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Why Raising Moxie?

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Several years ago, Dr. Hodges observed that "childhood" had become society's "identified patient." All of the things that make childhood, such as being in the moment, disorganized, dependent, and emotional - these things were habitually being rejected or over-corrected through classes and interventions targeting kids. But there was nothing inherently wrong with kids - they were being kids.

The problem was a knowledge and skill gap in adults - most didn't know how to create the preconditions for the development of childhood courage. Adults, including many professionals in mental health and educational spaces, didn't know how to emotionally connect with children in a way that follows our best science. Connection through active listing and empathy was replaced with affirmations, telling kids how to feel about themselves, challenging their thoughts, problem solving, collaboration, negotiation, interpretations, and confrontation - this wasn't working.

Kids felt rejected by and disconnected from adults, leading to low self-esteem and lack of care for others, hindering motivation for courageous actions.

Dr. Hodges also observed that most adults struggled to effectively lead kids. And it wasn't for a lack of trying. They did not know how to lead children in a humanistic, evidence-based way.

 

Left to their own choices, kids were not eating healthy, sleeping well, exercising enough, self-restrained surrounding technology, or getting well-socialized.

Because kids were not held to expectations, they didn't develop stress tolerance. Because they were not guided towards their best selves, they did not enjoy self-confidence. Because they had little stress tolerance or self-confidence, they did not embody emotional courage. 

Where there was an obvious knowledge gap, opportunity knocked. Fads and gimmicks were gaining popularity in schools and communities - pseudoscience was well marketed. 

Community leaders, university researchers, and startups were creating mental health initiatives that ignored large bodies of robust research in behavioral science, developmental psychology, developmental neurology, adult and child relationships, cognitive science, clinical psychology, prevention science, and also universal concepts such as stress related growth. 

To make matters worse, there was stagnation in the mental health space. Practitioners were providing short term fixes with potential for long term harm.

 

  1. First line treatment for emotional, stubborn, or disorganized kids was often medication. Frequently the meds used were known to be contraindicated or caused side effects that went unaddressed.

  2. Medical issues, learning disorders and other rule outs were not made before proceeding with psychotherapy or pharmacological care. 

  3. Attention to sleep, food, and exercise, and coordination of care weren't routinely built into treatment plans.

  4. Evidence based treatments were avoided by many practitioners. And, many therapists seemed to value comfort and dependency over risk and stress-related growth. Rather than using therapy to live, clients were encouraged to live for therapy. 

  5. Therapists over played their "psychotherapy" card, ignoring the limits of what once per week therapy can do for a child. 

 

The field of mental health was not following its own science. 

After several years of watching the mental health crisis unfold, Dr. Hodges realized that a larger tidal wave of mental illness was on the horizon. She had the knowledge to make it better. But she was uncertain if she had the political resources or social influence to do anything about it.

Then inspired by her co-instructor and students at MIT, and encouraged by community members; she stepped out of the comfort of her private practice and started to fulfill her 24 year long dream to benefit kids on a societal level. Hence, RAISING MOXIE

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