Problematic Behaviors in children are the warning signals to adults that they need support.

The Red Flags of Challenging Childhood Behaviors

Seeing Behaviors as Red Flags

When children demonstrate behavioral problems, it’s a signal to the grownups in charge that they need support in some way.  Children communicate to adults how they are doing primarily through their behavior.  This is due to normal brain development.  Because the areas of the brain that are responsible for expression through language (verbally communicating, “I’m not ok.”) are still developing, children show us how they are feeling through their behavior. Learn More...

research proves spanking ineffective and harmful

On the Topic of Spanking…

For more than 10 years, I’ve worked with families who come in to see me while (because of) experiencing childhood behavioral challenges. Over the years, I’ve handled parents’ questions about spanking in different ways as a Therapist. As my experience and expertise in this field have grown, my opinions and recommendations about corporal punishment have become more and more bold.

Corporal punishment has never “set well” with me, from a theoretical standpoint. And it just feels wrong, from a person standpoint.  Let’s stop and think about it for a minute.  An adult, with a fully developed brain, who is much bigger and stronger than a child is intentionally physically hurting a child, who has a developing brain not yet capable of rational thinking, to correct a behavior with which the adult is dissatisfied about. What?! That doesn’t make sense to me. If an adult physically harmed another adult, this would warrant an assault charge.  Children are people too, and it’s about time our parenting approaches reflected that. Learn More...

A Reference For Talking with Your Children About Traumatic World Events

Some time ago, I was working with a teenage girl in therapy to address her anxiety and fearfulness, which was impacting her ability to participate in activities outside of her home.  Primarily, her anxiety presented as a constant worry that Something bad is going to happen.  We had been steadily making progress in therapy as she was learning that the world around her wasn’t always so dangerous, and then our city experienced a traumatic, hate-filled, violent event.  The session after that incident in our town, she sat across from me on the couch and asked me a question that struck me and still does to this day, “How can we try to convince ourselves that the world is safe when really it isn’t?”  It was a very raw, emotional question, and I was honest with her that day when I replied, “I don’t know.” Learn More...

Toddler Meltdowns

As a parent of a toddler, this article titled “Toddlers, Meltdowns and Brain Development: why parents need to ditch traditional discipline” on really struck me.  Here’s an excerpt:

“…remember a tantrum is not a reflection on you. Let’s repeat that; your child’s tantrum is not a reflection on you or your parenting. What is a reflection on you is your response to the tantrum. Can you find the courage to disable generational imprinting and cultural expectations and be the calm in your child’s storm? You cannot control another person, but you can choose your response.” Learn More...

Sleep Myths Debunked!

As a Therapist, I often try to talk with clients about the importance of quality sleep and work with them to find ways to improve their sleep habits.  After all, sleep is responsible for so much of our physical, emotional and mental health!  Oftentimes people come to see me because of difficulty managing a negative emotion such as anger, fear, and/or sadness.  It seems many people don’t realize how much credit we should give to Sleep for our very own emotion regulation abilities! CNN published a SUPER helpful article (“Wake up, people: You’re fooling yourself about sleep, study says”) earlier this week about sleep myths, which I found really helpful.  Please take a look: Learn More...

homework challenges

Do You Hate Homework as Much as Your Kids Do?

Homework can be a challenging time for many families.  Oftentimes, it can be one of the biggest routine struggles of the week, regularly resulting in yelling and tears.  Out of ideas? Some small tweaks in your homework game may help reduce some of the friction surrounding this time of day for you and your family.  Here’s some ideas:

Give your kids a screen-free break after getting home from school. 

Allow them to have a snack and chill out for about 30 minutes, but no screen time.  My experience is that having this 30 minute break time be tech-free allows kids to reset and refocus themselves, and it eliminates potential battles of transitioning from screen time to homework time.  Let them have a snack, and then if it’s nice outside, encourage playtime with your family pet, swinging on a swing, or kicking around a soccer ball.  There’s no better reset than time spent outside being physically active and having some fun.

  • Designate a time of day for homework. 

    This sets school performance and completion of homework as a priority in your home.  Make sure it’s plenty of time before bedtime so that bedtime doesn’t get hectic or even pushed back later.

  • Designate a Homework Zone.

    By designating a space that is set aside for homework, you can eliminate a lot of distractions and barriers to the process.  Consider the space to be a table (sitting at a table helps with focus) away from distracting televisions/electronics.  Stock the Homework Zone with supplies your child may need for homework activities.  You may also want to consider a location in your home where you’re easily able to multi-task while your kiddo is doing their homework.  This allows you to be present when needed but also allows you to get other things done when you’re not needed as much.  It can also let you step away so you’re not hovering, which could impact the homework process negatively.

  • Be consistent. 

    Routine makes a difference.  I understand that the family schedule probably changes day-by-day, as it does for most families who have children involved in after-school activities, but try to stay on schedule as much as possible.

  • Know what your kiddo is up to academically.

    Have an open line of communication with his/her teachers.  Many teachers are open to emailing parents who are interested in keeping up with what’s happening in the classroom.  During the school-year, your child’s teacher likely spends more time with them than you do, so engage with them about your child’s progress, areas of growth, and their social/emotional development.  You can also participate in parent portals if your child’s school offers this.

    • Use homework time as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your child. 

      Be a teammate.  Stay encouraging and helpful.  No child struggles academically on purpose.  When you present yourself as an ally to your child, it allows them to feel more equipped to learn the skills associated with learning and studying.  If they seem to be struggling with a certain skill, be curious with them about it and see if they have any ideas of possible solutions to the challenge they’re facing and offer possible solutions when appropriate.

    • Help your child learn study skills. 

      Allow them the opportunity to become problem solvers, learn to plan, set goals, and prioritize activities. After all these are skills that first need to be learned and then need to be practiced.  Don’t swoop in and do it for them, or your children never have the chance learn to be independent thinkers or master the skills necessary to thrive academically in the future.

    • Know when to take a break. 

      If your emotions are high during homework time, consider how big your child’s emotions must be! Sometimes a ten minute break is helpful.  Walk away from the Homework Zone. Do something physical. Have a drink of water. Go outside for a few moments.  Everyone needs a break from challenges at times, and children sometimes don’t recognize when this kind of break is needed.

    • Recognize when to get additional help. 

      Still having struggles at Homework Time? You may want to consider scheduling some one-on-one time for your child with their teacher, finding a study group, or seeking out professional tutoring services.  Increase your support network for you and your child by expanding it to include others who specialize in this work. Their expertise may just be what your family needs.

    Homework time doesn’t have to be a daily crisis in your home.  Implementing some small changes may help ease some of the tension in your home during this time of day.  Good luck, Team! Learn More...

    Family Therapists in Louisville, Kentucky

    Is Your Family Overscheduled?

    Parenting is a balancing act, and boy is there an awful lot of balancing to do!  We want EVERYTHING for our kids and if we stretch our schedules (and ourselves!) thinner and thinner, we can fit it all in, right?! After all, if they’re involved with healthy hobbies and activities, that keeps them out of trouble with some not-so-healthy alternatives, right?  

    Gifted Musically? Ok, where’s the sign-up sheet for lessons? Learn More...

    Why Should I Limit My Child’s Screen Time?

    I get it.  Allowing our kids screen time isn’t just about making the kids happy.  Sometimes it makes the adults happy… Sometimes parents just need to take a shower.  Prepare the next meal.  Take a five minute break from the most difficult job in the world – parenting.  Sometimes it’s nice to go potty without little eyes watching us or little hands either getting into something poisonous or grabbing the toilet paper and running with it, redecorating your house with the soft, white paper.  Learn More...