Child Psychology

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Grandparenting: A Labor of Love 8 Ways Grandparents Impact Families   Whether grandparents live close and are involved on a daily basis, or if they’re far away and share their love via Facetime, grandparents play an important family role.  We wanted to share 8 ways that the contributions of grandparents benefit kids, parents, and families as a whole.   So what are the many ways that grandparents improve our lives?    They improve our kids’ behavior   Studies have shown that kids with a high level of grandparent involvement tend to have less emotional problems, reduced behavioral issues, and fewer challenges with peers. In fact, healthy grandparent relationships lead to less depression in both grandparents and children.   1. They offer accessible childcare   Whether or not you pay your parents for babysitting, grandparents usually charge a lot less than the local “elite academy for gifted newborns.” Even if you send your kids to formal day care, grandparents often help out in a pinch, such as caring for your sick kid while you run to a meeting or handling after-school pickup so you can finish your workday. And let’s not forget the occasional night out – grandparents help to keep your kids occupied so you can enjoy some well-deserved adult time!   2. They step up when needed   Sadly, a growing number of grandparents are finding themselves responsible for   raising their grandkids  . This is due to a variety of causes preventing some parents from keeping their role, such as substance abuse, incarceration, chronic illness, or untimely deaths. Whatever the case, grandparents offer a safety net for children if their parents are unable to meet their needs.    Are you a grandparent struggling with the challenges of raising your grandkids? Click below to schedule a free 15-minute consultation to learn how one of our specialists can help      


   
     
      
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      3. They increase lifespans   Cultures with involved grandparents experience less infant and childhood mortality, as grandparents often provide financial and emotional resources that improve their family’s quality of life. And great news for grandparents: their role doesn’t just benefit the kids - it also helps grandparents live longer too! Research has shown that involved grandparents lead longer, more fulfilling lives and stay more mentally sharp as they age.   4. They give undivided attention   Making lunches, folding laundry, signing permission slips - with so many responsibilities, parents can have a hard time removing distractions and fully engaging with their kids. Grandparents on the other hand, tend to have a lot less responsibilities for the grandkids, so they’re able to devote more attention to   playing   ,  teaching, and listening. These enriching interactions can remove some of the guilt that parents may feel for being spread thin throughout the day.   5. They hand down heritage   Many grandparents find importance in sharing traditions and heritage with their grandkids. They might teach them age-old holiday customs, religious practices, and ancestral stories. They may teach them skills that younger generations no longer practice, such as making cultural crafts, cooking traditional meals, or speaking in their native language. These warm, nostalgic lessons increase the bond and positive memories between grandparents and grandkids.   6. They offer experience   While younger generations can teach their grandparents all about cool new trends, grandparents have plenty of knowledge to pass down as well. By sharing their wisdom on relationships, values, financial management, and major life decisions, they equip the next generation to overcome challenges and achieve success.   7. They can be a confidante   Grandparents often serve as a trusted confidante for grandkids, as they’re aware of the family’s ups and downs but are less directly impacted. For example, if a child is struggling with their parents’ divorce or remarriage, they might feel more comfortable opening up to their grandparents since they’re less involved in the situation than their parents are.    Want a better grandparent relationship?    A Grandparent’s value can be immeasurable to our lives, but sometimes family issues prevent grandparents from being involved. If arguments, in-law drama, or any other challenges have prevented your family from enjoying a healthy grandparent relationship, our specialists can help.      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Albernaz, A. (2015). Study: Close grandparent-grandchild relationships have healthy benefits.  Boston Globe.  Retrieved from https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2015/12/13/close-grandparent-grandchild-relationships-have-healthy-benefits/kxL8AnugpVBKknDuzHZDKO/story.html  Gay, O. (2006) The Changing Role of Grandparents.  Australian Institute of Family Studies . AFRC Briefing No. 2. Retrieved from https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/changing-role-grandparents   Grandparents Contribute to Children’s Wellbeing. (n.d.). University of Oxford. Retrieved from www.ox.ac.uk/research/research-impact/grandparents-contribute-childrens-wellbeing   Smith, P.K. (2005). Grandparents and grandchildren. The British Psychological Society. Vol. 18, pp. 684-687. Retrieved from https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-18/edition-11/grandparents-and-grandchildren   Shinn. M.M. (2018). The Parents Guide to Play: 9 Tips to Ignite Your Child’s Learning.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-parents-guide-to-play-9-tips-to-ignite-your-childs-learning   Shinn. M.M. (2018). 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Teen’s Independence.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/6-tips-to-prepare-for-your-teens-independence   Sifferlin, A. (2016). Be Nice, Because People Who Care for Others Live Longer.  TIME . Retrieved from https://time.com/4618363/longevity-care-grandparents-research/   The Ties that Bind: Grandparents and their Grandchildren.  Association for Psychological Science . Retrieved from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/the-ties-that-bind-grandparents-and-their-grandchildren.html   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Grandparenting: A Labor of Love 8 Ways Grandparents Impact Families.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/grandparenting-a-labor-of-love-8-ways-grandparents-impact-families

Grandparenting: A Labor of Love
8 Ways Grandparents Impact Families

This Labor Day, we wanted to celebrate the contributions of grandparents and the many ways their efforts improve our lives. Check out this week’s blog and tag a grandparent you love!

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”   Back-to-school can cause a variety of concerns for parents. Will my kid like their teacher? Will they have to deal with bullies? Will they reach their potential? But back-to-school can be particularly worrisome for parents of children with chronic illnesses. Whether your child has diabetes, asthma, seizures, heart problems, allergies, or any other condition, it can be scary to entrust your child’s health to school staff for 6+ hours a day.    So what can parents do to ensure their kid’s health is cared for at school?     1. Learn risk factors   Before considering your child’s needs, it’s important to understand the potential risk factors that chronic illness can present. Chronic illness can contribute to emotional, behavioral, and academic problems including:      Falling behind   from excessive absences      Increased   anxiety   from trying to “catch up”    Fatigue and irritability     Depression    Social isolation    Low-self esteem    Understanding these risks will help you determine the best course of action to guard against them.   2. List their needs   Start listing an inventory of needs that you believe would help your child overcome obstacles and succeed at school. Include your kid in the conversation and ask for their input. Some examples might include:    Being able to leave class without permission when symptoms arise      Accepting late work     Sitting near the door    Receiving support with making friends     Allowing rest breaks as needed    Having summer course options to reduce their school-year class load    Teacher trainings on emergency responses, such as using an EpiPen      Being allowed to complete some schoolwork at home     Regular check-ins with the school counselor     3. Request education support   Set a meeting with the school to discuss your child’s needs and to see if they qualify for   accommodations      through an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. If classroom accommodations are enough for your child to succeed with the standard curriculum, then a 504 Plan may be the right tool for them. If their condition greatly impairs their learning abilities, they may need an IEP that provides a specially tailored curriculum. A Specialist in Educational Psychology can help you determine which educational resources will work best for your child.  Click below to schedule your free 15-minute consultation with  Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Specialist in Educational Psychology and Special Education Consulting       4. Communicate consistently   Frequent communication with the school will increase the staff’s ability to stay informed of your child’s progress and respond to their challenges. Establish regular check-in meetings to keep the faculty and your family on the same page. Build relationships with teachers, administrators, and the school nurse, so everyone is aware of your child’s unique needs.   5. Support self-management   Prior to your child starting school, you may have done the heavy lifting in tending to their medical needs. Running for the steroid cream each time a hive pops up, grabbing their inhaler when they start to get winded, or calling friends to cancel plans when they look a little pale. Encourage your kid to start taking   responsibility     for their own care before they start school. Teach them how to recognize their symptoms before they get out of hand, administer self-care, and express their needs to teachers.   6. Calculate come-backs   Depending on your child’s condition, they may have medical supplies, such as ostomy bags or glucose meters, that other kids might be curious about. Hopefully your kid won’t be faced with   bullying  ,     but it can be helpful to have them rehearse a few comebacks in case of peers being rude or annoying.    Examples:   “Ew, look at her pricking her finger – what are you, a vampire?”  “Yes actually, but don’t worry – you’re not my type. I’m only into B+.”   “It’s not fair - why do you get to leave class all the time?”  “Because I’m Batman. The world isn’t going to save itself.”    7. Inspire motivation   Chronic pain and symptoms can make it challenging for your kid to focus on schoolwork. Frequently remind your child to think about their goals to help them stay motivated. Ask them about their passions, have them create vision boards, and tell them stories of celebrities who achieved success despite chronic illness, such as Sarah Hyland who has kidney dysplasia, Nick Jonas who has diabetes, or Selena Gomez who has lupus.    Check out our blog on    fostering passion & persistence    in your kid       8. Help them connect   Help your child think through obstacles that hold them back from extracurriculars and time with friends. If their symptoms prevent them from playing football, could they   work   in the ticket booth or concession stand? If they’re too tired to go to afternoon band practice, are there clubs that meet during lunch? If they have to miss school often, can they Facetime their besties after school hours? Helping them maintain connections with peers will reduce their risks for depression and low self-esteem.   9. Consult a Specialist   Taking a chronic illness to school can be tough on both students and their families. Fortunately, your family doesn’t have to face this alone. Our specialists are experienced in helping students overcome obstacles, achieve their potential, and ensure a supportive school environment.        
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Ball, M.F., Bayliss, D.M., Glauert, R., Harrison, A., Ohan, J.L. (2016). Chronic Illness and Developmental Vulnerability at School Entry.  Pediatrics , 137, 5. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/137/5/e20152475.full.pdf  Chronic Health Conditions (Students with): The Role of the School Nurse (n.d.).  National Association of School Nurses.  Retrieved from https://www.nasn.org/nasn/advocacy/professional-practice-documents/position-statements/ps-chronic-health  My Child Has a Chronic Illness. What Do I Need to Tell the School? (2014).  American Academy of Pediatrics.  Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chronic/Pages/Chronic-Conditions-and-School.aspx  Schulman-Green, D., Jaser, S., Martin, F., Alonzo, A., Grey, M., McCorkle, R., … Whittemore, R. (2012). Processes of self-management in chronic illness.  Journal of nursing scholarship : an official publication of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing ,  44 (2), 136–144. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01444.x  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 6 Tips to Prepare for Your Teen’s Independence.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/6-tips-to-prepare-for-your-teens-independence   Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe with Bullies.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tricks-for-talking-back-and-keeping-safe-from-bullies    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Does My Child Need Accommodations on the SAT/ACT?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Life Success – Is It About Persistence or Following Your Passion?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/life-success-is-it-about-persistence-or-following-your-passion   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid Might Be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-might-be-held-back-a-grade-what-do-i-do    Shinn. M.M. (2018). Take the Stress Out of Tests! 11 Ways to Manage Test Anxiety.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/take-the-stress-out-of-tests-11-ways-to-manage-test-anxiety   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Should I Let My Teen Get a Job? 10 Things Parents Should Know.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/should-i-let-my-teen-get-a-job-10-things-parents-should-know    When a Kid Has Long-Term Illness: How to Deal with School (2010).  Education.com.  Retrieved from https://www.education.com/magazine/article/Chronic-illness-schools/   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Taking Chronic Illness to School: 9 Tips to Stay Safe & Healthy.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-has-a-chronic-illness-how-do-i-prepare-them-for-school

“My Kid Has a Chronic Illness – How Do I Prepare Them for School?”

From asthma to diabetes and epilepsy to cancer, 1 in 4 children go to school each year with a chronic illness. If your kid has a chronic illness, check out this week’s blog for 9 tips to ensure their health and success as they go back to school.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Is My Teen Addicted to Video Games?” How to Know and What to Do About It   Since their debut in the early 1970’s, video games have been an iconic form of entertainment. While most people can enjoy gaming as an occasional diversion, a growing number of youth seem to be pushing aside family, friends, and activities to spend more time in front of computer screens. Nicknamed “digital heroin,” video game addiction is a growing concern and has been classified as a mental health disorder by The World Health Organization.   So how do parents know if their child’s fantasy world is starting to take over their real life?     Warning signs of gaming addiction     Gaming 4+ hours a day      Playing for increasing amounts of time    Thinking or talking about gaming during other activities    Quitting other hobbies    Lying to friends or family to conceal gaming    Alienating themselves from family, friends, or romantic interests    Becoming irritable or miserable when they can’t play video games    Neglecting daily responsibilities    Declining academic performance    Showing physical symptoms including dry eyes, carpel tunnel, weight loss or gain, headaches, or back and neck problems    Ignoring personal hygiene    Depression, anxiety, or social phobias     So what can a parent do about it?    If you are concerned your child or teen may have a gaming problem, try these tips:     1. Start a log   Before you talk to your child about your concerns, start documenting their behaviors in a log. Write down how many hours a day you notice them gaming. Also, write down negative consequences you are noticing, such as them skipping out on soccer practice or avoiding family meals. Also, record how they react when they have to stop gaming.   2. Communicate with love   When you talk to your child about your concerns, do so from a place of patience and love. In many cases, children use gaming as a form of relief from feelings of sadness or worry, so being stern or critical may only worsen their negative self-image. Talk to them about their good qualities and the things you love about them – share your log with them and express that you are concerned that their gaming is getting in the way of them living their best life.   3. Organize a detox   Like with any other type of addiction, complete abstinence is necessary for success. This can be a bit tricky since computers are so prevalent in our society, so your child will need to adjust to using computers without gaming. Set boundaries and rules regarding computer use, such as only allowing them to use it for school projects during certain times of day. Remove game consoles, block gaming websites, and keep the computer in a highly visible area in the house for easy monitoring.   4. Prepare to be patient   As your child is detoxing, they may be irritable, mopey, or just downright mean. When they are on your last nerve, walk away and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Not only will this help you keep your cool, it will model healthy emotional regulation to your child, as opposed to burying emotions with gaming.   5. Make Reality More Exciting   You may think your kid is only interested in high speed pursuits or battling mythical creatures, but the truth is that real life experiences will be much more rewarding to them than any video game could ever be. Get the whole family involved in more physical activities – hikes, backyard baseball, or activities with other families. If they are old enough, encourage them to get a part-time job to boost their self-worth. Activities, hobbies, and responsibilities can both boost their mood and distract them from the lure of gaming.   6. Use a reward system   It can be hard for gamers to see why their addiction is a bad thing. A reward system can incentivize them to stick with their detox, even if they don’t fully agree with it. Try using a points system by giving them “10 points” for every day they go without gaming and have them lose 20 points each day that they cave in and play video games. Let them know that when they reach 1000 points, they get to go to an amusement park, have a sleepover party, or some other fun activity.   7. Seek support   Addictions of all types are complex and challenging to overcome, but there is hope. A qualified specialist can help your child address underlying mental health issues that may have led to their addiction. They can teach self-control techniques and tools to help your child find happiness and self-esteem away from the computer screen.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Online Article: Video Game Addiction No fun - Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD    	Keith Bakker, certified interventionist; and director, Smith &   Jones Addiction Consultants. Kimberly Young, PsyD, clinical director, Center   for On-Line Addiction; professor of psychology, St. Bonaventure University;   and author,     Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet   Addiction -- and a Winning Strategy for Recovery. WebMD Feature:     Internet to Sex: Defining Addiction. Howard, project manager, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.,   Center for On-Line Addiction: "Are You an Obsessive Online Gamer?" and   "Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Addiction."

“Is My Teen Addicted to Video Games?” How to Know and What to Do About It

Most people can enjoy video games as an occasional hobby, but what happens when the fantasy world starts to become more appealing than reality? Check out this week’s blog to learn how to identify and prevent video game addiction in children and teens.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “How Do I Keep My Kids Entertained All Summer?”   Ahhh summer… the freedom, the sunshine, the world of opportunity. The kids look forward to it all year.   Notice we said “the kids.”   Parents on the other hand, tend to be a little wary of the school-free season. While all parents love spending time with their children, summer means 3 whole months without the time consumption and mental stimulation that school provides. It means having to come up with activities for the kids yourself, which often translates to spending a lot more money. If both parents work, it can also mean having to find reliable child care and camps that aren’t exactly in the budget. So what’s a parent to do?   First of all – relax! That’s what summer is for   Many parents go into summer concerned that their child will be bored out of their minds. Research suggests, however, that constructive boredom is not only healthy, but essential for a child to develop their creativity, discover their personal identity, and explore ways to foster their own mental stimulation. If parents are always doing the heavy lifting in filling their child’s time, their child gets robbed of the opportunity to contemplate their own thoughts and interests and explore new ideas.   Here are 9 tips for giving your child a fun and stimulating summer, without scheduling every second:    1. Brainstorm beforehand   Foster your child’s creativity by having them make a list of things they would like to do over the summer. While they may choose a few unrealistic items such as riding a dragon or traveling to Hong Kong, their list will probably include many attainable goals such as going on hikes, having a picnic, or running through the sprinklers. When they complain of boredom over the summer, tell them to revisit their list for ideas to fill their time.   2. Structure Unstructure   By now most of us have heard of the damage that excessive screen time can pose to children. Too much TV or video game consumption can contribute to obesity, low self-esteem, social disorders, and decreased academic performance. When your kids are home all summer, it’s easy to let them binge watch cartoons when you need them out of your hair so you can clean the house or pay the bills. Remind yourself to limit screen time by establishing a few hours every day that will be used for “unstructured play.” Let the kids know that after lunch, they’re on their own until 3 PM – no gadgets allowed!   3. Let them make a mess   This tends to be a tough one for many moms, and it’s understandable. Keeping a halfway clean home takes daily diligence, and having kids can feel like there are tiny tornadoes spinning around behind you every time you tidy up. In the summer, try to stretch your patience toward the mess-making. You can set boundaries, like limiting messy projects to the tiled kitchen and away from your off-white rug, but let them do some experimental baking, indulge in some glue-heavy art projects, or create a mad scientist’s laboratory. Giving them the freedom to make messes will encourage innovative ideas.   4. Make summer about self-reliance   Since the 1960’s, American schools have shifted away from teaching basic life skills to focusing almost exclusively on academics. The additional time with your kids in the summer is a great opportunity to teach them what they aren’t getting in the classroom. Have them plan and prepare meals with you, teach them how to do laundry, have them create a savings plan for the new gadget they’ve been wanting, or teach them how to safely refuel a vehicle at the gas station. Summer is a perfect time to foster your child’s sense of self-reliance.   5. Commit to learning a new skill   A wonderful aspect of summer is that it gives kids time to pursue ideas and activities that they feel inspired to chase. As the school year comes to an end, ask your child to pick one new thing they want to learn over the summer. Even if they say something like, “Kung Fu,” you don’t need to invest in expensive lessons. Watch online tutorials a few times a week to empower them with some basic skills. Letting your child take the lead in what they pursue will excite them about learning and help their brain to “decompress” from the constant frontal lobe focus during the academic year. Don’t forget to choose something for you to learn over the summer as well! This will model creativity, persistence, and the importance of life-long learning.   6. Reduce the dreaded “brain-drain”   Many parents fear that summer will drain their child’s brain of everything they learned the prior school year and make it difficult for them to adjust in the fall. While a small regression is not the end of the world, it can be helpful to maintain some academic activity over the summer. Buy a grade level workbook for them or invest in some occasional tutoring in a subject they’ve struggled with. Just be conscious not to burden them with too many textbook obligations over the summer – they have the school year for that! Remember that there are academic benefits to recreational activities as well. Swimming, for example, is not only a fun total body workout but also a science in understanding the different ways our bodies are able to stay afloat.   7. No cost, no screens, no problem!   It can feel like there aren’t many options for summer fun that don’t break the bank. While there’s nothing wrong with splurging on an occasional trip to the zoo or amusement park, don’t feel guilty if most of your summer days are a bit simpler. Encourage your child to use their imagination by turning their favorite book into a play, making a “pretend” carnival in the backyard with a ticket booth and concession stand, or take on a family project like planting a garden or repainting a fence.   8. Find ways to help others   Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, and summertime is a great opportunity to engage your children in looking outside of themselves and into the community. Look into different volunteer opportunities – drive meals to seniors as a family, bring care packages to terminally ill children in the hospital, or join a pen-pal program with orphans in third world countries. Volunteer activities will foster compassion in your child and add meaningful memories to summer that go beyond having fun.   9. Join the fun   During the school year, parents don’t get to participate in many of the fun and explorative activities their kids experience in school. Take advantage of this time by making sure to set time every day to act like a kid. Squeeze into that blanket fort, believe that the floor really is lava, and give an Oscar worthy performance as the villain in their puppet show. The memories you will share with your children will be worth far more than anything money can buy.   Variations can help   If you would like additional support in learning ways to stimulate your child’s mind and foster their creativity, Variations can help.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).   See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Biddle SJH, Asare M Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: a review of reviews  British Journal of Sports Medicine  Published Online First: 01 August 2011. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2011-090185   Gasper, K. & Middlewood, B.L. (2013) Approaching novel thoughts: Understanding why elation and boredom promote associative thought more than distress and relaxation. Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, USA   The Benefits of Boredom. Melboune Child Psychology. Retrieved Online. https://www.melbournechildpsychology.com.au/blog/the-benefits-of-boredom/  Tremblay, M.S., LeBlanc, A.G., Kho, M.E., Saunders, T.J., Larouche, R., Colley, R.C., Goldfield, G., Gorber, S.C. Systematic review of sedentary behaviour and health indicators in school-aged children and youth (2011) International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 20118:98 https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-8-98   Wahi G, Parkin PC, Beyene J, Uleryk EM, Birken CS. Effectiveness of Interventions Aimed at Reducing Screen Time in ChildrenA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.  Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.  2011;165(11):979–986. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.122

“How Do I Keep My Kids Entertained All Summer?”

“I just love entertaining my kids for every second of summer!” – Said no parent ever. If you’re a mom or dad trying to figure out how you’ll keep your kid engaged over the summer, check out this week’s blog on 9 Easy Tips for a Stimulating Summer.”

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “How do I prepare my child for a new sibling?”   Welcoming a new baby is both exciting and nerve-wracking. Where will we put the nursery? What will we do about childcare? And how on earth will we prepare our older kids for a new baby?! The thought of adjusting your child to a new sibling can be worrisome, as many kids struggle with the idea of their parents’ love and attention being shared with another person.    So how can parents prepare their kid for a new sibling?     1. Postpone major changes   Adjusting to a new sibling is a major change, so try not to make any other big changes around the time of the baby’s birth. If you need to move your kid to a different bedroom to make way for the nursery, do it well before the baby is born to give them time to adjust. If you planned on potty training soon, consider waiting until the baby is a few months old. Also, know that it’s common for older kids to regress when a new baby arrives by going back to   wetting the bed   or wanting a bottle. This is their way of expressing that they still need you.   2. Get them involved   Involve your child in preparing for the new baby’s arrival. This will make them feel included in your family’s change and help to build excitement for the new addition. Let them help you decorate the nursery and take them shopping for bottles and onesies. Ask them their opinions on baby names and bring them to appointments so they can hear the baby’s heartbeat. When your baby is born, give them jobs to do, such as feeding or singing lullabies. Just don’t overdo it – let them lead on how much responsibility they’d like to take.   3. Manage expectations   Read your child books about babies. Show them their newborn photos or baby book and tell them stories about their infant phase. Ask them about their dreams for things to do with their new sibling – teaching them how to play baseball, walking them in a stroller, reading to them, etc. Encourage their ideas but also let them know that the baby will not be an instant playmate. Share that in the beginning, babies mostly eat, sleep, and poop, but in due time they will be an eager playmate to share adventures with their big brother or sister.   4. Explain the delivery game plan   Explain to your child how they’ll be cared for while you are in the hospital. Let them know who will be picking them up, where they’ll be staying, and when they’ll be able visit you and the new baby. Get them excited about having a few sleepovers at their friend’s or grandparents’ house while mom and dad are away.   5. Amp up attention   It’s important to give your older child lots of attention as they adjust to the adorable new sheriff in town. Hang a photo of your older child by your hospital bed so they see that they’re always on your mind. Make sure to shower them with lots of praise and remind visitors to give them attention when they come to meet the new baby. Make time for one-on-one bonding with your older child, such as   playing with them  ,     going to a park, or watching a movie together.   6. Give a gift from the baby   One way to ensure the new baby is on your firstborn’s good side is to buy a gift for them that’s “from” the baby. Even if your kid is a little older and realizes a newborn can’t order toys on line, they’ll associate this new, awesome gift as a reminder that the baby is a not a threat to their needs.   7. Acknowledge their feelings   If your kid expresses fear, anger, sadness, or jealousy about gaining a sibling, listen and let them know you understand. Never criticize them for having negative feelings – instead, help them label their emotions and talk about   healthy ways to deal with them   .  Let them know it’s ok to feel upset, but it’s never ok to hurt the baby. Give them a few ideas for   how to vent their frustrations  , such as roaring like a lion or drawing an angry picture.   8. Reassure your love   Your child may be scared that you’re trying to replace them by having a new baby. Let them know that the reason you’re having a baby is to give them a sibling that they will be friends with forever. Remind them that you have enough love for both of them to have an endless supply. Schedule alone time that is just for you to give your older child undivided attention. A great time for this is when baby is sleeping and can’t interrupt. Use this time to cuddle, play, or make your child’s favorite food together.   9. Know when to get help   Some children have an especially difficult time adjusting to the arrival of a new sibling. If your child is distressed or   acting out  , we can help.      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Laule, S. (2017). New Baby Sibling . University of Michigan. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Michigan Medicine.  Retrieved from https://www.mottchildren.org/posts/your-child/new-baby-sibling  Gary, J. (n.d.) Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling.  Child Mind Institute . Retrieved from https://childmind.org/article/preparing-child-new-sibling/  Preparing Children for the Birth of a Sibling. (n.d.)  Melbourne Child Psychology & School Psychology Services, Port Melbourne.  Retrieved from https://www.melbournechildpsychology.com.au/blog/preparing-children-for-the-birth-of-a-sibling/  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/5-tips-for-raising-emotionally-intelligent-children     Shinn. M.M. (2019). 8 Tips to Calm Your Kid While Keeping Your Cool.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-tips-to-calm-your-kid-while-keeping-your-cool   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid is So Defiant – Is It My Fault?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-is-so-defiant-is-it-my-fault     Shinn. M.M. (2018). My Kid Still Wets the Bed – What Should I Do?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-kid-still-wets-the-bed-what-should-i-do   Shinn. M.M. (2018). The Parents Guide to Play: 9 Tips to Ignite Your Child’s Learning.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-parents-guide-to-play-9-tips-to-ignite-your-childs-learning     Volling B. L. (2012). Family transitions following the birth of a sibling: an empirical review of changes in the firstborn's adjustment.  Psychological bulletin ,  138 (3), 497–528. doi:10.1037/a0026921   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). How Do I Prepare My Child for a New Sibling?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-do-i-prepare-my-child-for-a-new-sibling

“How do I prepare my child for a new sibling?”

Finding out you’re having a new baby is exciting – but it can also be scary if you have another kid who would rather watch the news than share their parents with another tiny human! Check out our blog on 8 ways to prepare your kid for a new sibling.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “How do I Teach My Teen about Consent in Relationships?”   With the rise of the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements, the topic of consent has become more talked about than ever. As teens reach their   dating years  , many parents worry about them being taken advantage of or being unfairly accused of violating consent. While there are some controversies about what can be deemed as consensual, a teen’s best bet is to seek clear, verbal consent before kissing, touching, or becoming intimate with another person.    So what should parents teach their teens to help them understand consent?      1. Clarify consent   Explain to your teen that consent means the other person clearly and verbally tells them they want to move forward with whatever they’re asking them to do. Consent is something your teen should seek from the other person, regardless of their gender. Seeking consent shows the other person that you respect their body and do not want to make them uncomfortable. Your teen should also know that their consent should always be sought, valued, and respected.    2. Supply sample questions   There are many ways to ask for someone’s consent. Give your teen some examples so they’re prepared to clearly communicate with the person they are interested in:     “Before we go any further, do you want to do this?”    “Can I kiss you?”    “Do you like when I do this?”    “Is this ok? It’s fine if you want to wait.”     3. Describe body language   Remind your kid that a lack of “no” does not mean “go.” A person’s verbal answer is only part of the equation when determining consent. If your teen’s date says, “yes,” but their tone or body language seems hesitant, guarded, or unsure, it’s always wise to give them an “out” in case they aren’t comfortable.   Example:    “You seem like you might be unsure. We can wait if you want to - it’s really ok.”  “I know we just met. If you don’t want to do this I won’t be upset.”  “I respect you and I want to make sure you’re comfortable before we go any further.”   Does your teen have autism and you’re concerned about them struggling to understand body language as they enter the dating scene?     Click below to schedule a free 15-minute consultation to learn how our Specialists can help      


   
     
      
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      4. Kick coercion to the curb   Remind your teen that if the other person says no or seems hesitant, it’s not ok to coerce a “yes” out of them by saying things like, “Come on, don’t be a tease,” or, “I thought you were cool.” Even if they reluctantly agree after being guilted, their answer would not be considered consensual. Explain to your teen that no one should ever try to guilt them into doing things they aren’t comfortable with, and they should attempt to leave the situation if they feel pressured. Give your kid a few examples of things they can say if they are feeling guilted or coerced.   Examples:   “But I love you!”  “If you loved me you wouldn’t try to pressure me to do something I’m not ready for.”  “We done this before, why not now?”  “I can change my mind. It’s my body and my life.”  “Everyone does it!”  “Well, I’m not everyone. And everyone doesn’t do it – even some of the people that say they do!”  “Come on, your parents aren’t going to be home for hours.”  “You don’t know that for sure, they could come back any time. I’m not going to risk it.”    5. Emphasize boundaries   Empower your teen to set clear boundaries with their date and explain the importance of respecting the boundaries of others.    Examples:    Emotional boundary  – “I won’t be pressured into having sex .”    Physical   boundary  – “I am not ok with you putting your hands under my clothes.”   Digital boundary  - “I will not send you sexual photos.”     6. Stress sobriety   Hopefully your teen and their peers are not using   drugs or alcohol  , but they should still be aware that a person is not capable of giving consent if they are under the influence. Tell your teen that if they’re looking forward to their first kiss with their crush at prom, they should make sure their date is sober before asking for their consent to kiss.   7. Rehearse responses   It can be hard for teens to hear, “no,” from a person they’re really crushing on. However, it’s important that they learn to respond respectfully to being turned down. Encourage them to keep their responses simple and neutral. Tell them to avoid expressing anger, frustration, or disappointment.      Examples:   “Can I take off your shirt?”  “No – I’m not ready for that yet.”  “Ok, no problem.”      “You look so hot in that photo you sent me earlier. Can I show it to my friends?”  “I’m not really comfortable with that.”  “Alright, I’ll keep it between you and me.”  “Do you want to have sex?”  “I’ve always planned on waiting until I’m married.”  “That’s fine – I respect that.”   8. Keep consent a family value   Modeling consent is a great way to teach your teen how to value the boundaries of others. Ask your teen for permission before you post pictures or stories about them on social media. Don’t force affection; if they don’t want a hug or a kiss right now, let them know you respect their physical boundaries.    9. Make media a teaching tool   Unfortunately, consent is not always valued in the shows and music our teens are exposed to. The silver lining is that you can use these examples to teach your teen to identify when consent isn’t being respected. The next time a celebrity has a high-profile case on TV, or the next time a questionable song comes on the radio, engage your teen in conversation about how consent was being violated. Similarly, if a celebrity provides a positive example of respecting the consent of others, point out their actions to your kid.   10. Remember it’s revocable   Remind your teen that consent is revocable at any time. That means if their date says yes, then changes their mind a few minutes later, your teen needs to respect their revoked consent and stop what they’re doing.    11. Ingrain the impact    Help your teen build empathy by explaining the emotional impact of things like sexual assault and harassment or   cyberbullying    on others. If you hear your kid referring to others as sexual objects, explain to them that it’s important to respect the privacy, bodies, and values of others, just as they would want theirs respected in return.     12. Teach how to get help   Hopefully your teen will never find themselves in a situation where their consent is not respected, but if they do, it’s important they know where to turn. Give them a code phrase to text you if they’re in an unsafe situation. Encourage them to speak to a teacher, school counselor, or other mental health specialist if they need support. If you would like guidance in teaching your teen about consent and safe dating, we can help.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.  More about Variations Psychology  Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   The Healthy Sex Talk: Teaching Teens Consent. (n.d.)  HealthyTeens.org.  Retrieved from http://menengage.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Teaching-Teens-Consent.pdf  Talking to Your Kids About Consent: Conversations for Parents. (n.d.)  Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.  Retrieved from http://storage.cloversites.com/virginiasexualdomesticviolenceactionallianc/documents/Parent%20discussion%20guide%202018-FINAL.pdf   Teaching Sexual Consent in Your Classroom. (2019).  University of California, Santa Barbara.  Retrieved from http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/teaching-consent-your-classroom    Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe from Bullies.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-tricks-for-talking-back-and-keeping-safe-from-bullies    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Could My Teen Have Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/could-my-teen-have-autism    Shinn. M.M. (2019). How Do I Talk to My Teen About Drugs and Alcohol?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-do-i-talk-to-my-teen-about-drugs-and-alcohol    Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Teen is Dating – What Do I Do?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/my-teen-is-dating-what-do-i-do      How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). How Do I Teach My Teens About Consent?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-do-i-teach-my-teen-about-consent-in-relationships

“How do I Teach My Teen about Consent in Relationships?”

With the rise of the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements, the topic of consent is more prevalent than ever. Many parents worry about their teens being taken advantaged of or being unfairly accused. Check out our blog to learn how you can support your teen in clearly understanding consent.