Faculty and Staff Assistance Program hosts seminar to teach better parenting strategies

Overwhelmed faculty and staff who are also full-time parents may be able to find some sweet relief this week at the “Building Blocks of Child Development” seminar, sponsored by the University of Miami’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, or FSAP.

Parents of children ages 2 to 12 can catch the advice of Dr. Allison Weinstein, director of the behavioral pediatrics clinic at the UM Mailman Center for Child Development, on Nov. 12-15. The sessions will be held at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Coral Gables and Miller School of Medicine campuses respectively.

Weinstein said that the seminar introduces caregivers to the core areas of child development as well as ways to balance work and quality time with their child.

“When you have less time to spend with your child, make the time you do spend high-quality,” said Weinstein, who is also an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics in the division of clinical psychology at the Miller School of Medicine.

“Building Blocks of Child Development” is the third seminar in a three-part series on effective parenting strategies. Weinstein also spoke at the first two seminars, titled “The Building Blocks of Positive Parenting” and “The Building Blocks of Good Behavior.”

At this week’s seminar, faculty and staff can learn about what to expect for their child’s development at critical ages, milestones, red flags and how to recognize if your child needs extra help in any areas.

The seminar also highlights resources available to faculty and staff, such as the UM Parent-Child Interaction Therapy Program, a free program sponsored by The Children’s Trust. It targets caregivers of children ages 2 to 7 and has multiple clinics across Miami-Dade County.

Attending the seminar will also earn faculty and staff points to go towards rewards from the Well ‘Canes Incentive Program. Attendees will receive 150 points, out of a maximum of 300 points that can be earned from seminars hosted by the FSAP per the calendar year. Rewards for earning points include financial incentives that can be received in a staff member’s payroll check.

Orlando J. Gonzalez, director of the FSAP, said that employees who attend FSAP-sponsored seminars feel more supported in their personal and workplace needs.

“They view FSAP services as evidence that the university cares about them enough to offer such support,” said Gonzalez, who is also a licensed mental health counselor. “The people who attend our seminars express that they are grateful to have them and that they inspire a fresh course of action.”

In the last fiscal year, 5,458 UM employees directly received some type of FSAP service, whether it was through one-on-one consultations, seminar attendances, or critical incident stress management. This is out of roughly 15,000 full-time UM employees.

Gonzalez said that the FSAP is able to cater their services to meet the needs of any given group.

“We are frequently called into departments where a team may be experiencing a critical incident, such as the death of a coworker,” Gonzalez said. “We may be called to a workgroup wanting to know more about how they can help their teams manage stress.”

Some seminars such as “Building Blocks of Child Development” are delivered by invited speakers, while others are delivered by members of the FSAP team. The FSAP also offers consultations with licensed mental health professionals for employees and dependents to help them with their mental health needs or workplace issues.

“Each seminar is unique and will draw the attention of a different group of people,” Gonzalez said. “But all seminars and FSAP services serve as a reminder that the University of Miami cares about its staff and strives to support their well-being.”