The information contained on this blog is not a substitute for training, continuing education, clinical supervision, or the importance of individual consultation for each child and family. All identifying information, including names and other details, has been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
January 21st, 2019
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 [...]
October 15th, 2018
Amelia’s parents contacted me because of a problem in Kindergarten. Her teachers reported that she often began to cry around lunchtime, and when they asked her why she was crying, she couldn’t answer them. They tried to distract her, and even offered her a trip to the class “store”, (stocked with fun prizes) if she would [...]
Several years ago at a professional training I conducted on parental stress, an 80-year-old mother raised her hand to share an insight. A psychologist and mother, she explained that she had a 50-year-old son with special needs. “Everyone told us to institutionalize him,” she said, “that he would be functioning at the lowest levels, and [...]
Toddlers are wildly and wonderfully unpredictable. One minute, your little girl might be happily conversing with you, and the next, she’s out of control, rolling on the floor in agony because she can’t have that cupcake she just spotted on a TV commercial. For parents, this seemingly unpredictable lack of emotional control can be exasperating [...]
Four-year-old Wyatt was struggling in preschool, suddenly defying directions, and demanding more attention than usual. Nap time became a particular challenge. He would slither on the floor, trying to avoid his cot, in the process disturbing others trying to sleep. Frustrated, his teachers would ask him to stop bothering others, giving him few minutes to [...]
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” [...]
September 5th, 2017
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 [...]
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 [...]
May 22nd, 2017
An essential ingredient has been slowly disappearing from children’s lives: free, spontaneous play.
Many factors have converged to cause the decline of play. Technology absorbs more and more of children’s attention. Schools pile on academic pressures earlier and earlier. And parents are increasingly opting to place their children in structured extracurricular activities.
That makes today’s [...]
What a tantruming child needs is an adult who can first help them find calmness in the body, and then later offer teaching moments. Toddlers—all human beings, really—cannot take in new information when they are in an active tantrum state.