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      10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe from Bullies     It used to be that kids would only have to face bullies on the playground or school bus. With today’s technology, kids can be bullied 24/7, day and night, leading to an increase in depression,   suicide   ,  and other mental health issues. Parents want to protect their kids, but shielding them from bullies has become an increasingly difficult task. Fortunately, there are tips you can teach your kids to help them protect themselves.    So how can kids stay safe while standing up for themselves? Here are 10 tricks to share with your children:    1. Understand why      If you have a clear understanding of why people bully, it will be easier not to take their actions to heart. Remind yourself that people often bully because they feel inadequate about themselves and pick on others to try to feel a sense of power. A bully’s words and actions have everything to do with how they feel about themselves, and nothing to do with the person they are bullying.    2. Recognize it    Being able to label what’s happening is the first step in accepting that it’s not your fault and making a plan to stop it. Know that bullying happens in several forms: name calling, intimidation, pushing or hitting, gossiping and spreading rumors, isolating you, trying to manipulate you, etc. If you suspect you’re being bullied, it’s important to act quickly. Bullies tend to “test the water” to see how much you’ll put up with, and their actions will only get worse if no one stands up to them.    3. Protect yourself online   Modern day bullies often hide behind screens but can cause serious damage to reputations and self-esteem. Protect yourself online by only sharing passwords with your parents and no one else. Think about who sees you posts - strangers? friends? friends of friends? Ensure your privacy settings only expose your posts to people you trust. Always think through what you post and consider whether it’s something that could be used to shame or humiliate you. If someone posts something mean about you, screenshot it to show a trusted adult, report it, and block them.   4. Cultivate confidence   Kids who are victims of bullying sometimes have   difficulty in social situations   or may be bullied as a result of rumors spread about them. Overcome these challenges by walking tall, focusing on your strengths, attempting to make new friends, and practicing positive affirmations.    Examples:     “The rumors they are spreading are not true and my real friends know that.”  “I am strong and I can stand up for myself.”    Does your kid have challenges with self-esteem or making friends? Our Specialists can help. Click below to schedule your free 15-minute consultation.       


   
     
      
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      5. Control your reactions   What the bully wants is a reaction – crying, yelling, etc. Avoid giving them what they want by keeping calm and ignoring them. Bullies tend to target people who come off as timid because they don’t think they’ll stand up for themselves. However, acting out in aggression can also be a problem, as it may lead to violence. The best option is to assertively tell them to stop. Believe it or not, bullies don’t think they deserve your respect, so they admire when you show self-assurance. Practice being assertive by keeping your head high and using a calm, clear voice to tell them to stop.    Examples:     “Don’t talk to me like that.”  “You don’t need to do this to be cool.”     6. Laugh it off   A bully feels power when they think they are getting to you. Laughing off their actions shows that they cannot control you with bad behaviors. If possible, try to laugh off what the bully says; this will lighten the tension and take away the reaction they aim to get out of you.    Examples:      Bully:  “You dress like my grandma!”   Kid: “ I actually borrowed this dress from her. I love her style!”   Bully:  *Posts on Instagram photo of teen*: “Ew, you look like a whale!”   Teen:  “Thank you, I love whales! What a compliment! #Whalelife”    7. Plan around them   While it’s important to stand up for yourself when needed, it’s also wise to avoid situations where you know you’ll be vulnerable and exposed to bullies. Block them on social media, eat lunch on the other side of the quad, or walk a different way home from school.   8. Lean on others   Bullying usually happens when adults aren’t around, so try to stay near adults when you know you’ll be in the presence of a bully. Let them know what’s going on - adults need to know when bullying happens so they can help you put a stop to it. Bullies are also less likely to confront you when you’re in a group, so ask friends to tag along when you when you know you’ll be in a bully’s path.    9. Join the movement   A group of anti-bullying warriors is a lot stronger than one mean bully! You can be a leader in preventing bullying in your school by joining a school safety committee or talking to your principal about starting one. A committee can identify where bullying is happening and create plans to stop it. They can also provide resources for kids to use if they or someone they know is being bullied.    10. Get a Specialist’s support    Being bullied can have severe effects and should not be taken lightly. It may be time to seek help from a specialist if you are experiencing any of the following:     Feeling afraid, stressed, depressed, or anxious    Having thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself    Having trouble with school work    Having problems with mood, energy level, sleep and appetite     If you don’t feel your school is doing enough to stop bullying or if you’re a parent who is concerned that   your child may be the one doing the bullying   ,    our specialists can help.   SPECIALISTS:    Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting teenage boys through life’s transitions. If your teenage son has been the victim of bullying or if you’re concerned that he has bullied others, Dr. Sample can help.         
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
       Dr. Elsa Torres, Psy.D.,  is a specialist in Diagnostic Testing and Counseling. Dr. Torres can provide counseling and effective tools to help your kid build confidence, assertiveness, and coping skills to effectively deal with bullies.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Torres 
       Dr. Amy E. Weir, Psy.D.,  is a specialist in Neurodevelopment and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Many children who are bullied have difficulty with communication and social interactions. If your child has been a victim of bullying and you think they may have autism or other challenges, Dr. Weir can guide you in supporting your child’s safety, education, and emotional well-being.     


   
     
      
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      Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in Child and Educational psychology. If you’re concerned that your child’s school is not adequately addressing bullying, Dr. Shinn can recommend support to ensure their school takes appropriate measures to meet your child’s needs.      


   
     
      
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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:   Barth, F.D. (2017). 6 Smarter Ways to Deal With a Bully.  Psychology Today . Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201702/6-smarter-ways-deal-bully  Bullying. (n.d.). Retrieved from   https://www.apa.org/topics/bullying/index  Featured Topic: Bullying Research|Youth Violence|Violence Prevention|Injury   Center|CDC. (2018, July 16). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/bullyingresearch/index.html  Gavin, M. L. (Ed.). (2019, February). Dealing With Bullying (for Teens). Retrieved from   https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/bullies.html  School Bullying is Nothing New, But Psychologists Identify New Ways to Prevent It.   (2004, October 29). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/research/action/bullying  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). 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. (2019). Preventing Student Suicide With Just a Few Simple Questions.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/preventing-student-suicide-with-just-a-few-simple-questions   What Kids Can Do. (2017, September 28). Retrieved from   https://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/what-you-can-do/index.html    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). 10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe from Bullies.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from

10 Tricks for Talking Back and Keeping Safe from Bullies

“Child in critical condition after fight at school,” “Teen dies by suicide as result of cyberbullying” – it seems that week after week, new tragedies occur as a result of bullying. Check out this week’s blog for 10 tricks to teach your kids on talking back and keeping safe from bullies.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      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.”   Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in Child and Educational psychology. If you’re concerned your kid’s life skill development is not on track, Dr. Shinn can provide consulting and recommend support.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Dr. Daniella A. Davis, Psy.D.,  is an expert in dealing with the unique challenges that women face throughout life. If you find it’s a struggle to balance advocating for your child while also promoting their independence, Dr. Davis can help you learn effective teen parenting strategies.     
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Davis 
       Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting men and teen boys through life’s transitions. Are you worried your teen son isn’t adequately prepared for self-reliance? If so, Dr. Sample can provide you and your son with tools that foster his independence.       
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
       Dr. Elsa Torres, Psy.D.,  is a specialist in Diagnostic Testing and Counseling. If you’re concerned that something is holding your child’s development back, Dr. Torres can provide diagnostic testing and recommend support to empower your child to reach their potential.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Torres 
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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/test-blog/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.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      8 Tips to Calm Your Kid while Keeping Your Cool   Every parent has been there. Your kid is out of control, inconsolable, and you have no clue how to calm them. Whether your kid is 2 and mad that you cut their sandwich wrong, 12 and devastated they can’t go to a sleepover, or 17 and livid that you took their cell phone away, you feel helpless in getting them to see your perspective and  just calm down . Before you know it, you’re as upset as they are, and you find yourself in a screaming match of hurtful words and painful emotions.    So what can parents do to calm their kids and themselves? Try these 8 tips to teach everyone in your household how to calmly handle tough emotions:      1. Avoid getting physical     Resist the urge to put your hands on your kid in anger as they work through their outburst. Adding physical pain to emotional turmoil only fuels the fire. If you get too heated or if your kid hits you, walk away until you’re both able to talk without getting physical.     Feel like your kid is always defiant? Click here     2. Let “teaching moments” wait     When your kid is feeling emotionally overwhelmed, they’re not in a place to listen to your words of wisdom. Wait until after they’ve calmed down to discuss appropriate behaviors,   values  , rules, and consequences. Remind them that you love them and are here for them as they learn how new ways to deal with tough feelings.     Click here for more tips on being a high EQ parent     3. Take a visual vacay     Visualization is another great tool for releasing the mind from negative thoughts. One visualization tool that can work for all ages is called “Imagine a Rainbow.  Picture yourself walking down a beautiful path. As a storm clears. Envision a rainbow appearing and imagine yourself standing beneath it, letting. Its warm, bright light fill you with calmness. Reflect on the feelings that each color makes you think of.      Try this relaxing activity with your child. Download our free Rainbow Mandala Coloring Sheet       4. Tame your tension     When we get upset, our muscles tend to clench up. This tension does not need to be your enemy; in fact, tense-and-release exercises are a great way to calm your body down. Tell young kids to make their body rigid like a robot, then to relax their body like a floppy ragdoll. Clench your jaw, your hands, stomach, and curl your toes. Then, slowly release each muscle one at a time. Repeating these tense-and-release exercises will gradually calm your body and mind.     5. Ground yourself     We don’t mean to exile yourself to life without TV for a week; we mean to ground your focus down to your 5 senses in the present moment:        LOOK   - “I see a picture on the wall”      FEEL   – “I feel my hand resting on the chair”      LISTEN   – “I hear the A/C blowing”      SMELL   – “I smell the vanilla air freshener”       TASTE   – “I taste my orange from lunch”    Focusing on the present moment helps to relieve anxiety about the future or sorrow about the past.      6. Breathe through it     Gaining control of your breathing helps to harness negative emotions. A great way to get young kids to calm their breathing is to have them do the “flower, birthday cake” exercise. Tell them to pretend they’re smelling a beautiful flower, and then, pretend to blow out candles on a birthday cake. Older kids (and you!) can benefit from sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed, placing your hands on your belly as you inhale and exhale, and focusing on the cool air entering in and warm air releasing out.       Take a break with your child and focus your attention on belly breathing using our free Mandala Coloring Sheet       7. Calm creatively      Channeling emotions into creative projects can help to put the mind and body at ease. Kids and adults alike can use coloring, painting, or sculpting to divert distract from their minds away from overwhelming emotions and toward the colors, lines, shapes, and textures of what they’re creating. Keep creative art supplies on hand for a quick diversion when tensions start to rise.      8. Get a calming coach     There are many factors that contribute to kids having major emotional outbursts, and knowing how to respond can be tough as a parent. This can be especially hard if your child struggles with   learning differences or other disorders   that impact their emotional health. Our specialists can get to know your family’s unique challenges and give you tools to learn healthy ways to overcome them.    Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting men and teenage boys through life’s transitions. If you are a dad who struggles with   anger  , or if your teen son is prone to outbursts, Dr. Sample can help. Dr. Sample is now accepting Aetna Insurance.         
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
       Dr. Elsa Torres, Psy.D.,  is a specialist in  Diagnostic Testing and Counseling.  Dr. Torres is experienced at helping people of all ages discover the root causes of their challenges and find healthy and empowering ways to overcome them.     
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with  Dr. Torres 
       Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in Child and Educational psychology. If you are concerned about your child’s emotional health, Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing and recommend techniques to support their 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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               More about Variations Psychology   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.  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:     Cognitive and Social Skills to Expect From 18 to 36 Months. (2019) ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/development-36-months  Shinn, M.M. (2018). Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent? 6 Tips for Moms & 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). From Spoiled to Grateful – 9 Tips for Raising Thankful Kids.   Psychologically Speaking .  [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/from-spoiled-to-grateful-9-tips-for-raising-thankful-kids   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Operation Anger Man-agement! A Guy’s Guide to Understanding His Inner Hulk.  Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/operation-anger-man-agement   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Should I Get My Kid Tested?   Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/schools-out-should-i-get-my-kid-tested   Tantrum in the Grocery Store. (2019) ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/challenging-36-months  Timmer, S., Hawk, B., Lundquist, K., Forte, L., Aviv, R., Boys, D., & Urquiza, A. Coping & Relaxation Skills 1. (2016) PC-CARE: Course of Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript. Retrieved from https://pcit.ucdavis.edu/wpcontent/uploads/2018/11/47_Coping_LittleKids-Aubrey-edits-8.6.18.pdf  Timmer, S., Hawk, B., Lundquist, K., Forte, L., Aviv, R., Boys, D., & Urquiza, A. Coping & Relaxation Skills 2 (2016) PC-CARE: Course of Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript. Retrieved from https://pcit.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/48_Coping_BigKids_6-9yrs-Aubreyedits.pdf  Timmer, S., Hawk, B., Lundquist, K., Forte, L., Aviv, R., Boys, D., & Urquiza, A. Coping & Relaxation Skills 3 (2016) PC-CARE: Course of Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript. Retrieved from https://pcit.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Coping_Older-Kids_9-13yrs.pdf  Timmer, S., Hawk, B., Lundquist, K., Forte, L., Aviv, R., Boys, D., & Urquiza, A. Co- Regulation Techniques (2016) PC-CARE: Course of Treatment Manual. Unpublished Manuscript. Retrieved from https://pcit.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/47.1_Session2-CoRegulation-Techniques.pdf  What Makes Children Angry. (2019) ACT Raising Safe Kids Program. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/act/resources/fact-sheets/children-angry    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). 8 Tips to Calm Your Kid While Keeping Your Cool.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/8-tips-to-calm-your-kid-while-keeping-your-cool

8 Tips to Calm Your Kid while Keeping Your Cool

Every parent knows what it’s like to try to calm your kid down from a fit, only to end up enraged and screaming yourself. So how can parents calm their kids and keep their cool in the process? Check out this week’s blog to find out.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “How Do I Talk to My Teen about Drugs and Alcohol?”   Whether you steered clear of drugs when you were younger, experimented a bit, or fell into the grasp of addiction, it can be hard to know how to discuss substance abuse with your teen. Do you admit that you got wasted at prom, or will that make them think it’s ok? Do you tell them you never tried anything or will that make them think you’re out of touch? When your teen seems like they’d rather watch paint dry than talk to you, how can you even get through to them?    If you’re wondering how to talk to your teen about drugs and alcohol, here are 9 things you should know:    1. Permissive parents pay a price     Some parents take the approach of allowing their teens to drink or smoke under their supervision, assuming it’s safer and that their kid won’t have anything to hide. Unfortunately, this approach tends to reinforce the message that substance abuse is ok, and teens with permissive parents tend to drink more often and in larger amounts.     2. You gotta get your facts straight     Your kids are going to be exposed to many different opinions about e-cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol, prescription pills, and other narcotics. Before you talk to your teen, familiarize yourself with the facts of each drug so that you can give accurate info and address any objections your teen has. Check out these fact sheets for quick reads on the dangers of teens using   e-cigarettes   ,    alcohol   ,    prescription pills,    and    marijuana   .      3. The tone of the talk matters     When you talk to your teen about drugs or alcohol, you want to be honest about potential dangers, but avoid using threats or scare tactics that will make your teen feel like they can’t openly talk to you. Be the   “cool parent”       by making it a conversation. Start by asking your teen their beliefs about substance use and thank them for being honest with you. Calmly correct any misconceptions they may have and share your family values regarding substance use.     4. 21 is worth the wait     “I can join the military before 21 but I can’t buy a beer!?” That argument may make sense to your teen, but the 21-year-old drinking age was not chosen arbitrarily. Key areas of the brain are underdeveloped until their mid to late 20’s, making teen years an especially vulnerable time in which their brain is more susceptible to addiction.     5. It’s all about expectations     It’s often said that kids live up to what their parents expect of them, and if you expect your teen to make healthy choices, they’ll be more likely to do so. Be positive and express that you trust your teen to make good decisions, but also set clear rules and consequences to guide them. Teens whose parents set and enforce expectations regarding substances are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.      6. They need healthy ways to cope     It’s not enough to tell your teens that drugs are the wrong way to go; you also need to empower them with healthy coping strategies to deal with   stress  , temptation,   comparisons   ,  and   heartache    that can lead teens to resort to drugs. Tell your kid you understand how stressful and challenging teen years can be, and teach them healthy ways to cope such as working out, breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, fulfilling   work   ,    fun hobbies, and proper nutrition.      7. You can be the “bad guy”     Talk to your teen about ways to get out of situations where they feel pressured or tempted to drink or use drugs. Come up with a code phrase they can text for you to make an excuse to come pick them up right away. Role play different scenarios and let them know they can always use you as the bad guy to get out of the situation.     Example : “No thanks, my parents make me take random drug tests.”      8. Family history is fair game     There are many factors that contribute to addiction, but we know that it often runs in families. Many times, parents think its best to not let their kids know that Uncle Frank had 3 DUI’s or Grandma Sue drank one too many martinis and ruined her daughter’s wedding. In reality, being transparent about your family history can help your teen realize if they are at an increased risk for addiction.      9. Your past shouldn’t be sugarcoated      So now that you’ve thrown Uncle Frank and Grandma Sue under the bus, know that it’s also ok to own up to your own past mistakes. You don’t need to divulge about each time you ditched class to drop acid, but be transparent about making decisions you regret, and express your hope that your teen won’t repeat the same mistakes. Similarly, if you didn’t experiment with drugs or alcohol, share that with your teen. Tell them how you handled the temptations and explain the values that helped you stick with sobriety.    10. What if my teen doesn’t want to hear it?   Teens are famous for their one-word-answers and eye rolls, so it can be tough for parents to know whether their wisdom is going in one ear and out the other. A specialist in Child Psychology can support you in setting effective expectations and having meaningful conversations with your teen.    Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting teenage boys through life’s transitions. If you need support in discussing substance abuse with your son, or if you are concerned that your son has already abused drugs or alcohol, Dr. Sample can help. Dr. Sample is now accepting Aetna Insurance.         
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
       Dr. Elsa Torres, Psy.D.  specializes in Diagnostic Testing and Counseling. Dr. Torres is experienced in helping children, teens, and adults to discover the root causes of their challenges and finding healthy ways to cope.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Torres 
       Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in Child and Educational psychology. If you are concerned that substance abuse is impacting your teen’s school performance or peer relationships, Dr. Shinn can recommend support to guide your teen on a path toward success.       
 
	 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:   How Do I Talk with My Teen About Alcohol? (N.D.).  RaisingHealthyTeens.org . Retrieved from https://raisinghealthyteens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/18-MH-0558_TipSheet_Alcohol.pdf  How Do I Talk with My Teen About E-Cigs and Vapes? (N.D.).  RaisingHealthyTeens.org . Retrieved from https://raisinghealthyteens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/18-MH-0558_TipSheet_Tobacco.pdf  How Do I Talk with My Teen About Marijuana? (N.D.).  RaisingHealthyTeens.org.  Retrieved from   https://raisinghealthyteens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/18-MH-0558_TipSheet_Marijuana.pdf  How Do I Talk with My Teen About Prescription Drugs? (N.D.).  RaisingHealthyTeens.org . Retrieved from https://raisinghealthyteens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/18-MH-0558_TipSheet_PrescriptionDrugs.pdf  How Do I Talk with My Teen About e-cigs and Vapes? (N.D.).  RaisingHealthyTeens.org.  Retrieved from https://raisinghealthyteens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/18-MH-FactSheets_eCigarettesAndVapes_FNL.pdf  Fact Sheet: Alcohol. (N.D.).  RaisingHealthyTeens.org.  Retrieved from https://raisinghealthyteens.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/18-MH-FactSheets_Alcohol_FNL_Updated.pdf  Fact Sheet: E-Cigarettes and Vapes. (N.D.).  RaisingHealthyTeens.org . Retrieved from https://raisinghealthyteens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/18-MH-FactSheets_eCigarettesAndVapes_FNL.pdf  Fact Sheet: Marijuana. (N.D.).  RaisingHealthyTeens.org.  Retrieved from https://raisinghealthyteens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/18-MH-FactSheets_Marijuana_FNL.pdf  Fact Sheet: Prescription Medication. (N.D.).  RaisingHealthyTeens.org.  Retrieved from   https://raisinghealthyteens.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/18-MH-FactSheets_PrescriptionMedication_FNL.pdf  Shinn. M.M. (2018). Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Most #Liked of Them All?.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-whos-the-most-liked-of-them-all    Shinn. M.M. (2018). How to S.T.O.P. 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. (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). 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). 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 Talk to My Teen About Drugs and Alcohol?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/how-do-i-talk-to-my-teen-about-drugs-and-alcohol

“How Do I Talk to My Teen about Drugs and Alcohol?

Teens are famous for their eye rolls and one-word-answers, so how can parents get through to them when talking about drugs and alcohol? Check out this week’s blog to find out.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Could My Teen Have Autism?”   As many as 1 in 59 American kids receive an autism diagnosis, and most of them are diagnosed by age 3. However, there are kids with autism who enter their teen years without being diagnosed. Since autism symptoms can range from mild to severe, symptoms of teens with high functioning autism may not seem to drastically impair them. Even so, there are major benefits to having your teen evaluated if they’re showing any signs of autism. A diagnosis can bring many emotional, relational, and academic benefits to teens as they navigate this important stage of life. Parents can also receive tremendous relief from having their child diagnosed, as once they’ve identified the cause of their teen’s symptoms, they can better focus on what to do about them.    So what are some signs that your teen may have autism?:    1. Communication quandaries   Sure, all teens can be a little socially awkward at times. Autism, however, presents some distinct communication challenges that make it hard for teens to connect with peers, such as:    Struggling to join in conversations appropriately    Having difficulty talking about a range of topics     Using speech in an unusual way such as talking in a monotone or accent    Having trouble understanding and discussing emotions     Responding to questions by repeating them rather than answering    A diagnosis can be a starting point to help your teen understand their challenges and gain tools to build lasting friendships.       


   
     
      
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     Reading body language seems to come naturally to many people, but unspoken communication often eludes individuals with autism. If your teen has autism, they may struggle to read the expressions of others, refrain from meaningful eye contact, and show little emotional expression. They have a much easier time understanding clear and literal explanations as opposed to metaphors, sarcasm, or vague inferences.    3. Social differences    Teens with autism tend to have few friends and prefer to spend time on their own. While they may have difficulty connecting with people in their age group, they might be more comfortable interacting with younger kids or older adults since they impose less social pressure.    4. Intense interests    Most teens are “totally obsessed” with their celebrity crush or smartphone, but teens who have autism often exhibit obsessive symptoms in the following ways:    Fixating on certain interests such as geology or basketball      Compulsive routines and rituals such as only drinking from a particular cup    Repetitive body movements such as rocking or hand tapping    Unusual attachments to certain objects    Repetitive noises such as grunting, throat-clearing, or squealing     5. Greatly gifted   The minds of neurotypical people tend to work several areas of the brain at once (social interactions, for example, require multiple regions of the brain to work together). The minds of those with autism are able to focus more of their brain’s resources into one area at a time, often causing them to develop remarkable talents. Whether they are gifted in chemistry, playing piano, learning languages, or memorizing baseball stats, teens with autism tend to have amazing memories and unique intellectual abilities.    6. Sensory sensitivities   While most teens start distancing themselves from mom and dad to assert their independence, teens with autism may also not want to be touched due to sensory sensitivities. Teens with autism may be bothered by the texture of their gym clothes, bright florescent classroom lighting, or noisy high school hallways.    7. Challenged by change   Teens with autism find calm and comfort in rigid routines and structure. Change is hard for them to cope with and they may become distressed or upset when their routines are altered. High school can be a hard time for anyone, but it’s particularly difficult for teens with autism due to its many changes. Increased complexity, changing classrooms, different teachers, and high-pressure social situations can make adolescence a particularly trying time for teens with autism.    Why a diagnosis is important    Teens with autism can excel in school, work, and relationships, but they’re more likely to do so if they receive support and understanding. Without a diagnosis, they may have a harder time accepting their differences and leveraging their unique strengths. If you suspect your teen may have autism, a diagnosis can open countless doors to   secure accommodations in academic    and    professional pursuits   ,  and our specialists can guide you through the best ways to support them.       Dr. Amy E. Weir, Psy.D.,  is an expert in neurodevelopment and autism spectrum disorder. If your child is showing symptoms of ASD, Dr. Weir can evaluate your child to see if there is a diagnosis and recommend a variety of supports to benefit your child’s development.      


   
     
      
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      Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting teenage boys through life’s transitions. If you think your teenage son may have autism, Dr. Sample can provide a supportive place to evaluate your son’s symptoms and empower him to reach his potential.         
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
       Dr. Elsa Torres, Psy.D.,  is an expert in diagnostic testing and counseling and is experienced in providing therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you think your teen or   other family member   may have autism, Dr. Torres can guide you in taking the next steps to support your loved one.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Torres 
       Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in child and educational psychology. If you think your teen may have autism, Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing, recommend support, and help you become an informed advocate for your teen’s education.       
 
	 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:   American Autism Association (2016). What is autism?  MyAutism.org  Retrieved online: https://www.myautism.org/all-about-  autism/what-is-autism/?gclid=CjwKCAjw9sreBRBAEiwARroYmwt4izLg3dJ_ZaXsClvHBhqaFiEgUwGrFpux1AMBJjpTeekibHMB3xoCZrcQAvD_BwE  The Australian Parenting Website (2018). Signs of autism spectrum disorder in older children and teenagers. Retrieved online: https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/learning-about-asd/assessment-diagnosis/signs-of-asd-in-teens  Hurst, Michael. (2015). Teenagers with Autism: Symptoms, Treatment, and Help.  CRC Health . https://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/autism-in-teenagers/  Shinn. M.M. (2019). Accommodations for College Entrance Exams: What Parents Need to Know.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/does-my-child-need-accommodations-for-the-sat-act    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Could My Dad Have Undiagnosed Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/could-my-dad-have-undiagnosed-autism    Szalavitz, M. (2012). What Genius and Autism Have in Common.  TIME Magazine . Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/10/what-child-prodigies-and-autistic-people-have-in-common/   Zerbo, O., Qian, Y., Yoshida, C., Grether, J. K., Van de Water, J., & Croen, L. A. (2015). Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders.  Journal of autism and development tal disorders ,  45 (12), 4015-25.   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Could My Teen Have Autism?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/could-my-teen-have-autism

“Could My Teen Have Autism?”

Does your teen have trouble making friends? Do they struggle with sensory sensitivities? Do they have strict routines they stick to? If you’ve ever wondered if your teen might have undiagnosed autism, check out this week’s blog.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kids in Active Play     Today’s kids are spending more time indoors and less time riding bikes, scraping knees, and making mischief with friends. Many parents question whether it’s really a big deal if their kids spend hours in front of screens. However, our nation’s decrease in exercise is causing some serious damage to kids’ physical and mental health. With roughly 1 in 3 American kids being overweight, it’s critical that parents get their children moving. So why is active play so crucial for your child, and how can parents fit play into their busy lives?    Here are 10 reasons active play should be a top priority in your child’s life:     1. Academic potential skyrockets     Parents go to great lengths to enhance their children’s learning – springing for expensive tutors, brainy toys, or private school tuitions to give their kids the best opportunities. However, simply taking active breaks after every 3 hours of learning can give a serious boost to your child’s retention. Kids who are given a chance to be active have higher attention spans and are 20% more likely to get an A+ in math or English – now that’s something to get moving for!    For more tips on supporting children with learning and attention challenges, click here       Did you know that exercise reduces your child’s risk of behavioral problems? Active play has been associated with:      Reducing bullying by 43%    Dropping discipline referrals by 57%    Reducing depression and anxiety    Improving mood and self-esteem     Decreasing aggression      Have a defiant kid? Click here       3, You don’t have to get fancy     While many parents enroll their kids in structured sports like gymnastics or soccer, paying for more than a few activities can quickly drain your wallet and make you feel like a full-time chauffeur. The good news is, active play doesn’t require fancy equipment or formal training. Dancing around while dinner cooks, walking the dog, playing hopscotch, or chasing bubbles are just a few simple ways to get moving with your kids.      4. Active play is for everyone     Parents of children with special needs or learning differences may wonder if active play will contribute to hyperactivity. However, research shows physical activity has the opposite effect. Exercise has been shown to promote calm, focus, and structure in children. Allowing your kid to burn energy throughout the day will also improve their sleep – something all parents can appreciate     5. It supports them socially     When your child is allowed to play freely with friends, it naturally boosts their social skills and emotional intelligence. Play fosters friendships, gives opportunities for conflict resolution, teaches sharing, promotes emotional regulation, and provides children with a sense of belonging.     For more tips on boosting your child’s emotional intelligence, click here     6. Health benefits last a lifetime     Obesity is a serious health concern that increases a person’s risk for diabetes, stroke, hypertension, heart disease, gallbladder disease, cancer, sleep apnea, and death. Active play is one of the best ways to prevent these life-threatening conditions in your child. By engaging in regular exercise, your child will:      Develop strong bones, muscles, and joints    Be 41% less likely to become overweight    Be at reduced risk for chronic illnesses associated with obesity    Be sick less often and require fewer school nurse visits     7. You can be a great role model     Your children look up to you as an example of how active they should be. When parents lead an active lifestyle, physical play becomes second nature for their kids. This doesn’t mean you need to force yourself to be the next Serena Williams or Cristiano Ronaldo; if you don’t like doing structured workouts, find activities that are fun and make you forget you’re exercising such as nature hikes or swimming.      8. The 60/60 rule works     Experts recommend that kids get 2 hours of daily physical activity to get the most out of play – one hour of free, unstructured play, and another hour of adult-led play. However, life’s demands can make it hard for parents to play for a full hour at a time. Here are a few tips for getting your kid’s “play quota” in each week:      Enroll them in organized team sports – these are usually about an hour long    Advocate at their school district for daily PE of at least 30 minutes    Fit play into smaller segments throughout the day, taking 10-minute breaks to walk, run, or jump rope every few hours     Feel like taking a 3-minute active break right now? Grab your kids and “play in place” with this awesomely active song!        

 
 
    

 
 
      9. PRIDE promotes play     Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) identifies the following five techniques called PRIDE skills that parents can use to make play a positive and engaging experience:      P RAISE – Compliment your child for positive behaviors.     Example:  “Great job throwing the ball!”    R EFLECTION – Repeat back what your child tells you.     Example:  “You’re right, you got it in the basket!”    I MITATION – Copy what your child does to enforce positive behaviors.     Example:  “I’m going to do the same stretches you are doing.”     D ESCRIPTION – Describe what your child is doing to boost their language and communication skills.     Example:  “You’re hopping on your left foot!”    E NJOYMENT – Express fun and enthusiasm as you play with your child.     Example:  “This is so much fun! Come dance with me!”     Dads - check out our PRIDE of Fatherhood blog       10. A Specialist can help      Play has the power to boost your child’s intellectual, emotional, and physical development, but it can be hard for parents to know how to unlock that potential. A Play Specialist can empower you to connect with your child through play, improving their health and making the most out of physical activity.      


   
     
      
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      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 wish your family led a healthier lifestyle but don’t know where to start, Dr Davis can support you on a clear path toward reaching your goals.       
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Davis 
       Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting teenage boys through life’s transitions. If you are looking for ways to help your teenage son develop a more active lifestyle, Dr. Sample can help.        
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Sample 
       Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in child and educational psychology. If you are concerned that a lack of active play has been impacting your child’s development, Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing and recommend support for your child’s unique needs.      
 
	 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:   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). Childhood Obesity Facts. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). The Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html  Common Sense Media (2015). The Common Sense Census: Media Used by Tweens and Teens. Retrieved from: http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2017/images/11/07/commonsensecensus.mediausebytweensandteens.2015.final.pdf  Shinn. M.M. (2019). ADHD or Just Kids Being Kids?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:   https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/adhd-or-just-kids-being-kids    Shinn. M.M. (2019). 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). 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). The P.R.I.D.E. of Fatherhood.  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    Shinn, M., Turner, A., Taylor Lucas, C. (2016). Play in Place. Presentation.  Child Guidance Center, Children & Families Commission of Orange County, & UC Irvine .   Taylor Lucas, C. E., Shinn, M. M., & Turner, A. C., (2015). Play in place. Unpublished recording. Redondo Beach, California: Mike Irwin Studios  Turner, A. C., (2013). Active play every day: A manual for facilitating active play with young children. Unpublished manuscript.    How to Cite This Blog Article:    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/test-blog/get-moving-10-reasons-to-engage-your-kids-in-active-play

Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kids in Active Play

With childhood obesity being a serious health concern, it’s critical that parents make active play a daily priority for their kids. Check out this week’s blog for 10 ways that active play improves your child’s physical, mental, and emotional health.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Teen is Dating – What Do I Do?”   Having your teen enter the world of dating can cause anxiety for any parent. A dad’s instinct may be to think of ways to scare off his teen’s date, while a mom may want to grab binoculars and spy in the bushes. Though protecting your kids is important, open and nonjudgmental communication is the best tool to support your teen in making good dating decisions. With the right approach, parents have the power to help teens stick to their values, keep realistic expectations, and manage the highs and lows of dating.     So what can parents do to support teens as they date?     1. Focus on the purpose   Ask your teen what they believe the purpose of dating is. When teens go into dating with a clear understanding of its objective, they are more likely to make rational decisions and avoid negative situations. Remind them that dating is about developing their relationship skills as well as getting to know what they want and need in a partner. If they date simply to fit in or to fill their craving for intimacy, they will likely be disappointed.     2. Discuss what healthy looks like   When parents talk to teens about dating, they often focus on rules such as, “No being out past 10,” or, “no drinking and driving.” An additional priority should be to talk to your teen about what healthy relationships look like. Remind them of the characteristics of supportive and long-lasting relationships including:      Trust    Mutual understanding    Communication    Respect    Honesty    Faithfulness    Praise    Maintaining interests outside of one another     3. Help them recognize abuse      Teach your teen the warning signs of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse such as:    Isolating them from friends and family    Insulting, degrading, or intimidating them    Cheating    Showing intimate pictures or “sexts” to others    “Gas-lighting” (when an abuser gets called out for their abuse and turns it around on the other person to make them think they’re crazy)    Hitting, kicking, grabbing, pushing, or biting    Stalking or constantly monitoring them    Guilting or coercing into sex or other acts     4. Build up boundaries   Encourage your teen to determine the behaviors that they’ll refuse to accept in relationships. Remind them to explain their boundaries to their date in the beginning so that expectations are clear from the get-go. It can be helpful to define boundaries in the following categories:     Emotional  – Example: “If my date calls me insulting names, that is crossing my boundary.”   Physical  – Example: “If my date puts their hands on me in anger, that is crossing my boundary.”   Digital  – Example: “If my date asks me to Snapchat sexual photos, that is crossing my boundary.”    Moms – if you need help taking your own advice on healthy boundary-setting, check out our women’s guide to stop people-pleasing       5. Play it positive    Although you want to teach your teen the warning signs of unhealthy relationships, make sure you approach this milestone with a positive attitude. Don’t speak about it with dread or express disdain for their date; that will only drive your kid away from you. Tell your teen you’re excited for them to experience this new aspect of life and that you trust them to make the right choices. Show interest in learning more about their date and the good qualities your teen sees in them.      6. Rely on respect   When you’re talking to your teen about dating, make sure to keep a calm and respectful tone. If they feel you respect their individuality and opinions, they will be more likely to return the same respect to you. Even if you’re met with sighs and eye rolls, try to keep your cool and trust that your teen will hear what you have to say. Make sure to ask your teen’s point of view as well and listen with empathy and understanding.     For more tips on being an emotionally intelligent parent,    click here      7. Don’t steer away from sex   It may be tempting to avoid discussing sex with your teen, but remember that if you don’t give them the sex talk, their locker room buddies will. Regardless of your family values, don’t make your teen feel bad or abnormal for having natural sexual feelings. Express that these feelings are a normal part of maturing into an adult, but there are values that you expect them to adhere to. Think through your values and clearly explain them to your teen. It’s also important to talk to them about what others might do so they know ways to respond if they are met with unwanted advances.      8. Trust the job you’ve done   After you’ve said your piece, take off your private investigator hat and hang the binoculars back in the closet. You’ve spent more than a decade preparing your child for this milestone, teaching them right from wrong, empowering their self-esteem, and establishing boundaries for their behaviors. Trust that your lessons have prepared them to be resilient through the good and bad aspects of teen dating.      9. Know when to intervene    The ups and downs of dating can be incredibly positive in shaping your teen’s identity, building their emotional intelligence, and preparing them for adult relationships. However, it’s not uncommon for teens to enter unhealthy or abusive relationships. If you’re concerned that your teen is in a dangerous relationship, or if you’re just unsure how to talk with your teen about dating, our specialists can help.     Cynthia R. Johnson, LMFT, is a specialist in Parenting and Child Therapy at Variations Psychology. Cynthia can strengthen your family’s communication while empowering your teen to make healthy, positive choices.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Cynthia R. Johnson 
       Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting teen boys through life’s transitions. If your teenage son is having any challenges related to dating, Dr. Sample can provide a comfortable place for him to overcome obstacles and develop healthy relationships.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. sample 
       Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in child and educational psychology. If you are concerned about your teen’s mental or emotional health, Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing and recommend support to meet your teen’s needs.       
 
	 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 (2018). Understanding Teen Dating Violence. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/teen-dating-violence-2014-a.pdf  GoodTherapy.org. 9 Tips for Talking to Teens About Dating and Relationships. Retrieved from: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/9-tips-for-talking-to-teens-about-dating-and-relationships-0227157  Mayo Clinic (2017). Sex Education: Talking to Your Teens About Sex. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/sex-education/art-20044034  Shinn. M.M. (2018). “Why Can’t I Say No?” The Women’s Guide to Stop 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). “Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent?” 6 Tips for Moms & 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  Whyte, A. (2018). Parents: How to Help Your Teen Set Healthy Dating Boundaries.  Evolve Treatment Centers . Retrieved online: https://evolvetreatment.com/blog/parents-how-to-help-your-teen-set-healthy-dating-boundaries/    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). “My Teen is Dating – What Do I Do?”  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from:https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/my-teen-is-dating-what-do-i-do

“My Teen is Dating – What Do I Do?”

“My Teen is Dating – What Do I Do?!” Before you hire a private investigator and start stalking your teen’s every move, check out this week’s blog to support your teen through this exciting (yet slightly nerve-wracking) milestone.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “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 
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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.