About

My husband and I lived variously in Canada, France and West Africa. Shortly before having our first child, we had to choose where to settle. We decided on Canada because it’s a comparatively child-friendly nation. We were able to make choices for our boys around their births, healthcare, schooling and extracurricular activities that would have been impossible in France. The critical, independent choices I made for my violent son would also have been impossible there.

One significant issue was the freedom to homeschool. The ‘mainstreaming’ of homeschooling in North America was a great gift to us. It allows me to make sure my son is academically in tandem with his peers while we work on his developmental issues. I never wanted to homeschool, but schools present too many roadblocks set up by administrators, teachers and peers for a developmentally struggling child.

I’m grateful that I was able to choose a homeschooling organization (http://selfdesign.org/) registered within our provincial ministry of education. Far from isolating us, our enrollment and participation required a public school student number and the fulfillment of all the requirements of any public school student. Homeschooling massacred us financially, but would you rather struggle financially or have a child in prison by age seventeen? Having children means hard choices.

A supportive and open society is crucial to all of us raising kids without community and family support systems. North America’s information systems are a gift to all contemporary parents. We have the greatest opportunity of any generation, and of any other place on the globe, to learn daily from the newest research on every discipline almost instantly. There’s never been a better time to raise children and to do the best by them.

Professionally

I have worked in writing, editing and publishing. I reported and photographed as an on-staff journalist (and won a national award) in the Canadian Arctic; and was associate editor for specialty medical journals at a Montreal medical publisher. I’ve had two Harlequin novellas published in two different anthologies (US and UK) in multiple languages.

Illustrations and acrylic-on-canvas portrait are my original works.

My reading list and resources:

The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene, PhD (Harper, 1998-2010) and his nonprofit website http://www.livesinthebalance.org/ — Reading his theory that these kids are developmentally behind altered the entire trajectory of my son’s life.

Debunking ADHD: 10 Reasons to Stop Drugging Kids for Acting Like Kids by M.W. Corrigan (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014)

Healing ADD by Daniel G. Amen, MD (Berkley, 2013)

Hold On To Your Kids by G. Neufeld, PhD & G. Mate, MD (Vintage Canada, 2005)

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman, PhD (Fireside, 1998)

Superparenting for ADD by E.M. Hallowell, MD & P. Jensen, MD (Ballantine, 2010)

What to do When Your Temper Flares by Dawn Heubner, PhD (Magination, 2008)

Boy-specific (sorry, I can’t vouch for girl-specific resources):

Raising Cain by D. Kindlon, PhD & M. Thompson, PhD (Ballantine, 2000)

Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax, MD, PhD (Basic, 2009)

I also refer to a host of books on psychiatry, spirituality, stress reduction, wellness, eating for body & brain health, and general psychology for parenting my child[ren].

 

 

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4 thoughts on “About

  1. Mark

    Read your blog, enjoyed your story, and found myself in strong agreement with your values and approach. I’m an LCSW working in the US for a very large school district, in a school that I have been (with others) gradually working to transform– from a place of constant cyclical & reciprocal violence, to an explicitly nonviolent community dedicated to promoting the development of kids with very strong feelings. So far, I can only report mixed results.

    In the interest of my work– especially with my parents, I would love to hear more from you about how you operationalized Ross Greene’s approach. I find that his book ends as fast as it begins. I also find, frankly, that trauma and disruptions in the attachment process (which is also trauma) are *almost* always major factors for the kids I work with, and the cohort at my school represents a very needy subgroup from a very large sample size (40000 children). So, I find Greene to be limited in that way, too.

    I can’t help but be curious for more details from your own story– I’m wondering how old you son is, what his problem patterns look like, how his interactions are with you outside of his meltdowns. How do you deviate from Ross Greene, if you do? How do you support him to restore his environment and relationships following a destructive episode? Is it meaningful for him? Does he have a community of peers that witness his behavior? How do they tolerate or not tolerate it? What’s your sense of how he is changing over time? I am much more interested, honestly, in these personal questions than with your political stance with respect to mental health in North America.

    Finally, I would be happy to share some ideas I’ve learned from Sandra Bloom, an LCSW working on the East Coast with traumatized youth. Her Sanctuary Model begins with teasing out our most fundamental beliefs about ‘deviance’ from the norm. She describes a (false) dialectic explaining deviant child behaviors as either or alternately ‘sick’ or ‘bad’, rather than injured, and in the case of your son, developmentally uneven. These opposite perspectives push adults toward different approaches (read: different kinds of consequences for misbehavior, therapeutic interventions, placements, etc.) that, not only distract us from the obvious work, but cause us endless confusion in our emotions and relationships with kids. And we impart these distinctions (really a theory of deviance) gradually to our kids over time, so that they learn– often together in environments like at my school– to struggle ‘in the style of’ a bad kid or a sick kid. I find these ridiculous distinctions to be written into the DNA of my district’s application of special education law, in service delivery models extending down from the state and county, certainly in the nosological meanderings that comprise our latest and greatest version of the DSM. It’s even relevant in the way insurers reimburse or do not reimbursement for services, and certainly relevant to the overgrown American prison/state psychiatric complex.

    Best of luck to you & happy to talk ‘off the air.’

    Reply
    1. Liz Sydney Post author

      THANK YOU so much, Mark, for your comments! I am deeply interested in everything you touch on and will reply in an email. With respects to my blog, I’ll try and ‘reply’ to all of these various issues in my posts. I have touched on some, but I will continue to try in the future.

      Reply
  2. matterstosam

    Hi. Curious to follow your blog. I believe that we chatted on twitter at some point. I posted blogs around experiences I had with psych meds. You sent me to resources Mad in america said they had an online community. I can’t find that particular page. Was hoping you could help. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Liz Sydney Post author

      Hi Sam, I just followed your blog, and I remember the Twitter chat. Yes, I hope you’ve been reading ‘Mad in America’! It’s the single place with the most forward-thinking people, evidence, and opinions on issues that touch what we call ‘mental’ health.

      But specific to your question and their community, if you go six categories to the right on the site’s home-page banner, there’s a category called ‘Forums’. It’s a drop-down and you’ll need to check out the several categories there for their online community chats.

      You also might consider writing a ‘Personal Story’ for them. They publish personal stories all the time by people who want to share their experiences dealing with their mental health, pharma, institutions, everything, and anything. Read a few of what they call ‘Personal Story’ pieces and you’ll see. I hope you’ll submit something. The information to submit is under ‘Submitting Personal Stories’ and is under the ‘About Us’ category on the home-page banner.

      Also, you might be interested in ‘Green Med Info’ (greenmedinfo.com), run by a very forward-thinking guy, Sayer Ji, who I often see speaking on Integrative and Functional medicine events online. His site includes current news on mental/emotional issues, and of course lots on the gut, gut microbiome, and what we eat, which is now understood to play a MAJOR role in our mental/emotional state.

      Best Wishes, Liz

      Reply

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