“I grew up in communist Czechoslovakia. My father was Polish and my mother was Czech. We were one of a few Christian families in our city. There was no question that I had to be able to get along with people that were very different from me. My faith taught me that compassion, kindness, and wisdom are for everyone and that you can acknowledge or recognize a different opinion or a value without necessarily agreeing with it. Every day I witnessed the importance of character in building community. It is a lesson that has stayed with me forever,” reflected Dr. Lucie Pentz, child psychologist at St. James Academy.

Dr.  Pentz believes strongly that building community begins with clear and consistent communication and transmission of values from parents to children. A skill she hopes to help families strengthen this fall through the first Character Matters: Raising Your Child for Ultimate Success workshop at St. James.

As a child, Dr. Pentz never forgot the powerlessness that she felt managing many adult worlds, conflicting political opinions, and religious world views.

“I always wanted to work with children.  Often children and parents are in situations where they simply don’t know how to effectively communicate with each other and are in need of an interpreter that will help them to fully understand the other side and work through the differences.”

Her experience working in a variety of settings (including therapeutic day schools, after school programs, and community mental health centers in Chicago, Massachusetts, and Maryland), and her post graduate work at Sheppard Pratt helped her work with children managing trauma and other mental health challenges.  It was here that she began to see the importance of prevention work with families and its potential positive impact on a community, an opportunity she has at St. James.

Helping parents understand their child’s behavior and feelings is tantamount to translating for people with different languages and customs. Dr. Pentz has noticed two styles that have predominated parenting over her years in practice and created a lot of confusion on both sides. One treats the child as an equal with equal say on most decisions. The other places the child as having little say, on the receiving end of an power exchange.

This pendulum in parenting styles can be very confusing for children. Dr. Pentz wants to help parents learn strategies to feel comfortable being the adult and manage adult situations through clear and consistent boundaries. All while learning to listen to their children and reading behavior to better prepare and guide their children within the structure of the family unit.

Of course, while parents must take the lead, Dr. Pentz is clear to point out that children benefit from being taught how to communicate and listen with kindness, openness and empathy both at school and home. It is a reciprocal partnership between parents and school, built on trust, that is reinforced through daily practice on the playground and at the dinner table.

learn more

Character Matters — Raising Your Child For The Ultimate Success
A Workshop with Dr. Lucie Pentz
October 18 | 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
St. James Academy
3100 Monkton Road
Monkton, MD 21111

about our sponsor

Situated on 89 acres just ten minutes from Hunt Valley, St. James Academy is an Episcopal parish day school for children in Kindergarten through Grade 8.  The International Baccalaureate MYP World School has a well-rounded academic program that prepares students for a global economy. SJA is known for their stellar use of technology in the classroom, athletics, language, and theatre arts programs. Another great advantage? The student to teacher ratio is 7:1. #SJAExperience MORE INFO


Photo by Laura Black