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Parent With a Pro
27 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 086: The Big 5
In our last episode, we talked about coaching our kids through their big emotions. We also talked about how important it is to give our kids tools they can use to calm their own emotions instead of us trying to do that for them as parents. Therapist Jeff Tesch, LMFT has made that simple by creating a tool called “The Big 5”. This is something like an emergency kit for when your kids are experiencing big emotions. This simple emotional tool kit will help them calm down from any big emotion. Bonus: it works for grown-ups, too! Listen here or on your favorite podcast app.
38 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 085: Emotional Coaching
One of the struggles of parenting a strong-willed child is navigating their HUGE emotions all of the time! Strong-willed kids seem to feel all that they feel in such extremes! Their either extremely happy and sweet or extremely angry and upset. What is a parent to do? Jeff Tesch, LMFT teaches us exactly what a parent should do based off of decades of research by John Gottman. Learn the ins and outs of emotional coaching in today’s episode. You’ll be so glad you did! Listen here.
39 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 084: How to Teach Your Children to Treat You Kindly
One of the things that can be most challenging about parenting a strong-willed child, is dealing with the way they treat you. Strong-willed kids tend to be sassier, use more back talk, yell more frequently, and say unkind things than other kids. Our strong-willed kids don’t do this because they’re mean, they do it out of an effort to get what they want. But understanding that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with it day in and day out. Today, we’re going to give you a tool that will help your kids learn to treat you with more kindness and respect. What’s great about this tool is that it can be used in ALL of your human relationships not just in your parent-child relationship. Happy Learning!
36 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 083: Gift or Curse? Changing How You Feel About Your Strong-Willed Child
How do you truly feel about raising a strong-willed child? Do you love it? Or do you find it incredibly frustrating? Do you feel disappointed that you got a child that is SO different than the one you were hoping for? Do you find yourself feeling like you’re THAT parent, the one with the screaming child? The one getting called by the school? The one whose kid is picking on someone else and you just wish things were different? If so, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! Last episode, we talked about thinking positive thoughts about your strong-willed child. But what if you can’t see anything positive? What if they’re behavior has gotten you into a trap of seeing only negative in them? That’s what this episode is all about. Parents and experts, Jeff and Laura Tesch, talk to us about how to change how we genuinely feel about raising a strong-willed child. This episode was seriously so good for me and has helped me celebrate my strong-willed child instead of wish that I had an easy-going child. I hope it helps you as well! Listen here. Podcast summary coming soon.
45 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 082: When You Struggle With Negative Thoughts About Your Child
I have not wanted to admit it, but I have developed the habit of thinking REALLY negative thoughts about my strong-willed child. It happened over time. With each melt-down, back-talk, tantrum, act of defiance, act of aggression, etc. I thought more and more negative things. Eventually, I found that I really struggled to think anything positive about my strong-willed child and that broke my heart. This led me to meeting with Janet Cazier, LCSW who helps parents get into a more positive place when parenting a challenging child. Today we talk about a powerful way to see the good in your child again and genuinely enjoy parenting them more. I don’t hesitate in saying that if you practice what she teaches, it will positively change your parenting experience big time. Please listen if you feel stuck in negative thoughts about your child at all and be sure to listen to the next episode as we will dive into this topic even more. Listen here. Podcast summary coming soon.
21 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 081: Succeeding Socially Part Two
In our last episode, we talked about some ways our strong-willed kids struggle socially and how to help them through that. Today we continue the conversation to learn how to help them even more. Thanks again to one of our experts, Mike Fitch, CMHC who specializes in helping kids develop social skills that will set them up for success. Listen here. Podcast summary coming soon.
31 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 080: Succeeding Socially Part One
As parents, we all want our kids to succeed socially. We want our kids to make good friends, keep good friends, and to be a good friend themselves. We even want these things for our strong-willed kids. However, strong-willed kids seem to struggle to get along with others, which can be so hard on you AND your child. Luckily, one of our experts, Mike Fitch, CMHC specializes in helping kids develop social skills that will set them up for success. In this episode, you are going to learn specific social challenges that strong-willed kids have and how to work around those challenges. Make sure to check out part two coming two weeks! Listen here. Podcast summary coming soon.
36 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 079: Helping Strong-willed Kids Better Understand Themselves
I don’t know how many of you have had an experience where your strong-willed child has struggled socially, at school, or just with other people in general. Many people in our Facebook group, have said that they’ve been sad to see how their kids struggle with friends or in different social settings. That can be really hard for us as parents because we want our kids to have a happy life. So we’re going to talk this month about some of those different interpersonal struggles that are strong- willed kids might have and how to set them up for success. Our strong-willed kids may not be aware of how their personality affects others. This is true for all of us. It’s amazing that even though you’re in your own body and in your own mind, you still can’t see things clearly. Our kiddos need our help to understand how their natural strengths and weaknesses can help or hurt in their relationships with others. Here’s six ways you can help them better understand: Listen here. Blog post version coming soon.
25 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 078: 3 Ways to Help Your Child Be More Positive
Listen here or READ the post below. One of the characteristics that we see in a lot of strong-willed kids is a tendency to be negative. This can be hard for us to listen to as parents and we worry as parents because we know that positive thoughts lead to a positive life. However, many of us wonder how to help a child who seems naturally negative to become more positive. We may even wonder if it’s possible! The good news is that research shows that individuals can actually train their brain to be more positive. You can literally rewire the brain to be happy. We’re here today with clinical mental health counselor, Mike Fitch, to learn how to train our brain to see the positive. Mike Fitch, CMHC Positivity, Negativity, and the Brain Retraining or rewiring the brain to be more positive comes down to something called conditioning. Most people have heard of conditioning before, but I want to give a little refresher on what it is. Conditioning is when we train the brain to behave a certain way by consistently repeating the same actions. A psychologist, Ivon Pavlov was the one to discover that conditioning was possible. Pavlov set up an experiment where he would ring a bell every time he would feed his dogs. He did this repeatedly and consistently, until his dogs were so conditioned to food accompanying a bell that they would salivate as soon as they heard the bell. Humans, while being an advanced species, are animals too and can be conditioned just like dogs. We don’t call it conditioning, we more often call it habit forming. Believe it or not, if you or your child are negative thinkers, you have simply formed the habit of negative thinking. That can change by you conditioning your brain to see the positive in life enough times that positive thinking becomes your new habitual thinking. I should say that I’m sure genetics have something to do with your thinking as well. For example, if you have depression it can be a lot harder to be positive. However, research shows that the most effective treatment for depression is to make positive thinking your habitual thinking. **In some cases of severe mental health disorders, the brain does not have the capacity to rewire to the extent that we would like it to. If your child has a more severe mental health disorder, we recommend meeting with competent professionals for help** Balancing Positivity and Negativity I used to think that it wasn’t good for my kids to hear me be negative or vent about things. I have since come to realize that negative experiences and feelings are a normal part of life. Our kids will watch us to see how we handle these normal experiences and feelings. With that in mind, I feel that it’s OK for us to vent, to allow our kids to vent, to get those negative feelings out, and then to balance the negativity of that out with positivity. Vent, then move on. Give your kids opportunities to vent, then encourage them to move on. Dwelling in the negative will create negative thinking habits. Venting then moving on to positivity will not. But how do you help a naturally negative child to move on to positive thinking? Here’s my top tips to get you started. Tip #1 Point Out the “Positive Opposite” This is the first technique I recommend parents use when they are trying to help their kids become more positive. I recommend doing this without your child knowing that you’re doing it, because strong-willed kids will resist thinking more positively if they know you’re trying to make them do it. In a nut shell, pointing out the positive opposite means that you are going to ignore all of their negativity and instead, give a lot of positive response to their positivity. You’re going to teach their brain that being negative doesn’t get attention and being positive does! How do you do this? Acknowledge what is the behavior that you’re trying to change in your child. Do they show negativity through whining, pouting, moping, etc. Identify the opposite of the negative behavior you’re trying to eliminate. Ignore the negative behavior (to be clear, we don’t ignore behaviors that are against family rules. We’re talking about whining, pouting, etc) Watch for times they use the positive behavior Praise them when they use that positive behavior! With younger kids, be more ecstatic in your praises. With older kids, play it cool. But in both cases, be sure to do the following: Say their name State clearly what they did that was positive Share what the natural positive consequence of that behavior is With this technique, the positive attention is the rewards for the positive behavior. Also, understanding how their behavior brings more goodness into their lives helps them connect the dots between their actions and their outcomes in life. Tip #2 The Positivity Game Now the second tip that you have is playing a positivity game. Basically you put your kids in charge of catching each other doing positive things. For example, I have three kids, one of which can be really negative. So we will approach her and the other kids and say, “We’re doing a contest! The contest is to catch your siblings doing something positive. Every time you catch them doing something positive, we’ll put a marble in a jar for you. The one with the most marbles at the end of the day gets to stay up a half an hour past bedtime!” This game gets our kids to start noticing the positive things people around them are doing rather than the negative. I do have to warn you, that it gets a little annoying having them point out positive things all day and you having to put a marble in the jar over and over again. However, it is totally worth it! You could play many variations of this game. The person who tells you the most positive things from their day wins Anyone that can point out twenty positive things by the end of the day gets the prize Use some creativity. The options are endless The main idea is just to make seeing the positive fun at first! Making new habits and rewiring the brain can be a laborious challenge, but if you get started by having fun with it, it can make it easier for everyone. Tip #3 Positive Nighttime Routine Once again, there are endless variations of this activity. So experiment and find one that works for your family. But research has shown that this habit is one of the MOST POWERFUL to create. Do what it takes to make a positive nighttime routine part of your family’s life. It will pay off in the end, BIG TIME. At the end of the day, have your kids write/share/draw three to five positives things that happened that day. Have a rule that they cannot repeat the same things two days in a row. You may want to do this when you tuck them in or during dinner time. You pick the time that works best. This helps in a couple of ways. It helps your kids reflect on the day and see positive in it. It sends your kids to bed with positive thoughts in their minds. Studies show that if we think negative thoughts right before bed, we think negative thoughts through the night. If we think positive thoughts right before bed, we think positive thoughts through the night. How powerful would it be to have eight hours of positive thoughts floating around in your child’s brain?! Since your child has to come up with new things each day, their brain will subconsciously be searching for positive things to add to their list! Isn’t that cool?! Their brain won’t be searching to find what isn’t good each day, it will search for what IS good. Bonus Tip: Practice Gratitude How does expressing gratitude for people or things in your life help you be more positive in your thinking? Throughout the day we’re often reminded of the things we don’t have instead of thinking about what we do have. We can take for granted the good people, opportunities, or situations that are in our lives. When we stop to express gratitude either to people or in a journal, we refocus our minds on the good. So I recommend expressing gratitude each day. You can do this in many ways: Write a note to someone Text someone and let them know why you are grateful for them Be intentional about saying “Thank you” to anyone who serves you Have a gratitude journal Offer a prayer of gratitude Once again, the variations are endless. Find what works for you, your child, and your family. Final Thoughts In the end, positive thinking comes down to thinking habits. Helping your kids find ways to create positive thinking habits will help both you and your child. I also want to remind parents, that while we are responsible for teaching our kids, we cannot force them to be positive. Even with all these great tools, your child may still choose to be negative. If this happens to you, continue to lead through example and enjoy the happiness of your healthy decisions. As always,
24 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 077:How to Help Your Child Think BEFORE They Act
Listen here or READ the post below. One of the biggest roles that we have as a parent is being aware of our child’s strengths and their weaknesses, then trying minimize the negative effects of the weaknesses and bringing out and channel their strengths. One of the weaknesses that our strong-willed kids has is being IMPULSIVE. Strong-willed kids want what they want, right when they want it. Today we get to talk to Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Mike Fitch to learn how to help our kids THINK before they ACT. Mike Fitch, CMHC I deal with impulsive kids both in my clinical work and at home. It’s good to have the personal experience so I can empathize with a lot of the parents that I work with. Just like all of you and the parents I work with, there are times I really want to pull my own hair out and times where I question my own parenting. If I haven’t screwed my kids up so far, there’s a good chance you won’t either. Expect the process to take time Each of us have characteristics or features that we were born with that are still a challenge for us in adulthood. So is it appropriate to expect our child to all of a sudden be perfect or is it appropriate to expect that this could take a lifetime for them to get weaknesses, to become strengths? Changing your nature can take a lifetime. Some kids will catch onto things quicker than others. There are two categories of kids that are impulsive Category #1 The “Impulsive Brain” There are kids with attention deficit disorder that are naturally impulsive. These are the kids that have lower dopamine levels and so the brain’s always seeking for stimulus to raise their dopamine. Their brains are literally going so fast that it’s really challenging for them to THINK before they ACT. From my experience, and I know this is going to be a stereotype, these are fairly kindhearted kids. They’re not doing the thing stop, think, act. They just acting on, “Hey, that looks neat. I think that would raise my dopamine levels.” If you feel like you have a child that fits into this category, I would recommend checking out the book The Gift of ADHD. Category #2 The “Entitled and Willful Child” These kids tend to be impulsive because they feel entitled to have whatever they want or they are just so willful about what they want. They also struggle to connect the dots between their actions and consequences. The have a hard time comprehending consequential thinking. These kids also want to do things their way, to feel in control of their lives. EVERY child goes through a stage of development where they are very egocentric. Meaning, that they think about themselves and want things to revolve around them. Strong-willed kids experience this phase with more intensity than other kids and will take more time to see outside of themselves. Kids that fall into Category One would see a cookie and grab it before thinking about anything. Whereas, a child from Category Two would see a cookie and think “I want that cookie. I deserve to have the cookie more than anybody else and therefore that cookie as mine.” Neither of these categories of kids are bad I think these each of these children that are born this way. They’re not trying to be bad. They just have a different type of brain. It’s also important to remember that throughout the history of evolution, all these types of brains serve a purpose. The kids that are more willful, are often the ones who become the leaders and the trendsetters. So there’s a purpose to your child’s personality. It doesn’t make parenting them easy, but can help us stay positive when things are tough. How to help kids think BEFORE they act It’s important to break this down by category because kids in Category One need to be handled VERY differently than kids in Category Two. Category One To help these kids think before they act, you are going to use something called “conditioning”. Conditioning is where you practice the desired behavior over and over again until it becomes habitual for the child. Some of the parents are going to cringe when I say this, but roleplaying is the best way to condition a Category One child to think before they act. Identify some of the traps that your child is falling into and then start role playing those so the child has an opportunity to act out what he or she should be doing instead. For example: Let’s say your child is really impulsive with grabbing cookies that aren’t theirs (or any other treat). You’re going to have a plate of cookies out on the counter then you’re going to role-play with your child. First ask, “Whose cookies are those? What could they possibly be for?” Then have your child state all the possibilities. “My mom could be making them for the neighbors. It could be for lunches. It could be a treat for us.” Next ask, “What do you need to do to find that out?” The child should say, “I need to ask my mom first.” Then actually have the child ask the parent, “I see that you have these cookies here. What are they for and can I have one?” Keep practicing and practicing. With time and patience, you will see your impulsive child make progress. Remember to do this without getting upset with the child. I feel bad for ADHD kids because they’re constantly getting in trouble at school, at friend’s house, at home with siblings, and so often their self-esteem is fairly low. It’s important to remember that their brains are wired differently than ours. Category Two This child usually lacks empathy, thinking about how another person might feel if they eat the last cookie. So with this child you’re going to do a lot of empathy training. It’s a different type of consequential thinking than the ADHD child. It’s more, how’s this going to make everybody else feel? Try to train them to see what the other perspective is. You can check out this whole episode on empathy here. But here are the main ideas: Start talking to your child frequently about how they feel in certain situations. Your child is naturally egocentric, so it’s easier for them to think about how they feel than how others feel. Let your child explain how they would feel in that situation. Now connect the dots. Explain that others feel that same way when that same thing happens to them. Keep doing this over and over again, being patient with the process. You are retraining their brain to think of others during a phase of life when their brain is telling them to only think about themselves. For example: Let’s use the plate of cookie example again. How would a person, how would everybody else, Phil, if you took all the cookies on the plate, First, ask your child how they would feel if they saw a plate of cookies, they really wanted a cookie, but someone else ate ALL of the cookies. Let them explain how they would feel. Feel free to ask “What else would you feel?” repeatedly until they’ve really shared all they would feel. Now connect the dots. Tell them that others feel sad too when they eat all the cookies and don’t leave any for anyone else. Use this kind of empathy training in lots of areas of their life. Here’s some other examples: If your child’s always getting out the door: “How would you feel if you were ready the go somewhere and then someone stopped you from being on time?” If your child takes their siblings things without asking: “How would you feel if your brother went in your room and took whatever he wanted out of there to keep?” If your child has a hard time taking turns: “How would you feel if no one ever let you go first? Or choose what you wanted to play when you were together?” Remember, there is hope Both the Category One and the Category Two are very fixable issues, but they both take time. As with many issues in parenting, there’s no such thing as a quick fix. I find that a lot of parents want a quick fix and I feel they would be happier if they accepted that parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. Training kids to become great adults takes YEARS. But here’s a personal story to help you feel optimistic in the meantime. I have two clients who are brothers. Both had ADHD and one was a very, VERY strong-willed child on top of the ADHD. I taught their mom what I’ve shared above and now that she’s been working with them for years, they are doing MUCH better. They are thinking before they act, they ask for permission, they consider other’s feelings, they are just so much further along than they were before. They are a great example of what happens with some effort and consistency. Also remember, that you’re not the only one who will be teaching your kids. If you allow your kids to experience the uncomfortable consequences of mistakes in this area, then those natural consequences will teach your kids to think before they act. A lot of this is honestly being able to get through their childhood, these difficult moments and allowing the child to self-correct. Happy Parenting!
16 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 076: 5 Healthy Ways to Get Defiant Kids to Do What YOU Want
Listen here or READ the post below. If you have listened to August at all, you know that we're talking about the tough temperament of the strong willed child. Things that are just part of their personality that drive us nuts as parents. You need to listen or read our first interview from this month because we talk about some things that are critical to know about your strong-willed child’s personality. But we wanted to spend the rest of the month talking about some specific temperament issues that are frustrating and give you some tips on how to navigate those. One of the biggest concerns that we hear from parents is that their child is oppositional. That everything is a fight. They are oppositional from sunrise to sunset. Whether parents are trying to get them to eat breakfast, get dressed, get in the car, do a chore, or do their homework, their child just feels the need to put up a fight. This process can be so exhausted for a parent and create real tension in the parent-child relationship. Luckily, marriage and family therapist, Jeff Tesch is going to teach us five ways we can decrease opposition in our strong-willed kids. Jeff Tesch, LMFT We have a few kids of our own that like to be oppositional and it does seem like they’re doing it intentionally. But if you read last week’s post, you’ll remember that being oppositional is just how a strong-willed child’s brain is wired. Knowing that can help us be more patient with them and not resent them so much. It can also help us be motivated to learn how to work around that natural wiring. Here are five things I suggest to my clients whose children are more oppositional by nature. Tip #1 Give your child choices We can really avoid a lot of power struggles, even with kids that aren't strong willed, by giving them choices. It's healthy for kids to have appropriate choice and teaches them how to make choices for themselves. Giving choices also helps a child feel control in their own life and so much of the opposition that we face as parents is simply our child fighting for control. So the more places you can give your child control, the better. Giving your child choice and control doesn’t mean that you don’t enforce your boundaries. Rather, it means you give your child choices that are still within your boundaries. For example: If it's bedtime, you would state the expectation, then give two choices that you are comfortable with. “Hey Sally, it’s bedtime. Would you like to put your pajamas on first or get your teeth brushed first? Which works better for you?” Choices help them feel some control and they're less likely to resist. Now this is a technique that we've used in our own home and we've seen it help in a lot of situations, yet not help in others. Keep reading the other tips to see if they might help in those situations. Tip #2 Be flexible as a parent I have some parents in my office who have become oppositional in response to their oppositional child. Parents who have had so many power struggles with their kids, that they aren’t willing to be flexible with their kids any more. These parents aren’t bad, they're just tired and need to be reminded that there are things that they can be flexible with. I want to be clear, that family rules and boundaries are not flexible. However, are there some things that your child wants control over that really would be OK for them to have control over? My kids wanted to choose what time during the day they did their homework. Initially, I wanted to tell them what time to do it, but decided that our boundary would just be what time it needed to be finished by. I told them that boundary and now they have the freedom to choose any time before that boundary to finish their homework. Flexibility on our part has avoided a lot of opposition. Choosing your battles with a strong-willed child is a wise thing to do. Think about which battles you could drop and which boundaries you wan...
28 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 075: Your Strong-Willed Child’s Personality, What Therapists Want You To Understand
Listen here or READ the post below. We are in August if you can believe it. The topic for this month is the strong willed child's temperament, their natural personality that they're born with. We want to help you understand it better, have some compassion for where they're coming from, get to know some specific characteristics in their temperament that can be challenging and some parenting tips on how to navigate those specific characteristics. Marriage and family therapist, Jeff Tesch is going to help us understand our strong-willed child’s personality a little better today. Jeff Tesch LMFT, MS Common Characteristics of the Strong-willed Child’s Personality Most parents are WELL aware of their strong-willed child’s characteristics, but I think it’s worth mentioning again briefly. Strong-willed kids are usually: Less flexible Defiant Oppositional Emotionally reactive Want what they want, when they want it Want to be in charge Resistant to the desires of others Don’t like being told “No” Harder to discipline Slower to respond to efforts to improve their behavior But also: Not push-overs Goal-oriented High-achievers Speak their mind Great leaders Good negotiators Your Child Didn’t CHOOSE to Be Strong-Willed Some elements of personality are present from birth. Each of us have characteristics that we were born with that we may or may not like. The same is true of our strong-willed kids. Many of them have been strong-willed since they were babies. In fact, therapists will often ask parents who seek help, what their child was like as a baby. We do that because we can quickly start to learn if the child has always been strong-willed or if they’ve just learned that behavior over time. If they were a very calm, quiet baby and are out of control behavior now, a therapist is more likely to conclude that the behavior is learned. But if the parents say their child was tough from the get-go, we know we’re dealing more with a tough personality. It’s also important to know that personality is pretty consistent through the lifespan. The personality characteristics that you see in your child are probably going to be part of their personality throughout their whole life. Don’t get discouraged though, because even strong-willed kids can learn to function incredibly well with consistent teaching. It's also important to know that your strong-willed child isn't being strong-willed to make your life miserable. I know that parents can feel like their strong-willed child’s behavior is intentional. I know because I have been there. I have a couple of strong-willed kids of my own that are very challenging. However, I think it’s important to remember that their behavior is generally not thought through. Rather, it is truly just their brain functioning, their personality. Remembering that helps me feel more patient and loving even during challenging times. Being Strong-Willed Is Not Only Tough on Parents, It Can Also Be Tough on Strong-willed Kids I’ve seen so many kids in my office that struggle themselves with being strong-willed. They can’t understand why it’s easy for others to comply, but not for them. They can’t understand why others easily make friends, get along with teachers, feel liked by their parents, but they don't. Through the stress of all this, they can start to think the THEY are a problem, that THEY are not good. I’ve seen strong-willed kids struggle with depression because of the shame they feel from being different than others around them. Once a child starts to feel this way, they usually start to behave even worse! Strong-willed kids can struggle not only at home, but in other settings as well. They may find a classroom setting to be challenging, social setting, etc. People in all those settings can decide that your strong-willed child is bad and start to treat them that way. As parents,
37 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 074: Strong-Willed Kids and Addiction Part 2
Listen here or READ the post below. Last week we learned that strong-willed kids are more likely to struggle with addiction than other children. This is a HUGE concern to many parents. If it's a concern to you, then you don't want to miss today's interview with Mike Fitch, CMHC. We talk about ways you can help prevent addictions, warning signs of addiction, and some things you can do as a parent if you think your child is struggling with an addiction. Mike Fitch, CMHC Here's a quick recap from last week: Strong-willed children are more likely to struggle with addictions than other children. The three most common addictions for kids are: Electronics Pornography Junk food Kids get addicted to these things easily because they release "feel good" hormones in the brain Now let's talk about prevention, warning signs, and early intervention for each of the three most common addictions. Unhealthy Food Prevention: First, limit the amount of unhealthy foods you keep in the home. I don't think that you need to get rid of ALL the unhealthy foods that you have. In fact, I see that kids who grow up in homes where they're allowed to have treats, go crazy and eat lots of junk when their parents aren't around. Kids tend to do better if they have junk food occasionally with their families. Second, meet with your family to create healthy boundaries around food together. Let them know what you learned from last week, why we turn to unhealthy foods and how addictive they can be. Also review what a balanced diet looks like, then ask them to help create your family's rules around food. Doing this as a family will help your kids be more committed to the plan. After you have set the limits, be consistent in enforcing those limits. Of course there will be special occasions where you will need to flexible about the rules, but on regular days, enforce the boundaries. This is easier to do if you don't have much junk food available at your home. Third, make sure your kids get ENOUGH food. Kids will be less likely to eat junk food if they are full of healthy food. When they are hungry their blood sugar drops and they want something to raise their sugar fast. If you're feeling like you child won't eat any healthy food, go here to learn what tips our therapists have for getting picky eaters to eat healthy foods. Here's a couple of quick bonus ideas: Get individually packaged junk food. It costs a little more, but it limits how much you child can eat. A small bag of cookies that's gone when it's gone is easier to manage than a huge box of cookies. Consider doing online shopping for food, then pick up at the store. Marketers know how to get you to buy junk food. The less time you spend in the grocery store, the less likely you are to buy the junk. Electronics According to Common Sense Media, 59 percent of parents say their kids are “addicted” to their screens, while 66 percent say their kids spend too much time on screens. https://www.nbcnews.com/video/study-no-more-than-an-hour-a-day-of-screen-time-for-children-under-five-791230531903 Prevention: Set boundaries around the amount of screen time kids are allowed to have each day. Remember that screen time releases the hormone, dopamine, in unnaturally high amounts. Dopamine release from TV and video games is extremely addictive. If you limit the amount of screen time, you limit the amount of dopamine exposure. Here are the most up-to-date recommendations for amounts of time: Under age eighteen months-no screens unless "face-timing" with someone Toddler through Tween-One hour daily Teen-Two hours daily These recommended times include ANY screens. If your child is doing any TV or gaming on any device, that counts as screen time. Now, I know there are times that you need to give your kids a little extra screen time. If you're sick, your child is sick, or your on a long road trip,
29 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 073: Why Strong -Willed Children Are More Likely To Become Addicts
Listen here or READ the post below. When I’m not at home or being a parent, I get to be a dental hygienist. To keep my license current I have to take a certain amount of health science classes each year. In one class that I took on the brain and addiction, I learned that strong-willed kids are far more likely struggle with addiction. As a parent of a strong-willed child and aunt to many more, I was really concerned. So today and next week, we’re going to learn more about addiction and why our strong-willed kids struggle with it more. Here's my interview with Mike Fitch, CMHC about addictions. Mike Fitch CMHC A lot of my clients struggle with addiction. It is just becoming so common. We are constantly surrounded by things that we can get addicted to. We’re not just talking drugs today but also food, porn, and electronics. What’s saddest to me is how often people are very innocently exposed to addiction and get trapped. In fact, a recent study stated that kids will be exposed to porn by age 8-10 and struggle with a full-blown porn addiction by age twelve! We want our kids to be happy, healthy adults and it’s SO MUCH Harder to be happy and healthy when you’re constantly thinking about your next “fix”. This post will cover what an addiction is, what’s happening in the brain, and why strong-willed kids are more likely to struggle with addiction. Next week we’ll talk about prevention, early warning signs, and treatment. The BRAIN Why we get addicted to things. Addiction has so much to do with our ancestors. Millenia ago, our ancestors were only able to survive if they were able to eat, explore, avoid predators, and procreate. To aid our ancestors, the brain developed three hormones that in appropriate amounts help us feel good, but in high amounts, can become highly addictive. Those three hormones are: Adrenaline-the fight or flight hormone. Gets your heart rate higher when faced with a dangerous situation. Dopamine-the feel good hormone released when eating high calorie foods or during sex. Endorphins-the pain reliever released when injured or on long distant runs. In our ancestors time, these hormones were needed almost daily in order for an individual to survive. Now, our survival isn’t so complicated and these hormones are too easy to release and too easy to become addicted to. Are these hormones bad? It's good to feel each of these hormones to some level, when it encourages healthy activity. The problem that we run into is that we’ve found ways to release these hormones in unnaturally high amounts. Easily. With the easy access, we keep crave more and more of these hormones. What causes us to want a release of these hormones? There are some uncomfortable emotions that we seek to reduce the pain of emotions by finding something that will release a high amount of adrenaline, endorphins, or dopamine. What emotions make turn to addictions? We use an acronym to remember the emotion that cause people to turn to addictions to feel good. The acronym is BLAST Blast stands for: Bored Lonely Angry Stressed Tired Each of these emotions are so uncomfortable to our brains, that our brain starts telling us to seek out a hormone to alleviate the discomfort. That’s why you start looking in your pantry for a high-calorie food when you’re stressed or bored. Your brain is begging you to find relief from that uncomfortable emotion. It’s important to find healthy ways to release the hormones in our brain, but it’s quicker to relieve a BLAST emotion with food, sex, electronics, etc. New neural pathways Everyone’s brain is made up of millions of little pathways for information to travel on. These pathways are called neural pathways. What many people don’t realize is that addiction lays down new neural pathways that support addiction rather than supporting health. The new neural pathways send information that you are “starving” for more ...
31 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 072: 3 Parenting Myths Therapists Wish You Didn’t Believe
Listen here or READ the post below. There are a lot of different parenting beliefs out there. Some that help us and some that don't. Today we're going to learn about 3 parenting myths therapists wish we didn't buy into. Janet Cazier, LCSW Myth #1 Parents are 100% Responsible for Their Children One myth I see parents getting sucked into is that they are 100% responsible for their kids success in ALL of the following areas:Y Mental health Physical health Emotional health Scholastic success Social success Choices Etc. This is so easy to do, because when a child is born, you are responsible for SO MUCH in their life. It’s your job to try to meet their needs. However, unless you’ve been taught differently, it’s very easy to continue to feel like your role is to keep meeting all of child's needs. Here’s why this is a problem: Parents that feel responsible for everything in their child’s life, unintentionally become controlling. Often, kids that feel controlled will rebel. If you are trying to be 100% responsible for your child’s life, they will never learn how to be responsible for themselves. Rather, they learn to sit back and let you do all their work, make all their tough decisions, and fix all their problems. Taking full responsibility for everything in your child’s life will wear you out! It takes a lot of effort just to deal with the challenges of your own personal life. Now imagine being fully responsible for ALL the people in your home! It’s no wonder some parents are EXHAUSTED. If your child struggles, you may feel like a failure because you feel like you were responsible for their success. What are you responsible for? We don’t want you to read this and think “The therapist told me I am not responsible for my kids, so I’m going to sit back and take a break.” That is not what we’re saying. Parents have many responsibilities and parenting is one of the most important jobs you'll ever have. Parents are responsible for: Their own personal health and happiness Providing a loving home Providing structure, rules, and boundaries Meeting the basic needs of their children: food, shelter, safety Teaching their children skills that they need to be successful in life Being aware of issues and trying to provide help where needed Teaching their children how to become happy, healthy adults Parents are not responsible for: Their children’s choices Their children’s success Their children’s happiness We want you to avoid the trap of feeling like you are responsible for everything in your child’s life. We don’t want that for you or for your child. Here’s an example of a parent who is taking too much responsibility. Parent #1 Taking an Unhealthy Amount of Responsibility “Susan” wanted her son to get good grades. He hadn’t cared about his grades for a long time though. He would put off doing his homework until last minute or not bother to do it at all. Susan couldn’t stand the idea of her son getting a bad grade or not graduating from high school, so she’ll did her son’s homework for him. She did this all through high school. Finally, during her son’s senior year of high school, his teacher’s told him he would not graduate from high school unless he turned in an overdue paper. The son didn’t care and refused to do it. Susan wrote the paper so her son could graduate. It is good that Susan wanted her son to do well in school. But in the end, did Susan’s son get good grades or did just Susan get a good grade. Did her son learn to work hard or to take responsibility for himself? Is her son going to be successful in the workplace or in college? Do you feel like you might be taking too much responsibility for your child? Are you wanting to have your child learn how to be responsible for themselves? We suggest starting by choosing one area of your child’s life that you feel like you’re taking too much...
31 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 071: Four Parenting Mistakes to AVOID if You Want Your Child to Be Ready for Adulthood
Listen here or READ the post below. I don't know how many of us want to be taking full responsibility for our children well into adulthood. Caring for them while they're young is hard enough. But did you know that preparing your kids to move out, get jobs, and become independent adults starts when they are little? Did you also know there are some things we can do as parents to sabotage our children's ability to become capable adults? Learn which four mistakes you need to avoid if you want your kids to take care of themselves one day. Jeff Tesch, LMFT What does an independent and healthy adult look like? Takes ownership for their life Understands that consequences are a result of their choices. This understanding leads them to be careful and intentional about their choices so they can have positive consequences instead of negative ones. Gainfully employed Continually seeks to improve themselves Lives on their own Is capable of managing a home, finances, and relationships Takes pride in their work Has the strength to handle the difficulties of adult life What I'm seeing in my office I am seeing more and more clients who desperately want their children to become independent adults, move out, get jobs, contribute to society, and feel pride in their ability to be capable of providing for themselves. Yet, they are frustrated because their children are: Still living at home Not earning an income for themselves Not motivated to pay their own bills, clean their own space, or contribute to the household Afraid of becoming an adult Avoiding the responsibility of caring for themselves Spending all their time and money on recreation Here are some real examples of situations that I see: Example One:A client who has a child in his forties who doesn't have a job so my client pays this child's mortgage, does his grocery shopping, buys his clothing, and does his laundry. My client is getting ready to retire and is worried that her retirement will not be enough to support her AND her son. Example Two:A client who did her son's homework when he was in high school, pays his speeding tickets, bails him out when he gets in trouble with the law, pays the majority of his bills and cares for many of his needs even though he is into his late twenties. The client is frustrated that her son isn't more motivated to take responsibility for himself. Example Three:A client whose 25 year old sleeps all day, plays video games all night, emerges from the basement for food from time to time, quits every job he starts, tried college for a semester then quit, and now struggles with severe depression. This mom wants her child to move forward with life, but doesn't want to make him move out because she's afraid of what will happen to him. Why this is a concern Kids who do not learn how to be independent adults struggle with their sense of self-worth, do not contribute to society, and become a source of stress for their parents. Very few parents intend for this to happen Many of the parents I see in my office never intended for their children to stay at home forever. They really do want their kids to be thriving adults. However, they didn't realize that many of the things they did for their child out of LOVE actually made it more difficult for their child to become an independent adult. THE FOUR PARENTING MISTAKES TO AVOID Mistake #1 Not Teaching Responsibility It is important that kids learn how to be responsible for their: Own choices Relationships Belongings Own happiness Finances And to learn how to work hard. I have found that the best way to help raise responsible adults is to start when they are young by giving them a few responsibilities then gradually adding responsibilities as they age. Throughout the whole process, you are giving them guidance and teaching them the skills they need to be successful. Hopefully,
20 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 070: Listen So Your Kids Will Talk With These Three Simple Steps
Listen here or READ the post below: We are shifting our focus this month from concerns that parents have about their kids to concerns the EXPERTS have about our kids. For the next five weeks, we are going to let you know what issues the therapists are seeing over and over again in their work. We are also going to let you know what you need to do to avoid the sad situations they are dealing with. I can't stress enough how important the information you are going to learn in July is! Make sure you check out each post/podcast made in this month! For today: We get to discuss how to keep your kids open with you and talking with you about what is going on in their world. Would you believe that how you LISTEN to your kids can significantly affect their willingness to share what's going on in their lives with you? Read below the learn the three-letter acronym you must remember to keep your children open with you. Why we want our kids to be open with us Let's first think about WHY we want our kids to be open with us in the first place. When we understand how important it is to keep the lines of communication open between parent and child, we feel more motivated to do what it takes to keep those lines of communication open. While there could be hundreds of reasons why, I want to highlight just a few: So we can know what struggles they are facingHow can we really know what struggles our children are dealing with, what's going on in the heart and head, if they don't feel like they can talk to us? So much of their day is spent away from us, and the only way we can get a glimpse of what their life is like is if they tell us.We want them to be open with us so we know if there are some serious struggles that they are facing, struggles that they need help and guidance to overcome. In some situations, our kids being open with us could truly be the difference between life and death. So we can stay connected to themCommunication is the key to connection. When communication breaks down in a relationship, the relationship breaks down as well. SO much research has been done on how vital good communication is to each relationship. In fact, if a couple that is struggling to stay together can resolve their communication issues, they can often save the relationship.Why does communication matter so much? There is just something that happens when we share our thoughts, worries, joys, and feelings with another. We feel like someone really cares when they listen to us. Especially if they listen in the right way.The connection that comes from listening well to our kids can help them feel deeply loved by us and the reality is, KIDS BEHAVE BETTER WHEN THEY FEEL CONNECTED TO THEIR PARENTS. Study after study confirms that the kids who behave the best had parents that were:a. Firm about boundaries and rules b. Connected with their kidsListening the way we're going to teach you today can create bonding feelings in both the parent and the child. How to Keep Our Kids Open With Us We wanted a way for parents to easily remember the steps of listening, so we created an acronym to help you out. The acronym to remember is: R S V That acronym may look familiar to many of you. It's also the acronym for an upper respiratory virus that can make it hard to breath. We used this acronym on purpose. We want your kids to feel safe enough when talking to you that they feel like they can breath. We know that's cheesy, but sometimes cheesy things are easier to remember. Let's learn more about this acronym. R=Receive The first step to listening well is to simple receive the information that your children are sharing with you. How many times are you only half listening when your kids are talking to you? How many times are you thinking about something else while giving a mindless "Uh huh. Oh that's interesting." Have you ever done that so much that your kids caught you or you accidentally agreed to let them do something tha...
27 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 069: Get your children to treat you respectfully
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE OR READ THE POST BELOW One of the misbehaviors many parents can’t stand, is when their children treat them disrespectfully. It’s completely appropriate that disrespectful behavior irritates parents and it’s not wrong to want it to stop. The question is HOW DO WE GET OUR KIDS TO TREAT US RESPECTFULLY? Mike Fitch, CMHC What Parents Need to Know First You do not have to put up with disrespectful behavior. It is OK to expect those in your life to talk to you kindly and to treat you with respect. The tough thing is training others how to treat you. It takes a lot of work, a lot of patience, and choosing to be 100% firm with others about the way they interact with you, but it is possible. If you want to know how, keep reading. Step #1 Get clear with your family about what respect sounds like/looks like/feels like Our kids are not born knowing what the difference between respect and disrespect is. They need us to teach them and be EXTREMELY clear with them about what respect sounds like/looks like/ feels like, etc. Find different moments to teach your kids how to speak to/treat you and others. Use moments when they’ve slipped up to say “That’s a good example of being disrespectful.” Then find times they’ve done well and say “That’s a great example of being respectful.” Point out respect and disrespect in TV shows, on the radio, in the books you read, when you’re running errands, etc. Do whatever it takes to help your kids develop a clear understanding of the differences between respect and disrespect. Then let your family know that treating each other with respect is what a family does and that disrespectful behaviors will no longer be allowed. Step #2 Come up with a phrase that tells your kids they just treated you disrespectfully and they need to try again This step has two parts: Part 1 If you’ve completed Step #1, your kids now have a clear understanding of how to treat you and each other. It’s good to remember that your kids may be really used to speaking to you in a certain way and they may need some help remembering to treat you kindly. This next step is to help them develop the new habit of treating you respectfully. Create a phrase that will tell your kids that what they just did/said was disrespectful and they need to try again. Some examples are: “Try again.” “Rewind” “I’ll listen when you say that kindly” Choose one that is easy for you and will work for your kids. Then teach your kids this phrase, what it means, and what you expect them to do when you say it. Part 2 After you have taught your child the phrase, use it EVERY time they do something disrespectful. Then do not engage with the child again until they try again in an appropriate way. Doing this consistently will be the best way for them to learn which behaviors are going to be OK and which aren’t. You may have to prompt them quite a bit at first, but with time, you won’t have to do it very often. Step #3 Teach your children how to express themselves appropriately This step overlaps with Step #1 where you are getting clear with your kids about what behaviors are respectful and which ones aren’t. But we’re going to dive a little deeper. Expressing negative emotions SOME of the time, kids will say something disrespectful because they are struggling to express feelings of frustration, anger, hurt, or embarrassment in a productive way. So Instead of saying appropriately saying what’s on their minds or their hearts, they’ll yell out things like: “Stop being a jerk!” “You’re being rude right now.” “You’re acting like a brat.” “That person was so mean.” It’s important for your child to learn of to express their feelings, but they are going to need you to teach them how and model this behavior for them. You can do this by teaching them how to share what’s bothering them instead of saying rude things.
20 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 068: How to Get Your Child to Stop Whining
What is it about whining that is so annoying to us as parents? Is it the high-pitched tones, the sign of ingratitude, the lack of patience? Whatever it is, we don’t want to hear whining. But is there a way to get our kids to talk to us appropriately and to no longer whine? That’s what we talk about today with Janet Cazier, LCSW and mom of seven! Janet Cazier, LCSW It is OK for parents to not allow their kids to whine. In my experience, parents are too patient with it. Parents allow it to go on longer than it should. Make whining a problem for your child rather than a problem for you This is true of all misbehaviors. If the parents are the only ones bothered by a misbehavior, they’re also going to be the only ones that want the behavior to stop. However, if parents can find ways to make misbehavior a problem for the child, all of the sudden, the CHILD is motivated to change. Most often I hear parents respond to whining by saying “Stop it”. This doesn’t work because that doesn’t really bother the child. It’s making whining a problem for the child. Instead, it’s still a problem for the parent because the parent is saying “Stop it” over and over again without seeing a change. This can lead to frustration with the child, yelling at the child, whining back at the child, or resentment towards the child. All of which are undesirable outcomes. However, if you find a way for whining to become unpleasant for your child, the child will stop whining, you will get along better, and there will be more happiness in your home. Those are all outcomes you do want. I want to point that out, because some parents feel that making misbehavior a problem for their child is “mean” or “harsh”. I feel the opposite. I feel that letting misbehavior continue and experiencing all the negative emotions that come from that is less healthy for your child than them experiencing an uncomfortable consequence for choosing inappropriate behavior. Some ways you can make whining a problem for your child **Before trying these ideas discuss with your child why whining is not going to be OK any more, teach them appropriate ways to ask for things they want/need, and practice asking appropriately. We set our kids up for success when we are really clear with them about our expectations. It’s not really fair to start disciplining them for things they didn’t know were wrong.** Idea #1 If your child whines say “I can only hear you when you ask nicely”. Then stick to that. Idea #2 If you’ve told your child you can only hear them when they ask nicely and they continue to whine, give an extra little consequence. This could include a time out, some loss of a privilege, some time in their room. YOU choose based off of what works for you and your child. It just needs to be something big enough to motivate your child to no longer whine. If you want to learn more about selecting an appropriate consequence, go here. Idea #3 If your child whines while you’re out and about, you could stop and get something fun for all the kids that weren’t whining. Idea #4 Again, if your child whines while you’re out of the home, you can send them to the car with another adult. Idea #5 If you can’t do idea #3 or #4, you could let your child whine through your outing, NEVER GIVING IN TO WHAT THEY’RE WHINING FOR, then when you get home say: “Your whining today was really draining for me. I need you to play on your own for while, I have to go to my room and read my favorite book to get my energy back.” Idea #6 Plan a “learning opportunity”. I tell my clients that have children with chronic misbehaviors to plan a “learning opportunity” for their child. Find a time that works for you and some adult support, then plan a to go somewhere or do something the child really loves. If they use the misbehavior on the way there or while you’re there, send them home with another adult while you stay to enjoy the activity.
29 minutes | 3 years ago
Episode 067: How to Get Your Kids to Behave in the Car
Are your kids big stinks in the back seat of your car? Are they driving you nuts while you're driving them places? Then you'll want to check out this episode. Janet Cazier, LMFT and mom of seven gives her top tips for getting your kids to behave well while in the car. Her tips are seriously awesome! I feel like I have so many more tools to use now. Happy learning! LISTEN ABOVE OR READ THE SUMMARY BELOW Janet Cazier, LMFT Sometimes kids can be the biggest stinkers in the car! They know that you are occupied with driving, you can't reach them, you're limited in what consequences you can give them, and that tempts them to use behaviors that aren't the best. Luckily, I'm going to share some tips with you that will help your kids behave a lot better when you're driving places. The most important things that I want you to get out of this are: Kids CAN learn how to behave in the care You need to be REALLY clear about what behaviors are not tolerated in the care You need to find creative ways to make misbehaving in the car NO FUN for your kids (read on to learn how) You need to be consistent in responding to poor behavior with an appropriate consequence. Let's dive deeper. Tip #1 Get clear with your kids BEFORE you get in the car This step is so critical. You need to give your kids a fighting chance at behaving well by talking with them about what kinds of behaviors are OK are which aren't. We're talking so clear you even write it down. I find that this goes better if you find a way to make it fun and allow your kids to give a lot of input. This helps them see it positively and be more committed to the plan. Here's a fun, collaborative way I teach people: Get out three sheets of paper Label sheet one: "Things we can't do in the car". I make it fun by calling this "Skunk" behavior (behavior that stinks) Label sheet two: "Things we can do in the car that are fun!" I call this category "Monkey" behavior (because it's silly like monkeys) Label sheet three: "Quiet things we can do in the car". I call this category "Angel" behavior (because it's quiet and sweet like an angel) Discuss each "category" with your kids and brainstorm ideas for each category on the paper. Next, teach your kids that "Skunk" behavior is NEVER ok and will always get a consequence Then, teach your kids that "Monkey" behavior is often OK but from time to time, you will need "Angel" behavior (times when you need to concentrate or have a headache, etc.) For the next little while, review behaviors in each category so that your kids remember what is expected in the car. Tip #2 Give a consequence when your kids use behavior that's not allowed in the car Having an appropriate consequence for negative behavior is completely healthy and appropriate. Some parents are afraid to give their children consequences. There are some consequences that should be avoided, you can learn more about those here. But consequences are what make misbehavior uncomfortable for children and make them think twice before misbehaving. We want our kids thinking about their choices! If you are wondering if consequences damage our children, check out this post. I will tell you, this is where you're going to need to be creative. Giving a consequence at home is so simple, but giving one in the car is tricky. Here's a list of ideas to try, but remember the key is: Make your child's misbehavior a problem for THEM not for YOU! Idea #1 Pull Over This idea works great if you're not in a rush. I would suggest even planning on leaving really early for things if you'd like to try this one. However, I have found it really effective to have a camp chair and a book you love in the back of the car. Then when kids are using "Skunk" behavior, you can simply pull over, say "Bummer, you are using X behavior and that's just not allowed in my car. I will get back in when you're done.",
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