Think. Pair. Share. with Dr. Kristin Valentino

From daring to compete as a race car driver to discovering how the transactional nature through which children’s interactions with their family, community, and culture can shape the course of their development.

Dr. Kristin Valentino, Director of the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families and a Professor of Psychology at Notre Dame, discusses the integration of biological, psychological and environmental factors that impact parent-child relationships in overcoming adversity and achieving overall well-being, as well as her days in the ROTC and why her favorite of the Seven Dwarfs will surprise you.

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Notable Quotes

  • The Shaw Center for Children and Families focuses on four key areas of research or research themes, so it focuses on adversity, relationships, well being, and also interventions or translational research. And so all the work here focuses on one or more of those themes and the work that I do focuses on trying to address childhood adversity, address child maltreatment, in particular by enhancing the parent-child relationship through intervention work and we think that will improve child well being as well.

  • “Having parental support is a really important factor for kids’ educational success. So to the extent that we could improve parent support and also parent interest and curiosity in their kids… I think that also makes a big difference as they enter the formal school system.”

  • We really focus on teaching coping skills through teaching moms a bit about how to help their children talk about emotions and talk about how to cope with those emotions. And so rather than teaching the children directly we spend quite a bit of time trying to enhance the communication between mom and child and teach mom ways to talk with her kids about how they're feeling, why they might feel that way, and then, when it comes to negative emotions, what did they do to cope with those feelings, what are the things that worked? They can also talk about ideas that they have for next time.

  • “Everybody uses the word unprecedented. I think the pandemic in some ways opened the door for a lot of people to feel like it's okay to reach out and engage in some services and individual supports or group level support.”

  • Emotion regulation and socio-emotional learning, I think, are really critical foundations for enabling kids to take the most advantage of educational opportunities that they have. Starting from early childhood it's a great time to intervene to help children on more positive developmental trajectories and so some of the skills that we're trying to enhance, in terms of what we're teaching moms and then conveying to kids in terms of improving their emotion regulation and coping skills, those are all things that will then help them be better prepared when they enter you know formal education systems, and you know get ready for kindergarten and need to know how to regulate their emotions when things don't go their way and learn how to sit through class and then on from there.