Children and teens come
into counseling for many reasons including emotional, behavioral
and/or academic problems including drugs and alcohol. The
family may be stuck in a developmental stage, such as, divorce,
remarriage, loss of a parent, or launching a child into adulthood.
Most of these problems can be resolved most effectively in Family
Counseling. Children may also need Individual Counseling
for more severe emotional, physical, and sexual traumas or if parents
are not emotionally available or motivated. Parents already
have a relationship with the child, and with coaching and support,
they are better able to provide the nurturing as well as the discipline
their child needs.
Why Do Kids Do What They Do?
Young children are the most vulnerable members of the family and,
also, the most malleable and changeable. If we have nurtured them
as infants, they learn to trust us and they want to please us. Children
respond to the attention that parents, teachers, counselors, and
other significant adults give them. They
do what they do to get your attention. If they can't
get your positive attention, they will go for the
negative attention rather than no attention. Positive
or negative attention will shape a child's behavior.
Remember to praise the behavior you want to increase
and ignore the behavior you want to decrease.
Behavior Modification Techniques
Once you understand this basic behavior modification principal,
it is easy to get kids to listen, follow direction, and do their
chores without being told, etc. If they have a loving relationship
with their parents and caretakers, they want to please and they
want to be accepted and loved, just like adults. They are
little persons and should be treated the way you would want to be
treated. Basic parenting skills such as Use of Effective
Praise, Ignoring, Mild Social Disapproval, Time to Think, 1,2,3
Magic, Natural Consequences (if then, contingencies), and Behavior
Modification Charts really work if used appropriately.
Parenting classes can help,
and family counseling is even better!
Nature vs. Nurture Controversy!
Research shows that basic temperaments, such as passivity and aggressivity,
seem to be present within 24 hours of a child's birth. But parents
and caretakers, can shape a child's behavior in many ways.
If you say what you mean, mean what you say, and
do what you say you will do, kids will listen and follow like little
soldiers. After awhile, they even walk and talk like their
Your Child's Ethical and Moral Development Depends on Parents
Working Together! Although important, soldiering is not
all we want to teach them. We want them to be able to resist peer
pressure, say no to drugs, and take responsibility for their own
happiness and well-being. We want them to learn to delay gratification,
learn to play cooperatively, to complete tasks, do well in school,
manage money, give to those less fortunate, to have friends, to
be honest and forthright, be sociable, loving, helpful, and productive
persons. We want them to grow ethically and morally and
follow the rules of their parents, God, and their Country. Children
force us to grow and get clear about our values before we can teach
them to our children.
After all, the apple doesn't
fall too far from the tree!
Listen to your Child!
By age 11-12, we want them to think for themselves, take responsibility
for their decisions, know why they make them, and take responsibility
for solving their own problems.They may need help to think
this through. By adolescence, they are quick to point out
our hypocrisies. Be willing to look at yourself and see if there
is any truth to what they are saying and be willing to acknowledge
your shortcomings and change them if necessary. You want
to praise their ability to think for themselves and make good decisions.
Learn how to truly listen to your child and understand how they
think and feel about things, and why they think the way they do.
The Launching Stage!
By the time we launch them into adulthood, we want them to be physically,
emotionally, and financially independent adults. If they
choose to not follow rules at home, and they leave prematurely,
we are forced to let go and let them learn through natural consequences.
If they are old enough to set their own rules, they are old enough
to take care of themselves. With freedom comes responsibilities.
This is a difficult initiation process for many parents. For most
mothers and some fathers, it feels like your heart is being ripped
out. As adults, we have dreams for our children; we want them to
have good friendships, happy marriages, a good education, successful
careers, and children of their own, if they so desire. Remember,
we can only teach them what we ourselves have learned. If our marriage
did not succeed, get help to make sure the next one does. If in
a remarried family, read books, and educate yourself about the
pitfalls of remarriage and get help if need be.
The Me Nobody Knows, A Guide for Teen Survivors (of sexual abuse),
Barbara Bean and Shari Bennett
Where Did I Come from (a child’s first book about sex, age 3-12) by
How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, Sharon Scott
How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies, Kate Cohen-Poey
Alexanders Amazing Adventures, Values for Children, Linda and Richard Eyre
The Children’s book of Virtues, William Bennett
Giving the Love that Heals, A Guide for Parents, Harville Hendirx and
Parent Guide to Divorce, The Children’s Book, Richard Gardner
The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25-Year Landmark Study (Hyperion) by Judith Wallerstein
The Wonder of Boys, Michael Gurian
DON'T WAIT, GET HELP FOR YOUR CHILD NOW!
A Family Counselor Marriage and Family Counseling from GLORY JORDAN LCSW, DCSW, CHT
Director and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Board Certified Diplomate