Monthly Archives: January 2014

Understanding your Teenager – The Action Plan

Last week I discussed the teenage brain from a scientific perspective and from a parents! This week, I have some tips for you to help you manage the relationship between you and your teenager. The relationship – what’s happening? This can be a time of great turmoil and conflict in the home. The adolescent is typically striving for independence and beginning to push away from their parents. They want more control of their lives, want to make the decisions for themselves and know all there is to know about everything! This is a time for power struggles as they dangle you the carrot or throw you the rope just waiting for you to take the bait – the game is on. I would strongly advise that you try and disengage in these moments as the fight that may follow will serve only to damage the relationship and push them away. They are transitioning from being dependent to wanting more independence. Do not be mistaken, they still need you, in fact, more than ever, they just have a funny way of showing it! What can you do? Connection         Connection        Connection……. Maintain and preserve the relationship Connect with them as much as …Read more →

Understanding your Teenager

ADOLESCENT = Adult + Essence ES.SE.N.CE – Emotional Spark, Social Engagement, Novelty, Creative Exploration Brainstorm by Daniel J. Siegel In Dan Siegel’s new book “Brainstorm”, you will find many of the answers to understanding your teenager. This book gives tremendous insight into the workings of the adolescent brain in its quest to becoming more integrated. As a parent, having this knowledge is to our advantage in helping us understand them, empathize with them and most importantly, maintain a connection with them. Siegel applies his knowledge into everyday “teenage events / occurrences” and uses case studies as examples. He really helps make sense of this age and stage. What is happening to their brains? The brain undergoes incredible changes during this time. The neural pathways are quite literally being reconstructed and, what’s referred to as, being pruned. There is also an enhanced dopamine release system that drives us to reward and satisfaction that is activated. Coupled with this, a type of behavior that Siegel refers to as hyperrationality occurs which is when the evaluation centre in the brain downplays or deemphasizes the negative side of things (cons) and overplays the positive (pros) resulting in an increased reward drive focus of the brain. …Read more →

Recommended Parenting Books

There are so many parenting books out there that the choice can be daunting. Which ones should you turn to and which parenting style / author should you follow? Having read many parenting books these are my current top 4 picks: Book 1: “Honey I Wrecked the Kids” by Alyson Schafer The Adlerian Parenting Style is a style that many parents are adopting today because quite simply, it works. Alyson Schafer M.A Counseling. B.Sc., an Adlerian Parenting Expert, has provided in her book “Honey I Wrecked the Kids” the blueprint to understanding – and correcting – misbehavior. It is laid out in an easy to understand format with humor and insight which will provide parents with just what they are looking for. If you have children between the ages of 2 and 10 years and can only read one book on parenting, this would be my recommendation to you. Books 2 and 3: “Girls on the Edge” and “Boys Adrift” by Leonard Sax Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D., is a family physician, psychologist and acclaimed author of many parenting books. I would highly recommend parents of children ages 9 – 12 years to consider reading these two of his many books: …Read more →

Encouraging your Child

One of the most important things you can give your child is encouragement. It will give them courage to cope with what comes their way. It can be especially difficult to do in the face of challenges like behavior problems but in itself holds the key to solving many of them. It is a powerful parenting tool. “Children need encouragement like a plant need water” – Rudolph Dreikurs Use encouraging language – avoid the use of praise Be enthusiastic – focus on strengths and assets Recognize effort and improvement: Describe rather than evaluate Be non-judgmental – “notice”: By noticing, you make it easier not to praise because it automatically takes any judgment out of it Separate the Deed from the Do-er: ie. “I love you, I do not love the behavior” Use the right tone of voice: enthusiastic, humor Ask for demonstrations: It forces your child to think about it, do it and then feel good about it Ask Questions: How do you feel about it? Invite self reflection Be a good listener: Listen when you can rather than doing all the talking Encourage your child to talk Give Choices This forces your child to think about it and take …Read more →

New Year Resolution – Family Meetings

Family Meetings can provide a great place for families to improve on communication skills and give everyone an opportunity to be heard thereby instilling a greater sense of belonging. They offer a safe place to solve problems, share concerns, listen to other people’s opinions, discuss schedules, plan vacations, divide up chores, role-model respectful relationships and a whole host of other positive things. If you have never had a family meeting, here are a few ideas for getting yourself started: Select a day and time which the family can regularly commit to. Lighting candles, using talking feathers during the meeting and having a special dessert or family game night afterwards can all work well to help create a relaxing atmosphere and an occasion to look forward to. To start the meeting, begin with some appreciations. For example, go round in a circle and say something encouraging about the person to your right or say something that you were proud to have achieved during the week. Then discuss and come to an agreement about a fun family activity for the week. Close the meeting. This sets the scene for a meeting that is non-confrontational, positive and a fun place to be. After …Read more →