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      “Could My Dad have Undiagnosed Autism?”    Maybe there’s always been something a little off with your dad that you haven’t been able to put your finger on. Perhaps he has trouble making friends or has some unusual routines that you’ve never quite understood. Until recent decades, people thought autism only looked like the severe cases seen in movies like “Rain Man.” Today, we know that Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can display a variety of mild to severe symptoms. This growing knowledge of ASD has many people wondering if their dad’s unique traits could be signs of undiagnosed autism.    But how can you know if your dad is on the spectrum? And if he’s gone his whole life undiagnosed, should you encourage him to find out?   If you think your dad might have undiagnosed autism, here are some things you should know:    1. There’s a  lost generation   Autism wasn’t widely recognized until the 1980’s, so countless kids with autism were misdiagnosed or completely overlooked in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and 70’s. In recent years, many adults have only realized they have ASD when one of their children has been diagnosed. The tragedy of this lost generation is that these individuals did not receive the support growing up that we now know drastically improves the quality of life for children and adults with autism.      2. There’s no “typical” autism   There’s a saying that if you know one person with autism, then you know one person with autism. No two people have identical symptoms, and if your dad has autism he will likely exhibit some symptoms and not others. Common symptoms include:      Trouble making friends or being “socially awkward”    Difficulty expressing emotion     Making involuntary sounds like clearing throat or humming    Sticking to strict routines and getting upset when they are disrupted    Having repetitive rituals (sometimes autism is misdiagnosed as OCD)    Underdeveloped motor skills (e.g. - poor penmanship or clumsiness)    Fixating on particular interests such as a sports team or astronomy    Having amazing memories    Making honest observations (even if they are inappropriate!)    Being highly intelligent     Being unable to understand body language    Avoiding eye contact     Disliking loud noise or busy environments    Preferring not to be physically touched    Speaking loudly without realizing it    Invading others’ personal space without meaning to    Preferring the company of kids or animals to people their own age      3. Your dad is not defective   People with autism are not broken; they just don’t respond to visual and verbal cues the same way mainstream society does. Having autism in a neurotypical world is sort of like being dropped off in a foreign country with radically different customs than you’re used to; yes, you can get by, but you’ll have trouble fitting in until you learn how to interact in ways the locals understand. In turn, the more society learns about ASD, the more schools, employers, and families can support the success and well-being of people with autism.      4. The spectrum has its perks   Many people with ASD reject the idea that autism needs to be “cured” but rather that society should embrace the unique gifts that individuals with autism bring to the table. People with ASD tend to be honest, loyal, nonjudgmental, passionate, intelligent, nonmaterialistic, and have a great sense of humor. They also tend to be better at living in the present than their ever-distracted neurotypical neighbors. Many also have outstanding talents that go beyond the average person’s capabilities.      5. Accommodations are everything   People with undiagnosed autism spend their entire lives trying to decode how to speak and act in socially acceptable ways. But when a diagnosis is made, adjustments can be made to make work, religious, and family life much more supportive of how individuals with autism think and interact. With accommodations such as mentors, calm workspaces, clear instructions, extended deadlines, additional breaks, and predictable schedules, people with autism can find success and fulfillment in all aspects of life.    Click here to check out our blog on securing accommodations for post graduate career exams     6. A diagnosis can be healing   Today, one in 59 children are diagnosed with autism. It’s impossible to gauge how many kids from previous generations had autism but remained under the radar. As an adult, a diagnosis can help your dad gain clarity on why certain things in life have been difficult for him. Understanding ASD can boost his self-confidence and empower him to embrace his unique gifts and traits. What’s more, there are communities of adults with ASD who he can connect with to build relationships and gain the support he never had growing up.       7. Breaking the news brings risks   So you’ve read the blog and are convinced your dad has autism: now the million dollar question becomes whether or not you should tell him. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. While a diagnosis could be liberating, he may not be receptive to hearing your hunch. He’s spent his entire life learning how to cope with his differences, and finding out that he’s had a lifelong diagnosis may feel painful and confusing. A mental health specialist can help you determine whether the pros of understanding his symptoms and potentially seeking support could outweigh the risk of hurting his feelings or creating tension in your relationship.      


   
     
      
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      8. You deserve support   As you consider your dad’s emotional needs, make sure you don’t neglect your own. You may also be carrying pain and confusion from growing up with a parent on the spectrum. Perhaps you’ve always felt emotionally disconnected from your dad or maybe you’ve felt a parent-child role reversal as you’ve tried to help him cope with his symptoms. A mental health specialist who understands the impact of having a parent on the autism spectrum can help you work through these challenges.   Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting men and teenage boys through life’s transitions. If you are a man who is concerned that your dad may have undiagnosed autism, Dr. Sample can provide you with tools to support both yourself and your father.         
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
       Dr. Daniella A. Davis, Psy.D.,  is an expert in dealing with the unique challenges that women face throughout each stage of life. If you are a woman concerned that your father or husband may have undiagnosed autism, Dr. Davis can support you in determining the next steps to support your loved one.       
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Davis. 
       Cynthia R. Johnson, LMFT,  is a specialist in Parenting and Child Therapy at Variations Psychology. If you are concerned with how a family member’s undiagnosed autism is impacting your family, Cynthia can help.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Cynthia R. johnson 
       Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in child and educational psychology. Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing and recommend support for children or adults with symptoms of undiagnosed autism.        
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your 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:   Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Data & Statistics. Retrieved online: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html  Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Signs & Symptoms. Retrieved online: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/signs.html  Lai MC, Baron-Cohen S (2015). Identifying the lost generation of adults with autism spectrum conditions. Lancet Psychiatry.  2(11):1013-27. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00277-1.    Shinn. M.M.   (2018). Graduate Student’s Guide to Test Accommodations: The LSAT, MCAT, GRE, NCLEX, CBEST, GMAT, Cosmetology Exam, Contractors Exam, & Bar Exam.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/graduate-students-guide-to-test-accommodations  Jordan, M. (2018). Workplace Accommodations: Tips and Resources.  Autism.com  Retrieved online: https://www.autism.com/adults_accommodations2  Ranaghan, S. (2018). My story being diagnosed as an adult on the autism spectrum.  Autism Speaks . Retrieved from: https://www.autismspeaks.org/life-spectrum/my-story-being-diagnosed-autism-adult    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Could My Dad Have Undiagnosed Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/could-my-dad-have-undiagnosed-autism

“Could My Dad have Undiagnosed Autism?”

Today, one in 59 kids is diagnosed with autism. 50 years ago, autism was largely misunderstood. It’s impossible to gauge how many kids from previous generations had autism but remained under the radar. If you think your dad might be one of the lost generation, check out this week’s blog for 8 things you should know.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “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.     Dr. Amy E. Weir, Psy.D.,  is an expert in infant and toddler development. Dr. Weir specializes in providing diagnostic testing, treatment support, and behavior management strategies to support the unique needs of babies and young children.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Weir 
        Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in child and educational psychology. Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing and recommend support for your baby’s healthy emotional development.        
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your 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

“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!

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid is So Defiant! Is it My Fault?”     So your kid isn’t a perfect angel – they talk back, resent you, and push your buttons like you’re a high-rise elevator. You say yes, they say no – it’s like they feed on making you angry. As frustrating as it feels, all parents deal with their kids being defiant to some degree (hint: YouTube “epic tantrums” if you need a reminder that you aren’t alone!).   A certain level of defiance is expected as a child matures. However, some kids struggle with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) – a condition that causes them to develop a pattern of disobedient behaviors toward authority figures. Without support, ODD can harm a kid’s relationships, academic performance, and emotional health.   So how do parents know if their kid’s defiance is a harmless phase or a serious problem? Here are 11 questions to consider:    1. Why does my kid act this way?   Your kid’s defiant behaviors may be caused by their genetic makeup, environmental factors, or both. A child’s temperament has a lot to do with how their brain is wired, something you’ve probably witnessed if you have multiple kids with very different personalities. Kids can also develop defiant behaviors as a way to cope with trauma, abuse, or other negative life experiences. While genetics and bad experiences play a role, parenting does as well. Many loving parents unintentionally encourage defiance by disciplining in ways that are too permissive, too harsh, or inconsistent.      2. Is it my fault?   It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact influence of genetics, negative psychological experiences, and parenting on your child’s behavior, but nothing good will come from beating yourself up. Most parents struggle with responding to their child’s defiance and it’s never too late to discover new tools for strengthening your family. Take a minute to release any guilt that you’ve been carrying and know that you are a great parent for seeking new ways to connect with your kid.       3. Is my kid just a spoiled punk?   ODD is a bit of a controversial diagnosis. Some people believe that defiant kids are just being disrespectful little punks and need nothing more than a “good old-fashioned spanking.” Regardless of your perspective, understanding ODD’s symptoms can help you determine whether your kid’s behavior goes beyond what’s considered normal. If your child exhibits four or more of the following symptoms for 6+ months, they may fit the criteria for an ODD diagnosis:      Loses their temper    Argues with adults    Actively refuses to comply with rules or requests     Deliberately annoys people 4+ times a week    Blames others for their mistakes or misbehavior    Is touchy or easily annoyed by others 2+ times a week    Is angry and resentful 4+ times a week    Their behavior negatively impacts their social or academic functioning     An official diagnosis can only be made by a mental health specialist.       


   
     
      
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      4. Are my rules consistent?   Kids with defiance issues have a strong need to feel control over their environment.  Help them understand your expectations by setting clear rules and explaining the consequences of breaking them ahead of time. Keep your rules listed in a visible area of the house and be consistent in following through with consequences when rules are broken.     5. Do I rehash mistakes?   Your child is going to slip up along the way, but don’t define them by their worst moments. After enforcing the consequences that you’ve set, move on and don’t rehash old arguments or bring up past outbursts. Show your child that each day is a new chance to make better choices, and that you believe in their ability to do so.      6. Am I emotionally intelligent?   One of the best ways for you to support your child is to show them what   healthy emotional management        looks like. Parents can model emotional intelligence (EQ) by talking openly about their feelings, expressing empathy for their child’s emotions, and stepping away to focus on their breathing when they are feeling angry or overwhelmed.     Click here to for our top 5 tips on fostering EQ in your child     7. Can I “Keep calm and parent on”?   Try to use a calm and neutral tone when dealing with your child's behavior. That can be difficult when your kid is about to throw a tuna can across aisle 4 because he didn’t get his way, but calmly enforcing consequences will yield better results than losing your cool. Remember, a child with ODD often hopes to engage their parents in a battle of wills, so blowing up will only fuel their fire. Explain your position in as few words as possible and don’t continue to discuss it.    8. When do I give them attention?   Parents often give more attention to negative behaviors, so make an effort to point out when your child acts appropriately. Celebrate behavioral wins like your child staying in their seat at a restaurant or completing their homework calmly. Let your kid know that you appreciate their extra effort and incentivize them for good behavior with praise, small prizes, or fun family activities.    Click here for our dad’s guide on increasing positive behaviors in your child through play     9. Can I commit to staying structured?   It’s easier for children to regulate their emotions when they are rested, physically active, and well-nourished. Be intentional about scheduling at least an hour a day for your kid to engage in physical activity. Offer healthy meals and ensure adequate sleep by sticking to a nightly bedtime that allows them to get the recommended amount of sleep for their age.      Click here to view the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for adequate sleep    .     10. Can parenting programs help?   There are several programs that empower parents with tools to improve their child’s behaviors.    Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT )   and    PC-CARE    have shown success in reducing disruptive behaviors in kids with ODD. Your child’s school may also offer programs for students that focus on peer groups or antisocial behavior. If your school has a mental health professional, ask them if there are programs available that could benefit your child.     Check out our blog for teachers on increasing positive behaviors in the classroom      11. Should I seek support?   If your child has defiance issues, there is no reason for you to struggle alone. There are several tools a mental health specialist can offer to help you support your child in increasing positive behaviors and overcoming symptoms of ODD.      


   
     
      
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      Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in child and educational psychology. If you are concerned with your child’s defiant behaviors, Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing and educational consulting to support your child’s healthy emotional and behavioral development.       
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Cynthia R. Johnson, LMFT,  is a specialist in Parenting and Child Therapy at Variations Psychology. If your child’s defiant behavior is putting a strain on your family, Cynthia can empower you and your child with effective tips for managing emotions and strengthening your relationships.       
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Cynthia. 
       Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting men and teenage boys through life’s transitions. If you have a teenage son who struggles with symptoms of ODD, Dr. Sample can provide a comfortable place for him to overcome obstacles and develop healthy behavioral habits.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
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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 Child & Adolescent Psychology. (2009). ODD: A Guide for Families by the   American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Retrieved from https://www.aacap.org/App_Themes/AACAP/docs/resource_centers/odd/odd_resource_center_odd_guide.pdf  Hamilton SS, et al. Am Fam Physician. (2008). Oppositional Defiant Disorder  [Review Article]. Retrieved from   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18841736/?i=3&from=/20431460/related  Mayo Clinic (2018). Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oppositional-defiant-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20375831  McNeil, C.B. (2008). Parent-Child Interaction Therapy   Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pubs/videos/4310814.aspx?tab=2

“My Kid is So Defiant! Is it My Fault?”

Is your kid disobedient, resentful, and seems to blame you for everything? Do you wonder if your kid’s defiant behavior is just a phase or if you should be concerned that there’s a bigger problem? If so, this blog’s for you!

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      8 Ways to Help Your Kid Be Stronger Than Stage Fright   It’s holiday recital season, and while parents are excited to see their kids shine on stage, many children and teens dread being the center of attention. Stage fright, AKA performance anxiety, refers to feelings of nervousness from performing in front of an audience. Stage fright is one of the most common fears in the U.S. and it’s understandable why; the thought of speaking, singing, or dancing in front of grinning strangers and flashing cameras can be a little intimidating for anyone. But if children don’t find healthy ways to cope with performance anxiety, it can hold them back from pursuing their passions and reaching their potential later in life.    So what can parents do to help their kids cope with stage fright?    1. Rehearse routinely   It can be hard for parents to know how much to push rehearsals before a performance, as they don’t want their kids to feel burnt out. Still, ample rehearsing helps a child memorize their performance, boosting their confidence and reducing anxiety. Make rehearsing part of your daily schedule as soon as your child receives their lines or routine, even if only for 10 or 15 minutes a day.     2. Dial up that diaphragm   Every pro performer knows the importance of diaphragmatic breathing; in addition to helping a person project their voice, it also works to calm their nerves. Teach your child the difference between shallow and deep breathing. Have them practice slow “belly breaths” and remind them to take a few deep inhales and exhales before stepping out on stage.      3. Focus on the message   Stage fright can prevent a performer from showing their true passion and talent. Remind your kid that the audience is there to experience the performance’s message, and not to judge them as an individual. Ask your child what their performance goals are - what ideas or emotions would they like the audience to experience from their performance? Remind them to reflect on those goals when they are feeling self-conscious.      4. Soothe with self-talk   Encourage your child to practice positive self-talk about their performance. Tell them to repeat affirming statements to themselves such as, “I’m going to do great,” “I’m an amazing performer,” or, “this is going to be so much fun.”      5. Accept their nerves   Many people try to force away stage fright or tell their kids to just get over it, but repressing fear is ineffective and often makes it worse. A healthier approach is to teach your child to understand and accept their nerves. Talk to your child about symptoms of nervousness such as blushing, rapid heartbeat, and sweat. Remind them that they can do a great job even if they are feeling afraid. Assure your child or teen that nervousness is a normal part of performing that even famous performers experience.     Click here for more tips on coping with anxiety      6. Encourage excitement   Many parents think that kids should only focus on relaxation before performing, worrying that excitement will add to the high-strung feelings of stage fright. However, research suggests that excitement actually helps to reduce anxiety. By embracing their nervousness and channeling it toward excitement, your child will get amped up to perform with more passion and positivity.     Click here for more tips on igniting your child’s passion      7. Find their “A-game activator”   Encourage your child to come up with a special phrase or song that unleashes their A-game before they set out on stage. It may be saying a word to themselves like, “epic” or “outrageous” or listening to an empowering song like, “Roar,” or “Eye of the Tiger.” Have them imagine that every time they say their word or sing their song, their inner star is unleashed and their sassiest, boldest performer emerges ready to wow their audience.        8. See a specialists   Stage fright is a normal experience for children, teens, and even adults, but if a person can’t find healthy ways to cope with their fears, it can hold them back in several areas of life. If you are concerned that your child’s performance anxiety is holding them back from pursuing their passions or reaching their potential, our Specialists at Variations can help.      


   
     
      
        Click here to schedule your child’s free 15-minute consultation with one of our Specialists
      
     
   


 
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      Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in child and educational psychology. If you are concerned that performance anxiety is holding your child back, Dr. Shinn can evaluate your child for mental or emotional health challenges and provide tools to help your child overcome anxiety.       
	  Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Cynthia R. Johnson, LMFT,  is a specialist in Parenting and Child Therapy at Variations Psychology. She has years of experience in strengthening families and empowering parents, teens, and children to overcome challenges and reach their goals.       
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Cynthia R johnson 
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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:   Brooks, Alison Wood. “Getting Excited Helps with Performance Anxiety More Than Trying to Calm Down, Study Finds.” American Psychological Association , Journal of Experimental Psychology, 23 Dec. 2013, www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/12/performance-anxiety.aspx.  Dingfelder, Sadie F. “Putting the 'Play' Back into Performing.” American   Psychological Association, Monitor on Psychology , Dec. 2005, www.apa.org/monitor/dec05/play.aspx. Psychologist Jon Skidmore helps young musicians overcome anxiety and enjoy themselves on stage.  “How to Keep Fear of Public Speaking at Bay.” American Psychological   Association, Monitor on Psychology , Feb. 2017, www.apa.org/monitor/2017/02/tips-sidebar.aspx.   

8 Ways to Help Your Kid Be Stronger Than Stage Fright

It’s holiday recital season, but is your child or teen dreading being the center of attention? Check out this week’s blog to learn 8 tips on helping your kid be stronger than stage fright.  

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      From Spoiled to Grateful – 9 Tips for Raising Thankful Kids     Gratitude is often credited as being the secret to a happy life, but it isn’t something kids are born with. Every parent knows the feeling of spending tons of time and money to give their kids awesome gifts or experiences, only to be met with, “this wasn’t the color I wanted,” or “we never do anything fun!” All parents want grateful kids, but teaching your kids to be grateful takes a lot more than just training them to say, “thanks” at every turn.      So what can parents do to instill true appreciation in their children?      1. Define how thankful feels   Discuss the feelings behind the words, “thank you,” both from the giving and receiving ends. Ask your child how it feels when their teachers, friends, or parents thank them for doing something nice. Then ask how they feel when they show appreciation to someone. Understanding the positive feelings that result from gratitude will make them more likely to express it.     2. Model gratitude   Make it a point to thank those who serve – bus drivers, waiters, military, mail carriers. Make sure to also express gratitude to your children – for doing the dishes without asking, for getting ready for school on time, and for simply being themselves and bringing joy to your life. When you receive gifts, help your children view them as a meaningful gesture and not just a way to score new stuff.    Example:   “Grandma doesn’t make a lot of money now that she’s retired. It really means a lot that she sacrifices to send us these thoughtful gifts.”   3. Don’t force it   The waitress goes out of her way to bring your child a free dessert just to be sweet. Your kid sits there stone-faced, not giving so much as a smile, much less a, “thank you.” Gently remind your child to say thanks, but if they don’t do it, don’t make a big deal of it and just thank the waitress yourself. A battle of wills can be counter-productive to your child adopting a thankful attitude. Over time, your example and gentle reminders will stick.      4. Make gratitude interesting   Tying gratitude into your child’s interests can be a great way to reinforce appreciation. When playing with your child, role play scenarios where toys or puppets express gratitude. If your teen is interested in mowing lawns or washing cars for extra cash, ask them to consider donating part of their earnings to a charity they care about.     Click here to learn more about the benefits of allowing teens to work     5. Teach fortitude   Gratitude is dependent on two other virtues – fortitude (coping with challenges) and positivity (seeing the bright side). Most kids are born thinking life should be easy, care free, and devoid of heartache. They’ll have a hard time being thankful until they accept that life can be difficult. The way that you process your challenging experiences offers a foundation for your kids to learn how to process their own. Talk to them about difficult times in your life that resulted in wisdom, growth, and strength.   Example:   “My girlfriend dumped me in high school. It felt unbearable at the time, but I’m grateful that my life worked out the way it did because then I met your mom and we had you.”   6. Create a culture of gratitude    Make gratitude part of your family culture by incorporating it into daily life. When you’re at dinner, talk about the work of others that went into your meal. The farmers, the harvesters, the truck drivers, the grocery staff, and of course, the cook! Volunteer at soup kitchens or participate in toy drives as a family. Grab some butcher paper and make it a weekly tradition for each family member to list 5 things they’re thankful for. Keep the list displayed in a visible area for frequent reminders of your blessings.      7. Be careful not to spoil   Resist the urge to cater to your child’s every desire; you may think you’re doing them a favor, but too much indulgence can make your child feel that their worth is defined by their possessions rather than their character. This can be damaging to their self-esteem and identity development. Sure, you can buy them treats here and there, but allow them to earn expensive items and the things they really want. This will help them appreciate the value of a dollar and build a strong work ethic.      Click here to read more about fostering independence in your child or teen     8. Be patient   It’s not always easy for kids or teens to recognize the feelings and sacrifices of others; instilling gratitude is a lifelong parenting task and will not happen overnight. Be patient and know that your diligence in modeling gratitude and appreciation will influence their attitudes over time.      9. See a specialist   Gratitude is important to your child’s emotional well-being, but raising grateful kids can be challenging in a world of billboards and commercials telling them they need more and more to be happy. If you’re concerned that your child or teen is having trouble developing a grateful attitude, a Specialist at Variations can help.    Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D. , is an expert in child and educational psychology. Dr. Shinn can evaluate your child to see if they have a mental health diagnosis and work with you in creating a plan to ensure they receive the support to develop a healthy perspective.        
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn. 
       Cynthia Johnson, LMFT,  is a specialist in Parenting and Child Therapy at Variations Psychology. Cynthia can provide counseling and effective tools to help your child or teen gain a positive perspective and build gratitude.       
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Cynthia 
       Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D . specializes in supporting men and teenage boys through life’s transitions. If your teenage son struggles to feel or express gratitude, Dr. Sample can help him learn new ways of thinking and behaving that will empower a thankful attitude.       
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
       Dr. Daniella A. Davis, Psy.D. , is an expert in dealing with the unique challenges that women face throughout each stage of life.  If you need support in managing the stress of motherhood and improving your family’s gratitude, Dr. Davis can guide you.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Davis 
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your 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).  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 :  Havanger, Toma S. (2013). 10 Ways to Raise a Grateful Kid. PBS.org. Retrieved online: http://www.pbs.org/parents/special/article-ten-ways-raise-grateful-kid.html  Lickona, Thomas. (2004). Character Matters: How to Help Our Children Develop Good Judgement, Integrity, and Other Essential Values. pp 10-12.   Lickona, Thomas. (2018). How to Raise Grateful Kids in an Era of Thankless People. TIME Magazine. Retrieved online: http://time.com/5233398/raise-grateful-children/  Siegel, D.J. (2014). Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You. pp 1-10.

Every parent knows what it’s like to buy their kids awesome gifts, only to be met with, “that wasn’t the color I wanted!” or, “why didn’t you buy the accessories?!” Gratitude isn’t something kids are born with, but it’s critical to their life-long happiness. So how can parents teach their kids to be thankful for what they have? Check out this week’s blog to find out!

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent?” 6 Tips for Moms & Dads to Boost their EQ   Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to one’s ability to understand, process, and manage their emotions in healthy ways. We all want children who are emotionally intelligent – kids that don’t bite your arm when they can’t get their way, teens that don’t sulk in their room instead of talking to you, or adult children that don’t quit their jobs every time a co-worker offends them. But sometimes as parents we have to take a step back and evaluate our own EQ – are we quick to yell, hit, or say things we don’t mean when we feel upset? Are there emotions that we’re ashamed to talk to our kids about?    The truth is, the best way that you can support your child’s emotional intelligence is by building up your own. So how can parents strengthen their EQ?     1. Label your feelings   The first part of emotional intelligence is being able to acknowledge and accept your emotions. You’ll be a lot more effective in working through tough feelings if you understand what you’re dealing with. Take a few moments each day to think about what feelings you are experiencing, whether they are good, bad, or somewhere in between.      2. Don’t judge yourself   Parents often judge themselves for feeling stressed, depressed, or angry. However, difficult feelings can be an opportunity to teach emotional management. When you are feeling at your wit’s end, don’t beat yourself up over it. The way you handle troubling emotions can teach your children how to manage difficult feelings in healthy ways. Acknowledging your feelings without judgement shows your children that there are no emotions that are too shameful to talk about.   Example : “I’m feeling really anxious about work today. I am going to go for a jog to help me release some stress.”   3. Consider your kid’s perspective   You probably don’t remember the first time you got a brain freeze from a popsicle, but can you imagine the horror you must have felt not knowing what that paralyzing shock was? Now that you’re an adult, you know that brain freezes, though unpleasant, are not the end of the world. Big emotions, such as anger, jealousy, pain, and grief can feel like a “first brain freeze,” to children. So the next time you’re about to “cancel Christmas if they don’t stop screaming,” remember that things that don’t feel big to you often feel like a very big deal to them.      4. Express empathy   Whether your child is expressing joy, frustration, or anything in between, show them that you understand. An emotionally intelligent parent focuses more on discussing their child’s feelings rather than criticizing their behaviors.    Example of focusing on child’s behavior:   “Stop whining about how stressed you are – you were the one who wanted to sign up for both dance and soccer.”    Example of focusing on child’s feelings (emotionally intelligent):  “I get it. It can feel overwhelming to have a big game and recital in the same week. That would make me feel stressed too. Let’s think of some ways we can help you get through this.”    5. Prioritize quality time    Parents today are pulled a million directions with tons of distractions. Driving to different activities, working, and managing a household can really put a damper on family time. Make sure to set time aside each day to talk to your children about how they are feeling, and make sure to express your feelings as well. No tv, no phones, just time to check in to show them that you care and are there to talk to.      6. Easy on the impulse    As parents, we have no patience for other people cursing, scolding, or putting their hands on our children. Yet when our kids are driving us up a wall, we tend to let these rules slide for ourselves. Tighten the reigns on your impulses by walking away for a few minutes when you’re about to lose your cool. If you feel like you’re about to snap, close your eyes and focus on taking some slow, deep breaths before you respond. Practice mindfulness exercises such as meditation or yoga to reduce stress and keep your thinking in the present.      7. Cultivate compassion   There are lots of meaningful ways that you can foster compassion in your family. Volunteer together at a soup kitchen, share responsibility for taking care of a pet, and talk about how others might feel in difficult situations.     Example : “There’s a new woman at my work. I think she might feel a little nervous about starting a new job, so I’m going to invite her to lunch to make her feel welcome.”     For more tips on increasing your child’s EQ, check out our blog on raising emotionally intelligent children     8. See a Specialist   Parenting isn’t easy, and it can be tough to manage all of your family’s needs while taking care of your own emotional health. If stress or depression is making it difficult for you to strengthen your EQ, our specialists at Variations Psychology can help.    Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D ., is a Child and Educational Psychologist. Dr. Shinn can evaluate your family’s emotional health and provide tools to strengthen emotional management and communication between parents, teens, and children.        
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Marta M. Shinn  
       Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D . specializes in supporting men and teen boys through life’s transitions. Men often struggle with knowing how to express their emotions in healthy ways which can be difficult for themselves and their families. Dr. Sample provides a comfortable place for men to overcome obstacles and gain tools for leading successful and fulfilling lives.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample.  
       Dr. Daniella A. Davis, Psy.D ., is an expert in women's family issues. Whether it be parenting challenges, marriage problems, caregiver stress, life after divorce, depression, or anxiety, Dr. Davis supports women in growing their emotional intelligence and living empowered lives.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Davis.  
       Subscribe to our blog for a weekly article on topics that affect your 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).  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:   Eanes, R. (2017). Become an Emotionally Intelligent Parent.  Creative Child . Retrieved online: http://www.creativechild.com/articles/view/become-an-emotionally-intelligent-parent/1#page_title  Eldemire, A. (2016). 3 Do’s and Don’ts for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Kids.  The Gottman Relationship Blog.  The Gottman Institute. Retrieved online: https://www.gottman.com/blog/3-dos-donts-raising-emotionally-intelligent-kids/  Grose, Michael (2015). What it means to be an emotionally intelligent parent. Parentingideasclub.com.au

“Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent?”
6 Tips for Moms & Dads to Boost their EQ

Even the most patient parents lost it every now and again – parenting is tough and we’re only human. But there are ways parents can boost their own emotional management. Check out this week’s blog for 8 tips on being an emotionally intelligent parent.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid Still Wets the Bed” – What Should I Do?    Potty training can be an intense time for both kids and parents – once the diapers come off, kids feel the pressure to please mom and dad, and parents tread carefully hoping not to slip on any “puddles or piles” that didn’t make it to the toilet.   While most kids get the hang of potty training by age 4, many children and even teens still can’t control bedwetting while they sleep. The scientific term for this condition is nocturnal enuresis – the inability to control urine while sleeping (many kids also struggle with enuresis while awake, but we’ll save that topic for a later blog!) When a child struggles with bedwetting, parents often wonder if their child is experiencing a harmless phase or if there’s a serious problem they need to address.   So what should parents do if their child is struggling with bed wetting?     The Do’s:    1. Do realize that it’s common   Your child may feel shame or embarrassment thinking that other kids their age don’t have this problem. They might avoid camping trips or sleepovers for fear of their friends finding out or making fun of them. Encourage your child or teen by letting them know that one in five children struggle with this, so it’s a very common issue.      2. Do look at your family tree   There are many biological factors that contribute to enuresis, and sometimes these issues are hereditary. Did you or anyone else in the family wet the bed until you were 12? If so, sharing that information with your child can help them understand that it’s not their fault and that their body will eventually mature past this.     3. Do learn health factors   Learn the various health conditions that might impact your kid’s bladder control. Some common conditions include:      Underdeveloped nerves that don’t sense a full bladder    Having a small bladder    Hormone imbalances    Sleep apnea    Diabetes    If you are concerned that your child or teen may have any of these conditions, consult their pediatrician for support.      4. Do consider stressors   Anxiety can cause a child or teen to start bedwetting, even if they’ve been dry at night for years. Stress from major life changes such as gaining a new sibling or starting a new school can often be released in the form of bedwetting. If they’ve had a major life change shortly before bedwetting started, consult with a mental health specialist to evaluate if your child may need additional support.     Click here to learn about Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Specialist in Child Psychology      5. Do practice “dry charting”   Create a chart to track dry nights and consistently mark it each morning; when your kid sees their “dry nights” adding up, they will feel empowered to keep trying for more. Offer small rewards for each dry night such as a sticker or candy, then increase the rewards for several dry nights in a row, such as a small toy or gadget after 10 dry nights.     6. Do try technology   There are a variety of products on the market designed to help kids become more aware of when they need to use the bathroom. Check out different “bell and pad alarm systems” which have a pad that senses urine and triggers an alarm to go off each time your child or teen starts to go. Over time, they will become more aware of their body’s cues before the alarm goes off.      7. Do get them involved   Have your child take part in cleaning up after accidents. Sharing responsibility for changing and washing sheets can help your child feel as if they are actively tackling their problem. But, be cautious not to shame or berate them when asking them to clean up; be calm and neutral in your approach.      The Don’ts      1. Don’t place blame   There are a variety of factors that can cause enuresis, and none of them are your kid’s fault. And news flash, they aren’t your fault either! Nothing positive is gained by placing blame; instead of pointing the finger, focus your energy on finding effective solutions that works for your family.      2. Don’t punish the peepee!   Parents often think that punishing their children or teens for accidents will reduce how often they happen, but in reality this just increases their kid’s anxiety and makes them feel bad about themselves. Encouraging them and staying positive will incentivize them more than guilt or punishment. Remember that next time you feel tempted to tell your daughter that a fairy dies each time she wets the bed.      3. Don’t lose patience    It’s natural for parents to get frustrated after changing sheets for the umpteenth night in a row or still having to buy diapers for a 9-year-old. No matter how upset you feel, try to keep your cool when they have accidents. Replace, “Why can’t you stop wetting the bed?!” with, “That’s ok, you’ll try again tonight and maybe get another point on your dry chart tomorrow.”     4. Don’t be inconsistent    Make sure your child or teen has a consistent bedtime and reduces fluid intake toward the end of the day. The more you can make their sleep and bathroom schedule consistent, the more dry nights they will have. You can also set periodic alarms to awake them to use the bathroom throughout the night, but again, make sure they are in the same time intervals each night so your kid anticipates them. In time, this can help their body adjust to their routine and wait to empty their bladder until they awake for the bathroom.      5. Don’t do it alone   Enuresis is a complex health issue that can have a variety of causes. If your child is 7 or older and still having trouble controlling their bladder at night, a specialist in Child Psychology can help you uncover the issues that may be delaying their development.    Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D. , is an expert in child and educational psychology. Dr. Shinn can assess your child for mental health challenges such as anxiety or attention issues that could be contributing to their enuresis. Dr. Shinn can help your family uncover where your child’s challenges are coming from and learn ways to support them while reducing bedwetting.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Cynthia R. Johnson, LMFT , is a specialist in Parenting and Child Therapy at Variations Psychology. Cynthia can provide counseling, support, and effective tools to help your child or teen struggling with bedwetting.      
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Cynthia R. Johnson 
       Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D . specializes in supporting men and teenage boys through life’s transitions. If your teenage son is struggling with enuresis, Dr. Sample can provide a comfortable place for him to overcome obstacles that may be contributing to his challenges.       
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
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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:   Mayo Clinic (2018). Bed-Wetting. Retrieved online:  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bed-wetting/symptoms-causes/syc-20366685  Elsevier (2007). Bed wetting: nocturnal enuresis. Retrieved online: http://www.impcna.com/intranet/Nelson%20Pediatric/Kidney-Urinary%20Tract/BedWetting%5B1%5D.pdf  WebMD.com (2018) Talking to your child about bed wetting: the do’s and don’ts. Retrieved online: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/dos-and-donts-for-parents

“My Kid Still Wets the Bed” – What Should I Do?

Is your child 7 or older and still wets the bed? Do you wonder if this is just a harmless phase or if your child has a serious health problem? Check out this week’s blog to find out!