Young people are as beautiful as they are complex. Join me in my struggles as I journey integrating my understanding of human development with the daily challenges inherent in parenting and teaching.

About Adrienne

Adrienne is a presenter, educator and parent consultant. She has a particular interest in youth with complex or challenging behaviour. Drawing on her training with the Neufeld Institute, she seeks to help parents and professionals better understand young people from a relational developmental perspective. Adrienne is a former high school teacher and lecturer in human development and is mother to two adolescents of her own. She is also Team Leader of Neufeld Aotearoa and the Neufeld Institute Regional Director.

The Walk-Out

Counterwill in the Classroom

Counterwill is a funny thing. We seem to walk straight into it as adults without understanding its energy. Some time ago I had a difficult day as a Substitute teacher which could have panned out quite differently had I understood Counterwill better.

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Use Your Village

Natural Parent magazine Summer 2020

Trisha looked anxiously out at the morning traffic piling up on the road. Her eldest, Tom, was at it again. The younger two had already dressed, grabbed their lunches and got out the door half an hour ago. But still Tom lay in his bed, despite repeated warnings, refusing to get up and go to school. Glancing at the clock and seeing she only had twenty minutes to get to work herself, Trisha’s mind scrambled to think what to do.

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The Alpha Child

Natural Parent magazine Winter 2019

“How are you going on that Science Fair project of yours, Rosa?”asked Maria tentatively, putting a hand on her daughter ’s arm. Rosa shrugged her hand off irritably and continued busily sticking down test tubes and small pieces of information beside each with a frown on her face. Maria watched her, hesitant to interrupt, holding a piece of paper in her hand.

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Good Child Syndrome

Natural Parent magazine Summer 2019

Nisha came in the door quietly and placed her lunchbox neatly on the bench. Hanging her bag up she then tidily laid out all her homework on the table, ready to complete after she had eaten her afternoon snack. “Have you had a good day, Nisha?” asked her Mother as she handed her a samosa and a drink. Nisha nodded silently.

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Understanding Tears

Natural Parent magazine Spring 2018

“Lachlan, come along. We’re going to be late for the football match! You’ll need to grab your gear and come now.”
Lachlan looked up darkly at his mother from under his duvet without moving.

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School Ski Trip

Bridging a Fallout

If relationship is the most important part of teaching, then the odd falling out is bound to happen. How do we “bridge” a falling out so it doesn’t go on to interfere with teaching and learning? I found out after a falling out with one of my students on a school ski trip.

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Called To The Principal's Office

"I've had enough, Lily!" cried Mrs Coyle. "I'm sending you straight to the Principal! Your mother will be called!" How did we get to this on just her second day in? I wondered helplessly as I did the "walk of shame" down the hallway to the Principal's office to collect my wayward child.

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Enjoy Them While They're Young

"Enjoy them while they're young," smiles the middle-aged woman kindly, watching me juggle groceries, car seats, and two clamouring children. "They'll be all grown up before you know it." I smile weakly back at her through bleary eyes. "Enjoy them?!" I scream internally. Has she gone mad? Does memory loss set in at middle age nowadays? Clearly she cannot remember.

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What To Do With Parental Guilt

Natural Parent magazine Spring 2019

Many years ago now, I attended what will probably be the most miserable school event of my daughter’s life. It was her Primary School leaver’s assembly. I watched as child after child bounced onto stage receiving accolades and awards, their enthusiastic parents clapping, cheering and video-recording the event with pride. I, by contrast, sat hunched in the darkened back row, tears silently burning their way down my cheeks.

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Invite Dependence

Natural Parent magazine Autumn 2019

Jasper sat on the bench, unmoving. His face wore a scowl. In front of him were a noisy group of children in the swimming pool beginning their lesson.

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Swim Squad Resistance

It started in the middle years. Lily didn’t want to do any sort of exercise: not walking, not biking, not hiking, not swimming… in short all the things I did to keep me feeling healthy and happy. It was driving me crazy. A short bike ride to the supermarket was taking 30-45 minutes of cajoling, bribing and fuming just to get her out the door.

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Understanding Counterwill

Natural Parent magazine Winter 2018

Bill looks up impatiently from his breakfast news article across to his 13-year-old daughter. 'Maddie…' he says with an edge to his voice.

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Foster Sister Fallout

Bridging a Fallout

“Do you want me to smash your face Lilly?!” our foster daughter Destinee threatens aggressively from down the hallway. Within seconds I am at the door. Her fist is clenched and Lilly is holding her Barbie doll protectively to her chest. “How about we go to your room for a chat, Destinee?” I suggest with eyebrows raised and voice louder and firmer than usual.

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Keyboard Confrontation

The Dance of Attachment

"Go away! You can't tell me what to do. You're not my Mother!" shouted the small girl in front of me. Stung, I pulled back, and wondered what had gone wrong.

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