Jennings, who is the author of over thirty books will be visiting Bangalore for two workshops hosted by Mimansa to teach parents about the benefits and methods of social bonding with their children. Run by Malika Surim, Mimansa, a health cafe in Koramangala, Bangalore, will host 2-hour workshopsone on 10th November 2019, and a two-day certification program on 11th and 12th November 2019.
For those who can't travel all the way to Bangalore, life caught up with the professor for an interview to learn about the benefits of Play and Drama therapy.
Q) Explain the benefits of play therapy.
Jennings: Children and teenagers benefit from Play Therapy because it gives them an opportunity to explore in a safe environment issues that may be troubling them. They may be struggling with the break of the family, the death of a pet, loss of friends when moving house. All these things can make an impact on a child's life. Added to which, if a child has been abused within the family then there are family secrets and therapists will often have difficulty accessing these.
Q) Kids feel peer pressure more than ever today, how can this help them deal with the stress?
Jennings: Teenagers, in particular, but also children feel the power of peer pressure. Parents can assist if there is strong attachment in order that young people can talk about pressure, bullying and so on. However not all parents have time and patience and may take a stance that it's better to tough it out. Games and activities and drama are all collaborative, and enable participants to learn about friendships, loyalties, group work and playfulness.
Q) What is the significance of parents' social bonding with their children?
Jennings: Social bonding between the primary attachment figure and child creates the stability as the child grows and develops. All mammals share the need for attachment and we can understand attachment patterns that are shared with both domestic and wild animals. The primary attachment figure in the family will be the role model figure, and help to establish safety.
Q) Back in the day, parents had more time for children or one parent was a stay at home mum/dad; but in a world where both parents need to work how do they deal with this?
Jennings: Employers are much more aware of the importance of early child relationships and are increasing parental leave for mothers and fathers. Some provide a crèche. If mothers were able to stay at home for the first year it would make a huge difference to the mental health of their child. We know the early relationships make a huge impact.
Q) Is Play therapy crucial for the development of a healthy brain?
Jennings: Play is what helps the brain grow and develop - education starts too early in many countries rather than allowing a play-based learning approach. For the most part children are self directing and know the struggles they need to overcome. We need to stop treating children as if they were little grown ups!
( With inputs from IANS )