Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in your town?
I was born and raised in Maryland. We’ve lived in Darien, Stamford, and now Greenwich for a grand total of about 17 years now. We had a 10 year stop in California and Hawaii before arriving in The Nutmeg State. That decade was a highlight of our early marriage, to say the least.
What do you like about being part of that community?
I like the small-town feel of Greenwich. I see people I know everywhere I go, whether I’m grabbing a coffee, working out, getting dinner, or going to a movie. I love bumping into friends, colleagues, and clients because it makes Greenwich feel smaller than it probably is.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
We have three teenagers. Delaney is 19 years old, and enjoying her freshman year out at USC. Riley is 16 and a sophomore at Greenwich Academy. John is 14 and in eighth grade up at King.
What piece of advice has helped you most through parenthood?
I think my husband and I put the most stock in the value of transparent communication. We’ve had years of weekly family meetings where the five of us sit together to discuss what’s going well and what we still need to improve. Having the courage to talk honestly about delicate subjects seems to be the bedrock of our marriage and our family.
What are your favorite things to do with your kids?
My favorite vacation-style thing to do is to be out on a speedboat with my family, blasting great music, soaking up the sun, eating delicious food, and cruising so fast that we have to hold on for dear life and we’re crying from laughing so hard. My favorite real-life thing to do is to bake with my kids, make a fire, snuggle up with everyone (including our big, fat Lab) and watch a movie. My husband always asks me if I want to go out or is it a “Family-Love” kind of night. As our kids get older and older, these nights have become more scarce and are even more deeply treasured.
Tell us about Cristina Young Therapy.
My business grew out of a long-standing desire to teach and help parents. I first started thinking about such things as a young teacher, straight out of college. Parents would end up hanging around my classroom after school or they would pop by during recess to drop something off, and they would open up about difficulties in their marriage or struggles with their kids. I noticed that I lit up when I had the opportunity to help. I always ask my own teenagers to “notice when they light up” because that should probably be an indication of what type of work they should pursue.
Cristina Young Therapy is my private practice where I offer three services: one-on-one parenting sessions, weekly support groups for mothers of teens, and on-going parenting series to educate parents on a variety of topics. My belief is that excellent parenting strategies can actually save marriages. Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed too many marriages dissolve due to differences in parenting beliefs. I love helping parents come together, resolve differences, and parent from a unified platform. I often work with both mom and dad together in session, but I also host many sessions with just moms. My belief is that there’s a solution to every problem, everything is “fixable” when we decide to make it a priority. I am a solution-focused practitioner who likes to start with a strengths-based approach. My clients tend to leave every session with a “nugget” they can attempt to implement that very evening. I often ask my clients to begin the session by telling me what’s working, what’s going well. Then we can build on these strengths. I feel like it’s a privilege that people share their vulnerabilities with me and that I get to help them.
How do you use your practice to help other parents in the community?
I like to think that there’s a ripple effect to my work. We tend to cover many difficult issues in my weekly moms’ groups that I run in my office. Those moms will often tell me that they converse with their neighbor or their husband or their friend about some of the themes we discuss in our groups. I like knowing that these topical discussions begin in my office, but that they continue in people’s homes or cars or out at restaurants. Perhaps, more parents in Greenwich are engaging in open, honest conversation about high-stakes topics as a result of what’s happening in my office. If so, I would feel so proud and gratified.
Tell us about the series of parenting classes you have coming up and why you decided to do them? I am hosting several parenting series beginning in January. I’ve learned over the years that people are just too busy to add something else to their schedule in November and December. One series is called, “Rituals and Routines: The Secret Sauce to Calmer Families.” This is a two-part series running on two Mondays, January 14 and January 28 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Here are some more details:
Monday, January 14: Ready to quiet the morning madness? Looking for ways to tackle the relentless time-management project better known as getting the kids out the door on time? This class will provide you with practical strategies that calm and clarify the seemingly infinite job of managing kids in the morning. Cristina’s unique framework will teach you how to organize yourself while also focusing on teaching your kids specific tasks for becoming self-sufficient.
Monday, January 28: Ready to calm the bedtime bedlam? At what point in the day do you begin to dread the evening? Are your kids tough to get to bed? Do you turn into “Mean Mommy” in the final minutes before you say goodnight? This class will provide you with specific tactics to create a predictable, reliable bedtime routine with your kids. Cristina’s calm and practical approach will give you the confidence you need to start a new bedtime routine or to tweak your existing bedtime program.
*Two 90 minute small group classes held in our office
*Take-home workbook to solidify and extend in-class work
*One 30 minute phone call with Cristina for support as you implement strategies learned in class
Cost: $300 per person. Limited to 12 spaces.
TO LEARN MORE OR REGISTER, VISIT www.cmytherapy.com/events
The other series I will run in February is called “Girls and Sex: Guidelines For A Complicated Conversation.” This is a two-part series that will meet on Monday, February 4 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. I am still finalizing the details for this series, but now you have a sneak peek!
What do you want parents who participate to get out of the classes?
I want parents to leave my parenting series feeling like their toolbelt is full. When parents reach for a metaphoric parenting tool, and find nothing, they feel powerless and ill-equipped for the toughest job on earth. It’s usually at this moment, that parents resort to default parenting styles that are neither intentional nor proactive. When parents move into reactive parenting, nothing good happens. My goal is for parents to set aside time to think, plan, and communicate clearly with their parenting partner and their kids. My job is to help provide the script for those conversations and to teach the tactics behind the tools. I love this work. It truly marries my two greatest passions: teaching and helping parents!
(Photo by: Chi Chi Ubina)
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I married my high school sweetheart in a double-wedding with my older sister! The four of us celebrated 26 years of marriage this year. When I got engaged, my Dad said, “It’s double or nothing, girls!” because my sister had also recently gotten engaged. It rained relentlessly on our wedding day from 5:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the morning, but we barely noticed. My Dad walked down the aisle twice, we had tons of bridesmaids parading around, two sets of vows, two first dances, two cakes, two bouquets tossed at our single friends. And even an article about us in the NY Times!