Posts Tagged ‘children’

Lessons From Your Child

May 31st, 2012

Your child is teaching you lessons, open your heart to receive their gifts.

  • Remember to play: Life is not all about working, paying bills and keeping up with housework. Let’s go outside and play.
  • Breathe: If you don’t remember to do this I’ll test you so you remember.
  • Simplicity and joy can be found in any moment: I can find pure joy in a bucket of water on the beach or swings on the playground, can you?
  • I’m not what I do, but who I am: It’s those sparkly qualities in me of kindness, silliness, and compassion that transcend what I do. I remind you that you are not what you do, but who you are.
  • Love: I am pure love, loveable, and loving-reminding you that love of self and others is the healing balm for your soul.
  • It’s fun to get lost doing something for hours. I can spend all day on building something and forget everything else. What gives you so much joy that you can get lost in it for hours and lose track of time?
  • I’m so curious about the wonders of world. Things are fascinating and interesting, I want to know how the world works and why. When’s the last time you explored, tried something new, looked at the moon or a puddle, or pondered why?
  • Cuddles and hugs rule: I remind you of how joyous it is to hug and be hugged and how you sometime forget daddy/mommy loves to snuggle & cuddle too.
  • I’m so funny and so are you: Yup, sometimes I get laughing so hard things come out of my nose. When’s the last time you had a good belly laugh? Lighten up and stop taking yourself so seriously (even the boo-boos you make)!
  • I can help you grow and heal your hurts: I remind you of your childhood, the good stuff, and the not so good. You can decide what you want to let go of from your past (and what you want to keep) so we can have a different relationship than you did with your parents.
  • I am the expression of pure bliss: There are moments when I remind you of the beauty and joy of life and you feel connected to something so much greater than yourself that your heart spills over with gratitude.

CQ Playful Creative Activity:

Pull out some art materials and reconnect with your curiosity and create with your child. Color your favorite animal, create a fairyland, build with Legos, or create a scribble drawing together. You’ll build the positive connections with your child and learn some valuable lessons from them too.

 

Need some more ways to positively & creatively connect with your child? Join the Professional Community! The IPPC is surprisingly affordable and includes monthly parent & professional support calls, guest faculty calls with parenting and family experts, quarterly Q&A calls, instant access 24/7 to support resources, and a supportive, non-judgmental & downright awesome community of parents & professionals…all for just a few pennies per day. Click here now for all of the exciting details.

Share

What’s really important to you?

May 16th, 2012

There are 100’s of things we ask of our loved ones each day. Everything from making your bed, brushing your teeth, doing homework, stop picking on your brother/sister, listen the first time I ask you….

Yes, these are all the daily to-do’s that you and your child need to navigate; and at times it seems like you are endlessly reminding them of all the things they need to take care of (again and again).  You may feel like you have become so disconnected from your child or teen or you are always reminding, lecturing, nagging and you’ve lost the loving relationship with your child you used to have.

CQ Playful Creative Activity:

Here’s a simple and playful way to lovingly reconnect with your child and loved ones.

Invite your inner child to play for a moment. So imagine the child within you that is the same age of your child or teen. Close your eyes if you need to and remember what it was like to be 5, 8, 12 or 16. Take a deep breath in and out, connect with and resonate with the feelings of being that age.

You can take out a blank paper and crayons or markers to help you connect with that child-like aspect of yourself. Write or make images in response to the following questions:

What was important to you then? What did you love doing and if you could do it all day, what would you do? How did you feel about the relationships in your life- your parents, your siblings, your friends? What did you wish that others knew about you?

If you could share anything with your parents, (and they could hear it without reacting), what would you let them know?

Then take a new piece of paper and create images and words to the questions above from your child’s point of view.

What do you discover about yourself and your child from this activity?

When you reconnect with your childlike self and remember what it was like to have all those big feelings and thoughts about others and yourself, you are able to show up with more empathy and compassion for your children.  With this awareness you can choose to refocus on what’s important in your relationship and compromise or let go of power struggles.

Do you need some more support to help lovingly reconnect with your child and stop the cycle of arguments, blaming, and nagging? Join the International Parents & Professionals Community

Share

It’s just not about the homework: How issues with school and homework impact your child

May 2nd, 2012

As we move into the end of school year there is often more stress, frustration, worry, and arguments over homework, from both parents and children.  There may be missing homework, or your child says they don’t have any homework and you find out from their teacher that they had a project due, and they didn’t turn it in.  Perhaps sitting down to do an assignment turns into a big fight, or your child is so distracted and fidgety that they waste thirty minutes procrastinating, and there are some parents who would rather just get it done, so they end up doing the project for their child.

Yes, homework headaches stink for everyone!

Yet, for your child, struggling at school and with homework may have a deeper impact on their feelings, self-competency, and self-esteem. Here are some thoughts and beliefs that children may develop when they struggle with homework:

I can’t do it

I must be dumb

Why is my bother/sister better

If I procrastinate then my parents will get frustrated and leave me alone

My teacher doesn’t like me

I don’t want to tell mom/dad about my schoolwork because they’ll be mad

If I wait to the last minute then I might be more motivated to do it

I don’t have a clue where to begin

Maybe they will do it for me

My parents/teacher will get really mad because I didn’t listen

I try to listen, but sometimes it doesn’t make sense and I don’t want them to think I’m stupid

If I ask a question in class everyone will make fun of me

Everyone else gets it, why don’t I

Something must be wrong with me

I never do anything right

Why are my parents always yelling at me

I don’t want to ask a question because they will get upset

I’ll just guess on all these answers and turn it in

If I finish this quickly I can play and do the things I like to do

It seems like all I do is homework and there is never anytime to play

If it’s at the bottom of my bag then they won’t see it

I can tell them I already did it

It’s easier to say I forgot and maybe I won’t get in trouble

I’m going to get yelled at/lectured/punished anyway, so what’s the point

I don’t want to be embarrassed

Sometimes I get excited and I forget what I’m supposed to do

I try hard, but I never seem to get it right

There must be something wrong with me

No one else has these problems

I wish I knew how to do it, but I don’t

It comes easy to all the other kids, but not for me

I make one little mistake and that’s all my parents and teachers pay attention to

I’d rather lie that get in trouble

I’m worthless

I should be punished,

I’m stupid

I’m unlovable

Notice how a child’s thoughts and beliefs can quickly spiral downward if they have a poor sense of self.  You can help shift these negative patterns by changing how you respond to homework problems and by teaching your child skills to manage homework stressors.

Needs some support to help your child manage homework stress? Join us for the upcoming International Parents & Professionals Community Support Call Stop Homework Power Struggles: Step to minimize the homework battles and make homework time peaceful& receive free access to the call replay 27/4!

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you are looking for child therapy, we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here.

Share

Got problems? 3 things you can do to help your child become more resourceful and resilient

April 17th, 2012

We all want to teach children to be resourceful and resilient. As adults we see the necessity of learning how to cope with difficulties and find the strength and resources to overcome adverse situations. No matter who you are, and how you were raised, there will be times when you encounter problems and you must decide what to do.

 

Obstacles are opportunities in disguise. Understanding this statement may help you the next time your child (or you) encounters a problem. When your child encounters a problem they are building up their natural abilities to create solutions and figure out how to do or think differently. Our “emergency response system ” to the problems we encounter starts to be developed in childhood. If a child learns to get their needs met by a specific behavior they will continue that behavior. Even if they do not get their needs met they may repeat the same behaviors due to learned helplessness.

 

Think about your own moments when you’ve struggled with a problem you have had no control over. What type of behavior did you exhibit? When this happened did you meltdown in tears, stuff your feelings, push through the obstacle, blame others, act helpless, or act out? If you’ve had these moments you’ve probably slipped into childlike thoughts, feelings, and behaviors perhaps because you didn’t have a parent or adult that modeled appropriate ways to get your needs met or how to communicate what you needed. Although we’ve all had these moments we can teach children a different way to cope with adversity.

 

Here are 3 things you can do to help your child become more resourceful and resilient:

 

1. Lovingly let them struggle

 

Yup! Sometimes when you jump in to help too quickly you take away an opportunity for your child to learn how to overcome the problem. Unless it is a safety issue, give your child some space to figure it out before you step in. Do this in a gentle loving manner.

 

2. Offer support not solutions

 

Rather than jumping in and coming up with answers allow your child a chance to talk about their options. Just by listening you allow them an opportunity to figure things out on their own. This works wonderfully with teens & partners too!

 

3. Let them know you love them

 

Sometimes their solutions will be different than yours. That’s OK. They are learning to figure it out in their own way. Reinforce that you love them even when you may not love their choices.

 

 

CQ Playful Creative Activity:           

 

As adults when we encounter obstacles and revert back to childlike behaviors we have an opportunity for a “do-over”. We can give ourselves what we didn’t get as children. Pull out the finger paints or some messy art materials the next time you feel overwhelmed by an obstacle. Create two images. The first image create what you are feeling- allow yourself to express all your emotions. In the second image create marks, colors, and words your inner child would like to hear to help soothe and comfort that aspect of yourself.

 

Use this tool with your child too. Before you jump into to fix or problem solve, provide your child with a creative outlet for expression of their feelings- then listen without judgment to what they choose to share.

 

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you are looking for child therapy, we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here. Want lots more empowering creative tools? Join our NEW Supportive, Non-Judgmental & Downright Awesome Community of Parents & Professionals committed to lovingly transforming the lives of children across the globe.

Share

Play: Reduce worry and power struggles

March 7th, 2012

Jumping, running, playing- you’ve heard the positive benefits that play has on fine and gross motor skills and physical development, but did you know that play and exercise have therapeutic benefits?

Did you know research supports the benefits of play and exercise on reducing depression and anxiety? When excising and playing your body releases feel-good chemicals (neurotransmitters and endorphins), your body temperature rises, increasing calming effects, distracts you from worries, can improve sleep, strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, while strengthening the body and immune system. Yes, play is therapeutic!

Yet, given unstructured free time most children would prefer to watch television, play with their video games, text, be on social media, listen to music, or surf the web. Children are often in structured environments (sitting and listening) and then they unwind by plugging in to their electronics. When problems arise I often prescribe play to help children self-regulate their behaviors and emotions. Here are some common concerns that parents have regarding their children and some ways that play and exercise can be used therapeutically to benefit your child.

Children who have issues with sitting still, paying attention, focusing, doing homework can benefit from play after school. Your child has been focusing and working on paying attention all day and they need some time to release their pent up energy. Asking some children who struggle with attention and impulsivity (children with attention deficit issues, ADD and ADHD)  to do homework right after school is asking for a power struggle. Create a break between school a homework, take your child to the park, play tag, time them running and see if they can beat their time, go swimming, get out toys and play, paint, color, put on music and dance. Allow time to release energy and then create a transitioning calm down routine, such as a snack, before moving into a more focused activity.

Children who are anxious and worried can benefit from play and exercise to increase endorphins. Engage in gross motor activities, such as tossing a ball and naming worries and positives for the day, or blow bubbles and worries away and catch the bubbles that are good thoughts (use a big bubble blowing kit for expansive movement), or focus on a worry and then hula hoop for 5 minutes, and check to see if the worry is still as big.

Children who are frustrated can benefit from playtime where they can express their frustrations by ripping up paper with things that frustrate them written on it, or using a big piece of paper and painting with both the left and right hands, or bouncing on trampoline and naming all the things that bother them, or drawing/writing frustrations and throwing them in a basket.

Children who have a difficult time getting along with their sibling and peers can use play to work on positive communication, asking for what they want, learning how to cope with frustrations, and working out problems. Imaginary games, interactive art activities, or building with Lego’s provides an opportunity to manage differences.

Children who have a difficult time sleeping and self-calming can use exercise to help them get a good night’s sleep. Engage in running and swimming, or sports where they are continually moving (such as soccer or basketball). Make sure these activities happen in the afternoon or early evening so your child has plenty or time to regulate their body for sleep.

What play strategies you use to help your child?

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you are looking for child therapy, we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download  to help your child.

Share

3- Step “Super Secret” Formula to finally get your kids (and spouse) to listen

November 1st, 2011

Does your child have trouble listening to you? Are you feeling like a broken record, asking again and again for what you want, and feeling like you are being totally ignored? If you’ve asked for what you wanted and everyone in your household seems to ignore your request you’ll likely get to a point where you begin to wonder, “why isn’t this working, why aren’t they listening?”

You may begin to get to a boiling point, get mad, throw a fit,  threaten, just give in and take care of it yourself, or complain about all that you do for everyone in the house. What you’ll likely find is that when you reach your boiling point and react (or just take care of it yourself while silently resenting your family members), others may for a short period of time take notice.  Heck, you may even get your teen (or husband) to listen and pick-up their underwear off of the bedroom floor if you yell loudly enough, AND….

…you may be creating a pattern of negative behaviors to get your needs met. So your children and spouse continue to ignore your requests and pleas until you blow your top, then all of sudden they are listening,  responding quickly and wondering, “What’s up with mom ?”

We know that children model their parent’s behaviors, so the last thing you want to teach your child is that ignoring and then overreaching is a healthy way to communicate. The best way to teach your child to listen, respect your requests, and to communicate in healthy way is to learn how to communicate your wants and needs in a healthy manner first.

You can use creativity to get back into you parenting authority, and here’s a way you can do so. Create an image of something (or someone) that represent being empowered, strong, assertive, and clear. Take a minute to see what pops up for you. Now embody this! Wear it like a cloak and ground yourself in this image. When your child or spouse wants to “hook you into an argument” or they are ignoring your requests, connect with this empowering image before you respond. You’ll respond from a centered more calm place; then you can use the 3- Step “Super Secret” Formula to ask for what you need! You can take this exercise even further and create an image of this and put it in a place where you’ll see it often as visual reminder of being in your parenting power.

Drum roll please….I’m going to share with you my 3- Step “Super Secret” Formula to finally get your kids (and spouse) to listen.

  1. Validate your child’s feelings
  2. Use the assertive triangle to state how you feel and what you need. I teach that technique in the free audio-telesemiar  Secrets Your Kids Really Don’t Want You to Know: A Child Art Therapist Tells All (*except for the confidential stuff) and you can access in the box above.
  3. Be clear of consequences and follow-through

Here’s how it might sound. You come in to your teen’s room and it is a mess and you’ve ask them to clean it and they are on Facebook with their friends.

“I understand that Facebook and connecting with your friends is important to you and it’s upsetting to get off the computer when you want to be on it. When I walk into your room and it’s messy and I asked you to clean it I feel upset and disrespected. Please pick-up all the clothes off of the floor and put them in the hamper and remove the dishes from your room by 9:00 pm tonight. If you choose not to then you will not be able to use the computer tomorrow.”

DONE! This is no need to lecture, no need to yell, not need to threaten, you have clearly asserted you needs, set reasonable expectations and consequences and given your child a choice. So there is no need to go on and on and lecture them (doing so you’ll lose your parenting authority).

This must be done in a neutral tone being in your parenting authority, so your child does not hook you and get you to react! Embody that image you created and operate from this calm- empowered place and you’ll be modeling for your children and spouse how to listen respectfully.

Have you tried different ways to communicate, but your child or spouse is still not listening?  We can help!

Share

Homework problems & struggles: Homework success tips

October 14th, 2011

Homework struggles?

Do you have a child who struggles with homework? Does your child have a difficult time sitting down to do their homework or organizing or remembering their assignments? You may find yourself spending lots of time trying to get them to finally attend to their homework without a daily battle, meltdown, or interruption. What’s a parent to do?

Sometimes homework struggles signify there is something more going on with your child. They may have processing or learning issues and they may become anxious or frustrated. They may have impulsivity or attention issues that make it difficult to concentrate. They may have executive functioning impairments, that may it difficult to organize, remember, or sequence information.

Every child is different, and they respond differently to the struggle they are encountering. Some children may shutdown or avoid, they may make up a bunch of excuses to delay doing homework, they may lie because they are fearful of how you may respond. They may dillydally or easily get distracted, or ask you to get them things so they can avoid doing the work. Or they may just plain forget, no matter how may times they have been told what they need to do and by when.

Here are the Creativity Queen’s recommendations to help reduce homework hassles and headaches:

1. Know your child. If you notice that your child is acting differently, struggling with academics, processing and retaining information, or organizational issues ask a professional for support. The issue may be that your child is not being disrespectful or lazy, but there is something wrong and there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. Intervention and support can help your child create academic success.

2. Set your child up for success by helping them be organized. This starts with creating systems to help your child. Start with your child’s backpack. Get colored folders to match each subject and have a place for completed homework and homework that needs to be done. Make sure your child has a calendar with all the assignments written down, and look at the calender nightly to help them breakdown larger projects into smaller action steps and add the action steps to the calendar.

3. Define where and when homework is done. Create a specific time and place each day when and where your child does their homework. Your child will know what to expect and it will reduce some of the power struggles over homework. The more responsible your child is, the less direct supervision is necessary and the more flexible you can be with time and location. Let your child know what they can do after their homework is completed, such as spend time on the computer or watch television.

4. Have a clear outline of how homework time is spent and what is expected. Some children will fly through homework so they can play video games. Or some children will be on the computer surfing the net when they say they are doing their homework. Be clear on what needs to be accomplished during that time. Some children with processing or organizational issues may need you to break it down for them, such as what subject they work on first, how many pages they need to read, and what homework they need to complete. You can write it down together and have check boxes your child checks off when each task is completed. Let your child know you will review work together before they are “done”.

4. Stay in connection with the school. If your child struggles to remember assignments or projects due and your child’s school has an online calendar of assignments print that out and use it to see if your child’s assignments match. Older children can print this for you. If your child has academic issues contact the school monthly to check on how your child is doing in school. Ask the teacher for ideas on how to best support your child.

5. Explore your options. Does your child need more support with academics at school? Consult with a professional. Your child may need to be evaluated to determine if they need an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with specific recommendations and supports that the school provides.

6. Get creative. Your child needs to find some positive ways to express their feelings around homework and their academic struggles. Art therapy is a helpful modality to help children express their feelings so they spend less time struggling and resisting homework. They can use their creativity to develop goals for the school year or create images, such as cartoons or artwork of what annoys and frustrated them, and then create solutions.

Here’s gentle reminder: please do not punish, demean, yell at, threaten children who have organizational, impulsivity, processing or learning issues. So many of these children feel like there is “something wrong” or they are “bad”. They are fearful of being picked on or being seen as “stupid” and may use negative behaviors, manipulate, lie or avoid, so they are not seen as “dumb”.  Children fear being labeled with these words and often would rather get in trouble with negative behaviors, than to be called names by their peers. Children can learn new strategies to change their behaviors and they can find positive ways to succeed at school when properly identified and supported.

If you have a child with academic issues then child therapy can help. Child therapists can rule out if the issues your child is encountering is behavioral and help your child and your family create systems to help your child with homework success. If you live the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton area child art therapy can help your child develop system and new coping strategies to create academic success. To learn more sign-up for your complimentary child support consultation here.

Share

Anxious Child? Here’s a Creative Solution

October 4th, 2011

Did you know that children’s mental health statistics suggest as many as 1 in 10 young people may have an anxiety disorder?

Did you know that 8 percent of children between the ages of 13-18 have an anxiety disorder?  The National Institute of Mental Health notes that symptoms commonly emerge around age 6. However, of the children who experience symptoms of anxiety, only 18 percent received mental health care.  And if you are a parent who is anxious, studies suggest that children or adolescents are more likely to have an anxiety disorder if their parents have anxiety disorders (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services).

Stress, worries, anxiety, fear- it’s all part of life. Yet, if we are not given the opportunity to express our fears and realize that it’s okay to feel scared (worried, etc) and learn tools to manage these feelings we may develop an anxious disposition. Part of it may be biological, just the way we are hardwired. However, it is believed that genetics only shapes us by 50%, the remaining 50% is environment, situations, people, and perceptions. So we have control over half of our worries and can learn the tools to manage these feelings. The interesting thing about anxiety is that it is often overlooked, yet it has lasting impacts. If a child is anxious they often internalize their feelings and they do not get the attention that a child who is acting out gets. However, this internalization may lead to feeling of inadequacy, self-criticism, and may trigger addictive and self-harming behavior.

The National Institute of Mental Health noted that, “studies on treating childhood anxiety disorders found that high-quality cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), given with or without medication, can effectively treat anxiety disorders in children.  One small study even found that a behavioral therapy designed to treat social phobia in children was more effective than an antidepressant medication.” Essentially, if your child suffers from anxiety, they can be helped in therapy, and they can learn strategies to reduce their anxiety.

Okay- so what’s a parent to do? Here’s a creative solution. Ask your child to create an image of what is bothering them. So if there is a certain situation (like homework or going back to school) or person (like a classmate) that triggers their anxiety and worries ask them to make a picture of it. Allow them to create without censorship or judgment. Ask them if they would like share what they created (“no” is an acceptable answer). Here’s the important part, listen to what they say without offering your perspective. Instead be empathetic and validate their feelings. After listening without offering advice ask your child questions about what the person in the drawing could do or think differently so they feel more in control and less worried. Allow your child to be creative in their responses.

Allowing flexible creative divergent thinking helpings your child re-pattern their brain neural pathways helping your child think in terms of what’s possible. There are other specific cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) strategies we will be teaching in our art therapy group to help your child reduce the physiological impacts of anxiety and stress. Even if your child has normal worries about homework and friends this fun and creative group will give your child some cognitive and behavioral tools to tackle worries when they arise!

If you have a child between the ages of 9-13 in need of more support we are offering a children’s therapy group in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, or Venice area . We’ll be offering an art therapy  group and teaching some very cool art therapy strategies to help your child feel more confident and happier. You can learn more about the group by sending an email with your child’s name, age, what support your child needs, your phone number and email (and the best time and way to reach you) to laura@thecreativityqueen.com We’ll get back to you with the group details and answer any questions you may have.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download and implement to help your child. You can lean more here .

Share

Setting Up Children for Success

October 3rd, 2011
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”
~Sydney J. Harris

Join Candace Vorhaus and Dr. Laura Dessauer

for a 60 Minute Tele-Seminar
– If you have a phone, you’re there! –
(Recording will be made available for download)

Wednesday October 19th, 2011
8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Fee: $47
Help Your Child be Successful Using the Unique Principles of Feng Shui & Art Therapy
In this 60 minute tele-seminar, Candace will share her C3D Feng Shui solutions to an environment that supports children to maximize their learning experience, increase self confidence, and get along better with friends and relatives.  Did you know that the improper placement of a desk can cause children to go unnoticed, feel out of control, and cause an inability to see problems coming?  Did you know that a bed in a poor position can cause anxiety, mood swings, headaches and insomnia?  Did you know that a a door to a bedroom that is misaligned can create family conflict?

In the C3D Feng Shui portion of this tele-seminar, Candace will share:

  • The best desk placement to increase IQ
  • The most important bed placement to give children confidence
  • A method for children to feel safe in their beds
  • How to handle electro magnetic fields that can cause irritability, insomnia and increase stress
  • An easy way to correcting beams, slants and poor door placements to avoid emotional instability and physical disorders
  • The design details that can create a bully with simple environmental solutions
  • A color palette to support children’s success and happiness

Click Here to Register

Dr. Laura Dessauer, board certified art therapist, will teach Creative Parenting strategies from the Head and Heart System to help your child creatively manage their emotions and behaviors.  She’ll share with you her art therapy toolbox to help your child shift their behaviors, change communication patterns, and eliminate power struggles, meltdowns, and shutdowns to help your child feel happier.

With Dr. Laura Dessauer you’ll learn:

  • Creative strategies to help your child manage their behaviors and feelings.
  • How to help your child shift behaviors and finally get your child to listen to you.
  • What you may be doing (or not doing) that is negatively impacting your child and what you can do instead.
  • Signs and signals that your child may need additional support and what to look for in a therapist or doctor to ensure your child is getting the best help.

Dr. Laura Dessauer’s mission is to teach children, parents, and professionals creative ways to connect and communicate with respect and compassion, so children feel happier and more confident. As the founder of the Creativity Queen, LLC, Laura’s a Board Certified Art Therapist with a doctorate degree in counseling psychology offering individual and family art therapy sessions and professional trainings. Laura has worked with families for 23 + years in over 21 school districts and she has been featured in Parent’s Magazine, eHow Parenting, YourTango, FoxNews, PBS This Emotional Life, Working Mother, Head Drama, Gal Drama, and Psychology Today. Laura is recognized as an international presenter, esteemed clinician, author, and her business, the Creativity Queen, LLC, was the winner of the 2007 Small Business of the Year Award (SCORE).

Visit www.thecreativityqueen.com to receive your free audio mini-course Secrets Your Kids Really Don’t Want You to Know: A Child Art Therapist Tells All (*except for the confidential stuff)

Click Here to Register

The process is easy:

After you register, you will be sent a conference call telephone number you can dial into and listen from wherever you are.  After the call, you will be sent an audio file from YouSendIt.com within 24 hours.

Whether you are on the call live or prefer to listen at another time, a recording of the call will be made available to each participant to download to a computer or iPod.

Candace believes focusing on your personal space is the missing link to lifelong fulfillment and happiness.  In her work with clients, Candace emphasizes C3D Feng Shui: Color, Clutter, Ch’i (life force), and Design.  A classically trained interior designer with over 20 years experience, Candace is the recognized leading Feng Shui consultant in the world-famous Hamptons, also advising clients worldwide.  Candace is also a well known heart-centered spiritual coach, and an original member of the International Association of Women in Business Coaching. Candace lives in Sag Harbor, New York, with her husband, Robbie, two children, and very cute dog, Ollie. For further information, contact Candace at: www.candacevorhaus.com

Share

Difficult Teenagers: How to Motivate & Understand Them

September 30th, 2011

Guest Article by Dee Mason

‘I don’t know what to do with this kid. He’s got to go!’ This was my introduction to Matthew, a difficult teenager who was driving his teachers mad. No one could cope with him and almost all of his teacher/pupil relationships had broken down. When he wasn’t chatting he was distracted. His lies were works of art. He was likeable, with blonde spiky hair and vivid blue eyes, full of intelligence and guile. He seemed more mature than the other seventeen year olds. He didn’t have an agenda; he just tried to get through every day by lying, ducking and diving, doing the minimum to stay on the course and the maximum to fuel his enjoyment of life.

My Job
My job at that time was to take on the most difficult teenagers in the college, befriend them, and help them be successful. I knew it would be a challenge, and I was up for it. I came to see that these students were Mavericks and they respond well to slightly maverick solutions!

My Room, My Rules
I had very, very few rules.
Rule One: No Sniffing
I provided tissues. “Arrrrgh….I can’t stand it!” I’d say, handing them the box. This was a) true but b) I came to understand that it was also an act of ‘mothering’ that the teens didn’t mind at all. I realized that teenagers are still very much living with one foot in their childhood. The ones that were failing just needed a little more time to move on. I brought in bags of sweets often. They loved to feel they were special and a little bit spoiled. After all, everyone else in the school was shouting at them. These small acts of mothering seemed to give them a feeling of security and helped build trust.

Rule Two: Right! Work now!
I always let my growing band of outlaws chat away about their issues for a while. We talked about boyfriends, and parent’s divorces, and peer bullying. But there was always a moment in their hour and a half session time when I would say ‘Ok, time for work! Half an hour. Go!’ Because they had been able to talk and relax they never seemed to mind. After half and hour (or longer if they were happy to continue) we broke and chatted again. It worked well, and slowly their grades crept up.

Rule Three: Working In Silence

This was really important. Kids seem to be bombarded with noise all the time. I failed to see how it could help easily distracted teenagers in this crucial period of their education. I did not allow iPods. I wanted concentration. Peace. Silence. It worked like a charm. It was such a novelty to these children to spend half an hour with their own thoughts. “I got more done in the last hour than I did in the whole of last week!” Often they came from chaotic homes where they were forced to do homework in the corner of a living room surrounded by piles of baby clothes and magazines, with TV and younger siblings all vying for their attention. I truly believe that experiencing silence and focused concentration showed them something they did not know they were capable of, thinking.

Rule Four: Organization

When a student was referred to me I would always ask them ‘What do you want to do? What is it you really want to happen?” Often it was a simple wish to be able to finish their studies and get a job, or go to University. It was a sincere wish. Kids don’t turn up to school day after day to experience failure and feel anxious. Why would they? They keep coming back because they want to succeed. We looked at their messy notes and put them in order. We got a list of targets to work towards. We made lists and ticked thing off. I stuck a long sheet of paper on my wall, showing the weeks till exam time, with a movable Monty Python-style ‘Finger Of Doom’ which crept along the line, week by week, as a visual reminder.

Why Did It Work?

It worked because it was theirs. They felt part of a gang, one that defied everyone’s expectations. The gang that had their own place in the school. They were respected by me, and respected me in turn. They trusted me, because they knew I cared. One of the greatest tensions when working with children is the extent to which you show them, and admit how much you genuinely care for them. I was never afraid to own those feelings. They knew it. And because they knew I’d go the extra mile for them, they went the extra mile for me.
And Matt, the boy they were about to exclude from college? I asked him “What’s it like being you?”, and it all tumbled out. I decided that he needed an immediate assessment for ADHD. He was off the scale. No-one had picked it up in 17 years. Listening to what children say is the very first step in helping them. Not many people really listen to children, even ones whose job it is.
We worked with it, and around it. With a huge amount of patience and a lot of laughs we made it. He got his exams and went to University. No expulsion. His last email to me said, “If I could share it with you I would”. That last smile he gave me was reward enough.

Dee Mason is a freelance writer and proud parent of two. She specializes in the arts and travel, and writes on behalf of Adams Kids in the U.K

Share