Magic Sleep Fairy would like to introduce you to Marion Ingerson-Heart, a new partner of ours. Alison is happy to promote and recommend Marion - not just because Marion is her sister, but because she believes in and supports Marion's work with teens and families. Marion has worked at Magic Sleep Fairy with Alison over the years, and advocates Alison's work and methods everywhere she goes. And there are some very interesting links between the babies that Alison works with and the older children and teens that are Marion's area of expertise - not least of which are the effects of lack of sleep.
Alison's book, 'The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan' looks at the cause and effect of sleep deprivation in babies. She offers a wonderful, sensible plan and helps parents to address the issues, which results in the heart-warming and emotional testimonials that you see on Alison's website.
However, what about the babies that were sleep deprived years ago, before we became so much more knowledgeable, before we had Alison's book?
It is Marion's belief that the effects of sleep deprivation become more and more obvious as children grow up and struggle with the demands of school, and the learning and social interaction that is required of them. If they are sleep deprived, these experiences become more challenging, and negative behaviours and responses can start to occur. If nothing changes, sleep deprived babies become sleep deprived children, who then become sleep deprived teenagers. And it is at this point that even greater problems can start to manifest themselves.... It's a hard enough time for children, this being 'rewired' into an adult, without having to cope with that fact that they are suffering long term sleep deprivation. And whilst nothing about that can change overnight, this is where Marion's skills and expertise come in...
Marion has a great deal of practical and hands on experience in tackling a range of teenage issues, such as self-harming, anger and behavioural problems, eating disorders, and low self-esteem.
Her wealth of knowledge and expertise has been built up over many years through a long career in youth work, plus her own life experiences.
Also, as a coordinator of a local government project to help students who were at risk of permanent exclusion from school, Marion interfaced directly with the young people and their families. She worked incredibly hard to inspire and encourage these pupils to achieve some qualifications, whilst helping them to discover a greater sense of self belief and confidence in their abilities. Marion recognised the value of providing the pupils with strong and consistent boundaries, that allowed them to know where they were, what was expected of them, what consequences there would be for their action, and to feel safe at all times. She concentrated on celebrating every positive achievement, and letting their parents and carers know about this good progress all the time. Therefore, throughout the year, relationships between parents and their teens improved, and it was heart warming to see the progression from frustration and friction, to pride and pleasure as the parents heard about, and witnessed for themselves, the positive changes that were happening.
Marion is warm, genuine and caring, as well as a strong assertive person who commands respect. She has an amazing rapport with, and understanding of teenagers and young people. She is never judgemental or dictatorial but understands the need for them to find their voice, and have the space and creativity they need to find their way through the tough and emotional times in their life.
Marion believes that the teen years are just about the most difficult times for children, and understands the challenge this can then present for the people who have to live with them. Communication within the relationship often breaks down during these difficult times, and parents, or carers, can become demoralised, fed up, and exhausted by the seemingly never ending power struggle. It can be all too easy to get trapped in a downward spiral of anger and despair and feel a deep sense of failure.
So, the way that Marion works is to help parents and families to find a way forward through empowerment. She encourages them to look at the real crux of the issues, take a step back, take a breath, and decide on positive strategies. Parents can learn how to listen more, let go of some of the 'small' stuff, create stronger boundaries, develop more trust and gain a deeper understanding of what is really going on, and how to facilitate positive change. How to move more towards 'responsible parenting', as opposed to 'good parenting'. And to make a natural progression from disruption and despair to a more harmonious and positive family life.