It’s the worst day of my life,” is a common refrain from my son. When I pick him up from school or an activity, he often starts with a list of what went wrong during his day. For a person who strives to find the positive and keep her sense of humor about life, it can be challenging to parent a child who tends toward the negative. My standard comeback is that he needs to tell me ‘an equal number of positive comments to balance out the negative ones.’ Sometimes this reduces the list of complaints and, at the very least, it teaches him perspective.
When it comes to seeking the support of a child psychologist, there can be many different driving forces for families. Because of the complex and dynamic nature of children’s development, however, it can be challenging for some parents to identify when it may be time to seek help and contact a psychologist. Although there will always be variability in when parents choose to obtain psychological services for their children, the following points aim to offer parents guidance about some (though not all!) instances in which a child psychologist may be able to offer support.
How many organized after-school activities are necessary and healthy for your kids? It is definitely important to encourage extracurricular activities. Too much downtime is inevitably spent watching television, playing on a mobile or a tablet and bickering with siblings. In addition, it is important for kids to learn how to balance mandatory activities like homework, household chores and tooth brushing with their fun, elective activities. For many kids, building friendships comes as naturally as breathing in air or waking up in the morning. For others, the process is filled with land mines of fear, anxiety, and discouragement. Experts agree that friendship-building is a skill that can be learned.
As human beings, we are often predisposed to pay increased attention when situations are not unfolding as we had hoped, rather than noticing when they are. Within the parenting space, this frequently translates into acknowledging and addressing children’s negative behaviors rather than offering feedback and praise when children are making positive choices. Unfortunately, when parents focus exclusively on addressing negative behaviors, this pattern can undermine the quality of the parent-child relationship while communicating to children that it is their missteps, rather than their successes, that warrant the attention of people in their lives.
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