Reconnect this Summer

Summer vacation is the prefect time for you to reconnect with your children. The time spent together deepens the relationship and helps your child develop self regulation skills. This does not have to be a big production planning-wise. Think “simple” by grabbing pockets of time here and there for  mutually enjoyable activities. Take a walk with the dog. Ride bikes. Play a board game. Bake something. Work it around your daily routine. A little goes a long way.

Summer Support

Summer’s a good time to get a little extra support for your learning disabled high schooler. In addition to therapy services, we can pair your teen with a college grad/ mentor who will steer your child toward college readiness. We’ll tailor our program to fit your child’s needs. Some services we offer include:

  • Academic tutoring
  • Help with organization and planning
  • Shoring up life skills and independence
  • Nutrition and exercise regimes

Call or email for more information: Julia@MilestoneMentoring.com  *  Julia Murphy (818) 388-1526

Teen Stressors

The teen years are typically filled with stress due to the rapid physical, cognitive and emotional changes adolescents undergo. What stresses teens is often different than what stresses adults.

Teen Stressors:

  • Social awkwardness
  • Being bullied
  • Academic pressures
  • Managing an overfilled schedule
  • Self consciousness about physical appearance
  • Peer pressure to use alcohol and drugs
  • Dramatic physical and cognitive changes
  • Family and peer conflict
  • College transition
  • Adapting to greater independence and responsibility

As a parent, you can help your teen manage stress. The best way to approach an anxious teen is to be as calm as possible. The first rule of thumb is to remember to contain your own anxiety. Be open and listen non-judgmentally. Listen more than you speak. Empathy and mirroring feelings can be very reassuring and will help your teen feel that his or her feelings are normal.

At a later time when your teen’s anxiety has passed, you might suggest some positive ways to manage stress like deep breathing, muscle relaxation, breaking down tasks into smaller steps, adequate sleep, exercise and a balanced diet, downtime, and enjoyable activities with friends. Help your teen find opportunities to build his or her unique strengths and deep interests, which will also reduce anxiety and lead to greater self confidence.

The ABCs of Learning Challenges (Part 2)

Academic Skill Deficits

1. Dyslexia, or reading difficulties, effects about 80% of children with learning challenges.

  • They may have difficulty decoding words, reading fluently, as well as comprehending text.
  • Writing may also be difficult, which includes organizing thoughts, putting ideas into sequence and using grammar, punctuation and spelling appropriately.

2. Dyscalculia, or difficulty with math, is also common among children with learning challenges.

  • This may include difficulty with mental math, transposing digits, failing to line up numbers properly in an equation or omitting steps in a math problem.

Fortunately, there are strategies and accommodations that will help your child cope with his or her learning challenges, including implementing the right modifications and accommodations at school to help him learn, supporting the development of his interests and strengths, helping him understand his challenges, and providing him with support and understanding.

Parent Conversations: Understanding Your Child’s Changing Developmental Needs

Event Date: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Dr. Murphy gave a parent presentation at the Country School about the developmental needs of pre-school children, with a particular emphasis on the critical role parents play in fostering their child’s emotional, cognitive and social development. Topics included:

  • Principles of effective discipline
  • Coping with transitions
  • Managing tantrums
  • Facilitating social skills development
  • Managing adult expectations

Other talks in this series will focus on Elementary and Middle School children.

Please email info@murphypsychologygroup.com if you are interested in having Dr. Murphy speak to parents or teachers at your school.

Manage Negative Emotions About Parenting an LD Child

Parents cope with a wide range of difficult feelings about their child’s learning challenges. Will my son or daughter be accepted to a good middle school, high school or college? Will he be able to create a life for himself? Will she ever be able to make and keep friends? All these questions weigh heavily on your mind and increase stress. While you may love your child and want the bet for him or her, your feelings of disappointment, confusion, helplessness, shame and anger may not seem very loving. You might find yourself trying to deny that you have these feelings, or you may take them as a sign that you are failing as a parent. The difficulty with this guilty mindset is that it only intensifies already painful feelings. Here’s my message to you: When parenting any child, a range of feelings, both positive and negative, is natural and human. It may be counterintuitive, but this self acceptance is crucial to processing your emotions and maintaining the composure to be present for your child. From this place, you’ll be better able to implement effective parenting strategies. Being comfortable with a wide range of feelings also helps you develop a greater capacity to understand and accept the range of emotions and experiences your child will have.

Of course, if you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed or your anger is out of control, seek the help and support of a professional.

Parenting with Love and Imperfection

The patterns of relating that children demonstrate with important adults in their lives, as well as their peers, are dependent on early relational experiences with parents or caretakers. If a child has had his or her needs met most of the time, they come to trust that others will also respond to them consistently.

As a parent, you do not have to be perfectly responsive for your child to develop a sense of trust in the world. In fact, it may come as a relief that if you were perfectly responsive to her needs, you would actually hinder her emotional growth!

Misunderstandings, disappointments and other types of ruptures are inevitable in all relationships. When misunderstandings do occur with your child, they become an opportunity for you to help your child process and resolve the experience. These ruptures and repairs actually facilitate emotional growth. Saying “I’m sorry” to your child now and then goes a long way.

10-Week Workshop for Parents of Challenging Children

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Mothers or Couples Groups

  • Learn easily grasped strategies and techniques
  • Improve your relationship with your child
  • Understand the role of healthy relationships in brain development
  • Learn how your child’s slow-to-emerge abilities affect academics and behavior
  • Develop a calm, problem-solving approach
  • Establish and maintain reasonable expectations

 Call or email to sign up.

Julia Murphy, LMFT (818) 388-1526

Info@MurphyPsychologyGroup.com

 

 

 

 

                          

MurphyPsychologyGroup.com

18321 Ventura Blvd., Suite 955, Tarzana, CA 91356

Contact: Julia Murphy, MA (818) 388-1526

Info@MurphyPsychologyGroup.com

 

8 Important Parenting Practices

With the busy schedules parents juggle, few of us can find the time to read an entire parenting book. Sometimes biting off just a little bit of wisdom is enough to start navigating your family’s day with more mindful ease.

1. LISTEN. Be an attentive audience. Take the time to listen to your child’s concerns, ideas and stories.

2. ENCOURAGE. Be sure to praise your child in response to her good efforts. Try to have praise outweigh corrections or discipline.

3. OPEN UP. Share information about yourself to help normalize your child’s experiences.

4. PLAY. Find time to bond over activities you both enjoy. Finding something you like, too, increases the likelihood that you will make time for your child.

5. APOLOGIZE. Admit mistakes and say you’re sorry now and then. Children are quick to forgive and will respect you for it.

6. AVOID COMPARISONS. Resist the temptation to compare your child to siblings or peers. Instead of motivating your child, comparisons tend to be shaming and undermine your child’s growth and happiness.

7. REFLECT. Learn to monitor your responses to problem behavior, rather than reacting quickly and punitively. Resisting an anxious response gives you the emotional space to gauge how serious a problem is and to solve it in cooperation with your child.

8. CONSIDER YOUR LIMITS. When prioritizing expectations and deciding with your child how to get them met, carefully consider what you can handle. Do you have the time or emotional resources to help your child follow through or to enforce consequences if he doesn’t?

5 Point Parenting Plan To Relieve Holiday Stress

Talk to any parent: The holidays bring out the best and worst in families. As parents of children whose emotions are running high, you may find yourselves struggling to keep the spirits bright. Here are 5 helpful hints for a happier holiday with your kids.

1. Remember, all children struggle with processing strong emotion. Every child learns to regulate their emotions at a different pace as they mature. In the meantime, they look to you to help them quell anxiety, so try to stay as steady and patient as possible even in the face of an eruption. If you lose your composure, your child is left feeling like no one is in control and this can heighten the intensity of a meltdown.

2. Begin by helping your child label the feelings she is experiencing. If you can put language to feelings, it helps her to  make sense of her experiences and calm down.  She will also feel that you care about her and are trying to understand.  Be sure to do this before her feelings become too intense.  Problem solving when feelings are too strong may only aggravate the problem.

3. Identify situations where your child is more vulnerable to experiencing strong emotions and losing self-control. Plan for these situations in advance. Explain what is going to happen, what emotions she may feel and how you will support her, as well as what she can do for herself to keep calm.

4. Be tolerant of your child’s feelings. That doesn’t mean let him be inappropriate or destructive. Reassure your distraught child that you are going to listen to him, but he first needs to get his feelings under control with your help. He needs to be able to discuss his feelings in a respectful manner.

5. Once emotions are under control, you can make every effort to understand the experience from your child’s perspective. Taking this approach does not mean you agree with your child. It simply means you are trying to understand how he experienced a situation and what meaning it took on for him.  Efforts invested in this process will also create more space for you to offer alternative explanations and perspectives on the situation.