In the nearly 3 decades of parent support and education, crossing into every socioeconomic category, I consistently witnessed a need for "training wheels" as it were --- tangible tools to help adult learners that are largely new to positive discipline.
Simply put, adults today are struggling to use these new, evidence-based childrearing practices because they were not modeled for them.
Adults today do not intuitively know how to bring social-emotional learning practically into everyday life, particularly when toddlers and young children are acting out, because, as 30 to 60+-year-old adults, we are largely from generations past that never received positive discipline or early social-emotional education when we were young.
Methods we now know, from the research, to be both trauma-informed and best practice have failed to mainstream, because, though we have the science, we lack the skills.
The need for tangible tools to support embodied social-emotional learning includes the brains of both children and adults in every setting of life imaginable.
This need bridges from home into the daycare setting and/or classroom --- anywhere a young child from birth to age 5 is being nurtured and guided in their social-emotional development by an adult.
This is why I started Generation Mindful in 2016, on a mission to raise an emotionally healthy world through play-based learning and empowerment-based education to mainstream positive discipline.
Our relational, play-based approach using tangible tools to spark social-emotional learning is designed for children tots to teens, though as a company, we are focused on the early years (birth to 8+), where statistically speaking, the impact we can have on a child's mental health and well-being for a lifetime is greatest.
Our vision is to evolve adults' abilities to use time-ins (aka responsive discipline practices) instead of timeouts, spanking, and other punitive practices and to mainstream this practice in both homes and classrooms around the world.
Our approach is to retrain the brain --- sparking opportunities for little moments of connection to occur between children and adults over the course of the day.
These moments of connection including speaking to one another, eye contact, smiling, a kind word or a hug, and/or putting words to one's thoughts and emotions, are not only positive in themself, but they also serve to replace or prevent harmful, punitive moments that result in disconnection between a child and an adult including yelling, shaming, hitting, threatening, and other forms of punishment.
We believe there is nothing more healing, protective, or worth investing in than a loving, safe, and secure adult-child relationship.
Our tools guide parents and educators step-by-step through the process of replacing harmful discipline practices including corporal punishment, forced isolation (aka time-outs), and behavioral management charts that miss the mark as they address behavior and not the needs that exist underneath the behavior, with strength-based discipline and age-appropriate social-emotional learning.
GENM tools lean into the natural, everyday "teaching moments" that arise organically in adult/child interactions throughout the day, which are classically perceived by adults using punishment-based childrearing methods as moments of conflict rather than as learning opportunities.
Our tools support the natural expression of relational interactions that lead to secure attachment by building social-emotional skills in all ages of persons interacting with the play-based tools through positive relational experiences between the generations.
This focus on nurturing relationships through connection rather than by seeking to control or overpower children is the inspiration for Generation Mindful's tagline, "Making Connection a Habit".
Our tools teach the basic components of emotional literacy including the four mood groups based on Research out of Yale School for Emotional Intelligence. These play-based learning tools introduce the skills both children and adults need to successfully recognize, regulate, and restore or "integrate" their emotions over the course of the day.
Changing mainstream child discipline practices from punitive to positive has been shown to promote secure attachment and strengthen children's social-emotional skills, vital for school readiness.
These outcomes are particularly vital for children from historically marginalized homes experiencing the impact of racism and poverty where, statistically, children are entering the classroom with less-developed social-emotional skills including things like impulse control.
By bridging social-emotional learning (SEL) tools and support from the classroom into students' homes, we support the social-emotional skill development of not only children and educators but parents and caregivers as well.
GENM's tools for bridging home and school introduce the basic concepts of emotional education to historically underserved and undersupported caregivers, some of whom were raised with trauma and elevated ACE scores, thus positively impacting generational trauma.
At Generation Mindful, we are committed to supporting, educating, and inspiring not only children in their social-emotional learning but the adults charged with raising them as well.