You can improve parent/child relationships
Few things are as powerful and fulfilling as the experience of being part of a family. Family life is both challenging and wonderful, sometimes at the same time. Family Counseling can take many forms. Parents can meet with me privately, I can meet with siblings, or meet with parents with one or more of their children present. Family work begins with giving each member space to be heard. There are times when certain family conflicts go unmentioned, yet every member knows about it. Examining these conflicts in therapy can take away their power, enabling the family to work on them in session. Family sessions are usually scheduled as an adjunct to individual psychotherapy and are typically held less frequently.
“THERE ARE NO INDIVIDUALS IN THE WORLD, ONLY FRAGMENTS OF FAMILIES”
Many times, parents only need to adjust their discipline, parent differently or form a stronger alliance with the other parent to see changes in their children.
In the early 1990’s, I created and implemented the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter’s Positive Parenting Program. This program offered low cost or no cost services to the community. I also taught parenting classes and provided individual and family therapy to county residents.
As parents, you are the greatest influence in your child’s life. Having taught parenting classes, having used these methods to raise my own children, and having the experience of using them both in schools and in social skills groups, has given me a depth of knowledge that has proven to be helpful to my clients. My go-to parenting strategy is outlined in the book Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen, EdD. Natural and logical consequences provide the best form of learning for children, but every situation is different, and I am far from a “one size fits all” clinician.
When providing discipline to your child, it’s natural to have intense feelings. The word discipline comes from the word disciple, which means to teach. Providing discipline is a gift. You are preparing your child to live in the world, to handle disappointment and to treat others with respect.
There are also times when children may need a brief behavioral system, or a reinforcement system to help shape some particularly problematic behaviors like aggression, lying, enuresis and/or encopresis. Some challenging behaviors require an open minded and a well-versed therapist to collaborate and create a discipline system that works best for your family. Usually, most parents will use some combination of different parenting methods. Before using a behavioral intervention with your children, it’s important to have a basic knowledge of parenting methods as well as knowing the pros and cons of each method.
Definitions of Common Parenting Terms
Natural consequences provide the best form of learning and all you do is stay out of the way and let the child experience them. For instance, if your child refuses to wear a jacket at soccer practice, they might experience the natural consequence of feeling cold.
Pros: Easy to implement
Cons: Not always appropriate, especially if there is a risk to the child emotionally or physically
Sometimes a natural consequence is not safe or appropriate for your child. The next best parental action is to devise a logical consequence. For example, if your child has been drawing on the walls, they can lose the privilege of having art supplies for a reasonable amount of time, clean the wall, or both. When constructing a logical consequence, remember the three Rs of logical consequences: They should be related to the behavior you are trying to change, reasonable and respectful.
Pros: Your child is the most likely to learn from a consequence because they are designed to make them reflect on their own behavior.
Cons: Can be difficult to create, especially if you are angry at the time
Rewards and Punishment
Pros: Can produce the desired change, especially in the short run.
Cons: Rewards typically lose their effectiveness over time. Because they are not usually related to a particular behavior, they provide few opportunities for learning. When over-used, children and teens can feel controlled, become resentful and rebel.
Pros: easy to implement, can enhance your relationship
Cons: child can become overly dependent on praise
“AS A SOCIETY, WE NEED TO FOCUS MORE ON WHAT A CHILD CAN DO THAN WHAT THEY CANNOT DO”
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Dunwoody, GA 30350