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Mind Kind - Q&A with Dr Joanna North
What is Mind Kind about?
In Mind Kind you will not find parenting techniques, but rather a parenting philosophy. Recognizing that there are no absolute answers, distinguished psychotherapist, mother and grandmother Dr Joanna North instead aims to help you become aware of the types of emotional support your child may need. Through following this practical advice, you can help your child grow a strong and resilient mind, even when going through difficult times.
Mind Kind: Your Child's Mental Health helps parents and carers support their children towards positive mental health and wellbeing. Mind Kind devotes chapters to behaviour management; helping children in difficult times; dealing with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression; eating disorders; family break-ups, divorce and step-parenting. Dr North also addresses common parental misunderstandings and provides the tools to create an environment that promotes positive mental health.
If there is one message you would like parents to take away from your book, what would be?
Take time to reflect on your child's life and how that is fundamentally affected by your state of mind and your values and behaviours. Try not to react to negative and unproductive behaviours and try to respond effectively to behavioural patterns that are not going to serve the child. You are the model for your child's behaviour so look to yourself when you are trying to make changes and move away from blame. Be patient with a child's emotional states – they are all communications – help your child to self manage by responding mindfully and understanding their emotional difficulties and challenges.
Why did you write Mind Kind?
I wrote Mind Kind because I have worked in the field of Child Mental Health for twenty years and I found that parents were consistently asking the same questions with the same anxieties. I felt they could be addressed by this book – How Can I Help My Child?
What kind of research was involved in writing your book?
I wrote my Doctoral Thesis in helping adopted children with complex behavioural patterns. So all my research is a Doctoral Level.
Do you have any tips for parents wanting to break old habits and start parenting in a way that is more kind to their child's mind?
Be clear about what change it is you want to achieve and try to understand the purpose of any behavioural pattern. Make changes gradually and mindfully. Make a plan for change and talk it through with someone first to make sure its a good workeable plan. See if your child wants to join in with you in the change taking ownership if they are old enough. And notice what works when you implement your plan. Leave behind what doesn't work and take with you what is successful – repeat and keep trying. Make sure the plan for change is adapted to the Child's Developmental Stage.
Dr Joanna North is a Doctor of Psychotherapy, a Chartered Psychologist and a Chartered Scientist with 30 years of experience working with children, adults and families. She lives in the UK where she works as an expert witness for the Family Court and runs a private clinical practice. Her previously published books are How to Think About Caring for a Child with Difficult Behaviour (2010) and Mindful Therapeutic Care for Children (2014). Jo has been recognized by the British Psychological Society with the 2017 CPS Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in Practice Award for her work with adopted children.
You can order your copy of Mind Kind through Exisle Publishing.