Category: Parents

Homework and Being Successful.  Do they go hand in hand?

It’s that time of year again.  Time to put up the bathing suites and get out the book bags.  School is in session! For many parents this time can be a time of relief as they get their kids back into school and back on a routine.  For other parents, this time can be stressful as they hustle to get everything ready for their kids to go back to school.  Then there are other parents whose anxiety starts to build

5 Suggestions to help kids feel secure and truly happy

“I just want my kids to be happy” Seeking for your child to feel secure over being happy will help them more in the long run. I often hear parents say that they just want their kids to be happy.  Who can blame them?  I think that’s what every parent really wants for his or her kids.  However, if we as parents aim for our kids’ immediate happiness, we will often miss the mark on their overall happiness. Have you

Emotional Flat Tire

Imagine you are running late to work and you are frantically rushing out the door. As you’re hustling down the freeway trying not to speed (at least trying not to noticeably speed), you suddenly feel the car start to vibrate followed by a low juddering sound. You recognize that dreadful sound and realize that you have a flat tire at the most inconvenient time. You now have a decision to make, you can either pull to the side of the

Being a Super-Powered Parent can be a Blessing and a Curse

As a therapist I often work with very smart and capable parents. The kind of parents that seem to have the answer to someone’s problem even before that person knows they have a problem. These superpowers have helped these parents become successful in many areas of their lives. They are often ultra responsible and their employers love them for it. So why do such capable parents bring their children in for counseling? I find that one of the reasons is

Giving Kids the Opportunity to Succeed

One of the topics that often surface in the parenting classes that I teach is the parent’s fears of their kids failing in school.  This is especially true for parents of kids with ADD or ADHD, because of their child’s difficulty staying focused on a school task to completion. Parents want their kids to succeed.  So when their child starts to struggle with something such as schoolwork, the parent steps in to support their child by helping them with their

The Difference Between Helping and Enabling

When does “helping” a child become “enabling” a child? It is hard to know where that line is sometimes. As parents, we love our kids and are willing to make sacrifices for them, but can our sacrifices ever send the wrong message to our kids? The answer is yes! We can certainly send unhealthy and unrealistic messages to our kids leading them to believe that the world will do everything it can to make sure they are comfortable, and especially,

8 Ways to Break Through Teenage Walls

As a child and family therapist, I have met with many teenagers who have shut down. It looks like they have put up 2-foot thick concrete walls around themselves to keep their parents and other concerned adults at a distance. By the time parents contact me, months or even years of damage has already happened in the family and the interactions of shutting down and pushing away have become habits. Sometimes the parent and the child don’t even know or

What We Can Learn From the Post Office About Parenting

Has this ever happened to you or someone you know? Child: “Mom we need to go to the store tonight! My project is due tomorrow and I need a poster board and some construction paper!” Parent: “How long have you known about this project?” Child: “They told us two weeks ago, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything.” Parent: “You have known for two weeks and you just now tell me! I can’t take you tonight.

Is Your Child A Top-Down Or Bottom-Up Information Processor?

When your child is anxious or scared, he/she will tend to process information from the bottom part or primitive/survival/emotional part of his/her brain. When your child is calm and relaxed, he/she is more likely to process information from the top part of his/her brain or the frontal lobes/thinking part of the brain. The bottom part of the brain which consists of the brain stem (survival) and limbic system (the emotional brain), does not make rational decisions. This part of the

Conflict, Then Resolution

Recently, there seems to be a pattern among the families that I have been working with as a therapist.  The pattern starts by the child acting rude and disrespectful.  The parent then gets offended and upset and eventually sends the child to their room.  Afterwards, nothing is really talked about or resolved between the parent and the child related to the situation that occurred. After a while of following this pattern, kids stop liking being around their parents and the