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02-16-21 Expert Panel: Parenting and Family During Crisis!

During this difficult time of COVID, Dr. Mark Schillinger and Maria Espinosa discuss surviving family challenges during a crisis and share professional tips that can help save us. Due to the pandemic, challenging economic times, and school closures, both young and adult children are living with their parents much more than before. This is creating a significant increase in stress in the home. Families who love each other, but don’t have the necessary skills to adapt to these stresses efficiently, are suddenly finding themselves living in a toxic home – filled with fear, anxiety, conflict, and competition.

About guests Dr. Mark Schillinger and Maria Espinosa

Dr. Mark Schillinger, aka “The Teen-Whisperer Who Helps Young Men Ignite Their Inner Hero,” was interviewed by Lisa Ling of CNN for his pioneering work. Mark is the founder of Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend and Challenging Teenage Sons, is a thought leader, social philosopher, public speaker, community leader, and a chiropractor specializing in mind-body wellness. An expert in stress management and family dynamics, he is the creator of “The RIGHT Way®,” a method to help families enjoy more caring and cooperative relationships. His pioneering work earned him the California State Board of Chiropractic Examiners distinction to teach health professionals simple scientific stress reduction techniques. Mark’s wisdom draws upon the sciences of personal growth, neuro-science, mindfulness-based stress management, and tribal ancestral family wisdom. Mark owns a recording studio and collaborates with his son, Gabe, an award-winning hip hop producer and a Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend mentor and contributor. Not realizing that his teenage son was involved with drugs and alcohol, Dr. Mark Schillinger considered himself a failure as a parent and even contemplated suicide.

Before starting his workshops, Mark, a chiropractor specializing in mind-body wellness who was voted best in Marin by a reader’s poll in the Marin Independent Journal, described his personal and business life as “hitting the wall.” Moving from Oregon to California as he and his wife were in the midst of getting divorced, he was rapidly running out of money, and his son was getting involved with drugs and alcohol.

Facing a series of devastating life-changing events and knowing that he didn’t want to go to his deathbed, not having tried to do the best for his family, led him to start innovative and highly praised workshops. He is the founder of Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend (YMUW), a wilderness rite of passage for young men. Inspired by a similar event in Canada where he learned that he needed a village of men to help him raise his son, he started his own Weekends in 2000 in Fairfax, California. The Weekend now has over 3,500 graduates. The outstanding results have earned Mark the moniker “teen whisperer.” Mark lives and practices in Marin County.  (Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend)

Maria Espinosa says, “Through any crises, especially now during the pandemic, we all, especially families, feel isolated and unmoored. Therefore, it’s crucial to look out for one another and work through differences and salute what brings us closer together.” Keying in on her own love-rage relationship with her mom who had an affair with her husband in one novel, Maria’s latest book Suburban Souls (Tailwinds Press – October 15, 2020), brings the Jewish experience and her trials in a mental institution to the forefront. Using her life experiences as a catalyst, American Book Award winner Maria Espinosa shows that we can be resilient and still bring joy and happiness into our lives despite tragedy. Although the stories may differ, a common thread in Maria’s writing is the search for love and how best to find it.

Having known numerous Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, she saw how the memories that haunted them left their marks on many of their children. She felt poignant in the families she depicted was the lack of communication and the isolation that each member felt. Unfortunately, she believes that this is true not only of these Holocaust survivors but also for so many families in the world.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental illness is common in the U.S., affecting tens of millions yearly. Yet, not everyone gets help. Fortunately for Maria, whose own experience of a breakdown and staying in a mental institution when she was nineteen reminded her of how isolated she felt, and found other young women like herself during her stay that helped her heal.

Maria’s various experiences gave her insight into how we are all capable of surviving trauma; therefore, her writing highlights how we are able to recapture the best of life with the right kind of help.

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