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      “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.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      10 Ways to Bond with Your Child as a Foster or Adoptive Dad   Being chosen as a foster or adoptive dad can be one of life’s most fulfilling experiences. But, it can also make a guy a little nervous. When the day comes for you to welcome your child to their new home, it’s normal to worry if you’ll be able to connect with them. The good news is, adoptive and foster fathers are able to form bonds just as strongly as bio-dads.    So what can a foster/adoptive dad do to strengthen the bond with his new child?     1. Prepare to be patient     There’s no need to feel rushed in becoming super close with your new kid, as bonding is a process that happens over time. Practice patience and remember you have a lifetime to establish your relationship and deepen your parent-child connection.      2. Expect some bumps in the road     Expect that your child may be fussy, have trouble sleeping, or not eat much the first few weeks while they transition to their new environment. They may also try to test your limits by acting out, so focus on praising good behaviors to reinforce them.    Check out our pro-tips for dads on increasing kids’ positive behaviors     3. Share responsibilities     Hopefully you’ll have support in tending to your child’s needs either from a significant other, helpful relative, friend, or babysitter. Just remember that a child is most open to bonding after their needs have been met, so make an effort to help with diaper-duty and feedings for younger kids and homework and school pick-ups for older ones. Bandage their owies, cuddle them often, and let them know you’re always there for them.      4. Bond through language     Regardless of your child’s age, talking to them will increase your connection. Read them stories and ask them about their interests, thoughts, and feelings. Kneel down to their level and make eye contact as you talk. Talking to them boosts their vocabulary and makes them feel worthy of your attention.     5. Show em’ the ropes     A great way to reinforce your role as their dad is to teach them life skills. Tell your kid what you’re doing while you’re making dinner, shaving, or washing your car. Give them play-by-plays even when you’re just hanging out or doing housework. This will give your child great memories of all of the things that daddy taught them.      6. Hang family photos     Displaying pictures of your new child is a great way to show them that they’re part of the family and help them feel connected to their home environment. Take pictures of memorable moments and hang them throughout the house for visitors to see. Remember to use phrases like “our home” rather than “my house” – this will help them feel less like an outsider.  If you have an older child, ask if there are any pictures of their biological family they’d like to hang up. Being open and acknowledging their emotions will encourage them to trust you.     7. Allow alone time     Being alone with your kid can be a little scary at first. You may ask yourself things like, “am I going to break the baby?!” or “how can I keep a 10-year-old entertained for 3 hours?!” But alone time is very important for bonding. Hang out with your child while your significant other runs errands. Go for walks, start a craft project together, or play at the park. Quality time with your kid will build your connection and boost your confidence as a new dad.     8. Start some traditions      Establish a few special traditions to give your child something meaningful to look forward to. Some ideas include:    A nightly lullaby and bedtime story     Playing catch at the park on Saturdays    Friday movie night    Sunday morning breakfast with “dad’s famous pancakes”    If your child was adopted from a different country or culture, pick an important holiday from their heritage and celebrate it each year     9. Nurture your relationship     Transitioning into parenthood can challenge any marriage or relationship, especially with the added stress of adjusting an adopted child to a new environment. If you’re in a committed relationship, remember that you’re a team and need to work together in making decisions and overcoming challenges. Lean on each other for support and be open about your feelings. When things have settled in, make time for a monthly date night.   Bumping heads with someone you live with?    Click here      10. Connect through play     Playing with dad makes a child feel connected, loved, and wanted. Choose unstructured, age-appropriate activities that allow your child to get creative and lead through play. Your child will look forward to this special time with you and love the positive attention.    Click here    for more tips on igniting your child’s learning through play     11. Get support     Welcoming a fostered or adopted child can be an amazingly positive experience, but it can also present some challenges. If your child seems to be distressed or angry, or if you’re concerned about how your new child is impacting your marriage or other children, 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:   Eppley, S. (2017, September 9). 10 Activities To Bond   With Your Foster Children. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/adoption.com/10-activities-to-bond-with-your-foster-children/amp  Kemp, R. (2011, February 8). The importance of father-child bonding. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.thenational.ae/lifestyle/family/the-importance-of-father-child-bonding-1.467546  Steinberg, G., & Hall, B. (1998). Pact, an Adoption Alliance [Brochure]. Author. Retrieved from https://www.pactadopt.org/app/servlet/documentapp.DisplayDocument?   Bonding With Your Adopted Child. (2019).  What to Expect . Retrieved from https://www.whattoexpect.com/family/bonding-with-your-adopted-child.aspx  Shinn. M.M. (2019). 8 Tips for Managing Conflict with the People You Live With.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-tips-for-managing-conflicts-with-the-people-you-live-with   Shinn. M.M. (2018). The Parents Guide to Play: 9 Tips to Ignote 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). The P.R.I.D.E. of Fatherhood: 5 Ways That Great Dads Shape Our Mental Health.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-pride-of-fatherhood-5-ways-that-great-dads-shape-our-mental-health     How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Ways to Bond with Your Child as a Foster or Adoptive Dad.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/10-ways-to-bond-with-your-child-as-a-foster-or-adoptive-dad

10 Ways to Bond with Your Child as a Foster or Adoptive Dad

Happy Father’s Day to all you great dad’s out there! This year we’re dedicating our Dad-Day blog to foster and adoptive dads! Check out our top 10 tips for foster and adoptive dads to strengthen the bond with their children.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid is a Picky Eater – What do I do?”     “Yuck! I’m not eating that - I want ice cream!” Sound familiar? Many parents know the struggle of having a picky eater. It’s frustrating to want to ensure your child’s health when they’re determined to live on a steady diet of fruit loops and oreos. The good news is, most kids grow out of picky eating without it having major effects on their health. However, the way that parents react to their kids’ picky tendencies has a major impact on whether their kid grows out of it and how their eating habits effect their long-term health.    So what should parents do if their kid is a picky eater?     1. Keep offering new foods     Young children often need be to introduced to a food several times before they’ll try it. Research suggests it takes kids a minimum of 12 exposures of any given food to put it in the category of foods they like. Picky eaters can require a lot more exposures than that. Remember, exposure doesn’t mean that they have to eat it either; simply having it served to them or seeing their parent eat it also counts. Keep exposing them to new foods alongside of their favorites, and eventually they’ll try a bite.     2. Give “food bridges” a try     Once a food is accepted, use what nutritionists call “food bridges” to introduce others with similar colors, flavors, or textures to expand the variety of your child’s diet. For example, if your child likes pumpkin pie, try mashed sweet potatoes and then cross the “bridge” to mashed carrots. If your child like’s the crispiness of potato chips, introduce similarly textured foods such as snap pea crisps or seasoned kale chips.      3. Pair like a pro     Pairing isn’t just for adults when deciding which wine will complement their dinner. Toddlers naturally prefer sweet and salty flavors and tend to dislike sour and bitter. Try pairing unfamiliar foods that kids tend to dislike with foods they naturally prefer. For example, pairing a bitter food like broccoli with the saltiness of cheddar cheese provides a great combination for toddler taste buds. Celery sticks and peanut butter are another award winning, kid-approved combo.      4. Avoid reinforcing pickiness     You may be doing a few things that actually encourage picky eating without meaning to. Avoid using the “ ABCDE ” behaviors listed below, as each of these may make your child associate mealtime with a power struggle, which can increase picky eating:        A - Artificial comments  – “Mmm this asparagus is SO delicious!” Yeahhh… your kid can see right through that. Don’t exaggerate or make fake comments to try to convince your child to try a food.        B - Bribery  – “You need to eat 4 more strawberries before you can have dessert.” Don’t bribe or force your kid to eat certain foods or clean their plate. This disrupts their ability to listen to their body’s natural cues of hunger and fullness.      C - Coaxing  – “Come on, just try one bite!” Coaxing often leads to a power struggle which motivates your kid to “win” by defying you. This can distract your kid from listening to their stomach telling them what they need. Instead, they’ll be focusing all of their efforts on winning the battle.       D - Defining preferences  – “You don’t like carrots.” Taste buds are always evolving, so avoid telling your kid what foods they do or don’t like. This suggests to them that their preferences are fixed and unchanging.      E – Emotional eating  – “Aww, my baby, you fell and bumped your knee. Here, don’t cry, have a cookie.” Avoid using food as a tool to deal with tough feelings. This can lead to your child developing habits to eat in response to sadness, pain,   fear    ,     anger  , or   boredom       rather than listening their body’s natural hunger cues.        Click here    to learn healthy ways for your kids to deal with tough emotions       5. Make it a family lifestyle     If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your kid is more likely to follow suit. Make healthy food choices a   part of your family’s lifestyle   and avoid becoming a short order cook by making separate, unhealthy meals for your kids. Your kid may act like they’ll go on a hunger strike if you don’t let them eat smores for dinner, but they’ll try a healthier option before letting themselves starve.     Click here    for our printable handout on quick tips for overcoming feeding problems in children     6. Have fun with food      Get your kid involved in food preparation. Have them pick produce at the market and help you rinse, peel, and stir in the kitchen. Even to adults, food is more appetizing when it is presented nicely. You can make healthy foods more enticing by cutting them into fun shapes with cookie cutters, serving fruits and veggies on skewers, using a grater to create different textures, or arranging foods into pictures like smiley faces. While they won’t always have you around to prepare their food in eye-appealing ways, your efforts will get them to give more foods a chance and add them to their “approved” list.      7. Ditch the distractions     Mealtime should be a time for bonding between family members, and not a battle over food choices. Keep conversations away from food and minimize distractions that take your kid’s focus away from their meal and family. Turn off the TV, let homework wait, and have mealtime be a sacred ritual of quality family time. Avoid quizzing your child during mealtimes as well – questions about their performance on the spelling test or behavior during recess can add stress and tension to mealtime.     8. Depend on the “division of responsibility”     When it comes to eating, both parents and children have responsibilities. The parent’s responsibility is to choose which foods are purchased and made available, as well as what times of day they are served. The child’s responsibility is to choose which of those foods they’ll take and how much of each food they’ll eat. Allow them to carry out their responsibility by letting them listen to their bodies and eat only as much or as little as they like. Serve food family style so that they can choose their portions. Carry out your responsibility by keeping meal and snack times routine and offering 3 or 4 healthy food groups per meal.    Does your family need help in developing healthy eating habits? Click below for a free 15-minute consultation to learn how our Specialists can help       


   
     
      
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      9. Redefine desserts      Using desserts as a reward or bribery tool reinforces the idea that sweets are the most exciting and desirable foods. Don’t serve sugary sweets each night; instead, redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt, or other healthier options. Kids should be allowed to have occasional sweets, but teach them about moderation and balanced nutrition. Keep high calorie sweets reserved for celebrations or special occasions such as birthday parties, Sunday night dinners with the family, or holidays.      10. Know when to get help     Though picky eating is often a phase that kids grow out of, there are situations where outside support is needed. Picky eating can develop after a child experiences trauma and can lead to serious eating disorders. Some children also develop avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (AFRID) which can lead to life-threatening health problems if a child doesn’t get proper treatment. If you are concerned your child’s picky eating is impacting their physical or mental health, or if you need support in developing healthier eating habits as a family, 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:   American Academy of Pediatrics. (2018, April 26). 10 Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Picky-Eaters.aspx  Campbell, L. (2018, May 31). ARFID: Eating Disorder   Mistaken for Picky Eating. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/parents-may-mistake-picky-eating-for-a-more-serious-eating-disorder#1  Children's nutrition: 10 tips for picky eaters. (2017, July   28). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948  DiGiulio, S. (2018, February 10). What makes kids picky   eaters - and what may help them get over it. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/better/amp/ncna846386  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). Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kid in Active Play.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/get-moving-10-reasons-to-engage-your-kids-in-active-play   Shinn. M.M. (2018). How to Stop Anxiety in its Tracks.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-to-stop-anxiety-in-its-tracks   Shinn, M. M., & Weir, A. E. (2018). Family Mealtime Coaching Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript  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).Yay it’s Summer! Mom I’m Bored. 9 Tips for a Stimulating Summer.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/9-easy-tips-for-a-stimulating-summer   Shinn. M.M., Timmer, S.G., & Sandoz, T.K., (2017). Coaching to Improve Mealtime Parenting in Treating Pediatric Obesity.  Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology . Vol. 5. No. 3, 232-247  Campbell, L. (2018, May 31). ARFID: Eating Disorder   Mistaken for Picky Eating. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/parents-may-mistake-picky-eating-for-a-more-serious-eating-disorder#1  Children's nutrition: 10 tips for picky eaters. (2017, July   28). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948  DiGiulio, S. (2018, February 10). What makes kids picky   eaters - and what may help them get over it. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcnews.com/better/amp/ncna846386  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). Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kid in Active Play.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/get-moving-10-reasons-to-engage-your-kids-in-active-play   Shinn. M.M. (2018). How to Stop Anxiety in its Tracks.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-to-stop-anxiety-in-its-tracks   Shinn, M. M., & Weir, A. E. (2018). Family Mealtime Coaching Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript  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).Yay it’s Summer! Mom I’m Bored. 9 Tips for a Stimulating Summer.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/9-easy-tips-for-a-stimulating-summer   Shinn. M.M., Timmer, S.G., & Sandoz, T.K., (2017). Coaching to Improve Mealtime Parenting in Treating Pediatric Obesity.  Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology . Vol. 5. No. 3, 232-247    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid is a Picky Eater – What do I do?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/my-kid-is-a-picky-eater-what-do-i-do

“My Kid is a Picky Eater – What do I do?”

“You can’t just eat sweets all day son.” “Then I just won’t eat anything at all!”

Most parents know the struggle of having a picky eater. Check out this week’s blog for 10 tips on what to do about it.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Top 8 Ways for New Moms to Bond with Baby   Across the animal kingdom, there’s no bond quite like that between a mother and her baby. Whether it’s a mama cat saving her kitten from a burning house, a mother bird instinctively knowing how to feed her chicks, or a woman feeling her child’s pain as if it were her own, moms are connected to their kids in ways that exceed understanding. But bonding isn’t fixed or instant; bonding is a process that strengthens over time as moms and children learn more about each other and build loving, trusting relationships.    So what can mamas do to strengthen the bond with their new babies?    1. Bond over books     It doesn’t matter that your baby doesn’t understand the characters or plot twists in the you books you read. The sound of your voice will provide them with comfort and security while stimulating their growing minds. Immersing your child in a world of words will help them gain communication skills, boost their language development, and make them feel closer to you.      2. Sooth with songs     You don’t need to sing like Adele for your voice to work magic: research has shown that a mother’s singing can reduce her baby’s stress, increase healthy weight gain, and even shorten NICU stays for babies who require hospitalization. Make it a routine to sing to your baby as you rock them to sleep after bath. Over time, your daily ritual will be something your baby looks forward to and will build sweet memories for both of you.      3. Crank up your “cuddle chemical”     The more skin-to-skin contact you have with your baby, the more your body will produce a hormone called oxytocin, which is also known as the “love hormone” or “cuddle chemical.” Oxytocin increases feelings of calm, pleasure, and closeness toward your baby. Practice “kangaroo care” by frequently keeping your naked or partially dressed baby close to your skin throughout the day. The scent and touch of one another will fill you both with joy.     Concerned that the bond with your baby isn’t developing the way it should be? Click below for a free 15 minute consultation with one of our Specialists      


   
     
      
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      4. Feed with love     Mealtime is one of the best opportunities for bonding with your baby. Nourishing your baby builds your confidence as a mom and teaches your baby that they can rely on you for their needs. Whether your baby is fed by breast or bottle, caressing their face, making eye contact, and holding them close to the rhythm of your heartbeat will strengthen your connection.      5. Respond to cues      It’s important to respond to your baby’s cries in the first months of life; you’re not spoiling them by doing so – you’re making them feel safe and teaching them how to manage difficult feelings. It’s never too early to show your baby healthy ways to calm their body down     by practicing deep breathing, rhythmically rocking them, humming, and using calm words.    Is your baby’s emotional development on track?    Click here    to find out     6. Bond through movement     Moms of ancient civilizations didn’t get to enjoy many of our modern conveniences: drive-thru coffee shops, diaper genies, or mommy-and-me-yoga classes. While baby-centric exercise may seem like a luxury, research supports that it increases bonding and makes new parents more comfortable with holding their vulnerable babies. There are also plenty of free ways to bond through movement including:      Giving your baby a loving massage to relax their muscle and increase circulation    Moving their legs in a bicycle motion during diaper changes    Laying on your stomach to face them during their tummy time – this prompts them to lift their head to see you, strengthening their neck and core muscles    Praising your baby as they learn to bounce on supportive surfaces such as your lap     Doing “baby sit ups” as your baby becomes able to support their own neck and head. Hold your baby’s forearms and gently pull them up and down on a soft surface, giving them a smile or kiss each time they come up      Click here    to learn about the benefits of active play as your child grows       7. Don’t be hard on yourself     Bonding is an individual process that grows over time, so don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t happen instantaneously for you. It can be tough to feel connected to a baby when you’ve just met them and are adjusting to the many changes of motherhood. Be patient with yourself and trust that in time, the bond between you and your baby will be unbreakable.       8. Get support     There are a number of issues that can present challenges for mothers and babies to bond such as:      Unplanned pregnancy    Postpartum depression    Lack of support    Health issues    Attachment disorders    Autism spectrum disorder    Adoptive or step parenting    Whatever your family’s situation, our specialists can help you build a loving bond between you and your baby.         
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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:   Blakemore, C.J. & Ramirez, B.W. (2006).  Baby Read Aloud Basics . New York, Harper Collins.   Blumenfeld, H., & Eisenfeld, L. (2006). Does a Mother Singing to her Premature Baby Affect Feeding in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?  Clinical Pediatrics ,  45 (1), 65–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/000992280604500110  Bonding an Attachment: Newborns. (2019).  Raisingchildren.net.au . Retrieved from https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/connecting-communicating/bonding/bonding-newborns  Moburg, K.U., Prime, D.K. (2013). Oxytocin effects in mothers and infants during breastfeeding.  Infant  9,(6). Retrieved from http://www.infantjournal.co.uk/pdf/inf_054_ers.pdf  Parker, D.G. (2000).  Yoga Baby: Exercises to Help You Bond with Your Baby Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually.  New York, Broadway Books.   Passell, L. (2019). 12 Ways to Bond with Your Baby.  Parenting Magazine.  Retrieved from https://www.parenting.com/article/12-ways-to-bond-with-your-baby  Reece, T. (2018). 4 Exercises to Help Baby Get Stronger.  Parents . Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/baby/development/physical/your-babys-hand-control/  Shinn. M.M. (2018). Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent? 6 Tips for Moms and Dads to Boost Their EQ.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/am-i-an-emotionally-intelligent-parent-6-tips-for-moms-dads-to-boost-their-eq   Shinn, M.M. (2019). Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kids in Active Play.  Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/get-moving-10-reasons-to-engage-your-kids-in-active-play   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence on Track?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/is-my-babys-emotional-intelligence-on-track   Vaglio S. (2009). Chemical communication and mother-infant recognition.  Communicative & integrative biology ,  2 (3), 279–281.  Wusthoff, C.J. (2019) Movement Milestones: Birth to 3 Months.  Healthychildren.org . Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Movement-Birth-to-Three-Months.aspx    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). The Magical Bond of Mothers: 8 Ways to Connect with Your New Baby.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/top-8-ways-for-new-moms-to-bond-with-baby

Top 8 Ways for New Moms to Bond with Baby

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful moms out there! There’s no bond quite like that between a mother and her baby. Check out our Mother’s Day blog on 8 ways for moms to bond with their new babies.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      8 Things to Stop Doing for Your Kids Before They Turn 18    Disclaimer: Please note that the content of this blog is geared toward teens without disabilities or health conditions that may impair their ability to be independent.    “Adulting” ain’t easy, but no one ever learned how to manage adult responsibilities if their parents did everything for them. While all parents want their kids’ lives to be comfortable, there’s a difference between being supportive and being a “snowplow parent” or “lawnmower parent” who removes so many obstacles from their kid’s lives that they never develop basic life skills for independence.      It’s natural to want to help your children succeed, but how can parents provide support without hampering their kids’ growth?  Here are 8 things to stop doing before your kid turns 18:    1. Scheduling their appointments   An important milestone for independence is being able to recognize when appointments need to be made: oil changes, physicals, haircuts, taxes, dental screenings, etc. Talk to your teen about knowing when these types of appointments are necessary, but allow them to be the one who makes the calls, sets appointments, and adds them to their calendar.    2. Being their personal chef   While many people joke about the typical college student living off of   ramen and beer   ,  the truth is that nutrition plays an important role in your kid’s development through college and adulthood. As they enter this stage of life, they need to know how to grocery shop and prepare a variety of healthy meals for when you’re not there to cook.    3. Fighting their battles   There are going to be times where your kid is treated unfairly in school,   in relationships  , and in the   workplace   .  Remember that your role is to teach your child how to set and enforce boundaries. It’s tough, but they’ll never learn how to stand up for themselves if you fight their battles for them. Don’t call their employer to complain about their snarky supervisor or yell at their friend for flaking on their plans; teach your kid about   healthy ways to resolve conflicts     and let them work through them on their own.    4. Acting as an alarm clock   There are a variety of appropriate alarm clocks out there: smartphones, nightlight alarm combos, or even those old school radio clocks with the red flashing numbers. Whatever alarm your kid uses is fine, as long as it doesn’t have two eyes and a pulse. Your kid won’t be able to rely on you to be their snooze button once they’re out of the house, so allow them to adjust to other ways of being responsible and waking up on time.    5. Doing their assignments   Doing your kid’s assignments should be a big no-no at any age, but a  New York Times  poll showed that 11% of parents wrote college essays for their kids and 16% wrote all or part of their kid’s job application(s). Not only does this put a “false face” on your child’s work, but it sends the message to your kid that you don’t think they’re smart or skilled enough to succeed on their own. This can damage your child’s self-esteem and self-efficacy, making them question their capabilities.   6. Tracking their deadlines   Even in the era of convenient online calendars, many parents constantly remind their kids of important deadlines for projects, events, or applications. Unfortunately, when parents act as their child’s “concierge calendar,” their kid can’t develop scheduling and time management skills which are critical for their career and personal lives.    Afraid it’s too late to stop doing it all for your kids? Click here for a free 15 minute consultation to learn how our specialists can help.       


   
     
      
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      7. Managing their money   Most schools don’t spend a lot of time on financial education, so it’s critical that parents work to instill basic financial skills. Talk to your teen about credit cards, predatory loans, savings, investments, paying bills, and how to create and manage a budget. Help them set up a checking account and introduce them to online banking tools. Give them a small bill to practice paying, such as $10 a month to contribute to the family’s phone plan. Let them know that you’re always there to answer questions, but don’t offer to manage their money for them.   Wondering if your teen is ready for their first job?    Click here        8. Fretting failures   As you allow your kid more responsibility, accept that they’re going to screw up here and there. Resist the urge to clean up their messes and prevent them from experiencing consequences. Failure is an effective learning tool, and every missed deadline, bank overdraft, broken heart, or rejected application is an opportunity for your kid to adapt, build resiliency, and learn how to roll with the punches of adult life.    Need extra support?      Preparing your kids for independence       is tough, especially if your kid is nearing adulthood and you’ve been doing most things for them up until this point. Even if that’s the case, it’s not too late! Our specialists can teach you how to gradually increase your kid’s responsibilities and empower them to become a master of “adulting.”      
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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:   How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood (2019).  The New York Times.  Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/16/style/snowplow-parenting-scandal.html  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). How Do I Talk to My Teens 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   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   Shinn. M.M. (2018). Why Can’t I Say No?! The Woman’s Holiday Guide to People-Pleasing.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-womans-holiday-guide-to-stop-people-pleasing   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   Young Adulthood in America: Children are Grown but Parenting Doesn’t Stop (2019).  The New York Times . Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/13/upshot/parenting-new-norms-grown-children-extremes.html?module=inline   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). 8 Things to Stop Doing for Your Kids Before They Turn 18.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-things-to-stop-doing-for-your-kids-before-they-turn-18

8 Things to Stop Doing for Your Kids Before They Turn 18

In the wake of the college admissions scandal, everyone’s talking about “snowplow,” “lawnmower,” or “drone” parents who prevent their kids from learning from failure. To avoid too much “snowplowing” in your parenting style, check out our blog on 8 things to stop doing for your kids before they turn 10.