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Parenting: When Being Consistent Backfires

As a psychologist, I frequently hear the same complaint from frustrated parents.  We have made every effort to be consistent in disciplining our child, they say, but our child’s problematic behaviors won’t go away. In other words, what should you do when consistency fails? Consider “Maya”, who as a toddler was pegged as a “spirited” […]

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Sensory Processing and Challenging Behaviors: Below the Iceberg

Grant, age four, was asked to leave two preschools because of misbehavior. With tousled brown hair, big brown eyes, and a playful spirit, he both charmed and confused most of the adults in his life. He had such difficulty following directions that his teachers had to reprimand him every few minutes. They described him as […]

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The Key to Supporting Victims of Childhood Trauma: Safe and Supportive Relationships

Arms and legs shackled, the teenage boy paces back and forth in a courtroom’s holding area as he awaits his hearing. This is “Tim’s” third juvenile hall visit. The charge: punching a security guard who approached him from behind, startling him into an immediate reaction. Anxious, he begins to panic, his eyes darting around the […]

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Mental Health Disorder or a Sensory Processing Challenge?

“Angela” was such a puzzle to her parents and teachers alike. In first grade, she struggled to stay in her seat, and teachers constantly reprimanded her for not listening to instructions. At home, her parents often felt confused by her constant need for movement and habit of jumping off tables and countertops. Her teacher secretly […]

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What to Consider before Starting Childhood Behavioral Therapy

Aly’s sleep problems were becoming so challenging that now her parents were losing sleep. For years, the five-year-old had woken up several times nightly. When a pediatrician’s advice failed to alleviate the problem, her parents sought help from an agency that offered their daughter sleep training using a behavioral approach. After just three weeks, Aly […]

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Three Keys to Helping Children Build Resilience

I was walking on a paved path beside the Pacific Ocean when a little girl approached on a bike, obviously in her first, tentative days of learning to ride. Spotting me in her way, she wobbled a bit to avoid hitting me. As I prepared to help her, she regained her bearings and quickly swerved […]

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The Key to Improving How IEP Teams Support Children’s Social and Emotional Needs

Since his first day of kindergarten, “Justin” had struggled to manage the demands of his new school. When teachers asked him to transition from one activity to the next, he would often fuss, kick or run away. He routinely “overreacted”  to simple tasks and activities, and it seemed that no matter how much praise, or […]

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Why It’s a Mistake to Prioritize Behavior Goals Over Social-Emotional Development

It was almost dinner- time, and little “Max” was hungry and tired. After a busy and active afternoon, he was in the midst of a lengthy home session with his behavior therapist when his mother stepped in the door from work. Smiling with delight, the boy instinctively ran toward the door to offer a greeting, […]

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Early Intervention: Don’t Let a Diagnosis Define Your Child

More children are being identified with developmental challenges and receiving early intervention than ever before. While a diagnosis is critical to securing services to help children develop to their true potential, it can also have unintended negative consequences, including stress and anxiety for parents. It’s essential to find the help, energy and time for services […]

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Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.1 day ago
The look on your face nourishes the soul of the person you are smiling at--I try to always remember this. Thanks Marilyn Price-Mitchell at Roots of Action for sharing! #Resilience #Brainhealth #relationshipsmatter #education #specialed #earlyintervention
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.2 days ago
For those interested in the top-down/bottom-up discussion, here's some background info---When we don't understand the difference, it leads to an Expectation Gap. And not just for toddlers, but for all ages. #Expectationgap #toddlerbehaviors #tantrums #positiveparenting #resilience #earlyintervention #socialemotional #polyvagaltheory https://monadelahooke.com/1210-2/
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.4 days ago
Many have asked me about the difference between top-down and bottom-up behaviors. A common misperception is that all children's behaviors are top-down -- deliberate misbehaving-- and so they are managed through punishments, consequences or rewards.

That’s the problem. Not all behaviors are top-down; many disruptive behaviors are actually bottom-up.

Bottom-up behaviors do not respond to rewards, consequences or punishments. They are brain-based stress behaviors that require understanding, compassion and actively helping a child feel safe. When we punish a bottom-up behavior, we can easily make matters worse. And this is why so many of our approaches fall short, or even deepen a child or teen’s emotional and behavioral challenges. Understanding the difference will reduce suffering for so many—including those from loving homes, to foster children who have been needlessly blamed for their behaviors, and neurodivergent children inappropriately disciplined for their natural inclinations. #Beyondbehaviors #ACES #Parenting #Paradigmshift #Neurodiversity #specialeducation #Childwelfare
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.5 days ago
Thanks Hidden Treasure with Tracey Farrell for this reframe, great synchrony with #Beyondbehaviors!
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.
Mona Delahooke, Ph.D.6 days ago
Thanks DMDD Journey for such a nice reframe of the term "attention-seeking". #Beyondbehaviors #relationshipsfirst