We are very excited to announce the opening of our Davis County Office. The Location is 405 S. 100 W. Suite # 250 Bountiful, UT 84010. We are opening Feb. 18th and currently scheduling appointments. Holly Willard, LCSW will be the clinical director and Heather Judd will be joining her. We will also be adding an intern in to provide reduced priced sessions ($50).More
We are deeply saddened and horrified by the shootings at Sandy Hooks Elementary. If you have school aged children, it’s likely that they have been exposed to some of the disturbing news of these past couple days. Here are some helpful hints and guidelines in opening a discussion with your children about this event and their fears surrounding it.
1. Talk to your children about their worries. Provide a validating environment where the child can express their concerns and feelings. Start the discussion by asking what they know about the event. Follow the child’s lead. Some want to talk about it, some will be quiet. Spend time together doing activities or playing. This provides a time for informal sharing but more importantly it increases feelings of security.
2- Talk to your child on their level. Give kids honest information they can understand. Ask for questions. For instance, ” A bad guy made a very bad choice and hurt people. The bad guy is dead and can not hurt anyone else.”
3- Reassure them that they are safe now. Comfort your child if they’re distressed. If your child starts having fears or nightmares, you can normalize this fear for them by giving a gentle hug and letting them know that the information is scary but they are safe with you no matter what and you will always protect them the best that you can. Avoid telling them nothing bad can ever happen. Giving them a false sense of security actually increases anxiety because it is a unrealistic view of what can be controlled.
4. Limit their exposure to media about the event. The continuous new’s clips and updates are reminders that something frightening can happen. Seeing descriptive images can be very traumatizing. Children’s perspectives of time and place are skewed, they may not be able to differentiate how close they are to what they are seeing. Children are often unable to determine that what they are seeing is a repeat of the same event. Inform them that the images on the TV are from far away and not happening now.
5- Try to not use scary words. Young children understand “hurt” but more descriptive words such as kill, murder, etc. are beyond their present understanding. Even older school age children who do understand the definition do not need to be told in explicit detail.
6- Teach children the skill of confronting their thoughts. Just because we think something doesn’t mean it is true. Anxiety feeds on negative thoughts so help them learn how to replace their scary thoughts with reaffirming statements. Teach distraction techniques: playing with toys, exercising, singing a favorite song, etc.
Above all else, children want to know that they are loved and will be protected. So turn off the TV and give them a hug and the reassurance that they are safe and you love them. This will be the best information of all.
1. Start by teaching them about private parts. Explain the difference between good touch and bad touch. I like to use Your Body Belongs To You! A Coloring & Activities Book . Tell them that no one has the right to touch their private parts and they can say no and tell someone. RadKids Rules
2. It is normal for pre-school aged children to become interested and fascinated with private parts (theirs and others). Use correct medical language, not nicknames, when discussing private parts. Answer questions on a level consistent with their developmental age. (i.e. they don’t need to have anatomy lessons to understand where babies come from, that comes later). Talk to them about your personal and family values. If your child exhibits sexual behavior, it’s important to deal with it without making them feel shame or embarrassment. Here’s a resource with more detailed information and explains the difference between normal and concerning behavior.
3. With school age children, parents need to be more direct regarding sexual abuse and sex education. Some of these resources are may be too direct or differ with your values so it’s important to read before sharing them with your child. The books do not need to be read in entirety you can pick and choose depending on your child’s questions or level of understanding.
How to Talk to Your Child About Sex: It’s Best to Start Early, but It’s Never Too Late- A Step by Step Guide for Every Age
4. Explain maturation before the school’s presentation.
Most public schools present information about maturation in fifth grade. Children are often easily embarrassed at this age, especially boys. Some of them may find it more helpful to be given a book or pamphlets to read. However, if you choose this method make sure you have a follow-up discussion with them and are available for questions. If you are open, non-judgemental and informative it will increase the chances of them coming to you with questions instead of going to their friends. Or maybe I should say coming to you after they have heard incorrect information from their friends.
Puberty for boys: The Boys Body Book: Everything You Need To Know for Group Up You (Boys World Books)
Puberty for girls: The Care and Keeping of You (American Girl)
5. Don’t worry about giving your teen too much information about sex education. Most parents error on not providing enough information because they don’t want to “expose” them. Unfortunately in my practice I see that tweens/teens have already been exposed to it. Parents need to continue to teach their values in a non-judgemental way, focusing on the benefits of living those values. Have frank discussions with them about choices and consequences. Relate it to what their peers are doing, good and bad. I cannot stress the importance of having a strong/bonded relationship prior to having these discussions.
Sex Ed for Teens:
When we hear the word “discipline”, we often think of something negative, because it usually means some form of punishment is being used. However, the word “discipline” actually means to instruct a person to follow a particular code of conduct. So, discipline can be a negative thing if we are using a forceful or controlling approach, but it can (and should) be a positive thing if we take a more instructive approach by teaching or guiding. The most effective and respectful type of discipline is one that respects your child’s ability to make choices for their behavior within the structure and limits you establish, and allows them to experience a natural or logical consequence for the behavior they choose. Here are 7 steps to help you establish this type of discipline in your own household:More
One of the most common questions I get as a child therapist is, “What books do you recommend for (fill in the blank)? Here are some of my favorite books for specific issues. If you want to learn more about the books or order a book here is an Amazon list http://www.amazon.com/lm/R36QCME4OWNS7Y/ref=cm_pdp_lm_all_itms
Divorce/ Grief/ Trauma
When Dinosaurs Divorce by Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (Illustrator)
When Dinosaurs Die by Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (Illustrator)
Tear Soup by Pat Schweibert , Chuck DeKlyen, and Taylor Bills
A Terrible Thing Happened- A Story For Children Who Have Witnessed Violence or Trauma by Margaret M. HolmesMore
Congratulations! You’ve made it through 9-ish long months of planning and decorating, crazy cravings and frequent doctors visits, baby showers and unpredictable mood swings. You survived the journey through labor and delivery. Now, your perfect new arrival fills your heart with love and your life with meaning. Whether it’s your first or your fifteenth child, you can’t help but marvel at your baby’s every movement, coo and milestone.
For the lucky among us, the picture I paint may be pretty spot on. For the rest of us, there may have been a few unexpected feelings and experiences mixed in there as well. As many as 30% of new mothers deal with some degree of post-partum depression or post-partum anxiety. Though we all do our best to prepare for the major transition to parenthood, many among us may not plan for four major losses that are likely come along with the joy of gaining a new family member.More
As a child therapist, I often use books to teach concepts and promote change. This is a list of my top twenty books.
- How Are You Peeling? Saxton Freymann & Joost Elffers
- I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis (Author), Laura Cornell (Illustrator)
- My Many colored Days by Dr. Suess
- All Feelings Are Ok: It’s What You Do With Them That Counts. Lawence E. Shapiro (Author), Jillie Mandel (illustrator).
- How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them by Laurene Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (Illustrator)
- No Hitting!: A Lift-the-Flap Book Karen Katz
- When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
- Tiger, Tiger Is It True by Byron Katie and Hans Wilhelm
- Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
- Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus and Jose Aruego (Illustrator)
- The Feelings Book Todd Parr
- Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
- The Cow That Went OINK byBernard Mos
- The Mixed Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
- The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch (Author), Michael Mart
- If You Give A Pig A Pancake by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond
- How Do Dinosaurs Go To School by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
- Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jane Dyer
- Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
- If Everybody Did by Jo Ann Stover
Making the decision to stay or leave your marriage may seem overwhelming in the wake of a revealed affair or other traumatizing event. It’s normal upon hearing that a spouse has been unfaithful to assume the marriage is over and that the love you once shared is gone forever. Both partners may feel highly emotional and perhaps hopeless about their future together. This is a good time to put on the brakes and slow things down. Rushing into a life altering decision such as a divorce may actually compound the problem and prolong the hurt you and your partner are experiencing. Before making any life changing decisions, allow yourself a brief waiting period, somewhere between 8 to 12 weeks, to think things through. Your decision will have far reaching effects for you, your spouse, and your children.
Read through the following questions and share your answers with your partner, a close friend, or a therapist.
- How will my life be different if we get divorced?
- How will our children’s lives be different?
- What first attracted me to my spouse?
- What are my best memories with my spouse?
- What will I miss the most about my marriage?
- Down deep, do I still love my spouse?
- Are my partner and I generally compatible?
- Is my partner a generally dependable and trustworthy person?
- Am I able to explore vulnerabilities in our marriage?
- Am I willing to work on my marriage?
When it comes to parenting, moms and dads do it differently. But is one approach better than the other?
How to parent more like a man: Parenting lessons from dads
1) Be flexible and fun
Men tend to approach physical care of their children with a more relaxed attitude often leading to a more fun and playful parenting experience. Fathers don’t get as upset if the kids are in bed an hour after “bed time” or if they skip nightly bath time every once in a while.
Women can learn to loosen up on rules in the name of fun.
2) Expect child to listen the first time
When Dad’s ask for their child to do something, they expect more immediate compliance and lose their patience quickly. Moms often wear themselves out trying to be a “nice” parent.
Moms can learn learn to hold their ground and not ask a child to do something 20 times before there are consequences.
3) Keep it simple
When planning events like family outings, birthday parties, or even packing lunch, mom’s tend to set high expectations and get overwhelmed by the details. Dads are generally better at seeing the “big picture” and focusing on the necessities.
Women can learn to minimize stress by focusing on the basics instead of being overwhelmed by details.
4) Move on after making mistakes
Dads seem to be better at moving on and not feeling guilty for imperfections like missing the deadline for a sporting event sign up or forgetting to take their child to a birthday party. Men also tend to care less what other parents are thinking about them.
Women can learn to skip self-loathing and guilt trips and quickly move on after making parenting mistakes.
5) See your child as separate
If a child throws a tantrum in a restaurant, forgets to do their homework, or misbehaves at school dad’s generally don’t blame themselves, feel a failure, or ruminate about it for days.
Women can learn from men not to take their child’s behavior too personally.
6) Don’t give in to whining
Dads are generally better at holding their ground when they say “no” to their child’s request to buy a toy at the store, or go play with a friend before doing homework, for example.
Women can learn from men to stand their ground and not change their mind just because a child is upset.
(Reposted from Sept. 2011)
As with the past 10 years, this upcoming September 11th marks the anniversary of the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center. Many of us can still vividly recall exactly what we were doing at the moment this occurred. For me, I was awakened at 5:45 am with a phone call from my mother telling me to turn on my TV immediately. I watched CNN and saw the second airplane hit the building on live television. I watched the towers crumble and our world as we knew it forever change. I was living alone in Los Angeles and that day, the whole city shut down out of fear that we would be the next target.More