Eat Chat Parent event discusses validating a child’s emotional needs, Feb. 23 |

Eat Chat Parent event discusses validating a child’s emotional needs, Feb. 23

Daily staff report

From left, Amanda Bricker, licensed mental health practitioner with Mind Springs Health; Eagle County Charter Academy nationally certified counselor Alicia Pribramsky; and UB.U co-founder and educator Anne-Marie Desmond comprise the panel for Thursday's Eat Chat Parent event.

EAGLE — Crying jags, eye rolling and bursts of anger — children's emotions are a roller coaster. It's hard not to respond in frustration, but that gets parents nowhere. Instead, learn how to deal with your kid's emotions and outbursts and determine why they are experiencing such anguish.

Deep Breaths: Validating Your Child's Emotions and Needs, the next event in Eagle River Youth Coalition's Eat Chat Parent program, tackles children's emotions. The presentation takes place today at Eagle Valley Middle School in Eagle.

The panel is composed of local experts who know the importance of taking a minute break to validate emotions instead of responding in a negative manner. The panel consists of Eagle County Charter Academy nationally certified counselor Alicia Pribramsky; UB.U co-founder and educator Anne-Marie Desmond and Amanda Bricker, a licensed mental health practitioner with Mind Springs Health.

The evening will start off with Pribramsky talking about anxiety. It's a buzzword that many of us use, but she will define exactly what it is, how it manifests, theories for why it's on the rise in kids of all ages and how to cope. Along with discussing anxiety, Pribramsky will open up about the stigma associated with having anxiety.

"I'll share how to help kids recognize and name their feelings and emotions and provide parenting tips for helping to reduce stress and or anxiety in kids," Pribramsky said.

Grow emotional intelligence

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Up next, Bricker will use her experience as a mental health therapist with children and adults. She will share ways to help children grow their emotional intelligence utilizing some strategies from work such as Dr. Daniel Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson's book, "The Whole-Brain Child."

"One tip (this is straight from 'The Whole-Brain Child'): connect and redirect. Use your right brain to connect with your child empathetically and then use your left brain to apply logic and rational thinking," Bricker said.

Siegel's approach is scientifically grounded in promoting more kindness, compassion and resilience. Although it's hard to watch kids struggle, having them work to attain their goals pays off in the long run — even if they fail or take a stutter step along the way. Empathy is one of the hardest traits to teach but is one of the most important for strong mental health.

Desmond, a licensed educator, will then share her knowledge of, and commitment to, taking a pause to strengthen resiliency. Desmond will focus on breathing methods and skills and how, when done properly and regularly, they can reduce stress. Perhaps you've seen children sitting with their legs crossed and taking a few breaths? That is a result of the UB.U program in schools.

Desmond's ongoing practice of mindfulness and meditation gives her the strength to try new things and the calm sense of purpose to tackle daily challenges. She is trained through Mindful Schools, Signs of Suicide and Calming Kids: Creating a Non-Violent World.

The evening will conclude with a Q-and-A panel to help parents get answers to specific questions and tactics. Learn more about the Eat Chat Parent program at

If you go …

What: Deep Breaths: Validating Your Child’s Emotions and Needs, an Eat Chat Parent event presented by the Eagle River Youth Coalition.

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23.

Where: Eagle Valley Middle School, 747 E. Third St., Eagle.

Cost: Free childcare, dinner and live Spanish interpretation available.

More information: RSVP to Carol Johnson at or 970-331-1487.