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Parenting Sessions

Mulgrave has organised a series of presentations over the coming months focussed on the challenges of raising confident children in today's world. The goal is to provide an opportunity for dialogue about some of parents' more pressing concerns, so you can learn effective strategies for supporting your children as they grow.

Each of the morning sessions will be facilitated by registered professional counsellor, Colleen Drobot.

An additional evening session, presented by Merlyn Horton from SafeOnline, will take place on Tuesday, October 23rd, as well as a session on cannabis and youth, presented by Dr. Mark Lysyshyn on December 6th.

To help us cover some of the costs, each session has a registration fee of $20 per person. Session are for Mulgrave parents only, please.

October 23rd, 6:00-7:30pm - Parenting in a Digital Age

Presented by Merlyn Horton, CEO, SafeOnline

This workshop will give parents practical ideas and the tools to become better informed participants in their children’s online world. Session content aligns with the series of Digital Literacy and Citizenship workshops for grades 6-9 students and K-12 teachers, presented by SafeOnline in August, 2018. 

Workshop Topics include: 

  • Overview of online youth culture
  • Thinking critically online
  • Online conduct
  • Permanent digital reputations
  • Cyber abuse and online drama
  • Gaming
  • Sexting and online pornography
  • How apps work on our brain
  • Tips of mitigating excessive screen time
  • Setting technology limits

Parents will be provided with a SafeOnline Tip Sheet and Scavenger Hunt for post-session use.

November 28th, 8:30-10:00am - Cultivating Resilience in Children and Teens

Presented by Colleen Drobot, professional counsellor

Humans are some of the most adaptive creatures on the planet. Many of us are able to overcome adversity and find creative solutions to our problems, but unfortunately this is not the case for everyone. Raising resourceful and resilient children and youth has never been more important. Children and teens must face disappointment, loss, and circumstances they cannot change, including when parents or other caregivers set limits or say no. Many children and youth who are very sensitive and are affected deeply by their experience are even more in need of cultivating resilience for wounding and overstimulation. How can we as parents cultivate resilience so that our children will not only endure these experiences, but will be able to gain strength and confidence in their ability to cope with them? In this presentation, Colleen will uncover the roots of resilience and offer ideas as to how parents can foster this process in their children. This presentation is applicable to parent of children of all ages.

December 5th, 8:30-10:00am - Making Sense of Anxiety in Children and Youth

Presented by Colleen Drobot, professional counsellor

There is currently an epidemic of anxiety affecting children of all ages. Anxiety can take many forms including obsessions, compulsions, phobias, panic, sleep issues, physical illnesses, as well as a host of perplexing behaviours such as seeking attention and avoiding situations. Today’s world can create many challenges for children with school pressures, peer interactions, family dynamics, negative self-image, perfectionism, developmental changes and many other stressors that can impede a student’s ability to learn and grow. Whether it’s the natural, episodic worries of childhood or adolescence, or more profound and crippling versions of anxiety, Colleen will help make sense of the roots of anxiety using Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s approach. Through stories, examples, and theory, Colleen will suggest ways in which parents can help support their child or teen to find psychological and emotional rest in their world.

January 23rd, 8:30-10:00am - Parents in the Lead: The Importance of Parenting from the Alpha Position

Presented by Colleen Drobot, professional counsellor

What do our children most need from us to realize their full potential? How do we provide them with the security and rest that is vital for emotional growth and maturity? Many parents today have lost their natural authority to parent their children and are confused as to how to be in the lead yet do so with compassion and warmth. If children are able to dominate or be in charge, this can lead to all kinds of troubling problems such as bossiness, anxiety, clinginess, aggression, and other behavioral problems.  In this presentation, Colleen Drobot will discuss why it is so important that we are parenting from the alpha position with our children. She will focus on how children, even teens, being in their natural dependent position reduces their stress levels, fosters maturity, and restores the authority parents were meant to have.This presentation is applicable to parents of children and teens.

January 30th, 8:30-10:00am - Connecting with Your Teen: Holding on Through Adolescence

Presented by Colleen Drobot, professional counsellor

Many developmental changes happen during adolescence when a child is transitioning to adulthood.  Cognitive, physiological and emotional development often brings changes such as increased sensitivity, the quest for autonomy, oppositionality, and sometimes grief and anxiety, to name a few.  As parents what we see determines what we do. Understanding these changes and the possible challenges they bring can help us navigate our way through the teen years. Whether you are a parent whose child is approaching puberty or are a parent in the thick of raising a teen, this workshop will help uncover ways we can stay connected throughout these critical years. As a family therapist, educator and mother of teens, Colleen will not only focus on Dr. Neufeld’s theory and insights about adolescence but also will also share stories and examples of how to continue to deepen attachment and cultivate connection through the teen years.  

February 13th, 8:30-10:00am - Protecting Our Children: How to support our children with challenging peer interactions, from bullying to wounding from friends (JS specific)

Presented by Colleen Drobot, professional counsellor

As parents we want to protect our children from the wounding, harm and even trauma that happens when our children are mistreated by peers. Parents often wonder: Is there a way we can prevent our children from being bullied? Are there skills that can be taught so that our child can learn how to deal effectively with others who wounded them (knowingly or unknowingly)? And if one of our children has been mistreated, what can we say and do to lessen the hurt and foster resilience? In this presentation, Colleen will address these questions and discuss three key factors that are imperative for parents to understand if they hope to protect their children. Through theory, stories, and examples she will address how parents can best equip their children against hurt feelings or even bullying and cultivate resilience in the face of it.

While the content is most suitable for parents of Junior School students, all are welcome to attend.

February 20th, 8:30-10:00am - You’re Not the Boss of Me: Understanding Defiance and Cultivating Cooperation with Your Teen (US specific)

Presented by Colleen Drobot, professional counsellor

A common dynamic that is often frustrating to parents and potentially erodes the parent/child relationship is when a teen defies us. It can be as subtle as ignoring our requests or as blatant as telling us "You're not the boss of me!" When we ask them to clean up, get ready for school, go to bed, come to the table, be kind to their sibling, hurry up...we may be met with a "No!" or they may in fact do the opposite.

Developmental psychologist, Dr. Gordon Neufeld describes this oppositional behaviour as counterwill. Although the reaction is quite normal in adolescence and even healthy in certain circumstances, its manifestations and impact can be highly disruptive, making life difficult for parents and teachers. We will discuss the meaning of this deep-rooted instinct and the dynamics that control its existence and expression. Colleen will provide strategies to help adults reduce the effects of oppositional behaviour and deepen attachment and cooperation with teen children.

While the content is most suitable for parents of Upper School students, all are welcome to attend.

February 27th, 8:30-10:00am - Softening the Defenses: Helping children face vulnerability and gain resilience (See details for prerequisite)

Presented by Colleen Drobot, professional counsellor

Prerequisite: Attending the Cultivating Resilience and/or Making Sense of Anxiety presentation.

Throughout this series, Colleen Drobot has spoken about the need for a child’s heart to remain soft, for emotions to be felt and expressed, for tears of futility to be shed for a child to develop and mature. For anyone raising a child who is very sensitive or is stuck, softening the defenses the brain has erected for protection, can be a daunting task that sometimes seems almost impossible. This workshop will focus on ways we can soften a child’s heart so that the tears can be restored, lowering frustration and anxiety and cultivating resilience.  As a family therapist and mother of sensitive children, Colleen will share Dr. Neufeld’s wisdom and her personal experiences of how to restore the ability for a child to feel, attend, grieve and attach. This talk is applicable to parents of children of any age.


RSVP to one, some, or all of the
parenting sessions.

All sessions will be held in the Senior School Academic Centre.


About Colleen Drobot

B.Ed., Dip. Of Special Education, MA, RPC

Adjunct Faculty, Neufeld Institute

Colleen Drobot is a registered professional counsellor with a private practice in West Vancouver. She offers adult individual counselling in person as well as parent consulting at her office or by Skype or phone sessions. She also has over 20 years’ experience working with children in the regular classroom and in special needs settings. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Neufeld Institute and has worked with Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s approach for many years. Colleen is a mother of two teens and draws from her personal as well as professional experience to support parents and professionals in gaining insight, opening their hearts, and leading by their intuition.

About Merlyn Horton

Merlyn Horton is a Canadian Internet Safety Evangelist, and CEO of SafeOnline Education Associates. She has published policy documents for provincial government ministries, presented to international conferences and been featured on major media outlets. Dynamic, brilliant and entertaining; her knowledge of online environments and the dynamics of online communities as they pertain to youth and children is unparalleled. Her work has been recognized with the 2003 Myrtle Everett Woman of the Year Award and a 2008 Crime Prevention Individual Achievement Award.