A pretty common concern I hear from parents is that their child loses control over their emotions and can go from 0 to 100 very quickly. Parents often want to know how to help their child regulate their emotions.
Not surprisingly, many parents struggle with this same problem too. My approach is to first help parents and children understand what is happening in their brains when their emotions take over and why this happens, before we can start exploring strategies to address this issue.
In a previous post I wrote about many of the challenges and issues faced by children and adolescents suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and the importance of obtaining a proper diagnosis which should include psychological testing and input from teachers, parents, as well as your child’s physician. Assuming that your child has been fully assessed and properly diagnosed, the next step for you, as a parent or caregiver, is to understand what you can do to help your child cope with his ADHD at school and at home. This is where a school intervention plan that is tailored to meet the particular needs of your child becomes important. Just like each child’s symptoms and difficulties are unique to them, there is no “one size fits all” school intervention plan.
I am super excited to announce the release of a new therapeutic resource for children to help cope with fear and phobias. As you probably noticed, it has been several months since I wrote a new post. Well friends, not too long after my first authored children’s therapeutic book called When Monkey Lost His Smile was published, I teamed up again with the very talented Elaheh Bos and was hard at work at writing this new therapeutic resource which is a not only a children’s story about fear but also explains what fear is and teaches seven different coping tools on how to conquer fear. This collaborative effort is a book I am very proud of and thrilled to share as I hope it will help many children (and adults, too) feel empowered and able to overcome their fear!
You may have noticed that I have written fewer posts over the past few months. The reason is I was busy doing a very different kind of writing. I want to tell you about how I came to be the author of my first therapeutic resource book for young children on sadness.
A little over a year and a half ago, I was introduced through a colleague to Elaheh Bos, a very talented children’s author and illustrator. I collaborated with her on A spot of blue, a resource book for children (ages 4 to 8) on anxiety, gave feedback and insights on strategies to help with this emotion, and wrote the foreword. Not too long thereafter, I collaborated with her on a second project, The tiger in my chest, another therapeutic resource book for children (ages 4 to 8) on anger. For this book, I wrote the Anger Management Strategies section and I must admit that I really enjoyed the process of writing, explaining, and essentially teaching young children how to tame their anger.
Well along the way, something happened that I was not expecting. Not only did I discover a passion for writing, but I developed a desire to be the author of my own therapeutic resource book for children.
Not too long ago, a friend asked me for advice about how to help her 9-year old daughter who has developed a fear of death. This young girl expressed repeatedly to her mom that she was afraid her mom and dad were going to die and then what would happen to her. Her fear seemed to stem from her grandfather’s recent minor surgery but it was becoming an issue that was affecting her mood, behaviour, and sleep. My friend was concerned about how to approach this topic with her daughter as well as how to reassure and help her.
It is common for children to develop fears at different ages and the types of fears generally change over time. Importantly, fears are not necessarily bad.
Praise is powerful. It is something we all relish. Everybody likes to be recognized for what we are doing well, for our successes, and for our efforts. It feels good to be praised. Plus, we feel motivated to continue to work harder, to do better, and to achieve more. It is no different with children. Children respond positively to being praised. They thrive when their parents, teachers or coaches acknowledge their good behaviour, effort, listening, sharing, empathy, etc. Moreover, the benefits of praise include helping to build your child’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.
With so much talk nowadays about food, diets, shape, and weight, it can be confusing as a parent to know how to help your child develop positive feelings about their body, no matter what size they are. Body image disturbances can begin as early as preschool, and can have lasting impacts. Why is it so important for children and teens to have a positive image of their body? Because young people with a positive body image are more self-confident in general and are less likely to develop eating disorders or weight-related problems such as obesity, or other emotional problems like anxiety or depression. While body image in children and teens is influenced by many different sources – including family, friends, and the media – parents play a pivotal role in helping to promote positive body image at an early age.
In my clinical practice, I often see children whose parents are either separated, in the process of divorcing, or divorced (and sometimes for many years). In some cases, the conflict between the parents can be very intense and heated, and the children feel they have to choose sides. Unfortunately, these are the children who suffer the most and have a hard time coping with all the changes that occur as a result of their parents’ decision to divorce. In contrast, when the fighting between the parents subsides after the separation, the majority of children adjust to their new reality within two years. Of course, every situation is different.
Anger is a difficult emotion for many children and adults to understand and to manage. While anger is a normal emotional reaction to a perceived or real threat, it can get too big and out of control very quickly. And among other things, anger can leave us feeling overwhelmed, confused, tired, empty, and lonely.
It’s that time of the year already when summer has come to an end and the new school year is about to or has already begun. That means getting back into the daily routine and to busy schedules, back to studying, homework, and extra-curricular activities, back to traffic, long days at work, and seemingly endless household chores. Along with the change in routine from summer to fall comes shorter days, less time for fun and leisure, greater demands and deadlines to meet, and unfortunately, more stress (which can be both good and bad). Sometimes it may seem as if there is so much happening and at such a fast pace that one barely has a free moment to slow down and just BE.