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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.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


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


   
     
      
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      4. Feed with love     Mealtime is one of the best opportunities for bonding with your baby. Nourishing your baby builds your confidence as a mom and teaches your baby that they can rely on you for their needs. Whether your baby is fed by breast or bottle, caressing their face, making eye contact, and holding them close to the rhythm of your heartbeat will strengthen your connection.      5. Respond to cues      It’s important to respond to your baby’s cries in the first months of life; you’re not spoiling them by doing so – you’re making them feel safe and teaching them how to manage difficult feelings. It’s never too early to show your baby healthy ways to calm their body down     by practicing deep breathing, rhythmically rocking them, humming, and using calm words.    Is your baby’s emotional development on track?    Click here    to find out     6. Bond through movement     Moms of ancient civilizations didn’t get to enjoy many of our modern conveniences: drive-thru coffee shops, diaper genies, or mommy-and-me-yoga classes. While baby-centric exercise may seem like a luxury, research supports that it increases bonding and makes new parents more comfortable with holding their vulnerable babies. There are also plenty of free ways to bond through movement including:      Giving your baby a loving massage to relax their muscle and increase circulation    Moving their legs in a bicycle motion during diaper changes    Laying on your stomach to face them during their tummy time – this prompts them to lift their head to see you, strengthening their neck and core muscles    Praising your baby as they learn to bounce on supportive surfaces such as your lap     Doing “baby sit ups” as your baby becomes able to support their own neck and head. Hold your baby’s forearms and gently pull them up and down on a soft surface, giving them a smile or kiss each time they come up      Click here    to learn about the benefits of active play as your child grows       7. Don’t be hard on yourself     Bonding is an individual process that grows over time, so don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t happen instantaneously for you. It can be tough to feel connected to a baby when you’ve just met them and are adjusting to the many changes of motherhood. Be patient with yourself and trust that in time, the bond between you and your baby will be unbreakable.       8. Get support     There are a number of issues that can present challenges for mothers and babies to bond such as:      Unplanned pregnancy    Postpartum depression    Lack of support    Health issues    Attachment disorders    Autism spectrum disorder    Adoptive or step parenting    Whatever your family’s situation, our specialists can help you build a loving bond between you and your baby.      Dr. Amy E. Weir, Psy.D.,  is an expert in infant and toddler neurodevelopment. If you’re concerned that your baby is having trouble connecting with you or other family members, Dr. Weir can provide diagnostic testing to assess for neurodevelopmental issues.      


   
     
      
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      Dr. Daniella A. Davis, Psy.D.,  is an expert in dealing with the unique challenges that women face throughout life. If you’re struggling with baby blues or post-partum depression, Dr. Davis can help you work through challenges and strengthen the bond between you and your baby.     
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Davis 
       Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in Child and Educational psychology. If you’re worried about your baby’s development, Dr. Shinn can recommend interventions in speech, language, and behavioral support before they reach preschool or kindergarten.      


   
     
      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our     Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Blakemore, C.J. & Ramirez, B.W. (2006).  Baby Read Aloud Basics . New York, Harper Collins.   Blumenfeld, H., & Eisenfeld, L. (2006). Does a Mother Singing to her Premature Baby Affect Feeding in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?  Clinical Pediatrics ,  45 (1), 65–70. https://doi.org/10.1177/000992280604500110  Bonding an Attachment: Newborns. (2019).  Raisingchildren.net.au . Retrieved from https://raisingchildren.net.au/newborns/connecting-communicating/bonding/bonding-newborns  Moburg, K.U., Prime, D.K. (2013). Oxytocin effects in mothers and infants during breastfeeding.  Infant  9,(6). Retrieved from http://www.infantjournal.co.uk/pdf/inf_054_ers.pdf  Parker, D.G. (2000).  Yoga Baby: Exercises to Help You Bond with Your Baby Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually.  New York, Broadway Books.   Passell, L. (2019). 12 Ways to Bond with Your Baby.  Parenting Magazine.  Retrieved from https://www.parenting.com/article/12-ways-to-bond-with-your-baby  Reece, T. (2018). 4 Exercises to Help Baby Get Stronger.  Parents . Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/baby/development/physical/your-babys-hand-control/  Shinn. M.M. (2018). Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent? 6 Tips for Moms and Dads to Boost Their EQ.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/am-i-an-emotionally-intelligent-parent-6-tips-for-moms-dads-to-boost-their-eq   Shinn, M.M. (2019). Get Moving! 10 Reasons to Engage Your Kids in Active Play.  Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/get-moving-10-reasons-to-engage-your-kids-in-active-play   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence on Track?  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/is-my-babys-emotional-intelligence-on-track   Vaglio S. (2009). Chemical communication and mother-infant recognition.  Communicative & integrative biology ,  2 (3), 279–281.  Wusthoff, C.J. (2019) Movement Milestones: Birth to 3 Months.  Healthychildren.org . Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Movement-Birth-to-Three-Months.aspx    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). The Magical Bond of Mothers: 8 Ways to Connect with Your New Baby.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from

Top 8 Ways for New Moms to Bond with Baby

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

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


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


   
     
      
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      7. Managing their money   Most schools don’t spend a lot of time on financial education, so it’s critical that parents work to instill basic financial skills. Talk to your teen about credit cards, predatory loans, savings, investments, paying bills, and how to create and manage a budget. Help them set up a checking account and introduce them to online banking tools. Give them a small bill to practice paying, such as $10 a month to contribute to the family’s phone plan. Let them know that you’re always there to answer questions, but don’t offer to manage their money for them.   Wondering if your teen is ready for their first job?    Click here        8. Fretting failures   As you allow your kid more responsibility, accept that they’re going to screw up here and there. Resist the urge to clean up their messes and prevent them from experiencing consequences. Failure is an effective learning tool, and every missed deadline, bank overdraft, broken heart, or rejected application is an opportunity for your kid to adapt, build resiliency, and learn how to roll with the punches of adult life.    Need extra support?      Preparing your kids for independence       is tough, especially if your kid is nearing adulthood and you’ve been doing most things for them up until this point. Even if that’s the case, it’s not too late! Our specialists can teach you how to gradually increase your kid’s responsibilities and empower them to become a master of “adulting.”   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.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “My Kid Might be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!”     As Spring report cards make their way home, some parents are hit with the alarming news that their kid’s performance is not on track. This notice can cause parents to panic, wondering if their kid will be held back a grade, whether or not they should be, and what they can do about it.    If you’ve received notification that your child may be held back a grade, here’s what you can do:    1. Investigate why     If you receive a notice that your child may not be promoted to the next grade, investigate why. Is it for academic reasons, such as not being able to read at grade-level proficiency? Is it that your kid has social or emotional challenges that make it hard to fit in with their peers? Make sure you clearly understand why the school thinks that retention is warranted for your child. Check out your local    Parent Training Center    to learn if the school’s decision aligns with your district’s policies on grounds for retention.      2. Question their reasoning     The general consensus among experts is that retention is not  usually  the best choice for students and that it should only be considered after other alternatives have been explored. Question the school’s reasoning to ensure they’ve tried other approaches before suggesting retention:       If they say it’s because your child is struggling to learn at the rate of their classmates, ask what interventions they’ve tried to get your kid up to speed     If they say it’s because your kid didn’t perform well on standardized tests, raise the possibility that your kid may know the material but   struggle with time constraints or test formats      If they say your child seems to be struggling emotionally, ask what the school has been doing to help your child   overcome emotional challenges          3. Consider potential benefits     There are scenarios where retention may be the right choice for your child’s long-term success. If any of these situations apply to your kid, consider that retention might be a positive option:      When your child missed an excessive amount of school due to illness, moving, or death of a loved one    When a child is developmentally immature (being held back can reduce the stress of trying to keep up with same-aged peers)    When a child has behavioral issues that are clearly linked to academic stress     4. Determine a diagnosis     If your kid is at risk for being held back due to learning challenges, it’s important to   have your child evaluated for impairments or disabilities that could impact their education   .  If your child does have a diagnosis, simply holding them back a year might not be effective. For example, if your kid struggles with   attention issues  , they won’t benefit from just being taught the same way two years in a row. A better approach would be to promote your child to the next grade, while working with the school to create a 504 plan or IEP that would provide your child with effective classroom accommodations.   Interested in Diagnostic Testing for your child?       


   
     
      
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      5. Engage your SST & CST     There are two groups that can support your kid if they’re having difficulty succeeding within the regular classroom setting. The Student Study Team (SST) consists of the teacher, administrator, parent, student, and sometimes special education teacher. This group works together to come up with interventions to improve the student’s progress. The IEP Team or Child Study Team (CST) is a multidisciplinary group of professionals that can support your child with consultations, evaluations, and special education services. These teams can advocate for appropriate accommodations and recommend potential alternatives to grade retention.      6. Request an IEP or 504     Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans are not the same thing, but they both aim to help students succeed despite disabilities or learning differences. If classroom accommodations are enough for your child to succeed with the standard curriculum, then a 504 Plan may be sufficient in getting them up to grade level proficiency. If their diagnosis greatly impairs their learning abilities, they may need an IEP that provides a specially tailored curriculum with individualized goals. A Specialist in Educational Psychology can help you determine if your child has a diagnosis and what educational plan(s) will work best for them.     Click here to learn more about Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Specialist in Educational Psychology and special education consulting     7. Seek support      Getting notice that your child may have to repeat a grade is scary news to any parent. Walking into a school and questioning their decisions can also feel very intimidating. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. Our Specialists can assist you in supporting your child and ensuring that decisions are made in their best interests.    Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in Child and Educational psychology. If your child is at-risk for being held back a grade, Dr. Shinn can provide educational consulting to support your child’s academic needs.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Dr. Amy E. Weir, Psy.D.,  is a specialist in Neurodevelopment and Autism Spectrum Disorders. If you think your child may have autism or other intellectual challenges, Dr. Weir can guide you in supporting your child’s education.      


   
     
      
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      Dr. Elsa Torres, Psy.D.,  is a specialist in Diagnostic Testing and Counseling. There are a number of emotional challenges, behavioral issues, and learning disabilities that can impact a child’s learning such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. If you’re concerned that your child may have a diagnosis that is impacting their academic success, Dr. Torres can help.      
 
	 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:   CST - Child Study Team. (2009).  Specialeducationnews.com.  Retrieved from http://www.specialednews.com/special-education-dictionary/cst---child-study-team.htm  Find Your Parent Center (N.D.).  Center for Parent Information and Resources.  Retrieved from https://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/  IEP vs. 504: What’s the Difference? (2015).  Additudemag.com . Retrieved from https://www.additudemag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/10241_For-Parents_IEP-vs-504_whats-the-difference.pdf  Morin, A. (N.D.). Repeating a Grade: Pros and Cons. Understood.org. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/moving-up/repeating-a-grade-pros-and-cons  Understanding the Student Study Team (SST) (2016).  Understandingspecialeducation.com  Retrieved from https://www.understandingspecialeducation.com/student-study-team.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. (2018). 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. (2018). 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. (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   Volpitta, D. The School Says My Child Needs to Repeat Third Grade. What Can I Do?  Understood.org.  Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/moving-up/the-school-says-my-child-needs-to-repeat-third-grade-what-can-i-do   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn. M.M. (2019). My Kid Might be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/my-kid-might-be-held-back-a-grade-what-do-i-do

“My Kid Might be Held Back a Grade – What Do I Do?!”

While many parents post about their kids’ stellar report cards, others are feeling panicked that their kid may be held back a grade. If your kid is at risk for being retained, check out this week’s blog to find out what to do about it.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Preventing Student Suicide with Just a Few Simple Questions      Suicide among children and teens   is shockingly on the rise. In the wake of each tragedy, parents, peers, and educators are filled with devastation and regret. Spending so much time with children, teachers often feel guilty that they didn’t realize their student was suicidal. Other times, they sensed something was wrong but weren’t sure how to effectively intervene. So how can teachers determine if their students are at risk for suicide, and what can they do about it?    Learning these simple steps could help you save a student’s life:    1. Separate suicide and NSSI   One of the obstacles in providing proper interventions is educators not grasping the difference between suicidal behavior and non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Both are serious and require intervention, but the response for suicidality is different than for NSSI. Properly identifying a student’s behaviors is an important first step in getting them the right help. A few key characteristics of the two include:   Suicidal behavior/ideation:     The person has some   intention of dying       They know that their   behavior could result in death      May   seek the most painless way   to do it     NSSI:     Has   no intention   of dying      Does not believe   their actions could result in dead      Seeks physical pain   to escape emotional pain    NSSI has   3 possible functions:      To   obtain relief     from a negative feeling or cognitive state e.g. stress, worry thoughts, loneliness, emptiness    To   resolve     interpersonal conflict e.g. family arguments, divorce, sibling rivalry, peer conflict    To   induce  a positive feeling state e.g. euphoria, decrease numbness       For an in-depth look at NSSI and what to do about it,    click here     2. Explore the C-SSRS   The Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) was developed to provide a simple, accurate, and effective tool that anyone can use to evaluate risk for suicide. You do not need to be a mental health professional to administer it; all it requires is asking a series of simple questions and referring them to mental health services if their answers raise any red flags.    The full C-SSRS screening tool is available in several versions.   Below are a few quick links to commonly used versions.      Click here to access all versions of the C-SSRS.           C-SSRS for Teachers           C-SSRS for Family and Friends           C-SSRS for Teens to Talk to Friends           C-SSRS for Parents      3. Identify ideation   The first step in applying the C-SSRS is identifying ideation. If you are concerned your student may be at risk for suicide, start by asking these 2 questions:    “Have you wished you were dead or wished you could go to sleep and not wake up?”    “Have you actually had any thoughts of making yourself not alive anymore?”     4. Ask more as needed   When administering the C-SSRS, you only need to ask as many questions as it takes to determine whether your student has had suicidal ideation or behaviors. If your student answered no to both ideation questions, you can rule out ideation and jump right into the behavior questions listed in our next point. If they answered yes to either or both ideation questions, ask a few more ideation questions to gain understanding:    “Have you been thinking about how you might do this?”    “Have you had these thoughts and had some intention of acting on them?”    “Have you started to work out or worked out the details of how to kill yourself? Do you intend to carry out this plan?”     5. Assess for behaviors    Whether or not your student has indicated ideation, you must also ask behavioral questions. Determine whether they’ve engaged in suicidal behaviors by asking the following questions:    “Have you made a suicide attempt?”    “Have you done anything to harm yourself?”    “Have you done anything dangerous to where you could have died?”     6. Inquire about interruptions   Next, ask your student if there were ever times where they had attempts that were either stopped by someone interrupting them, or by them having second thoughts:    “Has there been a time when you started to do something to end your life but someone or something stopped you before you actually did anything?”    “Has there been a time when you started to do something to end your life but you stopped yourself before you actually did anything?”     7. Ask about preparatory behaviors   Even if your student has not indicated making any attempts, it’s important to find out if they’ve done anything to prepare to end their life. Examples could include collecting pills, purchasing a gun, writing a suicide note, or giving valuables away.      “Have you taken any steps toward making a suicide attempt or preparing to kill yourself?”     8. Know when it’s an emergency   If your student answers yes to any questions regarding ideation, behaviors, or non-suicidal self-injury, it’s important to refer them to mental health resources. For a student to require a 911 call and/or immediate escort to emergency services, they should meet either of the following criteria:    Active suicidal ideation with some intent to act, without specific plan    Active suicidal ideation with specific plan and intent     Check out these video clips to learn how to ask C-SSRS questions:    Joanna’s example         </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"          Gabriel’s example         </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"          Andrea’s example         </iframe>" data-provider-name="YouTube"            Click here to watch Columbia University’s C-SSRS webinar      9. Reach out and speak up   If your student’s answers have indicated suicidal ideation, suicidal behaviors, or non-suicidal self-injury, quickly share your findings with the school leadership, crisis response team, school psychologist, school counselor or other mental health professional on campus. If you’re not sure who to alert, call 911. As a preventative measure, advocate for mental health programming to be offered on campus so that all students learn healthy coping skills and become aware of available resources.    10. Host a C-SSRS training   The best way to prevent tragedy on campus is to get your faculty on the same page with effective tools that address mental health emergencies. While you don’t have to be a mental health professional to administer the C-SSRS, it’s best to complete a brief online training and receive additional in-person education from a mental health professional to fully grasp how to evaluate student answers in real-life scenarios.      Here is a listing of C-SSRS training options      including pre-recorded and live webinars.    If you represent a private school or district that would like to do an in-service teacher training, our Specialists can:    Visit your campus for in-person training    Answer questions and review key concepts of applying the C-SSRS    Provide realistic examples of evaluating students’ risk for self-harm    Help teachers prepare students for educational units or aspects of popular culture that may romanticize suicide (example:  Romeo and Juliet,  TV shoes depicting suicide, etc.)       


   
     
      
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      Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in Child and Educational psychology and is experienced in training educators on use of the C-SRSS screening tool.      
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
       Dr. Christopher J. Sample, Psy.D.  specializes in supporting men and teen boys through life’s transitions. If your teenage son is struggling with depression or is concerned for a friend, 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. If you or someone you love has had thoughts of suicide, don’t put off seeking help. Dr. Torres can provide a safe place to listen and provide support.      
 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   The Columbia Lighthouse Project (2018). The Columbia Protocol for Your Setting.  The Columbia Protocol for Communities and Healthcare.  Retrieved from http://cssrs.columbia.edu/the-columbia-scale-c-ssrs/cssrs-for-communities-and-healthcare/#filter=.general-use.english  The Columbia Lighthouse Project (2018). Community Card for Teachers.  The Columbia Protocol for Communities and Healthcare.  Retrieved from http://cssrs.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/Community-Card-Teachers-2018c.pdf  The Columbia Lighthouse Project (2018). Community Card for Friends and Family.  The Columbia Protocol for Communities and Healthcare.  Retrieved from http://cssrs.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/Community-Card-2women-2018c.pdf  The Columbia Lighthouse Project (2018). Community Card for Teens.  The Columbia Protocol for Communities and Healthcare.  Retrieved from http://cssrs.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/Community-Card-Teens-2018c.pdf  The Columbia Lighthouse Project (2018). Community Card for Parents.  The Columbia Protocol for Communities and Healthcare.  Retrieved from http://cssrs.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/Community-Card-Parents-2018c.pdf  The Columbia Lighthouse Project (2017).  C-SSRS Training . [Video webinar]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epTDFFv3uwc&list=PLZ6DpvOfzN1kV1F_lDw9-26JifBSDlIbF&index=2&app=desktop  Shinn, M.M. (2018). Cutting & Other Self-Harm: What Every Parent Needs to Know.  Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/cutting-other-self-harm-what-every-parent-needs-to-know    Shinn, M.M. (2018). 8 Tips to Create a Mentally Healthy Classroom.   Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-tips-to-create-a-mentally-healthy-classroom   Shinn. M.M. (2019). Parent’s Guide: What to do When Your Child’s Friend Dies by Suicide.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/parents-guide-what-to-do-when-your-childs-friend-dies-by-suicide    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Suicide Prevention in the School Setting.  Variations Psychology, Futures Academy.  [Webinar].   Posner, K.; Brent, D.; Lucas, C.; Gould, M.; Stanley, B.; Brown, G.; Fisher, P.; Zelazny, J.; Burke, A.; Oquendo, M.; Mann, J.(2008) Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS). The Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Inc. Retrieved from https://cssrs.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/C-SSRS_Pediatric-SLC_11.14.16.pdf    How to Cite This Blog Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). Preventing Suicide in Students: How 3-6 Questions Can Save Lives.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/test-blog/preventing-student-suicide-with-just-a-few-simple-questions

Preventing Student Suicide with Just a Few Simple Questions

We’ve all been pained by recent news stories of teens and even young children dying by suicide. This week’s blog delves into how teachers can save lives with 3-6 simple questions.