Parenting techniques

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!"
Teens today are savvy–so many know about mental health, and yet, very few are aware of how unhealthy habits impact their mood and their ability to regulate their emotions. Although many teens may look (and act) like young adults, their brains are still developing. These habits may be "normal" for adults, but due to the sensitive nature of the teenage brain, they are very likely interfering with their mood and their overall mental health.
The brains of adolescents react more responsively to receiving rewards. This can lead to risky behavior, but, according to new research, it also has a positive function: it makes learning easier.
I, like a vast majority of you, am on Facebook. I mainly use Facebook as a tool to keep in touch with those from the past. More recently, however, I’ve been using it to get information. I belong to groups specific to my needs where others can post questions, suggestions and information that might be helpful. Belonging to said groups had generally been a positive experience. That is, until it wasn’t.
Sound familiar? Your child with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) fidgets and squirms his way through school and homework, but seems laser-focused and motionless sitting in front of the TV watching an action thriller. When a parent or a teacher sees a child who can sit perfectly still in one condition and yet in another they're all over the place, the first thing they say is, “well, they could sit still if they wanted to.”
Becoming a parent is an incredible gift–an event so large your life will truly never be the same again. From middle of the night wake-ups, to a house taken over by toys, jumpers, strollers and everything in between; your life is no longer "yours". This past weekend I woke up to a rainy, grey Sunday. My immediate thought was 'what a perfect day to stay in my PJ’s, curl up on the couch and binge watch the newest Netflix docu-series.' I was then immediately brought back to earth by my 6-month-old beckoning me to her crib at 6 a.m.
Research published in the journal Psychological Medicine found that the onset of a new mental disorder may be a consequence of exclusion from school. Excluded children can develop a range of mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety as well as behavioral problems. There can be a long-term impact on education and progress by excluding a child from school. This study suggests that their mental health may also deteriorate.
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.