Category Archives: Children Counseling
Temper tantrums are common during a child’s toddler years, but they happen at any age. Even adults throw fits at times when they don’t get what they want. They just have a better way of controlling their emotions and reactions. Some temper tantrums are signs of underlying issues that need to be dealt with. Others are simply a child upset about not getting something. It’s up to you as the parent to determine which is which.
In this discussion, we will help you interpret your child’s fits so you can have a better understanding of what’s going on.
Sudden Changes In Mood Or Behavior
Is your child acting more irritable or demanding than he or she normally is? This may be due to hormonal changes that come with aging, but it could also be a sign of something else going on in the child’s life. For instance, if your son suddenly gets angry when you give him a hug in public, it may be because other children are picking on him at school. If your daughter gets mad that she cannot buy a certain outfit or phone accessory, it could also be the result of bullying.
There are a number of issues that can change a child’s mood and behavior unexpectedly – bullying, peer pressure, social media influences, fights with friends, stress about conflicts at home, etc. It’s not always easy to figure out what exactly is causing the change, but it is important to think about it. Try to determine the real reason why your child is behaving differently, and then do what you can to resolve the root of the problem.
Tantrums Of Entitlement
Some temper tantrums occur because a child thinks he or she is entitled to something you’re not giving out. For example, your child may throw a fit because you will not let him stay up past a certain hour on a school night. Tantrums of entitlement have become significantly more common over the last few decades because of influences in television and on the internet. Children see a show like Toddlers and Tiaras or Super Sweet 16 and they think they should have the same lavish lifestyle that those children are getting. Not only is that unreasonable, but it’s also unrealistic.
You can limit the amount of influence your child gets from these programs by setting controls for what he or she watches. If you use a program like Hulu or Netflix, you can set controls to only allow certain categories of shows to display. Be careful about YouTube videos because ones that may seem innocent could be riddled with foul language and poor behavior that you might not want your child exposed to. As with anything in parenting, your best bet is to monitor what your child is watching and doing as closely as possible so you can make adjustments accordingly.
Setting Rules And Expectations
You may be able to prevent or reduce the severity of your child’s temper tantrums by setting clear rules and expectations in your house. Children thrive in a structured environment where events occur on a consistent, predictable schedule. School work must be completed before play time. Your child gets a small snack after coming home from school. Bedtime is the same every night. TV time is the same every night…You get the idea. This structure will make your child less likely to want the things he or she cannot have because you have already instilled guidelines to follow.
Working With a Child Counselor To Interpret Tantrums
If you are having trouble getting through to your child or you just can’t figure out the reasons for his or her behavior, a child counselor from Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan would be more than happy to assist you. Our family counselors and child therapists specialize in various areas of mental health and behavioral development. We will pair you with the best counselor for your unique situation so you and your child can get the help you need. Learn valuable skills that will help your child grow into the successful, happy and healthy person you’ve always wanted him to be.
Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas – whatever title you call him in your household, chances are Santa has played a role in your child’s life. A staggering 83% of five year olds in America believe in Santa, but that number drops to 33% for nine year olds. This brings up an important question: When do children stop believing in Santa Claus? What should I do to help my child during this transition? Here are some answers from our child counselors in Michigan.
When Do Most Children Stop Believing In Santa Claus?
There are several different circumstances that influence a child’s belief (or non-belief) in Santa. For instance, a child with older siblings may stop believing at a younger age because his brothers and sisters no longer believe. A child’s religion could also play a role in when he or she stops believing. About half of children across all religious groups stop believing between the ages of 5 and 8, while another third stop believing between 9 and 12. Our child may change his or her beliefs before or after those age groups – if he or she chooses to believe at all.
Signs Your Child No Longer Believes In Santa Claus
Most children will start asking questions when they no longer believe in Santa Claus. “Is Santa real?” “How does Santa accomplish X, Y, and Z?” The questions can come in many forms, but they are signs that your child is contemplating the concept of Santa.
Your child may also show resentment when you say something about Santa – “Mom, I know that was you.” Some children slowly transition out of the belief without any direct conversation about it. The parents just “know” and the children just “know.” There is no need for discussion.
What To Do When Your Child Asks Questions About Santa
You can choose how long you want to keep the magic alive in your household. If your child is older and is getting bullied at school for believing in Santa, you may need to have “the Santa talk.” Your family counselor or child counselor can help you through that process if your child is in therapy. Be as honest as you can, and respect any questions that your child asks you. Your child will be confused at first, but ultimately he or she will appreciate the honesty.
The first semester of school is coming to an end, and by now you have probably already seen a preview of your child’s grades. Poor academics can be caused by a number of issues, from anxiety to ADHD to bullying and beyond. Whatever the case may be, you can use your child’s holiday school breaks to help him or her get better grades and prepare for next semester. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Figure Out What Is Causing The Bad Grades
If your child’s grades are lower than expected, try to figure out what the source of the problem might be. Did your child change schools? Is he having trouble making friends? Is there a specific subject he’s struggling with? One of the child counselors at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan would be happy to work with your child to determine the root cause of his or her academic struggles. We have several mental health and behavioral experts who specialize in child academics. They will work with you to get your child back on the right track.
Ask The Teacher About Extra Credit Options
Some teachers will allow a child to improve his or her grades with extra credit work. Fall and winter breaks are great times for these projects because your child will have more free time throughout the day. Talk to your child’s instructor about extra credit options he or she may have, and do what you can to help along the way. Get the project completed early on in the break so you can look over it and make any adjustments necessary. You can use the remaining free time as a reward for your child’s hard work. It’s extra motivation to get the extra credit finished.
Get Ahead On Lessons
If you know what your child will be working on in the next few weeks or over the next semester, you can use this time to get a jump start on the material. Of course, if your child is behind on work, you might need to use the break to play catchup. What you work on will depend on your child’s grade level and attention span, but you should be able to get something accomplished. If not, make your own lessons! Read a book together, work on some spelling games, use math to bake holiday meals together – the possibilities are endless.
To learn more about how child counseling could improve your kid’s grades and academic performance, contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers at (248) 244-8644.
ADHD treatment starts at home. Even if your child is prescribed medication for his or her ADHD, the environment you create at home will make a big difference in his or her progress and success. As part of our ADHD therapy programs in Michigan, we recommend lifestyle adjustments parents can make to improve their child’s symptoms and experiences. Listed below are some at-home ADHD treatments you can use for your child.
Encourage Physical Activities And Exercise
Exercise is a natural treatment for ADHD. The dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin that the brain produce during physical activity are similar to what a child may get from ADHD medication. Of course, you don’t need a prescription to keep your kid active. All you need is a ball and a yard to play in. Find physical activities that your child is excited about – riding bikes, hiking, playing a sport, dance, martial arts, etc. There are many options out there, and all of them will help reduce your child’s ADHD symptoms.
Create A Consistent Meal And Snack Schedule
Creating a schedule for your child’s meals and snacks will help maintain his or her blood sugar levels, which play a role in your child’s ability to concentrate throughout the day. Try to plan meals and snacks no more than three hours apart from one another. For instance, you may have breakfast at 8 AM, lunch at 11 AM, a snack at 2 PM and dinner at 5 PM. If your child is hungry after dinner, you could plan another snack time before bed. The more consistent you are with this routine, the less irritable your child will be throughout the day.
Note that foods with protein and complex carbohydrates help to reduce hyperactivity in children. Try to plan a healthy, well-balanced diet for your child that is rich in iron, zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these will do wonders for your child’s symptoms, and they will help control his or her weight at the same time.
Set A Strict Sleeping Schedule
Sleep plays a vital role in the brain’s ability to process thoughts and emotions. Even as an adult, you may notice that you feel tired and less alert when you have an irregular or insufficient sleeping schedule. These side effects are worse in children, especially those who suffer from ADHD. As part of your at-home ADHD treatment, set a strict sleeping schedule that allows your child to get plenty of rest for the following day.
Establish a regular bed time, and turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed (televisions, phones, tablets, etc.). Create a wind-down period that gets your child calm before bed, such as reading a book quietly or taking a bath. Limit physical activity in these late hours, and you should see great success with your sleeping arrangement.
Parenting is tough. That’s not a secret. Children and parents do not always see eye-to-eye, regardless of how old they are. Having a fight with your child is natural, but it is important to reconnect with him or her once the argument is over. This helps strengthen your family bond, and it emphasizes how important your child is in your life. Whether you’ve had a bad day or your child has been particularly defiant, you can use these tips from our Detroit family counseling center to reconnect with your child after a fight.
Approach With An Apology When Applicable
If the argument with your child started because you were feeling irritable, stressed, or overwhelmed, you can start the reconnection process with a simple apology. This shows that you are accountable for your actions, which will teach your child to behave the same in the future. For instance, you may say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry for reacting the way I did. I should have given you a chance to explain the entire situation to me. I’m ready to listen now.”
Of course, you don’t have to apologize in every situation. If your child was blatantly in the wrong, you have every right to be upset and disciplinary to prevent your child from doing or saying the same thing again. With that in mind, make sure you take time to assess how you personally contributed to the start or escalation of the argument so you can own up to your actions just like you would want your child to own up to his or hers.
Have A Do-Over
Life doesn’t always give you second chances, but families do. One of the beauties of the unconditional love between a parent and child is the fact that you can re-do mistakes without judgment from your family member. In this case, you may want to have a simple do-over. After cooling off for a moment, you can talk to your child about how the argument got out of hand and agree to a “truce” of sorts. “Hey, can we start over? I don’t think we took the right approach to this.” As long as you both enter the new conversation with an open mind, you should have a positive result.
If you feel yourself getting upset once again in your do-over, try to control your tone and phrasing. Your child will feed off your emotions, so it is best to keep them as calm and approachable as possible.
Hug It Out
Children often need a physical reconnection after an argument – something that validates that you still love them and everything is going to be alright. Think back to episodes of The Brady Bunch or Full House where family members hug one another after a disagreement. This may seem silly on television, but it does wonders for helping a family stay connected after an argument. No matter what happened between you and your child, a loving hug may be able to take the tension away.
If you are not in the mood for a full-blown hug, you may be able to establish that physical connection by sitting next to your child and reading a book. You may give your child a kiss on the head and talk about how you don’t like arguing with him or her. The end goal is to help your child realize that even when you’re mad at one another, there is still plenty of love to go around.
Find A Middle Ground
There is always room for negotiation, whether you’re talking to a toddler or a teenager. One of the biggest processes we work on in our Metro Detroit family counseling programs is helping families learn how to communicate with one another. Parents must learn to listen to their children just as much as children must listen to their parents. It’s all about finding a middle ground without necessarily giving in to your child’s every request. Ask your child what he or she thinks a good compromise would be: “I want this right now, but you want that. What do you think we can do so both of us are happy?” Hopefully the two of you can come up with a winning plan for everyone.
Identify The Root Cause Of The Argument
What is really going on here? What’s the bottom line? Your child may seem upset about one thing, when really it is a reaction to something else going on. For instance, you getting upset about his or her bad grades may spark an argument because the bad grades are the result of bullying or childhood anxiety. These underlying causes aren’t always easy to pinpoint, but they will do wonders for helping you connect with your child. In every situation, try to figure out what the real issue is behind the anger, defiance, or outburst, and then work on ways to fix that problem moving forward. Your child counselor in Metro Detroit can help you work through these issues as a family so you can see success as quickly as possible.
Is your child worried about going back to school? Some kids get excited about seeing their friends and advancing to a new grade, but many other kids in Michigan experience intense anxiety about entering a new environment. If your child has been behaving oddly over the last few weeks, it may be the result of back to school anxiety. The tips below will help you get through the anxiety and onto exciting scholastic endeavors.
Attend The Open House At School
If your child’s school has an open house, make sure you and your child go to it. This gives you a chance to see where your child will be learning, and it will give your child a chance to meet his classmates, make new friends, and get re-acquainted with old friends. Think about the anxiety you feel when starting a new job. By touring the work place and meeting people that you’ll be working with, you can feel a little more comfortable in the new environment. The open house at your child’s school provides him or her with the same opportunity.
Also keep in mind that attending the open house will allow you to talk to your child’s teacher. In our recent post about preparing Metro Detroit students for academic success, we discussed the opportunities open houses provide for parents when preparing their children for the upcoming academic year. You can learn helpful techniques to continue your child’s education at home, and you can see what subjects your child may need help in over the next few months. If your school does not have an open house, see if you can schedule a time to meet with the teacher before school starts to learn this vital information.
Set Up Play Dates
If you meet other parents at the open house, you may consider scheduling a few play dates for your child before school starts. Having a friend to bond with at school will help curb your child’s anxiety. Some Metro Detroit schools have lists of contact information so parents can stay in touch with one another (email addresses, Facebook names, phone numbers, etc.). You could use and participate in that list so you can stay connected with other parents from the school. Their children may be facing back to school anxiety just like yours.
Establish A School-Like Schedule
Don’t wait until the last minute to get your child in “school mode.” A couple weeks before school starts, you should put him or her on a schedule similar to what he or she will experience at school. This includes an early bed time, an early wake-up time, and meals/snacks during the parts of the day he or she will most likely eat on a school day. The idea here is to get your child in a routine. Sudden changes can trigger anxiety for anyone – not just children. Easing into a school schedule will give your child one less thing to stress about.
Have A Practice School Day
Practice makes perfect, right? You might as well apply that principle to your child’s back-to-school experience. This is especially true for young children who have never gone to school before. Here are some different tasks you could try on your practice day:
- Getting up and ready in the morning. Wake your child up early and make sure he or she gets dressed, brushes his or her teeth, eats breakfast, etc. This will also help you gauge how long it will take your child to get ready in the morning, in case you have to set up an earlier wake-up time.
- Have lunch in a cafeteria. If this is the first year that your child will be eating in the cafeteria, give him or her a chance to practice at it. Go to a buffet restaurant and teach your child how to carry a tray, walk through the line, etc. That way he or she can eat lunch at school with confidence.
- Work on the computer. Most classrooms in Metro Detroit now have computers in them for children to learn on. If not, they have computer labs that children visit a few times a week for lessons. Practice working on the computer with your child, even if it is something as simple as learning how to move the mouse around or how to click on an icon on the screen. These are skills your child may need in school.
- Ride on a bus. Use public transportation to teach your child how to behave on a bus. Teach him or her to stay seated, hold his or her backpack in place, maintain a quiet voice, etc. You may also want to drive around on your child’s bus route to teach him or her about the stops along the way.
- Go to the library. Pick out a few books to bring home and read with your child before school starts. You could also consider reading the books in the library to show your child how to be quiet in the building.
You can ask your child’s teacher about other ways you can prepare him or her for the day-to-day routine of school, and that will make your child all the more confident when the big day actually comes around.
Make School Exciting
Children thrive on reward systems. If you can make school seem like a reward instead of a chore, your child will be more excited to attend. Talk about all the great things your child gets to do at school, like crafts, recess, music lessons, or anything else that your child enjoys. If your child is not thrilled about school itself, you may set up rewards that he or she can earn while in school. For instance, if your child has good behavior all week long, you could give him or her more TV time on the weekend. If your child gets good grades every quarter, you may rewards him or her with a trip to the movies. The setup is entirely up to you, but it could be all the motivation your kid needs to get over his or her back to school anxiety.
Listen To Your Child’s Concerns And Address Them
Why does your child feel nervous about the first day of school? What is sparking his or her childhood anxiety? Is it riding the bus, making new friends, being away from home…? Talk to your child about why he or she is feeling anxious, and do what you can to address the concerns that come up. For example, if your child is worried about being away from you, you can explain that you will be able to spend every night together after you get home.
If you are having trouble identifying the cause of your child’s anxiety, you may consider reaching out to a child counselor like the ones we have here at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers. They are trained to notice signs of anxiety, childhood depression, low self-esteem, and much more. The counselor will help your child get through whatever struggles he or she is facing, and you can learn valuable lessons for at-home care. Get the tools you need to help your child succeed, and he or she is sure to have a great year in school.
The day-to-day struggles of having a child with oppositional defiant disorder can wear down on a person over time. Even the strongest parents have their breaking points, and it’s real easy to lash out at a child who doesn’t seem to understand or respect your authority. Having an outburst as a parent only makes the child’s ODD behaviors worse, and it does nothing to solve the problem at hand. Let’s take a look at some anger management tips for parents of ODD children that you can use to calm your nerves during an argument.
Identify Your Own Escalation
In a previous parenting guide, we discussed the importance of de-escalating ODD behaviors. As important as it is for you to know when your child’s anger is starting to escalate, it’s also important for you to notice when you personally are starting to escalate. Does your heart start beating quickly? Do you feel your ears getting hot? Do you ball up your fists? The physical signs alone may be enough for you to realize that your emotions are getting out of your hand.
Find Calming Strategies That Work For You
Once you recognize your own escalation, you can work on ways to calm yourself down. What works for you may not work for other parents in Michigan. Here are some different techniques you can try:
- Count backwards before you say what you’re thinking. This refocuses your mind and also gives you a chance to collect your thoughts. Some parents only need to count from 10 to 1, and others need to count back from 50, 100, or more. Use whatever time you need to gather your thoughts before speaking to your child.
- Practice deep breathing – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Deep breathing will slow your heart rate down and relax your body as a whole. Inhale slowly for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 2 seconds, and then exhale for 4 seconds. Repeat several times over until you feel yourself getting calmer.
- Close your eyes. Give your brain a moment to take a break from the situation at hand. Focus on absolutely nothing – just the blackness around you. Your child may soon recognize this as a sign that you are getting upset, which could help to de-escalate the argument as a whole.
- Use long-term relaxation strategies, like meditation, yoga, walking, individual counseling, etc. Talk to a therapist about your experience to find out other ways to keep calm in the moment and as a whole.
Minimize Stress In Other Areas Of Your Life
Stress can quickly shorten your fuse. If you’re worn out from work, bills, family conflicts and the like, you are more at-risk of lashing out in an argument with your child. Remove yourself from stressful situations, even if that means cutting ties with someone in your life. You need to focus on doing what’s best for you so you can be better prepared to handle your child’s emotional fluctuations.
Take Care Of Your Personal Health
Parenting a child with ODD takes a lot of energy. Eating a well-balanced diet and sleeping at least 6 hours a night will help you maintain your energy levels and personal health. When you feel better, you’re better prepared to take on stressful situations, like an outburst from your child. Your hygiene also has an impact on the way you feel, so make sure you take the time to shower, brush your teeth, wash your hair, etc.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
As with most relationships, not every battle is worth having. As difficult as it may be to let some things go, you have to figure out if the outcome of the argument is worth the strain it puts on you and your child. Do a quick cost/benefit analysis, where you assess the pros and cons of the fight you’re going to have with your child. If it’s something small like your child rolling his eyes or being in a bad mood, you may let it slide from time to time to save your energy for bigger fights that may come later on.
Get A Good Support System
You don’t have to go through this struggle alone. Having a strong support system will give you even more strength to deal with the difficulties that come with ODD children. Family members and friends are the foundation of most support systems, but you could also seek support from people at church, your family counselor, or other parents who have children with ODD. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed in the moment, call on someone from your support system and talk about what you’re going through.
In addition to surrounding yourself with good people for support, you need to be select about who you share your parenting experiences with. Not everyone understands oppositional defiant disorder, which means that some people may judge your parenting techniques or your child’s behavior because they don’t realize what’s actually going on at home. If you have a few family members who constantly tell you that you are a bad parent or that you have a bad child, they don’t need to be a part of your go-to support system.
Apologize When You’re In The Wrong
Some parents are afraid to apologize to their children even if they’re in the wrong. The idea here is that apologizing gives the child control of the situation, which will make them more disrespectful. In all actuality, the opposite happens. Apologizing when you say or do something wrong shows your child the value of a good apology, and it indicates that you respect your child just as much as you expect him or her to respect you. Be willing to admit your faults when they come up, and your child will be much better off for it.
Use the tips above and others that you get from your child counselor to manage your anger during an ODD outburst.
Dealing with oppositional defiant disorder is a difficult task for any parent. Even with extensive family counseling, it’s hard to learn how to accommodate the thinking patterns of a child with ODD. Nevertheless, this is a condition that affects as much as 16% of children in the U.S., creating a ripple effect in households in Michigan and throughout the country. In this guide, we will reveal some different methods for de-escalating ODD behaviors so you can adjust to your child’s reactions.
Avoid Using The Word “No”
Most children do not like to hear the word “no.” For children with ODD though, the word “no” acts as a trigger for an outburst. “No” means that the child is not in control of the situation, and feeling in control is incredibly important for ODD children. Avoiding the use of this word does not mean that you have to give your child everything he or she wants. It just means that you can find alternative ways to communicate the concept of “no” to your child.
Set A Definitive Schedule
One of the easiest ways to relay the word “no” without saying it directly is by giving a child a set schedule to follow during the day. Meal time, play time, homework time, and the like are all allotted for specific timeframes in the day. When a child wants to do something that goes against the schedule, you can say, “You know the schedule. You get to play outside after you finish your homework.” This doesn’t require the use of the word “no,” but it does deny the child’s request.
PRO TIP: Post your schedule on the fridge, in the bathroom, and in your child’s room so you can easily reference it at any point in time.
Redirect The Child’s Focus
You need to get your child’s mind off the argument at hand, or the one that is getting ready to develop. The less he can think about being defiant, the less defiant he will act. In reference to the schedule example above, the goal would be to direct the focus to the schedule or to upcoming events on the schedule, not whatever it is your child is trying to do at the time. “You get to play outside at 6:30. That’s only an hour away. Focus on cleaning your room until then.”
Redirection is also a great tactic for situations where you know an outburst is likely to happen. For example, if your child gets restless between dinner and bedtime, redirecting his attention between those hours will keep the chances of an explosion to a minimum. Try to find something to distract your child with, whether it’s a new chore to do or a fun book to read. Something as simple as “Could you feed the dog? That would help me a lot” may be all you need keep your child’s mind occupied through the escalation period.
Do Not Play Into Back-Talking
Back-talking is a common practice for children with ODD. No matter what you say, your child already has a response in place for it. If this back and forth continues, you will soon find yourself in a full-blown argument over something small. End the back-talking before it begins. Say what you need to say about a situation and then walk away. For example, you may say, “This is not time for TV right now. It’s time for homework.” Then turn off the television and walk away. Your child will not have the opportunity to provide a counterargument, which will help reduce the escalation of the outburst.
As the summer draws to an end, many Metro Detroit parents are starting to prepare for the upcoming school year. Whether your child excelled last year or struggled to get through classes, there are steps you can take now to ensure that he or she starts the school year off right. A large portion of our child counseling patients come to us because of bad grades and poor academics, often the result of childhood depression and anxiety. No matter what circumstances may have held your child back in the past, the parenting tips below will help you set your son or daughter up for academic success.
Establish A School Schedule Early
Don’t wait until the day before school starts to get your child on a scheduled sleeping and eating routine. Most children need at least a week to change schedules for the school year, but some may require even more time than that. Plan ahead and make sure your child starts going to bed and eating around the time he or she would during the school year. If you cannot maintain the same eating schedule because of your personal schedule, at least try to get your child to go to sleep and wake up at the right times.
Eliminate Late Night Eating And TV Time
During the relaxed days of summer, your child may get in the habit of watching late night movies with the family or eating snacks right before bed. These are things that will prevent your child from falling asleep or staying asleep at night. Rest is such an important component of academic success, as it will ensure that your child has the energy to pay attention in class and get through the day. Reserve the night time for baths, reading, or calm conversations with the family so your child’s mind can get in the mode to go to sleep for the night.
Review Last Year’s School Work
Spend some time going over the important lessons your child learned last year in school. This is something you can practice now – you don’t have to wait until right before school starts. If your child learned how to write, ask him to make “I love you” cards for family members. If your child learned multiplication, do some quick lessons before or after dinner. If you can find a way to turn this into a game, that’s even better. Your child won’t even realize you’re preparing him or her for school!
Participate In Back-To-School Events
Many Metro Detroit schools hold back-to-school events that allow students to hang out with friends, meet their teachers, and get familiar with their schools once again. The most common forms of these are open houses, where parents can take a tour of their child’s classrooms and learn about what their child will be doing over the academic year. Try to attend some of these if at all possible to get your child ready to go back to school. This will give you valuable insight into the work your child will be doing so you can continue to help him or her succeed.
Ask Your Child’s Teacher What You Can Do To Prepare
Communicating with your child’s teacher is a great way to help your child do well in school. A quick email or message on Facebook may be all you need to figure out how to best prepare your child. You can get a list of school supplies directly from your child’s school, but that won’t tell you about special activities you could try or books you could read to your child before school starts. Having a great relationship with the teacher early on will give your child a great chance at success.
Create A Special Homework Zone (Let Your Child Help With It!)
Create a special place for doing homework in your child’s room or anywhere else you have space available. Having an area dedicated to academics will help your child learn the difference between work time and play time, and it will give him or her a designated space for completing school assignments. Some components of a good homework zone include:
- Ample Lighting – Near a window, with a desk lap, etc.
- No Clutter – This is a place to work, not play
- No Toys – Put toys in other areas of the house, away from sight
- Age-Appropriate Seating/Workspace – Get a table and chairs that are the appropriate height for your child
- Storage – Shelves, buckets, drawers, or anything else that can store school supplies
- Quiet – Try to put the homework zone in a quiet part of the house so your child can work in peace
- Designating Markers – A rug, bookshelves, or something to separate that zone from other parts of the room
Let your child help you design the homework zone so he or she appreciates just how special it is. You may add a chalk board on the wall that your child can use to write out important lessons from the day, practice spelling, work on difficult problems, and more. This is an opportunity to create a fun, exciting school-away-from-school for your child. Don’t be afraid to showcase your creativity along the way.
Identify And Correct Behavioral Or Emotional Issues (Child Counseling)
If your child is struggling with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bullying, or any number of other problems that may impact his or her academic life, try to get those resolved as quickly as possible. Here at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers, we work directly with a number of schools in Metro Detroit who trust us to work with their children. Our child counselors and therapists receive referrals on a daily basis from some of the most prominent school districts in the area, including Warren Consolidated Schools, Clarkston Schools, Troy School District, Royal Oak Schools, Utica Schools, Northville Schools, Rochester Hills Schools, and many area private schools. We would be more than happy to work with your child to make sure he or she starts the school year off right and continues to succeed.
If your child has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), there are several treatment options you may explore for your child. Because ODD covers a wide range of emotions, behaviors, and reactions, your child’s ODD treatment should be tailored to fit his or her needs. As part of our child counseling services here at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers, we ensure that each child is given the exact care he or she needs, along with special training for the parents to follow through with. The information below provides an overview of some of the ODD therapies your child may undergo so you can prepare for what’s to come.
Individual Child Counseling
Children with ODD are often resistant to counseling, but some go along with the process willingly. Regardless of the situation, your child will benefit from working with a professional child counselor. This person will help your child learn how to manage his or her anger, which may include social skills training, communication training, and more. As a whole, your child’s counselor will try to help your child find a healthy way for him or her to express his or her feelings, rather than using anger, rage, or vindictiveness. This process takes time, but in the end, it can do wonders in helping a child with ODD interact with the rest of the world.
Another form of counseling that your child may benefit from is family counseling. This process is designed to help every member of your family get to understand each other a little better. You can learn how your child is feeling and what he or she is going through, and your child can see how those behaviors affect you, your spouse, and your other children. Some children thrive more in family counseling because they have the support of their family members in the same room. Others open up more in an individual setting without their parents around. If you choose to work with the team here at Perspectives Of Troy, we will make sure your child is in the best counseling program for his or her unique needs.
Much of the therapy for ODD happens at home, which means that parents have to learn new ways to interact with their children. It’s important for you to understand why your child is behaving a certain way, but that does not mean you have to reward inappropriate behavior. A mental health professional can work with you to determine which parenting techniques will work best for your child so you can resolve problems as quickly as possible. This will put less stress on you, and it will make the process less frustrating for your child (who may not know how to communicate his feelings during acts of anger).
Note that a large portion of parent training comes down to patience. You must be able to show your child unconditional love and support no matter how he or she acts. It’s normal for you to feel frustrated, beaten down, and overwhelmed at times, but you should also learn how to suppress those emotions (when appropriate) in order to get your child through his or her struggles. Your counselor can help you through every step of the way, so you know you are never alone.
Cognitive Problem Solving
Cognitive problem solving is designed to help your child identify thought patterns that cause behavioral problems. If your child can recognize a problem before it happens, he may be able to make changes in his reaction or actions moving forward that bypass the outburst altogether. Cognitive problem solving is a common component of child counseling, and it may take several sessions to come up with the right strategies for your child specifically.
Parenting Tips For ODD
While working with your child at home, try these ODD parenting tips:
- Lead by example. Show your child the type of behavior he or she should strive for. It’s hard to teach a child to control his or her anger if that is all he or she sees at home.
- Praise and reward positive behavior. Parenting is about more than just punishment and discipline. It’s also about recognizing a child’s accomplishments and rewarding good behavior. This is especially true for ODD children who feel like their poor behaviors are merited. Rewarding the good behavior will teach your children what they should and should not try to do.
- Create a structured lifestyle for your child. Children do well with consistency and repetition. Something as simple as going to bed at the same time every night and eating dinner at the same time will provide a strong sense of structure for your child to follow. This will make it more difficult for him or her to deviate from what is expected.
- Avoid power struggles. It’s easy to say, “I’m the parent. You must listen to me.” But that mentality won’t always help you win the war. Pick your battles, and listen to what your child has to say. Acknowledge the value of that opinion before casting it aside.
- Stay consistent. You may feel like giving in, especially in the early stages of ODD treatment. If you keep up with your parenting strategies though, they will pay off in the end. If you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere with your child, ask your child counselor about different techniques you can try at home, in addition to the ones you already use.
- Prepare for things to get worse before they get better. This is very common for children with behavioral issues. You may not see any improvements at all when you first start working with your child. In fact, his behaviors may get worse and more frequent than they were before. Mental health experts refer to this as an “extinction burst,” like a balloon filling up with air before it finally pops. If you can remain patient throughout the process, you can see your child’s “pop,” along with a rain of good behavior to follow.
- Assign your child essential household chores. This ties in with the idea of consistency and structure. Give your child a task to do that is both age appropriate and easy to achieve at first, like feeding a pet or putting the dishes in the dish washer. Over time, you can add to these chores to give your child more responsibility. Note the use of the word “essential.” These should be chores that have to be completed in order for the household to function properly.
- Devote special time to bond with your child. You may set up a date night every week with just you and your child, or you may schedule a certain time of the evening for reading a book together, watching a movie, etc. The more involved you are in your child’s life, the better his communication will be in the future.
Parenting a child with ODD is difficult, but all that hard work will pay off in the long run. Your child will enjoy better relationships and a better quality of life thanks to the help you provide for him.