Feeling Alone In A Room Full Of People

Do you ever feel alone in a room full of people? What if that room was your house, the people were your family and you were a child.

Children will adapt in order to mediate their feelings and experience. Some children will act out (misbehavior). Some children will act in (anxiety and depression). Some children will retreat into their own imagination. Some children will become immersed in their schoolwork and perfectionism. Some children will put food or other comfort measures in the empty place.


How could a child feel this way in their own family?

There are a lot of possible reasons a child may feel this way.   Rarely is the cause a “mental health” disorder, however, if not addressed, mental health disorders are almost sure to arise.

What is the “treatment?”

Years ago, I attended a homeschool group with my children at a friend’s house. I kept looking at the Norfolk Island Pine in their living room, and felt like I was watching it die. I made suggestions about how to restore that struggling tree to it’s true beauty. My friend said, “Do you want it?” I brought that tree home, gave it a shower (not kidding), a new pot and fresh soil and set it right in the sun in my living room. I gave it food, water and love. A few months later it was THRIVING!!! This child tree had developed so much in a short time. I offered the tree back to it’s original owner, who declined.

What would happen in a scenario like this, where a tree is failing to thrive, removed from it’s environment to a loving and caring one and then returned to it’s original environment?

While there is a time and a place for child therapy, is it fair to put a child in therapy, try to help them with some insight, give them some tools and send them back into the unwell environment from which they came?

The family environment needs to be the therapy experience, the healing place.

The family should be the place where children learn social skills, executive functioning skills, emotional intelligence, life skills. The family should be the place where children feel, I belong here! These are my people! When I want to share my joy or my sorrow, there they are. When I have a problem, there they are! THESE ARE MY PEOPLE! THEY LOVE ME AND I LOVE THEM!

Join David and Tracy on January 26th at Cape Cod Community College for the 2nd Annual Parenting Resource Fair!

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10 Reasons to Rake Leaves as a Family

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Do you want to prevent your children from giving you a heap of trouble when you ask them to help around the house?  Even better, do you want your children to notice things around the house that need to be done, and just do them?!!!  Start them early!

1. Young children love to help!

Early on, it doesn’t tend to matter if it’s cleaning the toilet, raking leaves or baking, kids want to try too!  I know, it takes longer, but have fun with it!  Give them a rag or a rake and let’s go!  (Be sure you are not exposing them to harsh chemicals via sprays and other cleaners.  Thieves Cleaner is an excellent options and it cleans pretty much everything in your house!)

2. Teaches siblings to work together, either directly or side-by-side!

Again, when you start them early, regardless of the age span, when your expectation is that they treat each other kindly and with respect, more often than not, they will do so, and have fun doing so.  Some say “cousins are first best friends.”  Well, siblings can be first and forever best friends when parents create an atmosphere of playing hard and working hard.

3. Provides an INTRINSIC reward!

Extrinsic rewards are things like, a dollar for doing a good job, or a trip to the toy store to pick out a toy.  The intrinsic rewards are the ones that come from within the child.    Intrinsic rewards are the good feelings that one gets from a job well done, i.e. “I did it!” “My dad gave me some instructions and I added my own ideas to make it an even greater success!” “We all worked together and got a big job done!” Extrinsic rewards will have the parents working hard, always, to convince the child that they will give them a big enough reward in exchange to do a chore, or their homework, or help out in any way.

4. Gets the job done!

Let’s face it, it’s a lot of work and they slow us down a great deal in the beginning learning process, but having a 13 and 18 year old in the house currently, I can tell you that they take a big load off for my husband and I!  When you take the time early and keep at it, you will have productive older children and these older children are even likely to keep coming back after they leave the nest to see if they can lend you a hand.  Sweet, right?!

5. Establishes a routine and expectation!

Children learn over time that we work together as a family and meet the needs of the family together.  Everyone takes part.  So often, parents are running around doing everything while their children are occuppied on their electronic device, you know, the one you GAVE them.  They go from begging the parent to hurrying up so they can do the fun thing the parent promised to do after the work, to not wanting the parent to be ready so they can spend more time on the electronic device.  This is a dangerous precedent that tends to go along with children feeling and behaving in a self-centered, entitled and even helpless manner.

6. Teaches children to feel confident!

Erik Erikson, one of our founding personality theory psychologists talks about this in his 4th stage of development and it happens between the ages of 5 and 12.  He calls it Industry vs. Inferiority.  It has to do with children learning skills, which leads to feeling industrious (competent) and confident in their abilities.  Without it, children tend to feel inferior and doubtful about themselves and their place in their peer group, family group and on their own.  When children feel inferior, they tend to not try.  They tend to lack confidence and experience worry, anxiety, depression.

7. Outdoor chores bring with them all of the healthy and even healing aspects of the outdoors!

Fresh air, the smell of leaves, grass, flowers, the warm feelings on your cheeks in warm weather and the cold cheeks of fall and winter will be sensations that get logged in the emotional center of the brain, forever!  The vitamin D from the sun will also be a great benefit.

8. Teaches Executive Functioning Skills!

The buzz words in my field over the last few years are, “Executive Functioning Disorder.”  “My child has EFD.”  How fair is it to tag a child with a label and even qualify them for medication and special services when we have never taught them or expected them to do things like rake the leaves, wake up to their own alarm clock, get their own backpack ready.  Busy parents are running around like crazy trying to get everything done in short order, while their child gets a few extra winks of sleep, takes a little longer with their breakfast or playing their video game. Teaching children how to organize a task like raking leaves will have value beyond any special ed plan that they school will devise for your child.

9. Gives them a heart for helping!

These are children who notice that the teacher might need help passing out papers or putting chairs up.  They are young people who will notice the lady struggling to her car with her hands full.  They will think to ask if Grandma and Grandpa might need help with their Fall clean-up.

10. Instills a “can-do” attitude!

Your child will be unstoppable when they have skills.  How to organize the leaf raking involves many steps and ask they grow, develop and experience, they will find their own way, and that way may even be better than your way.

You child needs you to be a strong minded parent who has expectations, teaching ability, patience and also a willingness to look at the destructive nature of passive entertainment, extrinsic rewards and laziness.  Your little person is going to be a big person all too soon and it’s easier to raise them up well than to rebuild them later, or even worse, to have them be dependent on you into their 30s.

Note: The boy in the above picture had been working diligently while singing, “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am” and frankly, we needed a break from it, so we told him to take a break.

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Should you exchange money for chores?  Stay tuned for more next week!

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To stay connected, parent to parent and parent to professional, contact Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, below.

 

Talking to Young Children about Death

Talking to children about death
Talking to children about death.

 

My son Noah was very close to his great grandparents.  My mother took care of him while I worked and she also provided a lot of care for her parents, so he spent a lot of time with his greats.  He was just a young toddler and I knew that one day he would experience the death of a loved one.  Grandma was getting quite aged and I wondered how I would explain to someone so young about death when that day came.  These two books, and others in the Little Blessings series became among our most loved bedtime books.  They are darling books, in poem-like style and with inviting illustrations of a group of multicultural children.

The whole process had me asking my own questions about what I believed about death.  Do I have a guardian angel? Does everyone go to heaven?  Is my father in heaven?  Will I see my father if he is in heaven?  What is heaven like?  It can be a wonderful thing to have to explain something to a child, when we ourselves have to dig deep for the answers.

I had identified myself as a “Christian” for most of my life, yet I didn’t even know the answers to these questions, that are pretty clearly outlined in the Holy Bible.  The Little Blessings books tell the story and provide specific scriptural references at the end of the story to address the truths that are claimed on the pages.

Now, I realize, not everyone is a Christian and their are many theories about deep issues such as this.  I have no interest in telling anyone what to believe.  I just can say that I believe the scriptures in the Holy Bible.  I am a student of the Bible, so I don’t claim to understand even the majority of it.  Some things I understand and believe.  Some things I don’t understand, but I trust. Some things I have no clue, but rely on my Father in Heaven to reveal to me in His perfect timing, AND my brothers and sisters in Christ to help me understand.

Back to my son…and my grandmother.

The day drew near that she would be passing to Heaven.  There were very few questions from my toddler.  There was the trust of a child who had learned about Heaven and that God would supply perfect peace if we would trust in Him.

So often, a parent brings a child for therapy with me who has experienced the loss of a loved one.  The parent describes to me, “I don’t know…I just told him Grandpa’s in heaven.  I didn’t really know what to say.”  The child begins to ask a lot of questions and in everyone’s grief, words meant to be comforting are spoken; “You’ll see Grandpa again.” “Grandpa is looking down on you.” “Grandpa is your guardian angel.”  Sometimes parents give the child a symbol or even a pendant with Grandpa’s ashes so that they can “hold on to Grandpa.”  There are so many emotions during times of loss.

I encourage every parent to dig deep and really explore what they believe about death.  From pets, to “road kill,” to strangers they hear about on the news, or any of the dozens or hundreds of people (even children) who die every year by tragedy, to Grandma or Grandpa, your children will experience death and they will have questions.

But I can’t leave without sharing the ending of the story of my son and his great grandmother.  My mother had gone to be with my grandmother as she was dying.  That night at bedtime, my son wasn’t coming when I called.  I went to see what had caught his attention and he was sitting on the stairs.  I asked him what he was doing and he said, “Great Grandma is dancing in heaven with a yellow dress.”  It was just a sweet moment because of course, she was dying.  When I talked to my mother the next morning and she told me at what time my grandmother died, it was right at the time that my son paused on the stairs.  Great Grandma never wore a yellow dress that I knew of, and I’m not typically a person who thinks supernatural things are true, but though I tried, this one I could not deny.

One of my favorite verses, John 14:2-3 (NIV) My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Tracy

 

 

 

Don’t Turn Your Back on the “Facts” Your Children are Learning in School

“Family Sex”  How could I not click the link and read on with my commitment to children?

http://news.yahoo.com/5-things-probably-didnt-know-neanderthals-192500342.html

Now there’s an idea!  “Tweak a human cell to match Neanderthal DNA, and implant it in a chimp or human mother.”

It is rare that I say something about public school, in that my children don’t attend public school and I have many great alliances with the public schools due to my profession.  But parents of public schoolers, here is an excellent reason for family dinners.  Make sure you are finding time every week to connect with your children about what they are learning in school!  When you have lots of family time with your children that is pleasant, they will spontaneously share what they are learning at school.

This article is a top candidate for classroom discussion; efforts to modify the human race, under the guise of progressive science; presenting theory as fact, i.e. “Neanderthals had family sex…”

The fact that National Geographic is intertwined means that the schools worship it as all fact.  National Geographic can pair an awesome photo with any tagline and the tagline is “fact.”

 

Before You Seek Therapy For Your Child

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Photo by Michelle Kaye

 Before You Seek Therapy for Your Child*

10 Helpful Tips!

  1. Cut out 20% of the TV watching (100% of the shows depicting violence, disrespect of parents, dummying down of fathers/husbands, and those that portray women as sex objects).
  2. Reduce “electronic time” (computers, texting and internet phones, video games) by 40% (100% of games depicting graphic violence or any level of sex).
  3. Clean out 60% of the sweets and processed foods in your house.
  4. Find a way to stop 80% of the strife between the adults in the home. Seek professional help if necessary.
  5. Fill these voids with “family time.”  Get your children interested in the hoards of toys they have that are buried in a closet or under their bed.
  6. Wait one month. If you are still concerned about your child, consider what you (the adults) need help with to build a stronger family and support the child you are concerned about.
  7. If you are still concerned about your child, interview therapists. Always consult with the therapist prior to bringing your child in for a session.
  8. Gain as clear of an understanding as you are able about how the therapist works;
    1. What is the therapist’s experience with issues that you are concerned about?
    2. To what degree does the therapist involve parents? There is a large spectrum of views, from the therapist meeting behind closed doors with the child, wherein everything is confidential between therapist and child, to family sessions where parents are present during all sessions.
    3. What is the plan?  Is it a “let’s get started and see what happens” approach, or are there goals and a review date set at the first session.
    4. Just what does the therapist do with the child in sessions? Do they play games? Draw? Free Play? Role Play?  Work on worksheets and specific skill development? Meditation? Music?  In a recent case, I began working with a child who came from a therapist who “played games” during all of the sessions. Upon further inquiry, the games were on a Wii.  Therapeutic?  Maybe.  Therapy?  hmmm.
  9. Be sure to understand what will be required of you as the parent or guardian.  Will there be homework? How exactly are you support the progress?
  10. Ensure that you, as the parent or guardian, know some of the background of the therapist.  There are many controversial issues in our culture today.  Some believe the therapist is supposed to be a “blank slate.” Some therapists belief they are a “blank slate.”  No one is a blank slate.  Some therapists are able to be very professional in the way in which they approach issues that are in conflict with their own beliefs.   Some are also very honest in letting prospective clients know that there may be a conflict, wherein their child may be better served by a colleague or another therapist.  I could present many different scenarios here, however, let me just say, you must not assume, for example, that a therapist is not, under any circumstances, going to talk to your child about a sexual issue, or a political issue, or any other controversial issue.  In the event that there is a degree of difference between your family view of the topic and the therapist’s view of the topic, you may be creating more of an issue for your child.

*In circumstances where something sudden or out of the ordinary has come to light with a child, particularly if the child has experienced a trauma, demonstrated serious emotional symptoms, made statements indicating that they may be thinking of hurting themselves or someone else, or there are suspicions of abuse, a parent or guardian should consult with a professional immediately.

The Dopifying of Men and Boys These Days

Do you get it that every time we seem to turn on the tv, news or in the movies these days the boys and men are getting terrible representation? Whether they are kowtowing to a bossy woman, making obscene gestures or noises, getting drunk or on drugs, committing some stupid crime, espousing the effeminate or acting like a pompus a__, or the countless other ways that they are being portrayed.

What was wrong with Davy Crockett, or Huck Finn, Andy Griffith, Superman?  Why have Sponge Bob and Homer Simpson and the many other “men” of today been selling by being so stupid?  I am not up on any of today’s shows, but I get the point from the stories I hear, that it is not good.  Even when an olympic star comes into the spotlight, all too often the story is tainted by some remark or behavior he made, not realizing everyone was watching.

Where are the boys supposed to get their education? And what about the girls?  Where are they supposed to learn who would make a good husband and father?

What brought this on was my prepping for morning meeting tomorrow at the Lamperti Homeschool.  I was looking for something good in The Children’s Book of Virtues, Edited by William J. Bennett, Illustrated by Michael Hague.  I just happened to open to page 38, Boy Wanted, by Frank Crane.  I won’t put the whole story here, but here is a sample.

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“Wanted-a boy who stands straight, sits straight, acts straight and talks straight; ….
A boy who listens carefully when he is spoken to, who asks questions when he does not understand, and does not ask questions about things that are none of his business;…
A boy who is polite to every man and respectful to every woman and girl;
A boy who does not smoke cigarettes and has no desire to learn how;
A boy who neither bullies other boys nor allows other boys to bully him;…
A boy who looks you right in the eye and tells the truth every time;…
A boy who is not goody-goody, a prig, or a little pharisee, but just healthy, happy, and full of life.
This boy is wanted everywhere. The family wants him, the school wants him, the office wants him, the boys want him, the girls want him, all creation wants him.”

Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS
http://www.tracylamperti.com