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Why We Misunderstand Traumatized Children’s Behavioral Challenges and How We Can Do Better

By the time he turned eleven, “Luke” had consistently displayed such challenging behavior that he had been kicked out of four foster homes. Finally, a social worker placed him with parents who had been trained in a program that focused on behavior management.  That placement was also unsuccessful, and he landed in a residential school […]

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Moving Beyond Autism Awareness and Acceptance

According to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), “autism acceptance” shouldn’t be limited to a specific day or month. Rather, it should be an ongoing, collective effort to  create a world that values, includes, and celebrates all kinds of minds. As a child psychologist who has worked for decades with families of children on the […]

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Can Rewards and Consequences Make Kids’ Behavior Challenges Worse?

“Martina,” a 7-year-old in a special-needs classroom, wanted to let her teacher know that she was feeling anxious,  so she tried to connect with her, repeatedly grabbing at her arm and shirt. The teacher had been trained to ignore “negative” behaviors, so the more Martina grabbed, the less attention she gave her. Her strategy was […]

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Challenging Behaviors: Why We Shouldn’t Expect Kids to Self-Regulate Too Soon

Five-year-old Nathan was excited about a family outing to the zoo, but his mother worried he would not be able to control his behavior. So she explained her carefully devised plan. She had ten gummy bear candies with her. If Nathan behaved well, she would give him all ten at the end of the visit. […]

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Considering these Popular Parenting Techniques? Proceed with Caution

As anyone who has ever struggled to manage a toddler’s meltdown in a busy supermarket line can attest, parenting can be both confusing and humbling. To make matters worse, seeking out advice from so-called experts can often lead to even more confusion since their wisdom can be contradictory and bewildering. So it’s worth a quick […]

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It’s Time to Do Away with Seclusion and Isolation Rooms and Replace them with Compassion

Recently, a 13-year-old autistic student died after staff members at his Northern California school physically restrained him for an extended period. And the parents of a non-speaking, autistic 12-year-old  have sued his school for placing him in a seclusion room after a behavioral outburst. Teachers forced the child to strip naked before they placed him in a […]

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He’s Having a Meltdown! Four Possible Triggers—and How to React

In my last post, I suggested that we should appreciate meltdowns for what they are: a child’s way of signaling that he needs something from the adults around him—or from his environment.  When a child experiences a meltdown or tantrum or acts aggressively, he is communicating that he has exceeded his ability to intentionally control his […]

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How Anger, Tantrums, and Meltdowns Protect Your Child

Anger, meltdowns, and tantrums get a bad rap. As parents, we worry that these behaviors indicate that our child is choosing to misbehave or that we’re somehow failing as parents. The judgmental stares and glances we get from onlookers only increases those insecure thoughts. We read books about what to do and try to tame […]

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What to Know Before We Teach Children Self-Regulation Skills

What’s the best way to teach children how to regulate their own emotions and behavior? Occupational therapist and educator Leah Kuypers devised one approach, The Zones of Regulation, which has gained international popularity. “The Zones” is a groundbreaking cognitive-behavioral approach that helps adults teach children about self-regulation, which includes self-discipline, emotional control, anger management, and […]

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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.2 days ago
In recent IEP meetings I'm reminded of how much better we can do for goals related to behavioral challenges, anxiety, and social emotional development. This post still speaks to the need. #SEL #IEP #Anxiety #Beyondbehaviors #socialemotional #earlyintervention #connectionfirst
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.3 days ago
Can I just say THANK YOU. I'm so grateful to each of you who weighed in when I asked if there was a need for such a book, for those of you who have read it, posted reviews, recommended it or let me know it made a difference. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude at how far it's traveled and how many have read it in the past 7 months. It's because of you, and I just want to say thank you. 🙏
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.3 days ago
Hi Friends, If you teach, work with or parent an anxious child, I recommend the Learning and the Brain Conference in SF, Educating Anxious Brains. So many specialists will be presenting including Ross Greene, Bruce Perry, Dan Siegel, Katie Hurley, LCSW,and me! I invite you to attend, and look forward to meeting you.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.4 days ago
Nurturant, engaging advice from amazing Janet Lansbury, thank you!
"If our attitude is trusting rather than fearful and uncomfortable, we’ll be able to nail the kind of delivery that is helpful to our child without it coming off as a correction or reflection of our disappointment."
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.4 days ago
A cornerstone for the paradigm shift in mental health, education & early intervention. #Polyvagal #resilience #Beyondbehaviors #relationshipsfirst #traumainformed #Braindevelopment
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.5 days ago
Yes, Kids do well if they can. Thanks Guy Stephens and colleagues at @livesinthebalance for your work, changing paradigms.

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