Category Archives: Uncategorized

ALL IN PARENTING CONFERENCE: Elementary Edition, Feb 13, 2018

all in parenting


Tuesday, February 13, 2018
5:30-7:55 PM

ALL IN MOUNTAIN BROOK is excited to bring you the second All In Parenting Conference: Elementary Edition. Our conference in November focused on adolescents and teenagers.  For our upcoming February 18 conference, we have an excellent line-up of speakers who will address issues and topics relevant to parents of elementary school children. We had a great turnout and very positive feedback from our elementary conference last year and are looking forward to seeing you on February 13.

There is no cost to attend the conference. Parents may register for up to three sessions from the selections below. Please note: If you are unable to be present for the entire evening, please feel free to come late or leave early and catch the talks as your schedule allows. 

If you can, please join us at 5:30 pm for a brief opening session with Mountain Brook Schools Superintendent Dr. Dicky Barlow.  His talk will be “Power Dinners: Strengthening Our Families at the Table.”


General Session: 5:30-5:45:  Dr. Barlow
Breakout Session I: 5:50-6:30 PM
Breakout Session II: 6:33-7:13
Breakout Session II 7:15-7:55

Double Session: 5:50-7:10  PM “How to Help Your Child Build Healthy Peer Relationships” (see workshop “A”

About Registering

Read below about the talks we are offering. For each breakout slot (Session I, II, III) pick the talk you plan to attend.  Workshop A, on peer relations, spans both Sessions I and II.

You may revisit this link later to change your choices. You should receive a confirmation email after you register. You will be able to print your schedule and bring it with you to remind yourself of the talks you have chosen.

Register at this link.

Opening Session: Power Dinners: Strengthening Our Families at the Table (5:30-5:45 PM)

Dr. Dicky Barlow

Dr. Dicky Barlow

The power of the family dinner is well-documented in social sciences research. Families who sit down together for meals have a lower incidence of alcohol and drug abuse among the kids and other types of risky behavior. In addition, the family dinner provides opportunities to build values and character. In this talk, Dr. Dicky Barlow will offer suggestions about an approach to getting the most out of the family meal.

Richard “Dicky” Barlow is superintendent of Mountain Brook Schools. Dr. Barlow received his B.S. and Certification in Science Education and Masters of Education in Administration and Supervision at Georgia State University. He earned his Ed.S. in Educational Administration at the University of Montevallo and his doctorate at Samford University. 

A.  How to Help Your Child Build Healthy Peer Relationships


Panel Discussion: Kari Kampakis,  Laurie King,  Alice Churnock, Sharon Lyerly

Many parents find themselves concerned about their children’s peer relationships.  Our children sometimes feel left out or hurt, or unable to cope with the difficulties and disappointments they encounter with their friendships. As adults, how do we respond? How do we teach kindness and empathy while also equipping our kids to stay strong when others hurt them? Join us for a panel discussion to discuss these timely topics.

Laurie King             Kari Kampakis         Alice Churnock          Sharon Lyerly

PANEL: Laurie King is principal of Crestline Elementary. Kari Kampakis is a Mountain Brook mother and author.  Alice Churnock practices counseling at Covenant Counseling Center. Sharon Lyerly is the 9th-grade counselor at Mountain Brook Junior High.

B. 10 Practical Tips for Parenting a Child with ADHD

Elizabeth B. B. Lee, Ph.D.

Children with ADHD can be a challenge to parent. Their behaviors and symptoms can wear on patience. This often leaves parents feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and concerned about their relationship with their child. We’ve all heard about how medications and accommodations in school can help children with ADHD, but what else can parents do at home to promote their child’s success and sense of well-being? How can small changes make a big impact for these children?

Elizabeth B. B. Lee, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with Ackerson and Associates. She specializes in pediatric psychology and is available for psychological evaluation, therapy, and physician and school consultation. Her primary interests are in ADHD and other learning problems, anxiety, and adjustment to chronic medical conditions. She is also interested in pain management, concussion, and behavioral pediatrics.

C. Exit Strategies: How to Begin Now  to Help Your Child Cope with Danger During the Teenage Years 

Dale Wisely, Ph.D.

Your child will be a teenager before you know it.  When that time comes, your teenager will find himself or herself in high-risk situations. In the car with a reckless driver. At a gathering where teenagers are drinking.  At a party with a peer with less-than-honorable intentions. Your teenager may well want out of those situations but may not know how to get out without embarrassment or being seen as uncool. In this talk, Dr. Wisely will outline a method of raising our kids to have the skills to recognize, avoid, and gracefully get away from dangerous situations.  To be most effective in using this method, the earlier the parent starts, the better!

Dale Wisely, Ph.D. is Director of Student Services at Mountain Brook Schools and has been a child & adolescent psychologist for 35 years.

D. The Fruits of Successful Parenting:  How Great Kids are Raised

Jerry and Amanda Hood

Jerry and Amanda Hood, as educators, have worked with countless teenagers, experience which has allowed them to know some great kids. In this presentation, the Hoods, who are raising four children of their own, will share the parenting practices they have noted among the parents of their most successful students.

Jerry Hood is a retired educator, athletic director, and head football coach from the Birmingham area. He has worked for over thirty years with families to develop students and student-athletes into productive young adults through athletics. He is currently volunteer coaching at Briarwood Christian School and marketing sports apparel with Team Sports.

Amanda Hood is the principal at Mountain Brook High School. She has served as a school administrator in the Birmingham area for the past 20 years after teaching math at the high school level. She also had the opportunity to coach young women and work with a variety of clubs and student organizations throughout her time in education. Jerry and Amanda have four teenage children.


E. Too Much Of a Good Thing:
Raising Your Child Against the Ladder of “Success” (Sessions II & III only)

Rev. Rich Webster

Every gift has a “shadow side,” and this is no exception in a driven, success-oriented community. This talk is intended to highlight the pitfalls and dangers of excessive expectation and healthy alternatives for relationship building.

The Reverend Rich Webster has been the Rector (Senior Minister) Of Saint Luke’s in Crestline since 2004, and with Ellen has raised two children in the Mountain Brook School System. He is both a fan of and an advocate for children.

F. Parenting and Social Media

Dr. Andrea Hendricks

The explosion of ownership and use of personal digital devices in recent years has left many parents concerned and bewildered. What dangers do these technologies pose to our children? How can parents make wise decisions about introducing children to social media? How can parents encourage safety and good citizenship among their children, while acknowledging the potential for positive use of social media and digital technology?

Andrea Hendricks, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who practices in Mountain Brook. She works with adults, adolescents, and couples through a range of issues, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, pain management, and weight management. She enjoys working with adolescents dealing with life/school stress, body image issues, and decision-making.

ecialized day treatment school for students in need of a special education setting.  IMPACT is a nonprofit United Way of Central Alabama agency providing counseling to over 1,000 families annually. 

G. Childhood Stress and the Struggle for Perfection 

Cameron Cole

Many parents, educators, and others who work with children note that stress, worry, fear and anxiety are growing problems of youth, even among pre-adolescents. The concept of shame is one helpful way of understanding what is behind much of the stress and anxiety experienced by youth. In this presentation, Cameron Cole will offer insight into the conceptualization of the role of shame in childhood stress and offer practical tips to reduce your child’s anxiety.


Cameron Cole

Cameron Cole is the Director of Children, Youth, and Family at the Cathedral Church of the Advent. He studied at Wake Forest (B.A and MAEd) and is currently pursuing a degree at Reformed Theological Seminary (MDiv). He is the chairman of Rooted: Advancing Grace-Driven Student Ministry and author of Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry (Crossway) and Therefore I Have Hope: 12 Truths That Comfort, Sustain, and Redeem in Tragedy (Crossway, July 2018). 




Register at this link.




New: Youth Suicide Prevention Resources

In partnership with Mountain Brook Schools, All In Mountain Brook offers this resource guide to the prevention of youth suicide. This site is intended as a starting point for those young people struggling with suicidal feelings, their families, and their friends.

Click here for the resource guide.

Youth Suicide Warning Signs and How to Respond
Video: Leap of Faith
Video: More Than Sad
     Crisis Center (Birmingham)
     National Suicide Prevention Hotline
     Mental Health Care
     Mountain Brook Schools Counselors and Other Resources

Taste of Mountain Brook: September 2017!


click here for Taste of Mountain Brook website and to purchase tickets.




Taste of Mountain Brook
Sunday, September 17
11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Tickets $15
101 Hoyt Lane
Mountain Brook, AL, 35213

*Rain Date
Sunday, September 24
11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

click here for Taste of Mountain Brook website and to purchase tickets.

Blue Whale Challenge: What We Know (Very Little) and Don’t Know (a Lot).

Dr. Dale Wisely on the viral news stories regarding the “Blue Whale Challenge.”

Update: I just searched news sites, looking for evidence of escalation of this phenomenon. I’m not finding much.

There is a story in Russia about a young girl who threw herself into a river after playing the “game”–she was rescued. A man in England whose young son died by suicide told press his son had been playing the game.

A 12-year-old in Mississippi has told her family and authorities that she participated the game.

It’s best to be tentative about this but while there is still reason to be concerned, it does appear that news reports about the game a faster viral phenomenon than the game itself.

Exit Strategies: An online talk by Dr. Dale Wisely

Here is a 30-minute video presentation by Dr. Dale Wisely.

Tragically, the overwhelming majority of deaths of teenagers occur as a result of high-risk behavior. But the consequences of risky behavior can also lead to disability, unnecessary suffering, legal problems, and other serious troubles.

In this presentation, Dr. Wisely presents ways for parents to better understand why teenagers get involved in high-risk behavior. Dr. Wisely then outlines a parenting approach that may better prepare teenagers for avoiding and extricating themselves from dangerous situations.

Dale Wisely, Ph.D. is Director of Student Services at Mountain Brook Schools. He is a founding board member of All In Mountain Brook. Dr. Wisely is a clinical child & adolescent psychologist. 

Yik Yak no longer available on or near MBJH & MBHS campuses

yik-yak-appThe makers of the notorious social media app Yik Yak have made it unavailable on or near the Mountain Brook Junior High and Mountain Brook High School campuses.

Yik Yak made a program available whereby they block, on request, the use of the app on or near middle school and high school campuses. This is called “geofencing.” So, we looked up the GPS coordinates of both campuses and submitted those to Yik Yak. The app appears to be blocked on those campuses. We also submitted the GPS coordinates for the elementary schools, but Yik Yak does not have a program for blocking those.

Yik Yak appears to have made another positive change by requiring that users enter and verify their phone numbers. Previously, Yik Yak did not require user input of any information in order to use the app, allowing a level of anonymity which encouraged the use of the app for making threats and for bullying.

There have been a number of arrests of individuals who have made serious threats on Yik Yak. The company appears to be cooperating with law enforcement in holding its users accountable for serious criminal conduct.


Dale Wisely, Ph.D.




Suicidal thinking in very young children.

In the current issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (November 2015) there is a research report, and accompanying commentary, about suicidality (that word refers to suicidal thoughts, gestures, attempts, and actual deaths) in very young children, age 3-7.

Fortunately, deaths by suicide in young children are very rare, however, this study suggests that suicidal thoughts are common among children with clinical depression and other forms of psychopathology.

When I began my career in the early 80s, psychologists and psychiatrists were just beginning to recognize that children, including young children, can suffer from all kinds of psychiatric disorders one sees in adults, including the whole range of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar illness. Prior to that time, most mental health professionals believed that if a child appeared depressed, it was strictly because there was something wrong with his or her family or social situation, not because of the biochemical/psychosocial reasons that seem to contribute to clinical depression.

We know much more about suicide in adults and in teenagers. We know, for example, that in the last 10 years or so, teen suicide rates are actually stable and are considerably lower than they were 30 years ago, in spite of the widespread myth that there is an epidemic of teen suicide. Similarly, suicide among the elderly is stable. On the other hand, in the last 10 years, suicide among middle-aged people has risen nearly 30%. It has always been true that adults are much more likely to die by suicide than teenagers and children. The short guide to the demographics of suicide deaths is: Older more than younger; whites more than blacks; men more than women.

When an individual has mental illness, particularly, but not exclusively, depression, suicidal thinking, suicide attempts, and deaths by suicide are a risk. Because we know that even young children can suffer from mental illness, including mood disorders, the question of how suicidality affects these children is something we know too little about.
Continue reading Suicidal thinking in very young children.