt the same values as them. With strong adult connections they are less likely to use digital devices to numb out, tune out, or pursue their relational needs online. We need to cultivate strong relationships with our kids so we can lead them to maturity.
  2. Don’t Court the Competition – Keeping kids close in a digital world requires the conscious creation of structure and rules around the use of communication devices and peer interaction. As we set rules and rituals around technology use we will also need to lead by example. We cannot let our love for our new tools blind us to the responsibility we have in creating a context for their safe use in and out of the home.
  3. Know the Signs of a Child in Trouble - If a child or teen seems drawn to their devices in a way that lead to continuous upset, battles, and failure to comply with rules, then adults need to take a step back and evaluate the role of digital devices in their life. Instead of focusing on the technology use, intervene by restoring and strengthening the relationship first.  

Deborah will be a presenting on October 2nd, and running a workshop on October 3rd called Rest-Play-Grow: Making Sense of Young Children. Click here to register and discover more about Heart-Mind 2015: Human Connection in a Digital World! 

Interview and Profile: Jordan Lee


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