Emotional Support

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence On Track?”    Let’s face it, it’s tough trying to figure out how your baby is feeling. It’s not like your 2-month-old can calmly explain, “Mom, I really don’t appreciate when you wipe my tush with those freezing cold wipes. Please use the wipe warmer moving forward.” No, instead you’re met with flailing limbs and blood-curdling screams as you desperately try to figure out why your baby’s ticked off. Though you may feel like a deer in headlights deciphering your baby’s emotions, the way you support their emotional intelligence (EQ) during their first year sets the foundation for their lifelong emotional health.    So now that we’ve laid the pressure on thick, let’s dive into  how  you can support your baby’s EQ, even when you have no clue what they’re feeling.     1. Mark their emotional milestones   The first step in supporting your child’s emotional management is understanding how a baby’s EQ typically develops. The average milestone pattern is as follows:   0-3 Months  – They express whatever emotions they’re feeling in the moment without understanding them. All they know is they are either feeling pleasure or displeasure and when they are displeased, they make sure their parents know it!   Month 3  – Your baby will make eye contact, develop more facial expressions, and start to show pleasure by smiling. They may find ways to briefly soothe themselves such as closing their eyes or thumb sucking.    Month 4  – Their showing of emotions intensifies and they’ll begin to copy your facial expressions. They’ll also recognize when they’re having fun and may cry when playing stops.   Month 5  – They become increasingly assertive and begin to decipher between family members and strangers.    Month 6  – They tend to be a bit moodier; you may notice they are happy and clapping one minute and having a raging fit the next. Gotta keep you on your toes mom & dad!   Month 7  – At this point your baby realizes you aren’t attached to them - a revelation that gives birth to a new feeling: fear. This is often when separation anxiety kicks in. They also start to pick up on social referencing, or being able to understand how others feel by looking at their faces and gestures.    8-11 months  – Your baby is becoming more aware of others’ feelings and may feel guilt when they’ve done something wrong. Separation anxiety peaks during this time, but your baby will also begin to display independence as they learn to crawl and walk.    12 months – Toddlers feel an increased need to assert their independence which leads to, you guessed it, tantrums! Since their language development is increasing dramatically, this is a great time to teach your toddler to label their emotions.    2. Embrace their wiring    The development of your child’s EQ is based on 3 factors: their brain development, their life experiences, and their temperament. At around 6 months, your baby’s temperament will become increasingly apparent. If your child is more anxious, sensitive, or hot-tempered than you’d like them to be, it’s important that you learn to accept them for who they are and not try to force them to change. Instead, focus your efforts on teaching them ways to cope with strong emotions regardless of their temperament.    3. Have 1-sided convos   Just because your baby isn’t talking yet doesn’t mean they don’t gain a lot from listening to you. It’s never too early to start talking to your baby about feelings. Make it a habit to label your emotions during everyday life so that they become familiar with what each feeling is called.   Examples: (Baby cries when Grandma leaves). Mom: “I understand, you’re feeling sad that Grandma is leaving. I’m sad Grandma’s leaving too.”   4. Encourage Empathy   A key factor of emotional intelligence is not just understanding our own emotions, but being able to recognize the feelings of others. Model empathy by bringing up others’ feelings during daily interactions and play.   Example:  “Teddy bear is sitting all by himself. He must feel lonely. Let’s go play with him.”   Have older kids too?    Check out our blog on fostering EQ in children and teens     5. Troubleshoot tantrums   Pay attention to your child’s body language  before  they enter full meltdown mode – do they shake, turn red, or clench their fists? When you notice your child steering toward the tantrum-turnpike, intervene by giving a calming touch or offering a fun distraction. This will set the foundation for learning to calm themselves down before their feelings escalate and get out of hand.    6. Model good management   The best way to show your baby how to manage emotions is to demonstrate it yourself. Whether your feelings are positive or negative, make a point to show your child healthy ways to express them.   Examples:   “I am feeling frustrated right now so I am going to close my eyes and focus on my breathing for a minute.”   “I’m feeling so excited that Titi Marta is going to be here in five minutes! Let’s do a dance together until she gets here!”   Are you a high EQ parent?    Click here    to find out!    7. Identify EQ problems   While babies progress at different rates, it’s important to know when their behaviors may be pointing to developmental problems. If your baby exhibits any of the following symptoms, their emotional growth might not be on track for their age:      Frequent anxiety or anger    Sleep problems    Refusal to eat    Lethargy    Extreme fear of new situations     Lack of motivation to try new things       


   
     
      
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      8. See a specialist   Supporting a baby’s EQ is HARD! You can’t reason with them, they can’t tell you what’s wrong, and you’re often sleep-deprived and overwhelmed yourself. The good news is, you don’t need to do it alone. Our Specialists at Variations can support you in understanding your baby’s development, determining if they need additional support, and giving you tools to boost your child’s EQ through each stage of life.       
 
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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:   Alegre, A. (2011). Parenting Styles and Children’s Emotional Intelligence: What do We Know?  The Family Journal ,  19 (1), 56–62. https://doi.org/10.1177/1066480710387486  Baby Sparks (2017). The Evolution of Emotions (Part 1): Your Baby’s First Year. https://babysparks.com/2017/10/12/the-evolution-of-emotions-part-1-your-babys-first-year/  Brouzos, A., Misailidi, P., & Hadjimattheou, A. (2014). Associations Between Emotional Intelligence, Socio-Emotional Adjustment, and Academic Achievement in Childhood: The Influence of Age.  Canadian Journal of School Psychology ,  29 (2), 83–99. https://doi.org/10.1177/0829573514521976  Harvard University (2011). Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of Their Brains. Center on the Developing Child.  National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.  Retrieved online: http://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2004/04/Childrens-Emotional-Development-Is-Built-into-the-Architecture-of-Their-Brains.pdf  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. (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    How to Cite this Article:    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    

“Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence On Track?”

It’s tough to know how to support your baby’s emotions when they can’t explain them to you. The good news is, there are ways to teach your baby healthy emotional management well before they’re walking or talking.

Check out this week’s blog to learn how!

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Should My Child Have an Emotional Support Animal? 10 Things You Should Know    Throughout history, animals have been documented as companions, messengers, and heroes of mankind. Animals have an intangible quality that just makes people feel good and this special bond is especially strong in children. It’s commonly known that animals can support children with medical conditions such as blindness, epilepsy, or hearing impairment, but did you know many children qualify for a support animal to help them through emotional challenges?   If you think your child might benefit from the comfort of an emotional support animal, here are some things you should know:    1. There are different types of service animals   There are three different types of service animals designed to meet different needs:   Service animals (SA)  – SA’s are trained to perform specific tasks related to medical disabilities such as stabilizing a person that has trouble walking or detecting the onset of seizures in a person with epilepsy   Psychiatric service animals (PSA)  – PSA’s are trained to perform tasks related to psychiatric medical abilities such as reminding their handler to take their antidepressant medication   Emotional support animals (ESA’s)  – ESA’s are not trained to perform specific tasks but benefit people with their presence and companionship   2. ESA's aid a wide variety of disorders   Common disabilities that ESA’s provide comfort for include:    Post-traumatic stress disorder    Depression    Stress and Anxiety    Autism Spectrum Disorders    Psychotic disorders    Learning disorders    ADD    Motor skill disorders    Bipolar disorder    Gender identity disorders    Aerophobia (fear of flying)    Agoraphobia (fear of being outside of home)    If your child is struggling in any of these areas, they might benefit from the comfort of a cuddly friend.   3. They aren't allowed everywhere    Service animals and psychiatric service animals are universally allowed in public places, but that’s not always the case for emotional support animals. Some state and local governments do have laws that allow ESA’s in public, so it’s important to research the laws where you live before letting your child bring their pooch to the mall or movie theater. However, airlines are required to allow ESA’s to fly in the cabin for free, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for ESA’s in the workplace, and landlords can’t evict or charge a pet deposit for ESA’s.   4. They don't have to be dogs   When people think of service animals, dogs are usually first to come to mind. However, ESA’s don’t have to be of the canine variety. Because ESA’s aren’t required to be trained on any specific tasks, just about any domesticated animal can qualify. Hedgehogs, rabbits, mice, cats, ferrets, miniature pigs – you name it! The only requirement is that the animal must be manageable in public.   5. They build emotional intelligence   In addition to teaching love, loyalty, and affection, a good pet relationship can help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy. Being responsible for the care of an ESA creates a sense of purpose for the child and teaches them about respecting life and caring for others. Pets can also be a safe outlet for secrets and private thoughts because children often talk to their pets like they do their stuffed animals.    Click here for some more ways to increase emotional intelligence in your child      6. They reduce stress in children   Children with anxiety often feel like their lives are spiraling out of control. Everyday tasks such as heading to school or going to bed can cause a child with anxiety to feel panicked. An ESA can help provide love and comfort when a child is in stressful situations, improving the child’s confidence and increasing their sense of security.    Click here to learn Dr. Shinn’s STOP skills for managing stress and anxiety     7. They build children's social skills   ESA’s have been shown to significantly increase the social skills of children with emotional disorders. For kids struggling to build connections with others, having a pet can open the door for socialization. A child is more likely to engage when someone makes a comment about their animal or asks to pet it. Their ESA creates a safe, common place for them to talk about something that excites them.   8. They empower children with autism    Children with autism who own pets are more likely to have better social skills than those who don’t. Research has shown that children with autism who have ESAs are more likely to introduce themselves, ask for information, or respond to questions – all skills which are often difficult for them. In addition, ESAs have been shown to increase assertiveness, responsibility, cooperation, self-control, and social engagement in children with autism.   9. They reduce effects of trauma    When a child experiences trauma, whether it be related to abuse, witnessing violence, or grieving the loss of a loved one, they tend to replay parts of the incident(s) in their mind. They often dwell on what led up to the incident and think if they pay close attention they can avoid future traumas, causing undue fear and anxiety. Research has suggested an 82% reduction in symptoms of trauma after just one week of having an ESA. ESA’s help with crisis de-escalation and make children feel safe and comforted while overcoming their traumatic experience.   10. You'll require qualifications    Since your ESA does not require any special skills, they do not need to be certified as a support animal. What determines their status as an ESA is whether or not your child has the necessary documentation to prove that they’ve been prescribed an ESA. Your child must be screened by a   mental health specialist   and certified as emotionally disabled to legally qualify for an ESA. After being evaluated, your child’s   mental health specialist   must provide you with a formal letter stating that your child:    Has a medical condition    That your child is currently under their care for their condition    Prescribes an emotional support animal as a necessary support for your child    They also may include specific details related to housing and air travel that are compliant with the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.   Our team of Specialists at Variations Psychology can evaluate your child for emotional disabilities and provide the necessary documentation to qualify them for an emotional support animal.       
 
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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:   “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA”  U.S. Department of Justice  Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section  https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html  “Is That A Pet or Therapeutic Aid?”  American Psychological Association  http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/09/pet-aid.aspx  “Pets and Children”  American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry  https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Pets-And-Children-075.aspx  “Therapy and Service Animals for Children with Special Needs”  Very Well Family  https://www.verywellfamily.com/service-animals-for-children-with-special-needs-4140722  “Animal Assisted Therapy for Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders”  Western Journal of Nursing Research  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/019394502320555403  PTSD: National Center for PTSD  PTSD in Children And Teens  US Department of Veterans Affairs  https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/family/ptsd-children-adolescents.asp   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Should My Child Have an Emotional Support Animal? 10 Things You Should Know.    Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/should-my-child-have-an-emotional-support-animal-10-things-you-should-know

Should My Child Have an Emotional Support Animal? 10 Things You Should Know

Throughout history, animals have been documented as companions, messengers, and heroes of mankind. Animals have an intangible quality that just makes people feel good and this special bond is especially strong in children. It’s commonly known that animals can support children with medical conditions such as blindness, epilepsy, or hearing impairment, but did you know many children qualify for a support animal to help them through emotional challenges?

If you think your child might benefit from the comfort of an emotional support animal, here are some things you should know: