The gift of a new point of view: ChildSightTools®Posted: August 5, 2021 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: aggression, anger, behavior, child, discipline, hitting, not listening, parenting, preschooler, tantrums Leave a comment
It’s been a while since I posted here in A Child in Mind. Welcome back, those who’ve followed me over the years. And welcome, new readers! Moms, dads, grandparents, nannies, loving relatives. Anyone searching for answers for a young child in their life.
I’ve been busy bringing life to my big goal! To extend my outreach, “help more than one family per hour.” My ChildSightTools® online school has launched! Insights and strategies from 25 years are now in short video segments.
My online courses offer accessible, engaging content. Easy and engaging stuff for busy parents of young kids. Short segments, memes, printables, a digital workbook. Here’s how to have an early childhood psychologist on your phone, tablet, laptop, wherever you are.
What exactly is ChildSightTools®?
ChildSightTools® is the name of my therapy model as well as my online school.
ChildSightTools® gives parents new lenses and new tools. Parents gain the vision (ChildSight) to see the daily life as your child does … through their eyes. Then parents learn cool-head strategies (Tools) that keep everyone calm and help children cope.
ChildSightTools® is built on this key concept that parents and children taught me:
Remarkable improvements arise. When parents understand their child’s point of view,
- parenting gets so much easier…
- there less strain and strife between adults & kids, and
- home relationships are more loving, joyful, and mutually respectful
So how do we see from the child’s point of view? Young children are so confusing! It’s so hard to grasp why they do what they do! The gap between adulthood and childhood is so vast. We often cannot remember what it felt like to be so young.
But parents like you unveiled the power of trying to see through kids’ eyes. They came to sessions beaming about unexpected progress. Progress came from their own new realizations, from looking more closely at their kids. They formed guesses, hypotheses, possible reasons for the troubles. Guesses like:
- “I’m not sure he’s doing it on purpose … I don’t think he can help it…”
- “Maybe she’s reacting to all OUR stress …”
- “Our work schedule change was harder on him than we thought…“
And they found these guesses to be true. They discovered a new mindset can change what they think, say and do. Big improvements in their child’s behavior went along with their changes.
These powerful parent mindset changes were so compelling, I had to call it something. So I named it ChildSight … seeing through the child’s eyes. Which is the total opposite of looking through one’s own adult eyes … which I playfully call “I-sight.”
When we use ChildSight and stead of I-sight, everything changes. Parents change their guesses about children’s abilities; they stop expecting children’s behavior to be logical… they pause and ponder “what does it feel like to be my child?” Which often brings tears to their eyes. Families who spontaneously found ChildSight inspired me to teach other parents how to put on those “glasses.”
How does ChildSightTools® help my child’s behavior?
ChildSightTools® helps child behavior by first helping you, the exhausted parent. In a four-step system, the first step is Uncover the Clues.
When you Uncover the Clues, you begin to see from your child’s point of view. Then, about a million things change:
- You feel less confused, more understanding
- Your whole body language changes
- You feel less angry, more sympathetic
- Your thoughts change from child-blaming to clue-hunting
- You give fewer consequences and build more bridges
With ChildSightTools®courses, parents discover new mindsets and gather new tools — on their own time. And save the time commitment and investment of therapy. ChildSightTools® doesn’t just get kids to behave. It helps parents “get” their young kids. And that changes everything.
My blog posts used to be “the observation of the week.“ Now they’ll feature elements of ChildSightTools®. Free downloads will help you along your parenting journey with a clearer set of glasses… ChildSightTools glasses.
Welcome on board! I’m so glad to have you with me. Share this blog with other struggling parents who could use a breakthrough. ChildSightTools® not only helps behavior, but helps them enjoy parenting again … or for the first time.
To learn more, visit DrBethKids.com. If you’re feeling burdened and overwhelmed, try my brief, free course. It’s called How to Stay Calm When Your Child is Melting Down in my online school. For a hearty intro to the ChildSightTools system, check out Cool the Tantrums, Feel the Peace.
Photos credit: courtesy of Pixels.com and Canva.
What Every Parent WantsPosted: July 30, 2014 Filed under: anger management, Behavior, child therapy, Discipline, Emotional self-regulation, parent workshops, parent-child relationship, Parenting, Therapy | Tags: behavior, child behavior, child development, child psychology, discipline, meltdowns, parenting, tantrums 3 Comments
Parents want lots of things for their kids.
But when they call me, there is astounding similarity in what they want. Parents arrive, hope in hand. They sit on my couch and describe children of different ages, issues, gender, and problem settings. Yet every parent wants the same thing. Improbable, but true. How can this be?
Parents yearn for their young children to connect better — with them at home, and with others outside the home. They pray for smoother interactions between their child and other kids, between their child and other adults. They wish their child could …
Get through a play date without a knock down/drag out, friend-goes-home-early;
Feel brave enough to say hello on the playground;
Handle teacher correction without feeling she’s “mean;”
Be able to tell a teacher what one feels and needs;
Have as many loving moments at home as challenging ones;
Enjoy mutually satisfying parent-child interactions.
What else do they want? Without exception, every parent who comes to my office wants “coping skills for my child.” After many years, I noticed this word mentioned in EVERY intake — not just many or most. Parents yearn for their child to acquire skills that can be remembered, applied and activated in troubling times. For their children to learn to handle a situation without aggression, withdrawal, meltdown, a freak out, or “bad choices.”
My new patient paperwork concludes with this question:
“Say you run into someone six months from now, someone who knows your family well but hasn’t seen you in a while. Somehow, things have gotten better. What would you like to be able to say?”
In the hopeful answers to this question, the same word keeps cropping up: THRIVE. “He is just thriving” or “She’s thriving now in every way …” Parents want their child to feel success, joy, light, achievement and resilient self-esteem – to thrive on every level of development.
So, parents want their children to connect and cope better, so ultimately they can thrive. Over my 20 years as a child psychologist, I see those aspirations as intertwined. But perhaps not as you’d expect.
With preschool & primary graders,
child coping is a joint venture between adult & child.
They learn and practice these skills with YOU
and apply them in the world.
Wait … don’t kids learn to cope in the therapy room?
They learn it in every room. Young children are developing their “coping systems” – a complex blend of neurological, physiological and emotional and social mechanisms for reacting and responding to challenge. Part temperament and genetics, part modeling, part impulse control, part emotional regulation. A tall order for the young ones I see. Very hard to do alone. We adults actually help or hinder children’s coping through our interactions with them.
Adult-child interactions literally build kids’ brains, fortifying the neural groundwork for either calm, confident problem solving or alarmist, defensive/offensive or escapist problem solving. What’s the difference? Asking for help versus throwing a chair; greeting an unfamiliar child versus hiding behind your leg; expressing the thought “This is too hard” versus running out of the classroom.
To help children connect, cope & thrive,
I teach adults to facilitate their child’s coping
through brain-building interactions styles.
At some point in the process of child therapy most parents mention to me, “It kind of seems like you’re training us …” Down the road, many parents also share a common disclosure, admitting somewhat sheepishly but with deep pride: “I noticed he really started to change when I started to change. I had no idea ….”
Child therapy is composed of direct child intervention AND parent guidance. Parent workshops go straight to parent guidance. Workshops pump parents full of information that lower the temperature of child problems.
For instance, parents learn why yelling never works. We think the louder we yell, the more kids will remember the lesson next time. Right? Wrong. Yelling activates the threat center in the limbic system in the brain, taking blood and oxygen away from the thinking cortex. Yelling literally incapacitates the child’s cortex from problem solving. Thinking goes off line. Good coping doesn’t get rolling like that.
You can learn to help your child Connect, Cope & Thrive via child therapy or a parent workshop. Or, you try to apply these few concepts and see if things improve:
Child coping starts at home in every interaction you share.
Your own calm coping is the best model for your child’s coping.
If your child’s “upset elevator” goes up, keep yours down.
Promote your child’s coping through calm connection that models the cool you want them to achieve. Remember, you are building his or her brain in these early years. Parents are the most important part of child therapy.
Dr. Beth’s Parent Workshops & Saturday Seminars resume September 2014 including: Savvy Solutions for Your Challenging Young Child; You & Your Anxious Child; and The Child-Sight Model: Change Your View and What You Think, Say and Do. Visit DrBethKids.com for details. Photo credit: by Beth Onufrak
What’s Wrong with “Wh” Questions? 5 Things and The 5-Word FixPosted: April 4, 2014 Filed under: anger management, bonding, Emotional self-regulation, Meltdowns, parent-child relationship, Parenting, problem solving | Tags: behavior, child, child development, child psychology, meltdowns, parenting, tantrums 14 Comments
Your child is falling apart. Another volcanic meltdown, drowning in a tsunami of tears, siren-like screams. If you knew what specifically was wrong, you’d know what specifically could help. So you resort to the strategy that helps you the most in adult life: specific questions.
In 20 years of being a child psychologist, and the years of training before, I learned the cardinal lesson: “Wh” questions shut a child up faster then you can say ice cream sandwich.
- Shut down a child’s own narration and conception of the problem
- Block a child’s sharing of the salient details to him
- Pigeonhole a child’s thinking into your categories of thought
- Build a child’s frustration with us adults
- Make a child more upset from the communication gap
May I suggest an alternative ~ my 5-word Fix: “Tell me all about it.” It may sound similar to asking … but this approach to inquiry is completely different. How so?
Naturally, you have to ask “wh” questions at some point. Probably several, to get the clarity you need. But starting out with nine “wh” questions will create more problems than progress. “Tell me all about it” may be the most productive start.
You can add “I’m so sorry you’re so upset.” When you’re lost, interject, “Help me understand; tell me some more about this, honey.” (Hint: forget about solving this problem right now; her brain needs empathy too cool the limbic system down.)
Parents: Why a Workshop?Posted: January 28, 2014 Filed under: anger management, Behavior, Discipline, Impulse control, Meltdowns, parent workshops, Parenting, Therapy | Tags: behavior, child, child psychologist, child psychology, meltdowns, parenting, tantrums, workshops 4 Comments
So, you’ve been concerned about your young child for quite some time. You’re not sure if you need a child psychologist … maybe, maybe not. Starting therapy is not like signing him up for soccer! It’s a larger decision. Some friends say get help now; others say, “it’s just a phase.” You and your spouse may not even be on the same page about your child.
A few new good ideas would be soooo nice. So you read articles, blogs, posts, tweets … but none seem to address the specific issues in your life with your child. You’d love specific parenting advice, some face-time with an expert, and the support of other struggling parents like you. A safe place where you wouldn’t have to worry about judgment. And it would be great to “test drive” a therapist before signing up for care.
That’s when a workshop may be “just what the doctor ordered.”
Workshops are one of my favorite clinical activities. For one, I can talk with grownups and don’t have to sit criss-cross applesauce on the carpet! More importantly, they serves my deep need to help more than one child per hour. Workshops serve my growing drive to get basic, customized, high-quality information to parents of young kids in a cost-effective format.
And these days, cost-effective things are more needed than ever! Workshops extend child psychology services in an affordable, comfortable, helpful way so people don’t have to forestall something this important. That being, helping your child connect, cope, and thrive.
For many years – 13 to be exact – I resisted the notion of holding parent workshops. How could I ever help children I’ve never met … especially when each child is so unique? Then it hit me. Week after week, along with the customized advice I dispense, a set of core principles and “prescriptions” kept coming in handy.
For any given child & family, about 50% of my interventions are singular and customized; the other 50% come from foundational elements of pediatric mental health & balanced parenting. These common elements are pervasively, predictably helpful across a wide range of diagnostic conditions, family circumstances and child problems. From these elements, the content of my Parent Workshops was born.
In the hot Phoenix summer of 2013, I launched my first workshops. Feedback from the initial sessions revealed what parents really need. In addition to facts, approaches & strategies, they craved something else as well. They needed the opportunity to …
- step away from their busy lives
- reflect deeply about their children
- absorb new ideas while out of the house, and
- receive laughs, tissues & high-fives from other parents.
Workshop attendees found encouragement through another week of tantrums. And cheers after sharing a breakthrough. Some of the best moments occurred as I listened in the circle. And whadya know … I actually helped children I had never even met. Several, in fact, in a few hours time. As Mr. Rogers used to sing, “It’s such a good feeling …”
Workshops resume next month.
Savvy Solutions for Your Challenging Young Child will run Wed. nites, March 5th thru April 2nd and Thurs. mornings, March 6th thru April 3rd.
Workshops in development include: My Child & Me and ADHD and You & Your Anxious Child.
For details and registration, visit the Workshops tab on my website at DrBethKids.com. If you’re a Phoenix local in the Valley of the Sun, take a look or tell a friend. If you live elsewhere, look into parent workshops near you – for facts and friendship, solutions and support.