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How To Assess Your Child’s Self-esteem: Studio 5

Studio 5 Contributor and Therapist, Julie Hanks, says parents are often surprised to discover their child struggles with self-esteem issues.

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Self-esteem, a popular construct used to describe an individual’s inner experience, has two parts: how you define yourself, and how you evaluate yourself. It’s easier to evaluate your own experience than someone else’s subjective experience, even your own child. Here are some signs of healthy self-esteem, some examples of when you should be concerned about your child’s self-esteem, and how you can help them develop healthy self-esteem.

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How to handle a child’s grocery store tantrum

What parent hasn’t experienced the dreaded scene of their young child screaming at the top of her lungs in a crowded grocery store after you have said “no” to a toy, candy bar, box of cereal, or a _______(you fill in the blank)?

Here are some tips to calm, or avoid altogether, the grocery store meltdown with your toddler or young child:

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Does My Child Have ADHD? What To Do When The Teacher Calls

Licensed clinical social worker and therapist, Julie Hanks, has a step by step plan to offer support and find solutions to your child’s attention difficulties.

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Bridging The Gap – Tips For Sibling Rivalry

It is human nature to feel competitive and envious toward others. A moderate spirit of competition is a positive and productive attribute in school and in business. Sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up in families. The competition between siblings starts when the second child is born. Unfortunately, many parents ignore it and some even make the situation worse.

When occasional fighting becomes a constant series of arguments and fights, it must be dealt with to avoid years of discord and even potential danger. Here are some tips that will help you lessen your frustration over argumentative brothers and sisters and help them learn to get along better:

  1. Do your best to offer each of your children equal amounts of praise and attention. This is true if they are competing for your attention or if they are participating in a school or sports activity.
  2. Encourage your children to participate in activities that they truly enjoy. Don’t expect them to always join activities that they must do together or where they will be competing against each other.
  3. Children sometimes perceive that their parents favor one child over the others. While some parents do prefer one child to the others, it is usually not a conscious choice. If your child tells you that you favor his or her sibling, pay attention to your behavior; maybe there is some truth to it. However, if you know you are being fair or if there is a valid reason for treating one child differently, stand firm. Sometimes children use the “favorite child” complaint as a way to make you feel guilty and give them what they want.
  4. Sometimes one child is more cooperative or better behaved than another. It’s normal to compare siblings, but it?s generally better not to talk about it. Comparing two kids doesn?t help improve their behavior; instead, it intensifies the sense of envy and jealousy. A more constructive strategy is to limit your comments to the problem behavior. Always avoid telling one child that his or her sibling does something better.
  5. Make it a rule that family members may become involved in incidents between siblings only if they actually saw what happened. This keeps people from being manipulated.
  6. Realize that younger children can be the aggressors. Don’t automatically rush to their defense.
  7. If two kids are fighting over a toy, take it away. This discourages them from arguing over who can play with what
  8. When two kids are fighting, make them share a chair and look at each other in a mirror. With all the goofy faces they make in the mirror the disagreement is soon forgotten and they are laughing like best friends.
  9. If the kids continue the fight after a few minutes in the chair, assign them a chore to do. The excess energy they are directing toward each other is soon put to better use setting the table or picking up the toys.
  10. Use the Active Listening technique to allow siblings to express their feelings. When kids fight, parents often try to talk children out of their feelings by saying things like ?Stop arguing with Tony, Sarah. You know you love your brother.? Instead, you could acknowledge the child’s feelings by saying, “Sounds like you’re pretty upset with Tony.” You might be surprised to see that this defuses the emotion and enables Tony to move on to something else.
  11. When you give things to children, base your choices on their individual needs and interests. If you try to avoid arguments by giving equal gifts to each child, they will inevitably find something about them that is unfair.
  12. When your children are in an argument, avoid taking sides. If you can, encourage them to work out their differences. It is almost impossible to try to determine who started a fight. Even if you know who started the argument, taking sides only makes things worse. If your children learn that you will not enter their minor disagreements, they will have to learn to settle things between themselves.
  13. Take a parent education instructor course. As you educate yourself about parenting, you will change some of your attitudes toward your children and learn new ways to interact with them. You can have the kind of family you want if you are willing to work at it, make some changes in your own behavior, and be patient for things to improve.

You may think that rivalry will stop magically if only you learn to do the right thing. However, learning new behaviors takes a lot of time and persistence.

It is important to address the issues of sibling rivalry when children are young, because it can intensify and persist as children become adults. It is important not to give up when you feel frustrated. Things may even seem like they are worse before they start to improve. Because of your efforts and persistence, your children will learn how to get along better. That will prepare them to have productive relationships in the future. As with all hopes and dreams of parents, helping to create healthy, happy, children and future adults is the number one priority. Teaching children these skills now will go a long way in this journey.

If you need additional help with your parenting skills contact me here

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Calling All “Helicopter Parents”

Helicopter ParentingOur WFT Clinical Director contributed to this SheKnows.com article “How Not To Be A Helicopter Parent”
Talk them through things. Instead of taking the fix-it route, teach your kids how to address problems themselves, says therapist Julie Hanks, LCSW. “Coach your child through peer relationship problems or academic problems instead of swooping in and solving it for your child. Allow your child to experience a full range of emotions. Too often parents try to shield their child from painful emotions,” says Hanks.

Read “How Not To Be A Helicopter Parent”

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Encouraging Your “Little Turkeys” To Be Grateful

Jill Zuinga Wasatch Family Therapy

Jill Zuniga, APC

As we approach one of the busiest times of the year, I have noticed how easy it is to get caught up in Christmas shopping or decorating and cleaning house (not to mention countless hours spent in cooking!) to prepare for hosting this year’s “holiday get-together”! Then of course, there’s always wrapping gifts – my LEAST favorite of all of the above. We have so much to accomplish in just a short amount of time that we sometimes forget to be thankful for what we have been given and maybe most importantly, forget to teach our children that very same thing.

Research shows that children learn best when they are able to physically experience the objective of a lesson and/or creatively express themselves regarding what they’ve learned. The following are a few ideas of things that will help teaching your children to be thankful for the blessings in their lives more easily understood and definitely more fun! In fact, I am quite sure that if you make the time to do something like this with your child, you will also be reminded of your own thankfulness for what you have been given in your own life!

1 – Make a Thankful Paper Chain:

This is just like the paper chains that kids make at school with colored construction paper strips linked and glued together. Cut out the strips of paper and have your child write or draw pictures of things they are thankful for – their family members or friends, their teacher, their pets, maybe even a special toy they have been given and the person that gave it to them! Make the chain as long as you possibly can. This will help your child become aware of the many things they have in their lives to be thankful for. Don’t forget to go through the chain periodically with your child throughout the season so that they begin to understand that being thankful for the blessings in their life is a continual thing.

2 – Volunteer Work:

This can be an entire family event that can be an incredible experience for everyone involved! Contact your local Red Cross, soup kitchens, homeless centers and churches and see what you can do to help them reach out to those in need this holiday season. Try getting together with your neighbors and friends to put together Thanksgiving boxes – complete with all of the necessary ingredients to make a turkey dinner – and deliver them to families who may not have the money to have a big dinner this year.

3 – Make a Thanksgiving Tree:

Cut out a large brown tree trunk with tree branches sprouting above. Then have each person in your family trace and cut out their own hands in various fall colors (red, orange, yellow and brown). On each of their hand cut-outs, have them write down various things they are thankful for. After everyone has completed this step, then allow each person to choose the placement of their hand onto the different branches to create a colorful fall tree. Hang this in a prominent area in your home, where it can be easily seen. It will serve as a constant reminder of the many things to be thankful for.

As with so many situations with children they do learn a lot by watching those around them so be sure to try to model the things you hope they pick up. Participate in the activities just as you are expecting them to and talk about the things that you are thankful for. Give them examples to look to and help them understand that these are things that they can appreciate throughout the whole year, not just at Thanksgiving.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

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Talking to kids about S-E-X

Julie Hanks, LCSW interviews intimacy educator Laura M. Brotherson

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Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child: Studio 5

Self and Relationship Expert Julie Hanks, LCSW, Owner and Director of Wasatch Family Therapy, shares how you can become your child’s “emotion coach” and help her develop emotional health. Watch the segment online!

Read more on JulieHanks.com

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