Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)

The rapid digitalization of modern society affects people differently. For parents in particular, this age has added an extra hurdle; they now must endeavor to guide their children through both the real world and the virtual world.

The school year is back in full swing and many students we work with are feeling overwhelmed. Parents want nothing more than to help their children, but often, this isn’t the message their kids hear. What you say and how you say it can make all the difference in how your child feels and acts, so how do you communicate your concerns to them without it turning into an argument?
We all grow up with certain expectations: I am going to have this job; I’m going to marry this person; I’m going to have this many kids, etc. It’s normal to dream or wish for certain things in our future. Sometimes, we achieve what we set out to do and sometimes, we have to change course. At what point must we take a step back and relinquish control of this idea of the “perfect life?” At what point must we work toward  acceptance of “what is?”
With many of my clients transitioning from middle school to high school this past year, there has been a common theme with parents scrambling to put rules and guidelines in place. As a result, their teenagers are protesting: "I’m in high school! Why do I have MORE rules? That doesn’t make sense!"
Rules are a natural part of life, and having guidelines helps kids learn how to manage in different situations. Rules provide the framework for children to understand what is expected of them at home, with friends and at school. While parents know that this kind of structure is important, it's often challenging to establish and maintain rules at home.
When children are first born they need 3 basic things: food, sleep, air (and a clean diaper doesn’t hurt.) As these babies turn into toddlers and these toddlers into tweens and adolescents, things stop being so basic and can become a little more complicated. Many children need and crave attention. They want their parents to be present, both physically and emotionally.
Validation is key to building a strong relationship with your child. When children experience invalidation, their self-esteem decreases, as does their trust in you. Many parents, teachers and professionals in a child's life don't realize the tremendous power their words have. "You should do ...." "Why didn't you...." "You should be more like...", are all roadblocks in learning and connecting with your child. When we practice validation skills, we show children that emotions matter and that we are here for them.
Teach kids how to handle failure and disappointment, so they can persevere in an unfair world. Last week, I sat in my office talking to one of my young adult clients. As she began our session, she stated that she needed to problem-solve how she could talk to her professor. "I need to tell her that her system is unfair. If I have to submit my assignments by a specific time, then she should get the assignments back to us in the same kind of timeframe," she complained. She went on to say that she didn’t do an assignment that was due that day, because of the unfair arrangement.
It’s important to be understanding – even when you don’t get where you child is coming from. As parents, we have all been in the situation where we don’t understand why our child is losing it over something that seems so minor. The same could be said for sometimes not getting it when it comes to what our family or friends are going through.