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School Daze

 
As a Mom of 5 school aged children, I remember that feeling of ELATION when my last child graduated from high school. My homework was finally complete!  During those 20 plus years, I now realize that, with good intent, I spent a fair amount of time hovering over my children “paying extremely close attention to their experiences and problems particularly at educational institutions”, much like a “helicopter parent.”
 
I have since discovered that the line between being a supportive parent and a hovering helicopter can be blurry, according to Malinda Carlson who authored the article “10 Warning Signs that You Might Be a Helicopter Parent (and How to Stop). Malinda states that “Nobody sets out to be a helicopter parent; it kind of creeps up on you.”
 
So… How can you avoid being a full time “helicopter parent?”
 
Listen to your child.  Refrain from imposing your goals and wishes upon them.
 
Don’t try to help your child escape consequences for their actions unless you believe they are life altering or unfair. 
 
Encourage your children to solve their own problems by asking them to think about possible solutions.
 
Don’t do your children’s work for them or completely relieve them from the responsibility of keeping track of deadlines.  
 
Support your child’s teacher and encourage your child to respect the teachers opinions.
 
Allow your child to face natural consequences for their actions.
 
Don’t complete tasks that your child is capable of completing for themselves.
 
Let go of negative thoughts about your child’s future
 
Don’t micromanage your child’s life.
 
Avoid constantly worrying about your children.
 
Give them the opportunity to take small risks.
 
Take a few steps back and and give them some space.  
 
Some studies show that children who are hovered over by a “helicopter parent” were more likely to feel “self-conscious, worried, angry and have a poor sense of self esteem.”  However, other studies show that helicopter parenting can:
 
Help parents to know if the child is safe.
 
Assist the child to be less likely to misbehave and develop into a well mannered person.
 
Help develop a special bond between the child and the parent.
 
Help the child develop a better attitude towards life. 
 
So… It’s up to you as parents to determine what style of parenting works well you and your children.
 
If you would like to take a closer look at your style of parenting, call and make an appointment with me.
 
Happy parenting
 
Sue Hodges
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Wasatch Family therapy
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Misbehavior – A Form of Communication

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When a child misbehaves or exhibits behavior that becomes problematic, their behavior is telling you something, but what?
A child that misbehaves is trying to communicate that they have an unmet need, but how do parents determine what that need is?
Parents can look for clues that might tell them how the child is feeling. When parents figure out what is wrong or missing, they can then follow to assist the child to take care of themselves.
What are some of the reasons that a child might misbehave?
  • They may be hungry, tired, ill or bored.
  • They might not know or understand what is expected of them.
  • They might be held to expectations that are beyond their developmental level.
  • They may have experienced trauma or abuse.
  • They may be copying the bad behavior or their parents or someone else.
  • They may be trying to cover up feelings of pain, fear or loneliness.
  • They may be experiencing feelings that are overwhelming to them.
  • They may feel bad about themselves.
  • They may be experiencing bullying.
  • They may be experiencing dietary issues.
  • They may be trying to get attention from others.
  • They may be testing whether parents will set limits, boundaries and enforce rules.
  • They may be asserting themselves and seeking to be independent.
They may have an untreated disorder such as:
  • Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • General anxiety disorder.
  • Sensory processing disorder
It is important to remember that misbehavior does not mean that a child is “bad.” They should never be labeled as such. There is a difference between a child’s character and how they behave. What a child does is not who they are.
Maybe you’re frustrated and having difficulty determining why your child is misbehaving. Maybe you have an idea of why your child is misbehaving but don’t know how to approach the issue. Maybe you’re wondering if your child has an untreated disorder. If so, call us at Wasatch Family Therapy (801.944.4555) to schedule an appointment for a parent consultation with one of our trained providers. Mental health is just as important as physical health to a child’s well being.
Sue Hodges, LCSW

 

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