Previous Thoughtful Parenting Conversations

Our Thoughtful Parenting and Family Consultant programs are integral parts of Allen Creek's mission, approach, and outreach. Coordinated by our Child Development Director, family consultants work with all members of the community.

Previous Thoughtful Parenting Presentations

Love and Limit Setting: The Building Blocks of Self-Discipline and Self-Esteem

This presentation will focus on the developmental importance of limit setting and discipline for the child’s sense of security in the world and sense of self-confidence.  Parents are the first and most important teachers, passing on to their children the family’s and society’s values.  These include being able to manage the ordinary frustrations of the reality of everyday life, using feelings to communicate, being able to gradually assume control over oneself on the way to independence, developing a sense of conscience, negotiating relationships, among other values.  Ample time will be given for questions and discussion.

Dr. Michael Singer holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Washington, and a post-doctoral fellowship in child clinical psychology from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Singer is a graduate of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute in adult, child and adolescent psychoanalysis. He is currently on the teaching faculty of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute as Training Analyst and is Supervising Analyst in adult, child and adolescent psychoanalysis. He has served as co-director of the Institute’s Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Educational Program and the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Fellowship Program. He is an Adjunct Clinical Instructor, teaching and supervising residents, in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Singer has served as consultant to area child care agencies, including Pound House Children's Center, Allen Creek Preschool, and Child Care Network. Dr. Singer is in full time private practice of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in Ann Arbor with adults, children and adolescents. He also provides couples therapy and works with parents in parenting guidance.

Thinking about Kindergarten for Your Child

As children get closer to school age, many parents start thinking about which of the many educational options make the most sense for their children and what their children are 'ready' for. Join Dr. Carole Symer and William Purves for a conversation about what makes up 'Readiness' and the different ways to view the concept, what kinds of questions to ask, what the area educational options are, what factors to consider, and thinking both long and short term.

Dr. Symer is a psychologist and child development specialist with many years of experience in this area and a former Family Consultant at Allen Creek Preschool. William Purves is Director of Allen Creek Preschool and a former administrator at a number of area schools. 

Navigating Electronic Games and Social Media

We live in a world where technology changes quickly, influences our lives, and affects how we see and interact with the world. Children are exposed to and spend time with media in unprecedented ways, ranging from television to videos and from social media to electronic games. As parents, you are interested in understanding the use and role of media in your young children’s lives. What is appropriate at different developmental levels? How does early exposure to media influence cognitive development, social interactions, and learning? When is a good time to introduce your child to various forms of media? Join Karen Baker and William Purves in a conversation about the various roles media and games can play in your family’s life.

How Can We REALLY Talk With Our Children About Difficult Topics?

Parents often find it hard to talk with children about difficult topics (e.g., sex, death, divorce, parental arguing). However, when parents back away from broaching these topics or responding when children bring them up, children feel alone and less able to manage life’s challenges and parents feel cut off from their children. This conversation with Dr. Ehrlich will explore why parents struggle around discussing difficult matters, and will offer concrete examples of how parents can initiate meaningful discussions. Parents are encouraged to bring in examples of topics they wish to discuss with their children or have tried, without success, to broach.

Joshua Ehrlich, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who practices in Ann Arbor. He in an adjunct clinical instructor in the Dept. of Psychiatry at U-M and is on the faculty of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. Dr. Ehrlich’s book, Divorce and loss: Helping adults and children mourn when a marriage comes apart, was published in May, 2014.

Ready or Not (Here it Comes!): Considering Readiness and Elementary Schools for Your Child

As children get closer to school age, many parents start thinking about which of the many educational options make the most sense for their children and what their children are 'ready' for. Join Dr. Carole Symer and William Purves for a conversation about what makes up 'Readiness' and the different ways to view the concept, what kinds of questions to ask, what the area educational options are, what factors to consider, and thinking both long and short term.

Dr. Symer is a psychologist and child development specialist with many years of experience in this area and a former Family Consultant at Allen Creek Preschool. William Purves is Director of Allen Creek Preschool and a former administrator at a number of area schools. 

Nurturing Social and Neural Connections with Your Toddler & Preschooler

Ample brain research has underscored the value of human bonding in fostering a child’s love of learning—that the kids who feel the most securely connected within supportive relationships are more likely to become successful learners. Optimal emotional attunement with teachers, explorative play, stories, and laughter shared with peers are but a few of the basics that need to be built into our kids’ days to enhance their  learning and self-expression. The lesson for parents and teachers (as well as for educational policy makers) is that the relationships a child has within a classroom are as important as any well-written set of curriculum goals. But what can a busy, working parent do to support a child's growing autonomy while staying connected once that child starts school? Come and talk about practical ways to enhance the likelihood that both you and your child can enjoy school and learning.

Dr. Carole Symer is a psychologist and child development specialist. She is also a family consultant at Allen Creek Preschool. 

Choosing an Elementary School for Your Child

As children get closer to school age, many parents start thinking about which of the many educational options make the most sense for their children. Join Dr. Carole Symer and William Purves for a conversation about what kinds of questions to ask, what the options are, what factors to consider, and the kinds of things to think about long and short term.

Dr. Symer is a psychologist and child development specialist with many years of experience in this area and a Family Consultant at Allen Creek Preschool. William Purves is Director of Allen Creek Preschool and a former administrator at a number of area schools. 

Navigating Social Media and Electronic Games: A Workshop for Parents of Younger Children

We live in a world where technology changes quickly, influences our lives, and affects how we see and interact with the world. Children are exposed to and spend time with media in unprecedented ways, ranging from television to videos and from social media to electronic games. As parents, you are interested in understanding the use and role of media in your young children’s lives. What is appropriate at different developmental levels? How does early exposure to media influence cognitive development, social interactions, and learning? When is a good time to introduce your child to various forms of media? Join Karen Baker and William Purves in a conversation about this important matter in your family’s life.