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31
Mar

The Power of Recommendations

Fresh Start has just celebrated its 4th year as an independent private practice! We’re honored to have served so many in the community and are now starting to see many “repeat” clients who are requesting updated evaluations. From my perspective, I’ve seen two types of “repeaters”: Those who accepted the initial results and followed my recommendations OR Those who didn’t.  I get it, in some cases, your only intention is to obtain a diagnosis simply as a means to an end. Perhaps your child needed a diagnosis for school accommodations, maybe you needed a diagnosis just so that your medical doctor would prescribe medication, or maybe you or your child needed to “prove” there was no diagnosis to another family member or other professional. In any case, you still received well-thought out recommendations to not just “accommodate” the problem (or diagnosis), but to actually help improve symptoms.

Just recently, I met with parents, who had their child evaluated by me and my team in 2013. They were so excited to see me and tell me all about their now-teenage daughter. They related that they followed “every recommendation” and even provided specific examples. Some recommendations they were still adhering to til this day!! Their daughter had been taken off some medication, significantly improved her grades at school, and required an updated evaluation for her IEP. These parents also wanted an updated report themselves, just so they could see the prior diagnoses removed. I too, was ecstatic to see the results!!  This was a very different girl than I evaluated in 2013.  Thankfully, we have numerous stories like these.

On the other hand, I’ve met some parents who’ve come back quite distraught because their child is struggling just the same or even worse. When I ask what all has been done in the last two or three years, some parents say they participated in a couple of counseling sessions or provided the report to the school, often with no other attempts at intervention.  For many of these parents, there very well might be little time in the schedule or limited funds in the budget to adhere to some of my recommendations, but two things are for sure: 1) I provide a multitude of options with schedule and budget in mind, and 2) I encourage parents to meet with me periodically to discuss other treatment interventions in the event the ones I offer are not feasible.

Being a psychologist is definitely my calling in life. I appreciate every client that walks through the doors of Fresh Start and vow to give my best effort to help with the platform I’ve been given. It is now up to you to take these well thought-out and heart-felt recommendations and apply them in your or your child’s life. It could make all the difference down the road. Trust me!

-Dr. Jones

10
Feb

What’s Your Parenting Style?

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Promoting the self-discipline and self-esteem of one’s children 0ften requires an emotional juggling act by parents. It is not easy to be firm and demanding one minute, then warm and affectionate the next. In addition, some adults naturally have personalities or temperaments that predispose them toward one parenting style or the other.

Authoritarian Parenting 
Parents who tend to overemphasize the discipline side of the equation are referred to as authoritarian. Authoritarian parents are demanding in the worst sense of the word. They are intimidators, requiring obedience and respect above all else. They become overly angry and forceful when they don’t get that obedience and respect. Their love and acceptance appear totally conditional to the child. They do not listen to their kids or explain the reason for their expectations, which are frequently unrealistic. They often see their children’s individuality and independence as irrelevant or threatening

Research has shown that authoritarian parents tend to produce children who are more withdrawn, anxious, mistrustful and discontented. These children are often overlooked by their peers. Their self-esteem is often poor.

Permissive Parenting 
Parents who overemphasize the self-esteem side of the equation are referred to as permissive. They may be warm and supportive, but they are not good disciplinarians. They make only weak demands for good behavior and they tend to avoid or ignore obnoxious behavior. They seem to believe that children should grow up without any anger, tears or frustrations. They reinforce demanding and inconsiderate behavior from their children. Their love and acceptance are “unconditional” in the worst sense of the word, for they set few limits on what their children do.

Research has shown that permissive parents tend to produce children who are more immature, demanding and dependent. These children are often rejected by their peers. Their self-esteem is often unrealistic and hard to interpret, for they often blame others for their misfortunes.

The Authoritative Parenting Model 
Parents who are able to provide for both the discipline and self-esteem needs of their youngsters are referred to as authoritative. They clearly communicate high—but not unrealistic—demands for their children’s behavior. They expect good things from their kids and reinforce those things when they occur. When kids act up, on the other hand, authoritative parents respond with firm limits, but without fits of temper. They are warm, reasonable and sensitive to a child’s needs. They are supportive of a child’s individuality and encourage growing independence.

Another Quick Tip: Tantrums!!  When your child throws a tantrum, what is the first thing you should do? Disengage immediately. No talk, no emotion, no eye contact. Why? Because you are the audience for the tantrum, the target of their anger, and the power that can grant them their frustrated wish. Courage!  [This may seem daunting at first or, for some parents, impossible to carry out given their own physical, mental, and/or spiritual weaknesses…..contact Dr. Jones today for consultation or quality referrals for additional help and support for you and your child!]

Source: 1-2-3 Magic Parenting Newsletter © 2014

Simple, straightforward parenting advice and helpful tips from Dr. Phelan’s award-winning parenting resources. To learn more or to subscribe visit www.123magic.com/Newsletter.

6
Sep

Let’s Talk About “Kangaroo”

Today, I had the pleasure of meeting with authors, Susie Himes & Erin Hinshaw.  This mother/daughter team recently released their amazing book called, “Kangaroo Had The Flu & Her Friends Have Problems Too!” The book not only inspired this blog post, but will also help open the door for discussing some difficult health-related topics.  In the book, “Kangaroo” and her friends have many common medical problems, some as simple as a scrap or a burn, and others’ more serious conditions like Diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, and Depression.  The beautiful illustrations (by Paula Sadler) make this an interesting-read for children and the fun rhymes will inspire necessary parent/child or teacher/child discussions: 1. To help children with related symptoms see that they’re not alone in their suffering.  2. To help others become more aware and sensitive to those with medical illnesses.

In my profession, I see parallel problems; though mental illness oftentimes comes with more of a stigma.  Many parents and other adults may have a hard time accepting certain conditions.  Plus, children with learning, social, or behavioral deficits are often outcasts.  Because our society has “labeled the labels” in my opinion, some kids who truly have ADHD, Autism-spectrum, or Bipolar conditions are incorrectly being defined as “just a boy,” “weird,” “hormonal,” “angry like her mother/father,” or “unmotivated and lazy.”

Let me say, I view mental health diagnoses as a necessity when it comes to getting certain services, specific treatment plans, and academic modifications.  They merely help with considering the next-step and no, medication is not always the answer!  When we simply talk (and keep talking) about the struggles that individuals have, whether in children or adults or with physical or mental health, we open the door for understanding, acceptance, treatment, and relief.

We not only need to talk more, but love more, accept more, and give more.  For many, it begins with understanding that we are all different, we all have struggles, and we all should know we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14), despite the “label.”

At the end of our meeting, Susie left me with a quote by C.S. Lewis, “We read to know we are not alone.”  I so appreciate this truth!  In a world where many kids, adolescents, and adults feel alone, and where so many have resorted to taking their life or others’ life rather than dealing with hurt, pain, confusion, and anger; this is the time to come together and understand the beautiful blend of our physical and mental health.

—- To Susie & Erin: Thanks ladies for opening the door and making so many precious “friends” find comfort in knowing that others face similar challenges.  I look forward to the next one, and the next one, and the next one 😉

To order this book or request a signed copy, visit Susie & Erin’s website @ www.fourdoorsaway.com

12
Aug

Parents: Avoid the Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit Syndrome

Many adults enter parenthood with visions of “picture perfect” children. They imagine a warm and loving home, as well as respectful and polite kids, all eagerly doing whatever is asked with only an occasional explanation from Mom or Dad.  As a veteran parent, you know this is not reality. But many parents have the idea that kids are just smaller versions of adults: reasonable and unselfish. This is the “Little Adult Assumption.” Moms and Dads who embrace this myth often prefer the “modern method” of discipline—talking and reasoning. Unfortunately, many times words and reasons alone prove unsuccessful. Sometimes they have no impact at all, and then parent and child fall into the trap known as the Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit Syndrome.

This tragic sequence results from the very best of parental intentions. Your child is doing something you don’t like. You tell her to stop. She continues her misbehavior, so you try persuading her to see things your way. When persuasion fails, you start arguing. When arguing is not successful, you yell. Yelling fails, so—feeling there is nothing left to do—some parents turn to hitting. The two biggest parenting mistakes—too much talking and too much emotion—trigger the Talk-Persuade-Argue-Yell-Hit Syndrome.

Changing Kids’ Behavior Begins By Changing Your Expectations

If you have a child who is doing something you don’t like, get real upset about it on a regular basis and sure enough he’ll repeat it for you. Too much yelling and too much anger on the part of a parent are destructive for several reasons. First, they move the focus off of the child’s misbehavior and on to the parent’s own outburst. Second, many children take the emotional eruption of a parent as a challenge to a fight, and there are plenty of kids who love a good fight. Third, parents who over explain and give three, four or five reasons to a child to encourage right behavior are almost saying “You really don’t have to behave unless I can give a number of good arguments as to why you should.” This is not discipline, it is begging, and the shrewd enough child will simply take issue with the parent’s reasons.  Changing children’s behavior often begins by changing parents’ expectations of their children. Trying to teach young children appropriate behavior is actually closer to training than it is to teaching “little adults.” This means choosing a method and repeating it consistently until the “trainee” does what the trainer wants. Very little of the training involves extensive verbal explanations. Most important, the trainer remains calm, patient and gentle, but also persistent and firm. Keep in mind, children need consistency and repetition in a warm and loving environment.

Another Quick Tip: Take Care of Yourself First!!  If remaining calm, patient and gentle is most often a struggle for you, perhaps your life needs a little work. It’s very hard to be a good parent if you don’t take good care of yourself first! [This may mean improving your physical, mental, and/or spiritual health…..contact Dr. Jones today for consultation or specific referrals!]

 

Quick Tip: Take Care of Yourself First!

If remaining calm, patient and gentle is most often a struggle for you, perhaps your life needs a little work. It’s very hard to be a good parent if you don’t take good care of yourself first!

– See more at: http://www.123magic.com/Newsletter-May-2013#sthash.jLNwQGSr.dpuf

uick Tip: Take Care of Yourself First!

If remaining calm, patient and gentle is most often a struggle for you, perhaps your life needs a little work. It’s very hard to be a good parent if you don’t take good care of yourself first

– See more at: http://www.123magic.com/Newsletter-May-2013#sthash.jLNwQGSr.dpuf

Quick Tip: Take Care of Yourself First!

If remaining calm, patient and gentle is most often a struggle for you, perhaps your life needs a little work. It’s very hard to be a good parent if you don’t take good care of yourself first!

– See more at: http://www.123magic.com/Newsletter-May-2013#sthash.jLNwQGSr.dpuf

Quick Tip: Take Care of Yourself First!

If remaining calm, patient and gentle is most often a struggle for you, perhaps your life needs a little work. It’s very hard to be a good parent if you don’t take good care of yourself first!

– See more at: http://www.123magic.com/Newsletter-May-2013#sthash.jLNwQGSr.dpuf

 

Source:

1-2-3 Magic Parenting Newsletter © 2013

Simple, straightforward parenting advice and helpful tips from Dr. Phelan’s award-winning parenting resources. To learn more or to subscribe visit www.123magic.com/Newsletter.

 

21
Jul

Attachment & Relationships

Trust issues…where do they come from?  Yes, it’s certainly possible that family and intimate relationship experiences can cause heart-break and mistrust.  For instance, enduring your parents’ divorce, seeing your mother as unfaithful or your father as a “rolling stone,” and you yourself, being cheated on by a long-time spouse or partner – all of these experiences can cause us to keep up an emotional guard in relationships, doubt the fidelity and genuineness of others, or avoid intimacy altogether.  But what about those of us who do not have such profound and obvious experiences?  Where does the inability to trust come from if we’re never modeled or ‘taught’ to be weary of others?

Attachment Theory provides a possible explanation to these queries.  This theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans, which is determined as early as infancy.  The most important principle of Attachment Theory is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development.  Attachment is the affectionate tie between two people and this bond becomes internally representative of how young children will form relationships in adulthood.  In other words, this initial relationship between self and others serves as a “blueprint” for all future relationships.

The attachment bond can be broken in many ways, with the most obvious being physical and sexual abuse; however, physical and emotional neglect can also be detrimental to future relationships.  For instance, a child frequently left crying, wet, or hungry, or who is not comforted when in physical pain, must learn to comfort or sooth himself, and possibly, develop an inability to trust those whom they love the most.  Another example is an infant child who smiles at his or her mother, or reaches for a hug, but does not receive reciprocation may develop a lack of empathy for others and have difficulty forming lasting relationships in their later life.  They may lack genuine affection with others, be inconsiderate or conscious of others’ needs, or be suspicious of a partners’ affection. 

The core of one’s relational problems may be his or her attachment style and history.  Therefore, in some cases, what may seem like a need for couple’s counseling may actually be more of an issue for individual counseling.  The deeply-seated and suppressed needs can be met, emotional damage can be healed, and relationships can become lasting.