According to her website, in 1989, Katherine Winter-Sellery began studying “Parent Effectiveness Training” while living in Hong Kong with her husband John and son Sam. She began taking the courses “so she could understand how to be a good mother.”
Ultimately, it became something she enjoyed so much that she eventually became a teacher and a certified instructor so that she could help other parents as well. But that was just one step in creating a technique that would become known as “the Conscious Parenting approach.”
Winter-Sellery is also trained in Non-Violent Communication and she is a certified instructor for Leadership Effectiveness Training (LET), Emotional Freeing Technique (EFT), Matrix Re-imprinting, as a Mediator, and as a Focusing practitioner. Now Winter-Sellery hosts TEDxTalks about “the Conscious Parenting approach” as well as child discipline.
In her specific TEDxTalk titled The Rebellion is Here – We Created It, We Can Solve It, Winter-Sellery begins her talk with an anecdote about both her son, Sam, and daughter, Pia. Both were meant to reveal how children, no matter their age have the ability to pick up on pieces of information that they may not get credit for.
In Pia’s case, she noticed that a woman didn’t afford her the same respect as she would have to an adult. And in Sam’s case, he realized his teacher was saying yes, but her body language was saying no and could tell she was lying to them.
“But what are they going to do about it?” Winter-Sellery said to her audience. “There’s such a big power differential between children and adults.”
“So Sam knew that his teacher didn’t mean what she said. And Pia knew that this woman didn’t afford children the same about of respect that she did adults. But this kind of line of discrimination is so prevalent.”
However, as the mom explained, had Sam and Pia called the adults out for their behaviors, they would have been labeled “bad kids,” “disrespectful,” “insubordinate,” and more. “Children are meant to be seen and not heard.”
“They’re supposed to just pretend and act like the surface is the reality. Rarely is the surface is the reality, so when parents come to me and they say my son or daughter is lying to me, I say to them have you created an atmosphere in which your children can feel like they can tell you the truth?”
“Problem children” are the ones that speak up,” Winter-Sellery says.
She goes on to say that it’s children who find their inner voice and learn how to use it that most often have the most tremendous impact on the world. Further on in the talk, Winter-Sellery talks about the negative views adults have of children as well as teaching children self-discipline, and how if you swap race in for how people speak about children, it clearly comes off as racism, so why can’t adults see ageism as clearly.
When talking about how her son’s best friend once bullied him for being better at ice hockey, it was later revealed that the best friend was taking his fears out on Sam because he believed that if he wasn’t good at ice hockey his father wouldn’t love him.
“So what do we do? Do we give this little boy the skills he needs to navigate these scary feelings inside? Or do we punish him for being badly behaved?”
What parents want is to provide an internal locus of causality rather than an external. This means, rather than punishing kids for being badly behaved, it’s best to find out what is causing the bad behavior internally. “We are teaching people to get intuned with their inner voice.”
The mom went on to reveal that if you don’t address the underlying unmet needs, you won’t be able to change the surface behaviors. “Small acts of rebellion can become large protests, up to and including mass shootings as well as suicide. This is the conversation we are not having, but this is the conversation we must have.”
In conclusion, it’s important to teach a drowning child to swim and parents can do that by teaching an internal locus of causality because it isn’t optional anymore, it is imperative.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.