As a family therapist, I often hear from parents, “I’ve tried everything and my kids still won’t listen to me!” Of all the tasks of parenting, one of the most difficult is that of giving directions. Being a parent can involve not only responding to kids’ schedules and various needs, but also attending to work demands, partner and friend relationships, as well as personal and household tasks. Amidst multiple responsibilities and high levels of stress, giving directions to kids can be very challenging, especially when they ignore or resist. Here are some strategies that many parents have used so that their directions are better heard, and ultimately followed:
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This blog is written by the clinicians at Jonah Green and Associates, a mental health practice based in Kensington, MD that provides quality services for children, teens, families, and adults. It is intended as a resource for families who are seeking to expand their knowledge about mental health and mental health services, and also as a resource for families who are seeking quality mental health services, especially in the mid-Atlantic region. Please feel free to post questions and comments on any of the entries as well as on any topics or articles from our companion web site www.childandfamilymentalhealth.com.
Couples and family members who enter therapy to improve their relationships have usually endured long periods of harsh conflict. Couples might be caught in repetitive cycles of criticism and defensiveness; parents and teens might be trapped in power struggles; siblings may find themselves in escalating rivalries. Anguished to stop destructive arguments, people usually begin therapy focused on containing their conflicts. Therapists can help clients to manage their conflicts by helping them engage in respectful communication focused on thoughts and feelings, and avoiding excessive blame, criticism, and stonewalling. With improved communication, power struggles can become more manageable, and conflicts can more easily resolve.
Every parent’s number one responsibility is to keep their child safe. Since pictures of missing children began to first appear on milk containers in the 1980’s, parents .have responded by teaching their children about “stranger danger.” Many children are instructed from a very early age not to talk to strangers. Yet the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), whose photos of lost children appear on milk containers, believes that this message is both insufficient and counterproductive in keeping children safe. NCMEC and other child safety professionals do not support the message of “stranger danger” for the following reasons: [Read more…]
The loss and pain of divorce can be extraordinarily challenging. When children are involved, parents’ hurt feelings are often re-activated as they find themselves needing to communicate extensively with the very person who has caused them such hurt and pain. While most parents know that their children will be better off if they communicate amicably and cooperatively with their child’s other parent, confusion and hurt feelings can lead parents into a “conflict dance” that can generate further pain for the whole family. [Read more…]
Losing someone we love is a painful experience for anyone. For parents, it can be difficult to know how to best support children after the loss of a loved one. This can be an especially challenging task with teenagers, as their quests to prove independence can lead them to present façades of composure. Educating yourself about grief in teens can help you recognize appropriate grief in your teenager and offer support. The following questions and answers offer some clarity. [Read more…]