Impactful Parenting Podcast
Stop Power Struggles With Your Teen

Stop Power Struggles With Your Teen

March 23, 2021

It is Question and Answer LIVE and today's question was: How To Stop Power Struggles With Your Teen

FREE PDF mentioned in the podcast: https://theimpactfulparent.com/problem-solving

**This episode was broadcasted live on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.  Submissions for Q&A Thursday can be either emailed to The Impactful Parent directly or direct messaged through any of these social media platforms.  Submissions can be anonymous and are never mentioned in the Live Recording to respect the privacy of The Impactful Parent audience.  Email:  theimpactfulparent@gmail.com

Don't forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don't miss an impactful tip!

Make an authentic connection with your child. Try a FREE 30 Day Challenge. You'll receive a new question to ask your child every day- for 30 days. Get away from the boring questions and start connecting with your child one question at a time! https://theimpactfulparent.com/connection

Follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Rate, Review, & Subscribe!

"I love Kristina and all the FREE tips that she has to offer!  Thank you for making my parenting journey better!"  <– If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you!!!

Rate with five stars, and select "Write a Review." Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven't done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I'm adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed and, if you're not subscribed, there's a good chance you'll miss out. Subscribe now!

Transcript for Stop Power Struggles With Your Teen:

Power struggles as your child get older are developmentally appropriate.  When your child is young, they rely on you 100%, and as they age, their self-power increases little by little, but when kids are young, they take our opinions and words as gold.  Little children just accept the things we say as truth.  As kids get older and become more independent thinkers, that's when the questioning comes into play, and the power struggles begin.

The most popular reason at the heart of the power struggle that I have seen is the parents not wanting to control.  When parents are in control, it feels safe and secure to us.  Losing control is scary, and we all know that kids make bad choices, so we don't like to trust our children.  This lack of trust to let our children make their own choices and decisions come from fear for the parent.  We don't want to see our kids hurt by bad choices.  Many parents don't want to lose control of their child's influence because they see it as more opportunities for their child to get hurt.  The power struggle actually comes from a place of love in this circumstance.

As your child grows older and this exchange of power shifts, parents lose total control, and what remains is only influence.  Yep, I said it.  Parents, you can not force your child to do anything they don't want to do.  You lose control.  You may try to make their life so miserable that your choice is the only desirable choice your adolescent has- but in the end, it is still your child's choice. So, since parents are only left with influence as their best source of power, today, I will give you some tips for avoiding the power struggle and have the greatest influence on your child.

Tip #1 for avoiding the power struggle is making strong bonds with your child from the ages of 8-12.  These are the tween years, and they are the most critical years, in my opinion, to form your relationship with your child.  Parents who make a secure bond with their child have much more success influencing their teenager later because the foundation to trust you is already built.

Tip #2 for avoiding the power struggle is to help your child understand and accept their power.  This might sound counterintuitive, but you want your child to feel like they have choices in life, and your there to help them learn to make the right choices.  You want to make sure your child understands that you are not there to dictate their lives but rather support them through life.   This sentiment allows teens to let down their guard and gives the teenager space to open up to you.  This also means that as a parent, you have to shift your focus from talking to listening.  This brings me to tip #3

Tip #3 for avoiding the power struggle means thinking of your parental role more as a coach than an authoritarian.  Good coaches stand on the sidelines and give guidance on how their player can improve their game.  When a player is in a match and makes a mistake, the coach doesn't walk onto the court or the field, take the ball and start playing for the player.  No.  When parents are approached by their adolescent with the question, "What should I do, Mom?" the parent gives the child answers.  Giving your child answers doesn't teach them to problem-solve or think for themselves.

Tip #4 for avoiding power struggles is teaching your child how to be analytical and problem-solvers.  To do this, parents need to learn how to ask the right questions, they need to learn how to be active listeners, and they need to learn how to be patient with this process.  It sounds easy when I say it, but let's get real… being an active listener and helping your child learn to problem solve is exhausting.  It takes time and effort, and many parents don't have the energy to do it at the end of a long workday.  This can be one of their biggest mistakes.

So how do parents teach their kids to be analytical problem-solvers?  The answer is helping your child come to their OWN conclusions and choices by walking with them step-by-step through decision making.  If you don't allow your child to make their own choices and only give them directives, they will never internalize their choice.  It is so easy for humans to say, "I just did it because they told me to," and not learn from their mistakes or take responsibility for their actions. Your adolescent needs to learn how to make good choices, which will never happen if you make all the choices for them.  When parents call too many of the shots- that is when the power struggle rears its ugly head. But you can influence your child into making better choices by leading them into problem-solving with your help and guidance.  This then becomes a win-win situation.

I have a FREE PDF to help you through the process of teaching problem-solving with your child.  Go to https://theimpactfulparent.com/problem-solving to get this FREE PDF TODAY.

Lesson From A Mom of 10 Kids!

Lesson From A Mom of 10 Kids!

March 18, 2021

This is a can't miss interview!  Laura Hernandez, mom of 10 kids, tells the Impactful Parent community lessons from being a mom of 10!  Laura highlights some special topics such as foster-to-adopt, how to stay organized, what's it is like to have children with special needs, and so much more!

Here are some questions that I ask Laura during our meeting:

  • Do you have any tips for the foster-to-adopt process?
  • What are your children's special needs, and how do you help them?
  • What were your special needs expectations?
  • Are you afraid the biological parents will come back?
  • What is the best part of the foster-to-adopt experiences?
  • How do you create quality time with 10 kids?
  • Do you ever go out to eat?
  • How do you drive 10 kids around?
  • What are your tips for creating systems?
  • How do you make yourself a priority?

If you are considering adoption or foster-to-adopt in your city, this is a great video resource!  Listen as this real mom of foster kids talks candidly about her struggles and triumphs of being a foster mom.

Laura is full of great information, and anyone can learn from this experienced mom!  Read, Listen, or watch the video!

Don't forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don't miss an impactful tip!

Make an authentic connection with your child. Try a FREE 30 Day Challenge. You'll receive a new question to ask your child every day- for 30 days. Get away from the boring questions and start connecting with your child one question at a time! https://theimpactfulparent.com/connection

Follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Rate, Review, & Subscribe!

"I love Kristina and all the FREE tips that she has to offer!  Thank you for making my parenting journey better!"  <– If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you!!!

Rate with five stars, and select "Write a Review." Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven't done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I'm adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed and, if you're not subscribed, there's a good chance you'll miss out. Subscribe now!

Phone Addiction

Phone Addiction

March 16, 2021

It is Question and Answer LIVE and today's question was: How can I tell if my teen has a phone addiction? What can I do to minimize phone use?

**This episode was broadcasted live on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.  Submissions for Q&A Thursday can be either emailed to The Impactful Parent directly or direct messaged through any of these social media platforms.  Submissions can be anonymous and are never mentioned in the Live Recording to respect the privacy of The Impactful Parent audience.  Email:  theimpactfulparent@gmail.com

Don't forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don't miss an impactful tip!

Make an authentic connection with your child. Try a FREE 30 Day Challenge. You'll receive a new question to ask your child every day- for 30 days. Get away from the boring questions and start connecting with your child one question at a time! https://theimpactfulparent.com/connection

Follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Rate, Review, & Subscribe!

"I love Kristina and all the FREE tips that she has to offer!  Thank you for making my parenting journey better!"  <– If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you!!!

Rate with five stars, and select "Write a Review." Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven't done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I'm adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed and, if you're not subscribed, there's a good chance you'll miss out. Subscribe now!

Transcript for Phone Addiction In Adolescents:

Signs of a teenager being addicted to their cell phone.  What is too much screen time? How to manage it?

Screen addiction is real. Today's Question and Answer Live is:  What are the signs of being addicted to the cell phone.  What is too much screen time. And how to manage screen time with a teenager.

Before I begin, I want to preface a few things. First of all, today's answer will sound negative because the questions today revolve around the negative effects of phones' over-use.  That is our content's focus; however, I don't believe that all technology is bad.  Technology has some major benefits for our young people when used appropriately.  Besides, this is such an important topic because technology is not going away.   We have to teach our children how to manage technology in healthy ways to continue teaching their children the same lessons.  Screens are here to stay, so let's educate ourselves as parents on how to teach our children to navigate them well.

There has been a decline in adolescent mental health since the influx of cellphone in the newer generations.  More teens are depressed, and there has been an increase in suicide attempts.  So this issue is real and shouldn't be ignored.

Ironically, despite being able to connect with anyone in the world in seconds, most people report that they are lonelier than they have ever been before.  This just shows that our connections with others via Snapchat and text messages are very shallow.  Our young people are missing the interpersonal connection with their peers that they need.  You can not replace the connection that in-person interactions produce.  Even voice-to-voice contact is much better than text messages.

This lack of connection with peers is not necessarily entirely your child's fault.  I see two huge problems that prevent children from connecting as they used to 30 years ago.

  1. Parents aren't letting their kids get out anymore.

Gone are the days of letting your child run around the neighborhood and explore. "Come back before dinner and be careful" is not the norm of today's city living.  Of course, our intentions to keep our children safe is valid, but that doesn't mean that it isn't affecting our children in other ways.

  1. The second reason is much more prevalent. It is the competition and nature of the social media platform.   Each website online is competing for your attention.  The goal of YouTube, Pinterest, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat,… ALL social media platforms are to keep you on their website as long as possible.  To do that, the internet algorithms keep track of what you watch, like, share, save. Then the algorithms provide you more similar content to stay on the channel and engaged.  The owner of each website is rewarded when you stay with them and watch their content.  Even me!  The more you share, push the like button, watch my videos, and save my posts, - the more the algorithms will like me and push out my content to more people who also watch similar videos.  Websites will also keep you engaged by using researched, attracting techniques, such as bright colors, non-stop entertainment, and playing video after video with no pause. Some platforms like Snapchat make the engagement a game to keep kids wanting more.  Snapchat gives the user reward points for each post or interaction with others.

This non-stop stimulation of the things kids love causes an increase in their dopamine levels in their brain.  Dopamine is the chemical our brain makes to tell us that we are happy.  When we stop looking at the screen, the dopamine levels drop, making us want more.  Kids then find themselves in a cycle of seeking out more and more dopamine to stay happy.  This is how the addiction starts.

So, as you can see, screen addiction is not entirely your child's fault.  In some respects, they are victims of a system that lures them in.

How do we know when your child has crossed the tipping point from regular phone use to addiction?

Cell phone addiction can have any of the following signs:

  • Sleep disturbances. Insomnia is common with screens because of the constant stimulation.  This is a real problem and needs to be addressed immediately.
  • Anxiety and irritability due to withdrawal. Is your child craving more dopamine?
  • Feelings of loneliness.
  • Feelings of 'needing' likes on their post to feel validated.
  • Feelings of missing out if they aren't on their phones consistently. This usually manifests itself in needing to be on their phone all the time, including driving, eating, etc.
  • Loss of interest to do other interactive, engaging activities.

How much is too much screen time?

The experts say that teens should be active at least 15 minutes for every hour of screen time and suggest no more than 2 hours of screen time per day.  My own personal suggestion is to turn off screens at least one hour before bedtime also.  It takes about that long to desensitize from the screen stimulation and relax so your child can fall asleep.

What can parents do to manage their child's screen time?

Tip 1:  Talk to your child about the impact of technology use and screens like I did with you today.  Show them this video or other similar videos available.  Sometimes kids don't want to hear the facts from you but will be more receptive if they hear the effects of technology from experts.

Tip 2: Teach your child to be intentional with their time on their phone by limiting their screen time with available apps.  There are several apps that parents can purchase that monitor electronics.  I use Qustodio personally in my own home. Still, there are several similar apps out there that can easily be googled and installed on your child's devices.  These apps can limit the times of day your child can access the functionality of their phone, limit the use of particular apps, limit the time duration your child can use their device, block explicit content, block particular apps, and more.

Tip 3: Intentionally create screen-free spaces and times in your child's day for no technology.

  • Make rules for your home, like no phones at the dinner table. No phones from 5-6pm.  No phones when you are having a conversation with someone.
  • Keep your child busy with scheduled activities that discourage screens like participating in sports, going for a bike ride, different clubs at school, etc.
  • Go on a digital fast for a day and reward your child for their no-screen efforts.
  • Encourage your child to talk to their friends on the phone instead of texting their friends.
  • And lastly, you have to model good technology use yourself. If you don't practice what you preach, then your child will never listen to you.  You must also be willing to abide by the rules you are creating in your home.

Technology use and limitation have to start with a conversation with your child. You should reward them for the behaviors you want to see.  If your child puts down the phone for even an hour more than they usually do, reward them for those efforts and begin to increase those time little by little until it seems seamless.

You got this, parents. I am just here to help.

How To Help An Anxious Child

How To Help An Anxious Child

March 16, 2021

How To Help An Anxious Child.  3 Tips for helping kids with anxiety.

Important Links from the podcast:

Behavior Management FREE Webinar that teaches the steps you need to help your child and see change.  https://theimpactfulparent.com/anxiety-webinar

Behavior Management Course Description: https://theimpactfulparent.com/anxiety

Don’t forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don’t miss an impactful tip!

Don’t forget to follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Transcript:

"Mom, I am going to fail!  I can't do this!"  "Mom, this needs to be perfect, or it isn't right."  "Mom, I don't want to do that right now.  I'm not feeling good."   Do you hear these phrases in your house too?  Stop what you are doing and let me grab your attention because these phrases are warning signs!  These phrases can be the onset of ANXIETY.  

Anxiety is not a phase!  Helping your child early can make a huge difference later when they become young adults.

Anxiety is NOT just feeling nervous or worrying.  Anxiety is NOT just nail-biting or tapping your pencil on the desk.  Anxiety comes in many forms!  It is trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, avoiding, loss of appetite, increased irritability, restlessness, overeating, feelings of guilt, and shame. Anxiety can be perfectionism or procrastination.  The list goes on.   Anxiety is so much more than many realize because everyone shows anxiety a little differently.

In its basic form, anxiety is when your child starts to worry consistently, and the worrying becomes a habit.  Once a behavior becomes a habit, we begin to lose control of what we are doing.  Our body goes into auto-mode instead.  With anxiety, our mind tells our body that there is danger near, and anxiety kicks in to protect ourselves.   Worry sets in and makes our body want to flee and escape the situation or avoid the threat.  The problem is that many times there is no danger and really your mind is talking untruthfully to you. 

So how can we help our kids avoid getting into the anxiety trap?  We need to help them change their mindset and how they think.  This is not easy.  If their minds are trying to protect them from danger, then we must reprogram their brains not to overreact to false threats.  Teaching kids to control their thoughts will result in them also learning to control their actions!  I offer a course that will help you and your child walk through what is needed to really get results. However, if you follow me consistently, you also know- I will not leave you hanging with no answers today!  Here are some things you can do right now to help your child start retaking control of their body!

#1 Teach them to count backward when they start to feel those butterflies in their stomach.  The idea here is to activate the prefrontal cortex (or the logical side) of the brain.  This is done by stopping the emotional thought that causes the onset of anxiety and doing something like counting backward.   There are several other techniques you can use but counting back 5-4-3-2-1 is one of the easiest methods.   Then, once the counting is done, tell your child to finish this sentence: "I am excited to _____________," and think of a happy thought.  The objective is to train your child to stop the negative thoughts that make them anxious and refocus.  The negative thoughts will not go away, but the goal is not to let worry take over entirely and stabilize the body's reaction to worry by providing the brain with alternative positive thoughts.

#2 Don't minimize their feelings by saying things such as, "Everything is fine.  Just calm down" or "You're overreacting."  Instead, start asking questions!  Keep asking questions that will force your child to evaluate their thinking and debunk their irrational thoughts.  For example, you can ask.

What evidence do you have that something terrible is going to happen?

What is the probability of the unfortunate happening?

What can you do to ensure that nothing bad will happen?

Keep asking questions while you go for a little walk, to activate their logical thinking again. 

#3 Praise your child wildly for their achievements, for being brave, and for staying in control of their emotions.   Point out their successes! To gain confidence and replace their unwanted habit of worry with confidence, your child will have to repeatedly control their thoughts.  Practice and repetition are how they will build their new habit.

I wish that eliminating anxiety was as easy as 3 simple steps, but it is not.  For more comprehensive support and help, check out The Behavior Management Course: Helping Children Control Big Emotions.   I offer a FREE webinar that talks about the course and gives you the step by step framework you need to start seeing change!  Plus- just for taking the time to watch the video, I also include a FREE PDF called 20 Ways to Cope.   These 20+ coping techniques are researched and tested to work for helping kids with anxiety.   This is my gift to you so you can start helping your kids right away, even if you find the course is not for you. 

Help your child overcome their anxiety today!

Why Are Children Stubborn?

Why Are Children Stubborn?

March 11, 2021

It is Question and Answer Thursday and today's question was: Why Are Children Stubborn?

Anxiety Webinar:  https://theimpactfulparent.com/anxiety-webinar

Anger Management Webinar:  https://theimpactfulparent.com/anger-webinar

**Why are children stubborn episode was broadcasted live on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.  Submissions for Q&A Live can be either emailed to The Impactful Parent directly or direct messaged through any of these social media platforms.  Submissions can be anonymous and are never mentioned in the Live Recording to respect the privacy of The Impactful Parent audience.  Email:  theimpactfulparent@gmail.com

Don’t forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don’t miss an impactful tip!

Make an authentic connection with your child. Try a FREE 30 Day Challenge. You’ll receive a new question to ask your child every day- for 30 days. Get away from the boring questions and start connecting with your child one question at a time! https://theimpactfulparent.com/connection

Follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Rate, Review, & Subscribe!

“I love Kristina and all the FREE tips that she has to offer!  Thank you for making my parenting journey better!”  <– If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you!!!

Rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed and, if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out. Subscribe now!

Transcript For Why Are Children Stubborn:

Today we’re going to talk about Why are children stubborn?  There could be several reasons, but I will give you a few reasons today, and let’s see if they resonate with you.

Have you ever had your child scream something like, “I know they’re talking about me right now?” Or “They hate me.” Or, “I just always screw up, or I never get things right.” Well, if this sounds familiar, then this video is for you. Children get stuck in what is called Thinking Traps. What are Thinking Traps? They’re when our emotions get the best of us, and we start to interpret our situation unrealistically, unhelpful, and it triggers anxiety, stress, sadness, and even anger. It’s like our brain is stuck, and we become a broken record inside of our heads. These negative thoughts often get repeated over and over and over again. And anytime that you say something to yourself over and over, after a while, you begin to believe it. That is why these Thinking Traps are dangerous and why we need to help our children. We don’t want our children to think negatively about themselves consistently.

Let me give you another example. This is a personal example from my own home. My daughter was crying one day, and she wouldn’t stop. She sobbed in her pillow and held her blanket tightly. I walked into her room, and I said, “what’s going on? What happened.” She responded with, “Well, my whole assignment is ruined. I’m going to fail for sure. I might as well just give up.”

I didn’t know what to do at the time. I sat there, and I listened. I tried to empathize, and I told my daughter that she doesn’t really seem to be thinking rationally. I told her, “I don’t think you’re going to fail. Please don’t give up. You can do this.” I was offering encouragement. But of course, she wouldn’t hear it, and she rejected everything I had to say. I offered advice too but, it didn’t help. I couldn't figure out why my child was being so stubborn!

When kids get stuck in Thinking Traps, they seem so stubborn. Their thinking is irrational. Their thoughts are being distorted, and psychologists call these Cognitive Distortions. Their perception of reality is skewed. You hear children say things like, “He thinks I’m stupid,” or “My life is over.”

My heart goes out to parents because I know this is really difficult to combat and handle. After all, it’s very frustrating. Step one for helping your child is learning what Thinking Traps are so you can spot them when they happen. I’m going to explain to you in this video several of the most popular kinds of Thinking Traps. Then I’m going to end with four suggestions on how to combat those Thinking Traps, and lastly, I’m going to give you a bonus at the end. So, stay with me because we got a lot of great things happening today.

Thinking Traps:

Fortune Telling.   This is when we predict the future will turn out badly. Your child might say things like, “I couldn’t get an A last semester, so I know I won’t get an A this semester either.  OR “No one is going to come to my party.  I just know it.”  BUT we don’t really know how things will turn out.

Black and White Thinking.  This is when we only see the situation in terms of extremes.  Good or bad.  Success or failure.  In your child, it might look like this: …. If they had a test and fail- now they are saying things like, “I am stupid.” “I don’t know anything.” Or if a close friend gets angry with them, now they are saying things like, “I am completely friend-less.  No one will ever be my friend anymore. I am completely unlovable.”   You see, there is not in between thinking- These kids use the words ALWAYS or NEVER a lot.  Everything is super good or super bad when most life situations fall somewhere in the middle.  If you get one traffic ticket- it doesn’t mean you are the worst driver in the world.  It just means you must slow down and reassess your driving tendencies.

Catastrophizing.  This is when we imagine the worst possible outcome is going to happen.  If your child fails that one exam, they may say things like, “Now I am never going to get into college!”  Or “my parents are arguing so they must be getting a divorce!”  This Thinking trap can also come out as Over-Estimating Danger.  This brings on a lot of anxiety, and you may hear kids say things like, “I’m am just going to die!” or “It will give me a heart attack.”  Everything is a disaster in their mind, but the imagined worst-case scenario usually never happens.

Mind-Reading.  This trap occurs when we believe that we know what others are thinking.  “I know they hate me because I see the looks they give me.” “I know my teacher thinks I am stupid.” This Thinking Trap has children jumping to conclusions.  However, we don’t really know what others think at all.

Ignoring the Positive Thinking Trap.  This happens when we only pay attention to the bad things and overlooking the whole picture- which usually has some good too.   We can’t come to a balanced conclusion at all and often, this Thinking Trap manifests itself in belittling our successes.  You hear kids saying things like, “That doesn’t count.” “I only got lucky” or solely just focusing on the one bad part of their day instead of the 20 things that went well.

Everyone Is Against Me.  These kids feel the world is against them and are often aggressive when they have a disagreement with others or get in trouble at school.   They go into a fight or flight mode. These children are often misunderstood because they are “fighters” and are simply trying to protect themselves from harm.  The threat may not be real, but it is real to them.

Thinking Traps can bring a lot of anxiety and anger management issues into your household. The problems can mount and if Thinking Traps are not addressed- matters can worsen.  If anything I said today resonated with you, I’d like for you to check out a couple of other free videos that I have for you.

The free videos are webinars. They’re going to go in more depth about what’s going to help take those behaviors and change them in your child. It’s an eight-step process. I have one webinar if your child’s Thinking Traps manifest in anxiety. I have a different webinar for Thinking Traps that manifest in aggressive behaviors. If you can get two or three different new tips to help your child that you didn’t know before, which I know you will, then it’s worth your time to watch!

Anxiety Webinar:  https://theimpactfulparent.com/anxiety-webinar

Anger Webinar:  https://theimpactfulparent.com/anger-webinar

Now let’s get to four quick tips about how you can combat some of these Thinking Traps!

  1. Help your child get grounded. This means, help them think of something different.  Move their attention away from the problem for a little while.  Concentrate on breathing, their heart beating, or simply get them to talk about something else for a while until they calm down, so you can revisit the problem more rationally.
  2. Teach you about Thinking Traps. Make them aware of what they are and how they can be a problem.  Then, help them recognize when they may be in a Thinking Trap situation.
  3. How to give your child a reality check. Ask the child questions to make them realize that they could be irrational.  Challenge the Thinking Traps with strategic questions.
  4. Roleplay different solutions. Allow them to see other possible outcomes visually.

And this is just the beginning!  Find out more about the 8 steps it will take for you to help your child change their behaviors so that you can stop worrying all the time and bring normalcy back into your household.

Substance Abuse:  Learn Before You Need It

Substance Abuse: Learn Before You Need It

March 11, 2021

Richard Capriola's Bookhttps://www.helptheaddictedchild.com

How To Find Drug Evidence In Your Home program by The Impactful Parent: https://theimpactfulparent.com/drugs

Do you have a child that struggles with ANXIETY? I CAN HELP! The FREE webinar on my fully online course to help children with big emotions will give you the framework you need to see a change in your child's behaviors! Check it out at https://theimpactfulparent.com/anxiety-webinar

Don’t forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don’t miss an impactful tip!

Follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Rate, Review, & Subscribe!

“I love Kristina and all the FREE tips that she has to offer!  Thank you for making my parenting journey better!”  <– If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing my show! This helps me support more people — just like you!!!

Rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

Also, if you haven’t done so already, subscribe to the podcast. I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed and, if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out. Subscribe now!

Substance Abuse Transcript:

Substance Abuse with Richard Capriola

Kristina: Welcome impactful parents. Today we're gonna talk about substance abuse in our young adult children, our teenagers, and our even our tweens. The impactful speaker we have today is Richard Capriola. Richard is a mental health and addictions counselor and has been for over two decades. He has treated both adults and adolescents. He is the author of The Addicted Child; it's a parent's guide to adolescent substance abuse. I'm so excited to have Richard on today. Thank you so much for being here.

Richard: Thank you, Kristina. It's a pleasure to be here to talk a little bit about this very important issue that parents are sometimes confronted with.

Kristina: Yes, and here on The Impactful Parent, I'm always trying to give parents resources for helping their children. I'm really trying to get parents to catch things early.  April and March tend to be tough months for kiddos.  I don't know what it is, but I can tell you, with my 20 years of experience in the classroom, something crazy happens in April and March to our adolescents.  Substance abuse rises within these months.  Richard, what substances are the most popular with our adolescents?

Richard:  They're still using alcohol and marijuana. Those are the primary drugs that kids are attracted to. Some use other drugs like, over the counter medications and some prescription medications like Adderall and Ritalin, but primarily alcohol and drugs. But the big change that we've seen in the last three years is a surge in vaping. These kids are now turning to vaping things like nicotine and marijuana. And that is increasing at dramatic rates, and parents need to be aware of that. For example, three years ago, only 9% of seniors were vaping marijuana. Today, it's 22%, almost one in five. So, parents need to be aware that this vaping issue is really starting to surge among teenagers.

Kristina: Yes, I've seen that too for my experiences, and it's really sad. Do you think that parents could tell what is inside a vape pen just by looking at it? For example, could they tell the difference between nicotine or marijuana?

Richard:  Not just by looking at it. It's going to look like a pen, or even some of them are very similar to what a USB drive would look like on a computer. Many times, parents don't even suspect what they're looking at. It might be an instrument where a child uses it to inhale, say, marijuana or nicotine. It's very difficult for the average parent to know just by sight what the substance is.

Kristina: Is there a smell difference between the two?

Richard: Well, the nicotine you can smell. You know nicotine has an odor to it. With these vape pens, it is unlike smoking cigarettes. Vape pens give pure nicotine.  Often at a much higher concentration. Marijuana is also put into vape pens but smell differently.

Kristina: Is there a difference between the odor of marijuana from a vape pen and an odor of marijuana when they're smoking the flower? (the plant itself) I think, as a parent, when I envision the smell of marijuana, I envision the flower burning.  That smell is more potent and different than smoking marijuana from a vape pen.

Richard:  Well, most parents are not going to know the difference. What they're going to catch on is, "something smells a little different." They're not going to be able to notice the difference between this variation and that variation. What they're first going to pick up on is - they walk into their child's room, and it just doesn't smell right. There's something out of the ordinary here. That's what most parents are going to pick up on.

Kristina: I love that. Great tip.  Trust your gut instincts, parents. Sometimes we ignore that gut feeling when we walk into our child's room because you don't want to be the blamer, and you don't want to accuse.  But trust that gut instinct in this case. Richard, is there a difference between adult addiction and adolescent addiction?

Richard: There are two differences. One is in brain development. The adolescent brain is just not fully developed and substance abuse can harm the brain. In contrast, the adult brain is developed, so using substances as an adolescent with a developing maturing brain carries much more risk. The risk of becoming dependent on the substance is much higher. So, the first difference is brain development. The second difference is in consequences. Many adults who are addicted to a substance have faced catastrophic consequences. They might have lost a job. They might have lost a marriage.  They might have been incarcerated.  Adolescents, on the other hand, haven't faced anywhere near those types of catastrophic consequences. Their big consequences are parents coming down on them or maybe putting some restrictions on them.

Kristina: Is there a difference between how girls and boys have substance abuse?

Richard:  There are some differences. Boys tend to binge drink, for example. Not the girls won't drink, but boys are more likely to binge drink. Boys are at higher risk of using over-the-counter drugs than girls. And boys are more likely to become dependent on multiple substances, where girls might tend to just stick to one or the other. The other difference is that we often find a conduct disorder for boys when we dig underneath the surface. There's a behavioral disorder or maybe a learning disorder for boys. For girls, when we search below the surface many times, we will find depression and things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. So there can be different things that propel a boy to use a drug versus a girl to use a drug.

Kristina: I find that really interesting.  Whether they're adolescents or adults, it feels like people use substances for either one of two things. They're either trying to run away from their life and hide and suppress something, or the person feels like they need more energy. "I have to do more," mentality. Do you see the differences between boys and girls in those respects, or is it pretty much the same for both boys and girls?

Richard:  I think it's pretty much the same across the board with substance abuse. I worked in a psychiatric hospital. Most kids that I saw had some rather severe underlying issues. And you know, not every child who gets involved in a substance has an underlying issue. Some of them just like getting high. Sometimes it is because their friends are doing it and they want to join in. But for a lot of kids, there's an underlying issue that needs to be assessed.  For example, many of the kids I worked with were smoking marijuana multiple times a day. When I asked them to help me understand why they were smoking so much marijuana, the number one answer that came back was- it helps me with my anxiety. Suppose we just look at the alcohol use or just look at the drug use and don't go beyond that. In that case, we might be missing some important underlying issues driving that child to medicate themselves with a substance.

Kristina: I feel like not everybody, but a grand majority of people with substance abuse issues, use the substance for a coping mechanism of some sort. This means there's something else happening that really needs to be addressed to truly solve the problem.

Richard: Yes, absolutely, that's very true.

Kristina:  Well, let's get into some warning signs that parents should know about to catch these things early.

Richard:  And that's important because, you know, many parents that I've worked with, they often ask, Well, how did I miss these warning signs? Am I a bad parent? What went wrong? Why didn't I see the substance abuse signs? Well, they didn't see them because they didn't know about them. And in my book, I have many warning signs and listed for Alcohol, Marijuana, eating disorders, and self-harm. I put those warning signs in the book so that parents would be more knowledgeable about them. But as a general rule, what I suggest to parents is, pay attention to any changes you see in your child. These might be changes in behavior. There might be changes in academic performance. There might be changes in appearance or changes in sleeping habits. Pay attention to changes and don't assume that these are average normal teenage developmental changes. They may very well be in many cases. Still, they also may be an indication that something's going on underneath the surface. So pay attention to those changes and follow up on them.

Kristina:  If I were a parent and I am listening to this, and I feel like this sounds like my kid, what do I do?  What's going to be my first steps?

Richard: Your first step is to have a discussion with your child and see how that goes. It might go well; it may blow up and not go so well but at least start that first discussion and see how it goes. And then, if you still have concerns, get an assessment done. There's an entire chapter in my book about the kinds of assessments you should have done because you need more than just an addiction assessment. You need some other assessments done, too, because you want a complete picture of what's going on with your child: psychologically, physically, emotionally, you want a full picture. You can rely on school counselors, family physicians, and teachers to bring you the referrals you need to get those assessments.

Kristina:  I want to speak a little bit more about that because I'm sure that parents didn't even know that there are assessments that can be done! Tell me more.

Richard:  You need an addictions assessment first. You want to know what substances your child has been using, how often, and for how long.  If applicable, a substance use disorder might be diagnosed as either mild, moderate, or severe.

Kristina: Where am I going to go find that help?

Richard:  You're probably gonna get that from an addictions counselor like me. Or you might get it from a psychologist that can also perform that type of assessment. Some social workers can do that also. But, I would start with an addictions counselor trained in the area and who does assessments.

Kristina:  Are those people something I can Google?

Richard: Yes, that is something you can Google. It is also something you can get referrals from your school counselor. They also can refer you to an addictions counselor that can go more into depth. Another good source would be your family physician. They can do a rapid screen. Doctors can give you resources for psychologists and addiction counselors in the community. So there are a lot of places you can go to get referrals for these assessments.

Kristina: What was the other assessment that you mentioned?

Richard: I think you need a good psychological assessment. That would be from a psychologist or a neuropsychologist. That's where you're looking at the underlying issues; if there are any, that might be there.  The doctors are going to look at various aspects of your child's personality and different emotional problems. The third one would be a good comprehensive medical exam because you want to rule out any medical reasons that might contribute to anything that's going on.

Kristina:  If I have a child that's on, let's say, Adderall or some kind of Ritalin substance, and I suspect that they're giving it away to friends (which I know happens in our schools), or they're abusing the substance themselves- what do I do?  Do you have any suggestions for something like that?

Richard: Kristina, that is such an important issue because you noted two very important issues. The child may be abusing the substance themselves, their own prescription, or they may be selling part of it, or you may have a child that's buying it from friends. Prescription medications like Ritalin and Adderall are being abused by high school students. My advice to parents is that you need to secure those in your home if you have any prescriptions. You also need to secure any liquor in your house because teenagers are very clever at flying under the radar. In many cases, if you're not monitoring it almost daily, you may never know that some of those pills have been missing.

Kristina: And when you say secure, I want to clarify this to the audience. I know I have locked boxes in my own home that I use to secure other things. I could use my lockbox for knives to protect somebody who could be the potential to self-harm. I could put my alcohol in those lockboxes too. I could put in my prescription meds and put my regular over-the-counter NyQuil and things like that in those lockboxes.

Richard: A lockbox is a great idea. They come in different sizes and are easily bought on Amazon. Any type of cabinet that has a lock on it would work too.

Kristina: How can parents protect their children from abusing substances? Is there anything that we can do on the front end to prevent this from happening?

Richard: Well, no child is completely protected. All children are vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse. However, there are protective environments and things that parents can do to reduce the risk.  One of the most useful things that parents can do is develop that foundation of good communication and trust. And, you know, we're pretty good at listening to people's words when they talk to us, even our kids. We hear their words, but we often don't hear the feelings behind those words. As parents, we can develop skills that will help us practice good listening skills. I talked a little bit about this in my parent workbook, but you can learn skills when your child is talking to you. You hear their words, but more importantly, you hear the feelings behind those words. And when that child begins to believe that, you're starting to understand how they feel that can be very powerful. If your child has questions about drugs, or they're tempted, or they're under some type of peer influence or pressure, you want them to feel comfortable coming to you.  They have learned you're not going to judge them. You're going to listen to them, and you're going to become an advisor for them.

Kristina:  I love this suggestion, and it's so important, parents!  Parenting is a long game. The trust that you need to build with your child is not going to happen overnight. It is something that takes weeks or even years. Part of gaining that trust is not overreacting. When your child does something wrong and or confides in you, try not to blame and leave judgment out.  These are times when your child is coming to you to tell you something in confidence. It is a time to celebrate, even if it's something you don't want to hear. Don't reprimand your child. Don't say things like, "That's so stupid. What a bad choice." Your child is trying to tell you something very personal, and they're reaching out for help. I'm sure you're going to feel disappointed and angry and even scared, depending on the situation and what your child is saying. If your child comes to you and says, "Mom, I think I'm vaping too much, or I might be addicted to a substance," you must step back and not overreact.  You can overreact in private, but not in front of your child.  You want to gain trust so that your child will continue to feel like they can speak with you.

Richard: And it's never too late to begin that process of gaining trust. Your child might be a teen, but you can still begin the process of developing good communication and that trust. It will pay dividends, not only while your child is still in your household, it may pay dividends down the road as they go off to college and on with their own life too. So it really is an investment that's worth the time and the practice.

Kristina: As we close, I'd like to know anything else you would like to add to the audience. Suggestions or tips for that parent who is scared?

Richard: I know it is scary.  I've met with many parents, and I've seen their reactions when they find out that their child has been using a substance. They're scared, they're angry, they're nervous, and they're frightened. That's why I wrote this book, and I intentionally kept this book to around 100 pages with chapters that are very concise and very down to earth. It's the kind of book that I wish I would have had when I was raising my child to have the information. It's not loaded down with a lot of heavy reading. It's not loaded down with a lot of jargon and scientific terms. It's a book that you can pick up and probably read in an hour and hopefully walk away and say, "Okay, I've got this now. I'm better prepared. I hope I never need it, but I'm prepared, and I know what to look for."

Kristina:  Parents out there who have younger children, educate yourself now before your kids hit these tween and teen years. There's nothing wrong with that!  Do it now while you have some time and you're not worried. Absorb all this information and knowledge. Then, you will set yourself up for being prepared if it ever comes to this, and hopefully, it never will. Where can we find your book?

Richard:  My book is available on Amazon. Also, the parent workbooks are available on Amazon. The easiest way to get to it is to go to the book's website:  helptheaddictedchild.com. On that site, you will be able to read some endorsements that have been made by psychologists and psychiatrists. You can read book reviews. You can read some blog articles. You can contact me through the website, and you can order both the book and the workbook on the website. They're available in electronic form for people who prefer to read things electronically. They're available in paperback form for those who would prefer to have a paperback copy.

Kristina: Please, parents, educate yourself early about substance abuse, but it's never too late. Get the information that you need. We have a plethora of resources for you, and I will make sure that they are all down below in the show notes. Check those out! Thank you so much, Richard, for being here. Until next time, parents. You got this. We're just here to help.

How My Child’s Brain Works

How My Child’s Brain Works

March 9, 2021

How My Child's Brain Works with special guest Brian Hemmer, gives tips for how to communicate with your child and how brain development makes a difference in your child's daily performance.  Great information and from this Colorado coach and mental health professional!

To make an authentic connection with your child, try one of my FREE 30 Day challenges.   Sign up today and you’ll receive a new question to ask your child every day- for 30 days.  These questions provoke a new conversation with your child and get away from the boring questions like, “How was your day, and do you have any homework?”  Start connecting with your child one question at a time!  Completely FREE, so NO excuses! Sign up NOW and watch your connection grow with your child in 30 days! https://theimpactfulparent.com/connection

Don’t forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don’t miss an impactful tip!

Don’t forget to follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Help For Emotional Eating

Help For Emotional Eating

March 3, 2021

Help For Emotional Eating:  Don’t forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don’t miss an impactful tip!

Follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Do you have a child that struggles with ANXIETY? I CAN HELP! The FREE webinar on my fully online course to help children with big emotions will give you the framework you need to see a change in your child's behaviors! Check it out at https://theimpactfulparent.com/anxiety-webinar

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Rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

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Help For Emotional Eating Transcript:

Kristina: Welcome, parents. Today we're going to talk about emotional eating. I have a special guest today. Her name is Melissa Rohlfs, and she is a life coach that helps women break free of sugar and emotional stress, and stress eating. I'm really excited to have her on to give us some great tips today. But most importantly, Melissa is a mom of two kids herself. Thank you for being on today with me, Melissa.

Melissa: Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here, Kristina.

Kristina:  Melissa, my first question is, so much of our eating habits get formed when we are young in our childhood. So was there a lot of sugar in your house when you were growing up?

Melissa: There was! I have fond memories of going to my grandparents' house with my mom, and the first thing we would do when we would walk in that back door, Kristina, is would go right for the cookies. There was always a drawer of cookies. So, yeah, absolutely. This bad habit was modeled.

Kristina:  Yeah, It was the same with my family. At grandma's house, we always had candy there. My mom loved her desserts too. It is kind of funny but, I was told to just eat breakfast growing up. It didn't matter what I ate, so I would have pumpkin pie for breakfast.  Not the best role modeling, but it was tasty, and I turned out fine, I suppose.  Tell me more about how you changed your relationship with food and how sugar has impacted your other areas of life.

Melissa:  I think it's made me a more calm mom, to be honest with you. There is a really profound effect that sugar has on our body, mental health, physical health, and emotional health. It used to make me anxious and almost angry. So, for me, reducing it (I'm not entirely sugar-free) but reducing it has really made me calmer. It's made me more confident, and it's helped me be better in control of my emotions. I definitely don't feel like I need the sugar to get through the day to survive anymore. When my kids were little, I often felt that way. I was just exhausted and running on fumes and using the sugar to really get through the day. Thankfully I'm not there anymore, so it's really changed so many things in my life.

Kristina: That's good. So, making the shift for you really was super beneficial?

Melissa: Absolutely! For everybody around me. I think as moms, we have such a powerful impact on our families. For me, when I changed that for myself, my husband saw the benefit too. He changed, and we wanted that for our kids as well. I think this is really exciting because when I was their age, I had no concept.

Kristina: Tell me a little bit about your experience with emotional eating.

Melissa: I used foods, specifically sugar, to press down the feelings. I didn't know what to do with Kristina because I was overwhelmed. I was exhausted. I was anxious. I was angry. I think motherhood brought many emotions that I wasn't prepared for, so I didn't know what to do because I felt guilty that I felt this way. I think people turn to food, either to feel better or stuff the feelings. Some people look for happy memories in their food.  But for me, my goal was to push the feelings down, and that doesn't work.

Kristina: I tend to eat when I'm bored. Tell me I'm not an anomaly.

Melissa: No, you're not an anomaly at all. In fact, a lot of people eat when they're bored. Yeah, it's very, very common.

Kristina: It's more than just something to do. It makes me feel better because I'm bored, and I just don't like feeling bored. Are there certain times in people's lives you see more emotional eating?

Melissa: COVID when it first hit! Also, being a new mom and feeling really overwhelmed. Transition times too.  Times we don't know how to handle or how to navigate. People use food to self-medicate or soothe. It can really just be a lot of different things.

Kristina:  Do you do help women limit sugars that aren't common too?  For example- sugars in wines or sodas?

Melissa: It's all of it because sugars are in everything. Even some ketchup has sugar! It is very sneaky. There's a lot of places you wouldn't suspect sugar to be hiding, and it is.  I do a lot of education on names for sugar. Just because the label doesn't say, sugar doesn't mean that it's not sugar. It's really important to know the different sugar names.

Kristina:  So that brings me to this question, What tips do you have for someone who might be in this position and needs help?

Melissa:  I think the best thing to do is to get curious. We can be really hard on ourselves, especially as women. So maybe if you could just take away that judgment and get curious and ask yourself, why am I going towards the sugar? Why am I eating right now? Am I hungry- is a really powerful question. And if the answer's no, then you're probably emotional eating. Replacing judgment with curiosity is really powerful. Asking yourself, Am I hungry? Also, become a label reader. Learn how to read the ingredients on the food label, not just the numbers but the actual ingredients. Watch how foods affect you because we're all different. One size doesn't fit all. Be mindful of how certain ingredients and certain foods affect you because they could be different for everybody.

Kristina: What I'm hearing you say is that it might be helpful to keep a journal. I'm going to be really honest here and say I can't read labels. Those big words on the back of boxes drive me crazy. They're really confusing, and I just don't have a lot of interest in learning how to read labels.  I'm a single mom of four kids. Reading labels and learning how to do that is not on the top priority list. With that in mind, for somebody who's like me, What am I looking for in terms of red flags?

Melissa:  That's a really great question. I think the basic premise with label reading is to keep it shorter. Fewer ingredients are better, and you want the ingredients that look familiar. If it's a word you can't pronounce, or if it's got 29 syllables and you don't know where it came from, it is probably not the best thing for you.  I love the idea you said of journaling. Maybe if you don't want to read the labels,- journal!  Keep track of mood, energy, and get aware of how certain foods impact you.

Kristina:  Tell me about your personal journey with food. How did this come about?

Melissa: We had a newborn baby who wasn't sleeping. We had a two-year-old who had some undiagnosed food allergies and some sensory challenges. My husband was traveling for work, and I had just been newly diagnosed with PTSD from childhood trauma. So I went the holistic approach and really learned about supplementation and the impact of food on mood and health.  We overhauled our food, the way that we ate, and it was such a game-changer!  I knew I had to help other people too.  I didn't know how good I could feel!

Kristina: One last question. If somebody's listening to this right now and they think they might be an emotional eater but not quite sure- what are some signs they might look for?

Melissa: If they find themselves grazing, you might be looking for something. Ask yourself, what am I looking for? Am I eating for nourishment and fuel for my body? Or not?

Kristina:  If people want to get a hold of you to get Help For Emotional Eating, how would they do that?

Melissa:  You can find me at my website, which is www.free2bcoaching.com

Kristina: Thank you so much for being here today. I'm sure there are so many moms out there who gained weight during COVID and need to kick our COVID bad habits and start living more healthier lives so we could be better parents!

Angry Children

Angry Children

March 3, 2021

Angry Children is a podcast that gives you 3 tips for helping your child.  Let's dig deeper to find out where the anger is stemming from and how I can help! 

Behavior Management FREE Webinar:  https://theimpactfulparent.com/anger-webinar

Anger Management website: https://theimpactfulparent.com/anger

Don’t forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don’t miss an impactful tip!

Don’t forget to follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

 

Transcript: 

I am angry.  My kids are mad too.  Everyone is on each other's nerves.  I do not have enough time in my day to do everything I need to do.   The laundry is non-stop and never-ending.  My kids are tired of my food, and I am annoyed that I must cook.  I miss babysitters and grandparents coming over to give me a break.   I want to spend fun moments with my kids, but we have exhausted all our "at-home" activities.   My high school kids are mad that they were robbed of prom, graduation, and after-school sports.  All my kids are angry that they must wear masks all day long, and they do not get to socialize with their friends the way they want.  Anger has become a consistent presence in our home.

How do we deal with our children's ongoing and evolving anger?  Well, the biggest mistake that most parents make is thinking that ANGER is the problem.  They want to eliminate the anger from the house and believe that by doing that- the problem will be solved.  It is easy to fall for that wrong belief because anger is what we see on the surface.  We can watch our kids, stomp their feet, slam the door, yell, hit, or storm off.  It is no wonder that most parents think that anger is the problem and the reason for their child's unacceptable behaviors.   But anger is not the problem.  Anger is NOT even the primary emotion.  Anger is a reactive emotion.   Our children get angry BECAUSE they have more underlying feelings happening, and they do not know how to deal with them.  Anger can be how children react to being nervous, insecure, and a whole slew of other feelings, but most of the time, anger comes from being sacred or from feeling helpless.  Fear drives a fight or flight instinctual reaction in humans, and when we are scared, our reactive behavior can be anger or "fight." When you understand this, it is no wonder that everyone is feeling angry.  COVID-19 has made our whole society feel a plethora of emotions, which include frustration, scared, uncertainty, tiredness, worry, nervousness, helplessness… the list goes on.  The anger is the reactive feeling to the combination of all these emotions because, just like a volcano filling up with emotional lava- the anger explodes out of the volcano, and it is anger we see on the surface.    

So, the next time your child is screaming, slamming doors, or storming away from you- remember to empathize with their emotions.  We are frustrated right now with the world and our circumstances, but our children have even less control of their own lives than adults do.  Children have even more insecurities, more questions, fewer answers, more fears, and lots of feelings of helplessness.   So next time, pause for a moment and put yourself in their shoes.  Help them identify the things that they can control and set those apart from the things they cannot change.

Step 1- Help your child identify WHAT OR WHO is making them feel emotional.

Step 2- Help your child identify WHICH emotions they are feeling. (sad, frustrated, helpless)

Step 3- Help your child identify WHAT they do not have any control over and WHERE THEY CAN HAVE SOME CONTROL.  For example, children do not have any control over wearing face coverings if they go back to school.   But they can control what their mask looks like if they want to decorate it or leave it plain,  if they are going to wear a shield instead, or if they're going to wear a store-bought or homemade mask.  It is much like the saying, "You don't always have control of what happens to you, but you do have control of how you react to it." Teaching your child to find their controllable choice will give them some power back.   This small shift can be the start of a domino effect for implementing emotional change in your child and your home. 

If you have a child struggling with anger, please check out my Behavior Management Course: Helping Children with big emotions.   Changing behaviors can be stressful, confusing, and exhausting.  You do not need to parent alone.   This course will walk you through the step by step process you need to teach your child how to control their emotions.   Check out the FREE Webinar that will tell you more about the course, and you can decide if it will be the right fit for your family. 

 

How To Talk To Teachers

How To Talk To Teachers

March 2, 2021

How To Talk To Teachers is a podcast about asking the right questions so that you can make parent-teacher conferences successful.   Teachers and Parents should be on the same team and the goal is to HELP YOUR CHILD.  

Free PDF for asking the right questions: https://theimpactfulparent.com/conferencespdf

Make an authentic connection with your child. Try a FREE 30 Day Challenge. You’ll receive a new question to ask your child every day- for 30 days. Get away from the boring questions and start connecting with your child one question at a time! https://theimpactfulparent.com/connection

Don’t forget to check out all the FREE resources and tips that The Impactful Parent has to offer!  https://theimpactfulparent.com  Links to the YouTube channel and social media post are there too!  Join The impactful Parent community by signing up for the weekly newsletter. Don’t miss an impactful tip!

Don’t forget to follow The Impactful Parent on social Media! Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Transcript:

It is the parent-teacher conference season, and along with that comes a lot of anxiety and questions for both parents and students!   Today I will address some common questions that I get from parents so you can stop wondering and start taking an active role in the parent-teacher conferences day!

Common Question: Do I still need to go to Parent-Conferences if I know my kid has good grades in all their classes? 
Answer:  No, you don't have to go to the conferences; however, I suggest that you send an email to all the teachers and verify that there aren't any other outstanding issues that should be discussed.  School is more than just grades.  Parent-Teacher conferences are an excellent time to talk about behavior problems, attendance issues, social concerns, and next grade level preparation.   Make sure that the teacher doesn't have anything that they want to discuss with you.
Common Question: I know my child has some low grades and/or some behavioral concerns.  Is there anything I should do before conferences to prepare for talking to the teacher(s)? 
Answer:  Contact the teacher via email and voice your concerns.  Ask the teacher(s) if they want to meet you during conferences or at a different time to discuss the issues.  The reason you want to do this is, conferences are very regimented.  Usually, each family is only allowed a specific amount of time with the teacher to keep the day moving along.  If the teacher thinks you will need extra time, then this must be prepared before the conference day.   Perhaps the teacher can give you two conference slots or other arrangements can be made to provide you with the time you need to talk about your concerns.
Also, you may want to request an administrator, counselor or another specific teacher to be in attendance at the conference.  This should be scheduled ahead of time.
Lastly, bring in all the documentation that the teacher may need.  IEP, doctor recommendations, a list of concerns you see at home, 504 plans, behavioral plans, etc
Common Question: What if I am at the conference, and I find out that my child has some academic and/or behavioral concerns I didn't know about?  What should I do?

Answer: 
Picture it…. A different day when I was a working full-time teacher….. I have a conference with a parent.  They storm in the room and sit with arms crossed and obviously agitated.   They begin to tell me how disappointed they are that their kid has a bad grade and how come they didn’t know about this sooner!

As a teacher, the parent scenario I mentioned above is very frustrating.  I didn’t even know the parent wasn’t getting your emails. I had no idea that they were mad AND from the beginning- they thought I was the bad guy.  It is possible that your child acts differently at school than at home, so keep an open mind when entering the classroom to talk to your teacher.  Could the teacher be in the wrong- sure it is possible, but don’t automatically assume because conferences are complicated.   There are 3 perspectives to consider:

  1. Teacher
  2. Parent
  3. Student

So, how do you get an accurate story from both the child and the teacher?  You need to know how to ask the right questions!  Today, I will be giving you LOTS of questions that you should consider asking!  Please don’t worry about scrambling to write it all down.  All you have to do is go to theimpactfulparent.com/resources and download the FREE parent-teacher conferences worksheet.   You can even print the worksheet out and take it in with you when you go to talk to your teachers. 

So, Let’s get started with what to ask the Teacher!

  1. Have they been trying to contacting you? If not, why?  It is ok to ask.  Maybe they have too many students.  Maybe they have emailed, called or sent home notes and you haven’t been getting them.  Maybe your child hasn’t been telling you.  Maybe the school makes YOU responsible for checking grades online?   Find out where the communication break-down began.
  2. I have had parents ask me things like, “I have been looking at their assignments on-line, But it seems the teacher isn’t keeping up with inputting grades?” What should I do?  I say, email the teacher. Confirm this is true. Email bugging is ok.  Just be tactful.   They can have 30 students in a class and that is a lot to grade!  English teachers, in particular, have a lot of grading.  Find out why the assignments aren’t posted, there may be a good reason, there may not be-but you are making the teacher aware that you are being an active participant in your child’s education and this alone is good and may even get them to be more on-the-ball.

Now picture this story:  I walk into parent-teacher conferences to find out that my child hasn’t been doing their work.  What!  I saw them do it!  They were working on that project all week!  Those math problems were finished and they put them in their backpack!  How can the teacher tell me that my child hasn’t been turning in the work when I have seen for myself that it has been done!

Whether your child is doing their work or not, you need to find out WHAT IS HAPPENING?   What is the root of the problem?  Is someone lying here? Is the work getting eaten by the dog each night?  Is my kid just being lazy and not being responsible?  Again, you don’t until you ask the right questions!  Here are more questions to ask the teacher:

  1. What caused this? What is the teacher’s opinion about why the grade is so low? Is this a lack of studying? Is it just difficult content? Is it a lack of attention in class? Are there missing assignments? Remember my story about the child who I SAW do the homework, but the teacher said that they weren’t doing their work?  Well, this story ends with the parent looking in the child’s backpack and locker.  Yep.  All the assignments were there and completed but never turned in.  Sometimes our kids lack executive functioning skills and it is difficult for them to get a piece of paper from HOME to Backpack to Locker to classroom to teacher’s hands. 
  2. Next, ask what can the student do to erase the past? Is there anything? Can they make anything up? Can anything be turned in for partial credit? Can they re-do tests?  This is up to the teacher and the integrity of the class.   Remember that teachers are doing more than teaching CONTENT.  They are teaching responsibility.   You want your kid to be a successful adult.  They need to learn to get work done on-time, meet deadlines, not procrastinate….  For future job success.  If you give too much leniency, you are teaching them that the rules don’t apply to them.
  3. Next, ask the teacher what can the student do moving forward? Can we create a plan for keeping the student accountable? Can the teacher sign off that homework is written in their planner? Can the teacher post when big assignments are due? Can the student come in for extra help?  Can the student get a tutor?
  4. It is also important you understand the environment that you want your child to be successful in. What is the typical workload each night? …. Know the expectations of the class. If they are supposed to be studying 2 times a week and your child is only studying once- this could be the problem.

A lot of questions to ask the teacher but knowing expectations and being on the same page as the teacher is step 1 for your child’s success!

Now let’s move to the child. Let’s say you find out that your child has a less than desirable grade.  After getting the teacher’s point of view, start asking questions to the student.   They are apart of the problem so they should also be apart of the solution too!  Here are questions to ask your child.

  • What is their point of view on their grade? Do they think it is good enough or bad?
  • What part of this grade do they take responsibility for? Can they admit that they have not studied, not turned in work, or that the material is difficult?
  • What do they think they can do moving forward to make improvements?
  • When did the problem start? Or what TYPE of assignments does this happen most often? For example, maybe they do good on homework assignments but don’t do well with in-class work because they get distracted? Maybe they are good with smaller assignments but find bigger, more complex assignments more challenging?
  • Do they feel they need extra support? From a parent or from the teacher? Do they feel that they can improve on their own?
  • Where are the old assignments now? Did you review the content you missed and needed to improve, or did they just throw the old papers and grades into the trash after they got them back? A lot of subjects build on past knowledge like Math or languages.  If they aren’t taking the time to review what they missed and learn it- then they are digging a deeper hole for themselves for the next assessment.
  • What does their locker/backpack/binders look like? Are they organized, messy, or even scattered? How can having a more organized locker/backpack/binder improve their work?  You may have to walk them through this reasoning.
  • Have you asked for help throughout the semester? Who have you been talking to about your grades? Anyone?  Have you reached out for any additional help?  Have you advocated for yourself to re-do or submit assignments late? Some kids just let the whole semester slide by before taking action because they feel helpless and simply don’t know what to do.  You may have to walk your child through steps that need to take to advocate for themselves. 
  • What do their study habits look like? Do they have a schedule for working on homework? Are they procrastinating or doing homework in front of the TV? Once grades drop, study habits and expectations should be redefined. 
  • What are their goals for this class? For this school year? How does not reaching their goals affect their future?  Are their goals attainable and realistic?  Getting some kids to forward-think and see natural consequences for their actions, is difficult for some.  They literally don’t have the connections developed in their brain to make the links.  You may have to spell it out for them!
  • Have you been attending class and paying attention? Are you distracted in class? IF so, what can you do to improve your attention?
  • Have you missed class a lot? How do you make up work when class is missed? What steps do you take to make-up work?

Asking your child all these questions are getting down to the WHY the grades are low.  If you start creating punishments or consequences without knowing the Why, will likely be ineffective. 

Be ready to hear the teacher out. Try not to go on the defensive automatically. Teachers see "mama and daddy bear" stance a lot but remember your child may act differently at school than they do at home. Keep in mind that most teachers want your child to be happy and successful too! Your goals are the same!  Teachers and parents should have a partnership. 

  1. Start by asking the teacher for their side of the story. 
  2. Now give the child a chance to speak their side of the story and express their concerns.  
  3. The goal now is to correct what can be repaired and move forward with a plan of action for improvement.  Discuss the plan together: teacher, parent, and student.  Make sure the plan is measurable,  attainable/doable, and there are concrete explanations.  For example, the student can not just say, “I will study more for tests.”  Instead, the goals should be specific; for example, I will study every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday night for 30 minutes on this class.  You may even add WHEN they will study?  Designate a specific “homework hour” each evening.

Example of a goals sheet moving forward:

  • Student will study every Monday-Thursday for 30 minutes.
  • Student will keep locker clean and parents will check it every Friday at pick up
  • Student will come in every Wednesday morning early to get questions answered.
  • Student will study vocabulary words for the week Sunday night for 20 minutes.
  • Student will not sit by friends in class.  The assigned seat will be front row.
  • Student will not partner with friends for group projects. 
  • Student will show their parent their planner each evening and tell them about homework.
  • Student will check the school calendar for assignments and announcements every day at lunch.
  1. Once the plan is made, you should write it down.  This is important.  Writing it down to reference it back later is extremely helpful later when the child may “forget” some of the plans, or you need to remind them of their commitment.
  1. Lastly, make a reward and consequences system.  There should be 2 types of rewards, one is for small short-term gains that you can give for immediate feedback. Then there can be a bigger reward for maintaining the schedule the whole week or month.  Lastly, make a plan for consequences if they aren’t holding up their end of the deal. 

* This agreement INCLUDING THE REWARDS AND CONSEQUENCES, should be made WITH the student. They should agree to the contract and have input on the rewards and punishments. Buy-in from the student is essential and if they are not apart of creating the contract- they will never have buy-in.

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