50 Best Parenting Tips Ever!


1. Grant a wish. Take an hour or two each week to do exactly what your child desires without interruptions or distractions -- even if she wants to play a game you hate or build block towers and then knock them all down.

2. Start and end each day with “I love you.” We often think we show our love for our children through our actions, but kids want and need to be told that they’re loved.

3. Think ahead about safety. Anticipate what your child’s next step is likely to be, then baby-proof accordingly. If your 9-month-old is about to stand, now’s the time to put up the gate, cover the sharp corners of tables, and keep pot handles turned away from the edge of the stove.

4. Praise your partner. Never finish a day without acknowledging -- at least once -- your spouse’s role in the life of your children.

5. Choose childcare carefully. Spend as much time researching your options as you did the last time you bought a new car. Call others who use the facility, talk with the director and the staff, and spend lots of time observing the children there at play.

6. Leave the scene. If your child is having a meltdown, pick her up from behind to carry her away. Too much face-to-face interaction will escalate the situation.

7. Don’t rush to punish. Every child has a cup that needs to be filled -- and refilled -- with love, attention, affection, and respect. A rough day, a big frustration, or a harsh word empties the cup. If your child is acting up, give him a hug, listen to him, and spend time together. He’ll be more cooperative, and you’ll both feel closer.

8. Never take a bath break. When you bathe your baby, don’t answer the phone unless there’s a portable one right next to you. An infant can drown in seconds if left unattended.

9. Look the other way. Once a week, ignore one of your child’s small transgressions -- bad table manners, forgetting to clean up right away -- and remind yourself that you’re not perfect either.

10. Sleep when your baby sleeps. If you keep to your old sleep schedule, you’ll be sleep -- deprived, which makes you more likely to be cranky and can contribute to postpartum depression.

11. Don’t panic about picky eaters. They won’t starve, so just continue to offer a variety of foods and small, frequent meals. Let your kids see how much you like vegetables.

12. Act now, talk later. Respond to your child’s misbehavior in the heat of the moment, but talk about the incident later in a “planned discussion,” in which you lay down the rules and your expectations.

13. Be your baby’s favorite toy. Instead of always offering a plaything, amuse him yourself. After all, you move, you make sounds, you can take turns with him and respond to what he does, and you are warm, soft, and safe.

14. Double-check your carseat. Improperly installed child-safety seats are a major cause of injury. Whenever you put your child in his carseat, make sure it still fits correctly.

15. Be romantic. Go out on dates, kiss in front of your kids, and say, “I love you” to your partner (with your kids in earshot).

16. Keep syrup of ipecac in your glove compartment. You probably have it at home, but you may also need it on the road (if your doctor advises you to use it).

17. Make photo albums. Take two hours a month to create lasting, organized family memories. As you gather photos or souvenirs, you’ll have time to reflect on the preciousness of your life.

18. Soothe your baby’s dry skin. Keep a jar of thick emollient at the changing table, and massage her legs and thighs at each change.

19. Coin a nickname. Call your child by a special moniker that reflects your unique connection to him. A child with many names is a child loved many times.

20. Read all food labels. Always know what your child is eating, especially if she has food allergies. For instance, whey and casein, common ingredients in packaged goods, are really just milk.

21. Present a united front. When you and your spouse disagree about how to handle misbehavior, keep talking and reading about it until you reach a consensus or a compromise.

22. Make family rituals sacred. Once a week, do an activity together, such as reading a book out loud, taking a walk, driving to the woods, or having Sunday breakfast at the same diner or coffee shop. These are the types of memories your kids will treasure most.

23. Nip aggression in the bud. Don’t ever let your toddler hit or kick you, even if you know she’s angry or frustrated. Block the hits immediately, and firmly say, “No, you do not hit me.”

24. Teach your child simple songs and nursery rhymes. Rhyming and playing with sounds is fun and tunes your child in to the specific skills that are needed for reading.

25. Put your baby down when she’s awake. Letting her self-soothe is the key to her sleeping through the night. If you nurse or bottle-feed her before bed and she falls asleep, change her diaper one last time to wake her up.

26. Make amends. One of the most important things you can say to your child is “I’m sorry, I messed up.” Admitting you’re wrong also gives your child the right to make mistakes.

27. Never make your love conditional. You should love your child just because he was born, not because he plays the piano or aces math tests. Tell him often that you’d love him no matter what grades he got and that your love for him grows bigger every day.

28. Monitor yourself. You are your child’s first and most powerful moral teacher, so make sure you set an example that you want her to copy. Ask yourself nightly, "What did my child learn from my behavior today?"

29. Trust your instincts with childcare. If you have reservations about a caregiver or feel that your child isn’t doing as well as he could, you’re probably right. Don’t worry about hurt feelings or awkward conversations. Your child’s needs come first.

30. Don’t be overprotective. You shouldn’t try to shield your child from all disappointments, failures, or stressful situations. Kids need to learn to handle difficulty in order to cope with life’s challenges.

31. Avoid vicious cycles. If your child is misbehaving in a particular way and you’ve told him 100 times before not to do it, don’t issue warning No. 101. Instead, make it easier for your child to behave. If he always leaves his coat on the floor, for example, install low hooks in the closet.

32. Let your toddler explore. Parents often don’t want their children to bang big pots or do other things that are annoying or messy, but that’s the way kids learn.

33. Wake a sleeping baby. There are times when doing this is a good idea -- during a morning nap so he’ll be sleepy enough for an afternoon nap, or during an afternoon nap so he’ll be sleepy enough at bedtime.

34. Ban bad-mouthing. Kids aren’t born to hate -- they learn it. Refuse to allow discriminatory remarks of any kind. Help your child discover the positive traits of people, and teach her to focus on the similarities rather than the difficulties.

35. Bait and switch. When your child is misbehaving, distract him with something that’s incompatible with the misbehavior. For example, if your child is grabbing food from someone else’s plate, hand him a glass of milk.

36. Encourage friendship over popularity. You can’t guarantee that your child will be liked by everyone, and it’s not your job to make her popular. Support her friendships, but don’t try to micromanage her social life.

37. Wear rose-colored glasses. Your upbeat attitude is critical to your child’s self-image. Change your language so everyone views him more positively. For example, instead of saying, “My child is overactive,” say, “My child is so energetic.”

38. Listen before you give advice. The most crucial moments in parenting are when your child is experiencing an emotion such as sadness, fear, anger, disappointment, or embarrassment. First, help your child label the emotion, and validate how she feels. Then, and only then, suggest ways to solve the problem. That way, your child will be more likely come to you for help.

39. Demonstrate differences to your toddler. For example, your child might like one kind of food (say, sweets) while you prefer another (salad). This is of endless interest to young children, who are learning that people can have different perspectives and tastes -- an important life lesson.

40. Don’t be a slave to developmental milestones. Children develop at different rates. Try not to push your child -- he will let you know when he’s ready to start crawling, walking, or reading.

41. Limit rewards. Help your child develop his own internal reward system so he congratulates himself for a job well done. Change your pronouns: Instead of “I’m really proud of you,” say, “You should really be proud.”

42. Don’t help too much with homework. It’s your child’s obligation, not yours. If you pitch in, she’ll feel she’s not capable of doing it herself.

43. Make honesty a priority. Never lie in front of your kids -- for example, don’t tell a telemarketer that your husband isn’t home when he’s really sitting on the couch.

44. Share your loves. Whether it’s a favorite hobby, a wonderful song or poem, a great recipe, one of your favorite childhood memories, or a fun game, it will be remembered and cherished.

45. Set your child’s sleep routine. By 3 months, your baby should begin sleeping where you want her to be sleeping at 1 year. After that, it will be much more difficult for her to make a change. If she’s in a bassinet, move her to the crib; if you won’t be co-sleeping, move her out of your bed now.

46. Take your child’s side. If you don’t know what happened in a particular situation, don’t play devil’s advocate. For example, if he says, “I hate the teacher! Today she made fun of me in front of my friends,” don’t immediately say, “I’m sure you were giving her a good reason.”

47. Don’t worship expert advice. Believe solely in your children, not in Mozart CDs, baby academies, or flash cards. No one will ever know what your children need or who they really are better than.

48. Be silly. Dance, burp, laugh until you cry, and spit watermelon seeds at your kids.

49. Plan meals together. Let your kids help choose dishes to make and take part in the preparation - they’ll be more likely to eat what’s served.

50. Break the rules sometimes. Have ice cream for dinner, or wear pajamas all day on a snowy weekend.


We hope that this handout has been helpful to you. At the Counseling Center of New Smyrna Beach we have several therapist who can assist you in getting the treatment you need. If we can be of help please call 386.423.9161 today. Start living your legacy!

Why Does My Kid Do That?


More than ever I am being asked if my child has Autism, Asperger's or ADD / ADHD. So I've compiled a list of common signs that clinicians use when assessing an individual for childhood disorders.

  1. Extra sensitive to touch- they don't like to be touched or can't be touched enough.

  2. Sensitivity to sounds – they may cover over the years when the same noise doesn't bother others, including hairdryers, toilets or vacuums.

  3. Picky eaters- they will eat only one or two familiar foods, burgers, pizza, mac and cheese.

  4. Avoidance of sensory stimulation- they will put their hands in anything messy such as glue claim or mud, they also only wear certain clothes usually comfortable ones. They ask you to cut the tags out of their clothes.

  5. Uneasiness with movement- they fear amusement park rides playground equipment and being turned upside down most children with sensory processing disorder do not like gymnastic type movements.

  6. Hyperactivity- they can't sit still during the day and they are difficult to get to sleep at night.

  7. Fear of crowds- crowded areas bother them to the point of frequent public meltdowns.

  8. Poor fine or gross motor skills- they have trouble with handwriting or kicking the ball, riding a bike or writing.

  9. Excessive risk taking- they may be unaware of touch or pain which can come across as aggressive behavior, they jump or crash into anything they can.

  10. Trouble with balance- they may be accident prone to fall more often than others and have a preference for sedentary activities. Due to this they are often seen as lazy.

  11. Difficulty making friends - they prefer to play alone and their play may be repetitive. For instance they may draw the same thing over and over again, or they may talk about the same topic almost obsessively and this places limits on their social skills making it difficult to form friendships.

Sensory processing - making sense of the world - is what most adults conveyed to me as the most frustrating area they struggled with as children who were diagnosed with ADD / ADHD, OCD, Autism, Asperger's. Sensory processing difficulties impacted every aspect of their lives - relationships, communication, self-awareness, safety and so on.

A Sensory Processing Disorder, although not an official diagnosis yet, is a term that is use to explain a neurological disorder causing difficulties with taking in, processing and responding to sensory information about the environment and from within the body.

Although this list is not complete, or intended to diagnose, these are behaviors that are typical of individuals with sensory processing issues. If you believe that you or your loved ones may be suffering from a sensory processing disorder it is recommended that you receive an expert evaluation from a licensed and skilled clinician such as those of the Counseling Center of New Smyrna Beach.


We hope that this handout has been helpful to you. At the Counseling Center of New Smyrna Beach we have several therapist who can assist you in getting the treatment you need. If we can be of help please call 386.423.9161 today. Start living your legacy!

Play Therapy


"Play Therapy is an opportunity offered to the child to experience growth under the most favorable circumstances.” Virginia Axline



Play Therapy is not play alone. The child is given the opportunity to play out the accumulated feelings of tension, insecurity, aggression, fear, bewilderment, and confusion in a safe, therapeutic setting. Within the framework of a therapeutic relationship, play becomes an opportunity to heal. By bringing these feelings out in the open and facing them in the safety of play, the child is able to learn to control them, or choose to abandon them.



Non Directive Play Therapy is a child-centered approach which takes into account how the personality is formed and structured. It includes the use of toys and play, the language of the child.



Developing a working alliance

Helping the child to understand his or her experience

Linking understanding with feelings

Reducing troublesome feelings

Finding acceptance.



Every effort is made to include the parents and other family members as best suits the child’s treatment. Family meetings are scheduled periodically to discuss the child’s progress with the parents and to support the child’s growth.





Building a therapeutic relationship is the foundation of all therapy, and must be given sufficient time. Children cannot be rushed and still feel important.



When the child achieves emotional relaxation, the child will begin to realize his or her power within to be an individual in his or her own right, to think for himself, to make her own decisions, to become psychologically more mature, and by so doing, to realize selfhood.


Objectives & Goals: 



To offer the child a safe and non-judgmental environment to learn about herself/himself and to gain acceptance of self.

To express emotions freely, and to learn to manage them appropriately.

Correct distortions and allow the child to process and understand trauma on his or her own terms.



To help the child who’s efforts to grow have been blocked or hindered.

 To regain his or her confidence and self expression. 

 To develop in a normal, healthy manner. 

What Every Parent Should Know About Discipline 


One of the most frequent questions I hear is how do I get my child to behave and respect me? It is important to understand some of the advanced techniques of positive parenting if you are to succeed at this.

Young children are beginners! They have lots to learn and one of the biggest "lessons" they must learn is how to behave or act in an acceptable manner. Learning this lesson is not easy and it takes years to do it.

Caregivers, like parents, must be patient and must expect children to make mistakes - that is, do things that are not acceptable. We also must remember that children do not have mini-computers in their heads. They often forget a rule, or they get so involved in doing something, they get distracted and do something they ordinarily wouldn't do.

We can help children learn how to behave. We should think about teaching a child "how to behave" in much the same way as we help children learn other things. For example, there are good ways to help a child learn how to eat, and there are some ways that are not good.

Think about helping a child learn about finger paint. Let's imagine these children had never seen finger paint before. Hardly any caregiver would ever think of just putting out lots of paint in front of this group of young children without some guidance. A top-notch caregiver might talk about finger paint, show the children its consistency, and probably demonstrate how to use it on paper. The caregiver probably would give the children a few cautions about not throwing or slopping the paint or not dumping the entire jar of paint on the paper. No caregiver would simply put out the open finger paint jars and go do something else. She would watch carefully, making appropriate and encouraging comments about what the children are doing. Every one of you, if you were in this situation, would be patient, and would not yell if the child accidentally dropped some paint on the floor. You'd calmly tell the child to get a paper towel and wipe it up. You would realize the child is learning, and that the child is a beginner in this business of using finger paints.
Helping a child learn what is acceptable behavior is much like helping a child learn about finger painting. It takes patience; it takes repeating, and it takes firmness. In our example, if the child deliberately turns the jar upside-down and dumps the paint onto the floor, you would talk with the child and probably end the finger painting activity. But you would do it calmly, and you would understand that the child is not ready, at least today, to do finger painting.

So it is with behavior. The one big difference is that behavior is occurring all the time. Unlike finger painting, you can't tell the children, "Now we are going to behave!" Why? Because they are behaving all the time. You meet new situations all the time. So do they. They don't always know or remember how to act. Because you are an adult, you developed some skills that will enable you to deal with most of the situations you run into. Remember, children are beginners. They don't have much experience. Most situations children face are new.

We're going to discuss three basic skills. If you master these, your life with the children will be much calmer. These skills will enable you to enjoy the children. 

More importantly though you will be helping them learn. 
1. You'll learn about rules and how to establish them. 
2. You'll learn about consistency. 
3. You'll learn to use "time-out."

There are many ways to teach children how to act in an appropriate way. Some refer to this teaching as "discipline." Unfortunately, to some the word discipline is harsh. To them it means yelling, screaming, saying "NO" over and over, and in extreme cases, some people think discipline only means something physical. You may know a parent who says, "When I discipline, I smack her bottom.” being a good caregiver and a top-notch professional, you know that yelling, screaming, repeatedly saying "NO," or hitting a child are not effective ways to discipline or teach good behavior. 

Children need rules. Rules help a child feel secure. When young children have rules, they know what is expected of them. Rules need to be carefully thought out and NOT made up on the spur of the moment when you run out of patience or don't feel well.

1. You must first decide what is important and what you absolutely don't want the children to do or what you want them to do. Rules are usually based on the child's and the safety of other children, yourself, and your home. (It's a good idea to write down all of these important do's and don'ts.) For example. You do not want the children to go upstairs alone. They may only go up with you when it's time to take their naps. "Not going upstairs alone" will be a rule in your home. You will not allow children to run through the house. It's dangerous, and they might slip and hurt themselves. That's another rule.

2. Now list your rules. Make certain you do not have to many. How many is too many? That depends on you, the children, and your house. The point is, try not to have rules that include non-important matters. For example. If you find you make a rule about not touching a valuable vase that sits on the coffee table that happens to be in the area the children use, that rule might not be enforceable. It's much better not to make a rule and move the vase to a safer area within your home. An example of an non-important rule might be "don't touch or draw on the cold, frosted window." In most cases, running a finger down a window that has moisture on it fascinates a child. In fact, such a window offers a wonderful example that you can use to help the child learn about moisture in the home and what happens when it's cold outside and warm inside. Generally speaking, running a finger down a window will not harm the child, you, or the window. It's a great opportunity for the child to explore a basic principle of science.

3. Post the rules. Go over the rules with children. Use the old method of tell, tell, and tell. Remember children need repetition. Tell them what you're going to tell them. Tell them what you've already told them! Demonstrate as much as you can what you mean when you say the rule. For example, "There will be no running in the house." Children are creative, and they still try to see how fast they can walk. Is this what you mean? Actually, let them run and tell them "that's what running is."

4. Inform the parents of the rules. Make certain they understand not only the rules but also why you have each rule. Be willing to compromise if a parent questions a rule. Don't get defensive. Admit to yourself, you may have included an unreasonable rule. Be willing to change it.

5. As you make the rules, figure out what will happen if a child breaks the rule. If Joe runs through the house, what will happen to Joe? What consequences will follow Joe's breaking of the rule?

6. Tell the children the consequences of breaking the rules. Make certain they understand that if they run, they will "not be able to use the room they ran in" or they will "have to sit down for five minutes.” Letting children suffer the consequences is a "hassle-free" way to discipline young people. Children learn from experiences, just like adults. We call it learning the "hard way." Children learn that every act has a consequence. And they learn to be responsible. Children must understand that they have choices and must accept the consequences of their choices. They need to know the reason for the consequence. "Running in the house can cause you to fall and get hurt."

7. When a young child breaks a rule the first time, calmly take her aside and remind her of the rule. Younger children may need a couple of reminders. When the rule is broken again, then gently, but firmly tell the child, "You ran in the house. The rule is 'No running'. Now you go sit down for five minutes."
8. Be certain to follow through. If you do not follow through, you are teaching a lesson that you probably don't want to teach. That lesson is simple. You are saying by your behavior (not following through) that when you say something, you don't mean it!


NATURAL CONSEQUENCES allow children to learn from the natural order of the world. For example, if the child doesn't eat, the child will get hungry. You allow the unpleasant but natural consequences to happen when a child does not act in a desirable way.

LOGICAL CONSEQUENCES are arranged by the caregiver. The consequences must logically follow the child's behavior. For example, throwing a block at the window means the child will not have blocks to play with. That's a logical consequence of throwing a block.

CONSEQUENCES TEACH RESPONSIBILITY. Using consequences can help a child develop a sense of responsibility. It leads to warmer relationships between caregivers and children and to fewer conflicts. The situation itself provides the lesson for the child.

Caregivers cannot use NATURAL CONSEQUENCES if the health or safety of the child is involved. If a young child runs into the street without looking, it is not possible to wait until the child is hit by a car, a natural consequence, to teach the child not to run into the street. Instead, the child should be taken into the house and told, "Since you ran into the street without looking, you cannot play outside now. You can come out when you decide to look before going into the street." (In this make-believe situation it goes without saying that the caregiver will need to be extra careful to watch this child when she is outside playing.) This is a LOGICAL CONSEQUENCE. Because running into the street can harm the child, the child cannot play outside until the child learns to play safely in the yard. The child has a choice, to stay out of the street or to go inside. The child is given responsibility for behavior, and any consequences suffered (going inside) are the results of that behavior. Consequences cannot be used with very young children who do not understand about them. Remember, children's minds don't work like adults'. Children can't think like adults.

The purpose of using consequences is to help the child learn to make decisions and to be responsible. Consequences are learning experiences, not punishment. They won't work if they are used like punishment. For example, if the caregiver yells angrily at the child, "Put up the toys, or you can't watch TV," she is not encouraging the child to make a responsible decision. If she says calmly and in a friendly voice, "Jesse, put your toys up, or you can't play with them for an hour," she allows Jesse to make a choice. The secret of using consequences effectively is to stay calm and detached. Be friendly, not vengeful and spiteful.

Caregivers cannot apply consequences if they are angry. They cannot conceal their anger from the child. Their voice will give them away. Try to view the situation objectively, as though the child were a total stranger's child and not one of your child care children. Administer the consequences in a firm and kindly manner. Remember that giving a child a choice and a chance to suffer the consequences is a learning process for the child.

Consequences work when the child is trying to get your attention by misbehaving and when children fight, dawdle, and fail to do their chores. They can be used to get children to pick up toys and to meals on time. Robert learns that if he doesn't wash his hands before meals, he won't be served any food; and if he fights with another child, he will have to sit down for five minutes.

It is not easy to use consequences as a way to discipline children. It is hard work to think of consequences that really are logical. And it requires lots of patience. Sometimes it takes several weeks to get results.

Some caregivers are so used to telling children what to do, that it is very difficult to sit back and let the child suffer the consequences of the actions. The effort it takes to teach consequences is well worth it, because it means fewer battles between the caregiver and the child.

CONSEQUENCES VS. PUNISHMENT -The differences between consequences and punishment are:

CONSEQUENCES - calm tone of voice - friendly attitude - willing to accept the child's decision

PUNISHMENT - angry tone of voice - hostile attitude - unwilling to give a choice

One of the most difficult parts of enforcing rules is being consistent. When a child pounds on the table (you have a rule "no pounding on the table"), you may remind the child of the rule; and if it is broken again, you give the child the consequence. However, if you are busy and in another room when the child pounds on the table, you may be tempted to ignore the pounding and "hope it goes away." You hope the child will stop pounding. If the rule is not applied in the case of pounding on the table, the child who is pounding and all the others will quickly learn that rules can be ignored. The children will learn that you really didn't mean what you said about "pounding on the table." This lesson can then be applied to other behaviors. 

Consistency goes beyond just dealing with behavior. It's vital that you are consistent with meal times, nap times, toy pick-up time, and the like. But when it comes to applying rules, it is not only vital; it's critical. You must follow through with the consequences each and every time. After a few times, the children will get the message that you mean what you say and the rules are to be kept.

A "time-out" is an excellent discipline method to use when the kids are "bugging" you. It works like this: Sandra and Sarah are fighting over a game. You say, "Since you can't play together without fighting, I think you need a time-out. Sarah, you go to the bedroom, and Sandra, you go to the dining room and stay for five minutes. I will let you know when five minutes are up." (They can be sent to any room where they can be alone, but monitored and watched.) A time-out is not a punishment. It is just a boring few minutes when nothing happens.

Time-outs have many advantages. They can be used with children aged three to twelve. (They probably won't work with children younger than three, and they are not appropriate for teenagers.) Time-outs can be used with one child, two children, or three or as many children as you have places where they can be alone. 
A time-out can be used when children are fighting or quarreling, or when their behavior is annoying you.

Before trying this new method, sit down and explain it to the children when both you and the children are in a happy frame of mind. It always helps if children know what to expect. For example, tell the children, "The next time you argue over the toys, we are going to try something new. It's called a time-out. When I say, 'Take a time-out,' it means you have to go to separate rooms and stay there five minutes. I will tell you when five minutes are up."

Call time outs in a calm, cool way. It will not work if you make it a punishment or if you scream, "Roger, I've told you and Eddie a hundred times not to fight over your toys. You two will just have to take a time-out and see how you like that!" The objective of the time-out is to stop undesirable behavior. Roger and Eddie cannot fight when they are in separate rooms. The time-out gives them time to simmer down. It gives them time to think about their behavior and to realize that you will not allow it to continue.

The time-out is particularly helpful for fighting and quarreling situations.

Sometimes children fight to get attention. When the caregiver screams and punishes, the children get negative attention. Even though they are punished, the attention they get gives them reason to repeat their fighting.

The time-out saves you from trying to decide who started the fight and who is to blame. Placing blame on one child only creates more jealousy. When fighting breaks out say, "Since you children cannot get along with each other, I think you need a time-out." If Bryan says, "But she started it," say, "I don't care who started it. You both need a time-out." When five minutes are up, say, "Five minutes are up." Don't say, "If you've learned your lesson, you can come out of your room now" or "You can come out and play now." Just let the children know that the five minutes are up.

Calling a time-out instead of punishing makes for less tension between you and the child. It causes less wear and tear on you. If the time-out does not work, you probably are not using it correctly. Some caregivers who have difficulty using this method are ones who have trouble saying "No" to the children. If the child refuses to go to the room, simply take the child by the hand and lead the way to the room. The child needs to learn that you mean business; that once a time-out is called, the child is going to a room and stay there for five minutes. If the child won't stay in the room, the caregiver is probably not calling the time-out in a firm manner. (Being firm does not mean yelling.) Some caregivers have a time-out chair where a child sits. The child can't say or do anything while sitting in the chair. The caregiver must mean it. If the caregiver calls a time-out and then does not see that the child goes to a room, the technique will not work. The child soon learns that when the caregiver says, "Take a time-out," it will not be enforced.

The first time you try a time-out, the children will be surprised that you are not punishing them. After they are familiar with this discipline method, they will accept it and may even call time-out on themselves. This is a sign of self-discipline. 
Try not to use a time-out for little things, or for behavior that is only slightly annoying or for normal accidents. In these cases attempt to ignore the behavior or distract the child.

1. As with any rule, give the child a warning about what she is doing or not doing. Tell her if the behavior continues, "you will have to take a time-out."

2. If the behavior continues, calmly tell the child to go to the time-out place. 

3. Don't pay any attention to comments, pleas, promises, or arguments. Don't get into a dialogue with the child, and don't argue or try to convince the child. 

4. Tell the child how long the time-out will last. Some care givers use an egg timer or stove-type timer to keep track of the time. (Use one minute for each year of age. A four-year-old child has a four-minute time-out.)

5. Tell the child the time-out will not begin until she is quiet and in the time-out place. 

6. Once the time-out is over, tell the child to rejoin the group, and suggest an appropriate behavior.

Reverse time-outs can be used when the child is really "bugging" you. Remove yourself from the situation. You may not be able to change the child's behavior, but you do not have to suffer through it. Instead of isolating the child, as in a time-out, it is the caregiver who is isolated. You might even simply turn your back on the problem, walk over to the window, and gaze out admiring the trees!

If the child is acting silly, arguing, or whining, momentarily leave the child, and go where the behavior can't get to you. For example, take a magazine; go to next room. You can be aware of what's happening, but are somewhat removed. Always stay within a distance that allows you to be certain the children are safe. Don't go back with the children until peace and calm are restored.

Some caregivers may not like the reverse time out method. It is inconvenient, and they interpret it as "giving in." But the children consider your presence rewarding. When you remove your presence, you are withholding a reward. Children soon learn that if they behave a certain way, you will ignore them.


We hope that this handout has been helpful to you. At the Counseling Center of New Smyrna Beach we have several therapist who can assist you in getting the treatment you need. If we can be of help please call 386.423.9161 today. Start living your legacy!

Dealing With An Angry Child or Teen

angry child teen

At the Counseling Center of New Smyrna Beach our therapists are often asked, what is the best way to cope with my child’s behavior? Dealing with an angry child can be one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. You may find yourself constantly battling, and constantly exhausted, after repeated battles that you eventually win only because you hold the trump card - Because I said so.

Winning a battle of wills with your child simply by tossing your ace on top doesn't leave you with a feeling of confidence in your parenting abilities. After the battle is over, you often feel ashamed of yourself for handling it that way, and guilty for showing your child that you're angry.

Many of us, as children, are taught that it's wrong to get angry, that being angry is bad, or, that if we're angry, we must have done something to deserve it. These kind of mistaken beliefs are what make it so difficult for us to deal with our children when they become angry.

So, the first step toward helping your child manage his anger is to understand that it's OK to be angry. It's a normal, human emotion. What you need to do is help your child learn how to channel that anger in a more productive way.

There are many things in our adult lives that make us angry. Standing in line at the grocery store, mistakes at work, flat tires on the highway. We need to remember that there are many things in our children’s lives that make them angry too, and allow them to feel those feelings of anger, but show them acceptable ways of expressing it.

Children generally respond with anger because they feel helpless. Their chubby little fingers can't seem to make that bow in the shoelace. Or they can't figure out how to button their coat. They also feel like they are helpless against you. They have to go to bed when you tell them; they have to eat their veggies. They have no control, therefore they feel helpless.

But, to understand why one child becomes angry and then quickly skips off to the playground while the other child becomes violent takes a little more time and effort. What caused the outburst? The thing to remember is that, in children, anger can be triggered by embarrassment, loneliness, anxiety and hurt. Children respond with anger in these situations because they feel helpless to understand them fully and helpless to change them.

It's important to remember that anger isn't the same thing as aggression. Anger is a temporary emotional state caused by frustration, while aggression is often an attempt to hurt someone or destroy property. Let your child know that it's OK to feel angry, but aggression is definitely not allowed.

Dealing with a child's anger and aggression requires that you first find out what they are feeling. Ask them what happened or why they are feeling the way they feel. But explain to your child that anger is OK and then let them know that you get angry too and here's how you handle it.


Ten tips to deal with angry children

1) Acknowledge and reinforce positive behavior

I'm glad you shared your train with your brother. Thank you for hanging up your coat. I like the way you handled your brother when he took your doll away. You were really patient while I was on the phone. Now, what was it that you wanted to ask me? This lets your child know that you appreciate and expect positive behavior.


2) Ignore inappropriate behavior that you can tolerate.

Nagging while you're on the phone can be dealt with positive reinforcement. Thank you for waiting while I was talking on the phone. I'm finished now, so what did you need? and then ignore the behavior that you don't like, ignore your child's interruptions while you're on the phone. Now, you'll probably say that if you ignore them they only scream louder. But, they scream louder because they know they will always get your attention. Ignore their inappropriate behavior and they'll get the message. 


3) Just Say No!

Your child needs limits and you should set those limits and enforce them consistently. Don't say no all the time though. Say yes every now and then, when it's appropriate, and let them know why it's OK for this one time.


4) Your child needs exercise.

When we adults get angry, we sometimes need a physical outlet for that anger. We jog, we take a walk around the block, and we go to the gym and hit the Stairmaster with a vengeance. Your child needs an outlet, too. Let them run around and make a little noise for a while to let off some of that steam. They're in danger of erupting just as much as you are.


5) Group Hug

Keep in mind that a hug is a powerful emotional band-aid for a child. Don't hug your child, though, to make the anger go away. Hug him to let him know you understand why he's angry and that you take it very seriously.


6) Show interest in your child's activities.

Attention and pride can often make it easier for your child to deal with negative emotions. When he does experience failures and frustration, knowing that you love him and you're proud of him will make these negative feelings much less significant to your child. Sometimes children express anger in an aggressive way to attract attention from their parents. If they already have your attention, then won't need the aggressive behavior.


7) Use humor to diffuse anger.

Humor lightens any stressful situation, even for kids. Don't use humor to ridicule your child, though, use it to make light of the situation and put it into perspective. I know you're angry at that little girl for calling you names, but doesn't it make you wonder just what a purple jimmy jaws looks like!


8) When situations change, tell your child directly.

If you normally let your child play his drum in the living room in the afternoon and you all of a sudden send him to his room he's going to get angry. But if you explain to him that you have a headache and that, just for today, you need him to play quietly in his room; you can diffuse that anger and also teach him a lesson in compassion at the same time.


9) Use all your parenting skills.

If your child is in the middle of a tantrum that he's unable to stop on his own, pick him up and restrain him. Not only for his own safety, but to let him know that it's OK to step away from the situation if need be. If you have to bargain with your child to get him to stop screaming, then do it occasionally. As adults, we reward ourselves at the end of a long, hard day. Your child deserves a reward, too, sometimes.


10) Most of all, remember that your child learns his anger management techniques from you.

If you curse when you're angry, so will he. If you throw things when you're angry, you can bet he will, too. And if you strike him in anger, he'll repeat the cycle with his own children. Teach your child from a very young age how to handle his anger and you'll be better preparing him for his future.



How To Handle Your Angry Teen

It happens almost over night. One night, you're reading them a bedtime story and they adore you, and the next night they are a teenager and they hate the fact that you even exist!  Welcome to Teenage Anger. You're not the first parent to experience it, and you certainly won't be the last.

First, you need to understand that your teen's anger isn't directed at you personally.  Teenagers these days have a tremendous amount of stress from sources that were unheard of when we were kids. Texting and Facebook alone are enough to drive anyone crazy. Not to mention the physiological changes your teen is going through.

You need to handle your teen's outbursts a little differently than you handle your toddler's though. Let your teen know that, while it's all right to express anger, aggression is unacceptable behavior. And then stop thinking about yourself. Stop wondering why your teens are disrespecting you; stop worrying about why they only ignore you. Start putting yourself in their shoes and consider all of the pressures they're facing from school and friends and their own bodies.

Once you stop worrying about how they're treating you, you can step back and see more of what they're actually going through. You'll be able to communicate with them, to talk with them instead of at them. You're relationship probably won't be like any of those storybook relationships but you'll be helping your teens learn how to handle their anger just by showing them how you handle yours.


5 Quick Tips for Anyone

As I said earlier, you've made a great first step just by admitting you need help and reading this guide. Here are a few more tips to help you learn how to manage your anger.

1) Count to 10

There are two reasons this works and no one ever mentions the second reason.  The first reason, of course, is that it gives you time to calm down a bit and come up with an appropriate response when someone says or does something that angers you.  Better to count to ten and remain, than to blow up like a cannon. The second reason this works is because; if you take the time to slowly count to 10, if all you're able to think of is an angry or abusive comeback, think how stupid you're going to look at that point.  For example, if someone says, You're UGLY! And then you have to slowly count to ten before you say, Oh Yeah? Well.... Think how foolish you're going to look having to take all that time to come up with a response. Better to just keep your mouth shut and let the situation diffuse itself at that point.

Once you've calmed down, express your anger, It's healthy to be angry, it's the way you express it that counts. Do walk away or do whatever you have to do to avoid abuse and violence. But do come back after you've calmed down. Don't keep your anger inside.

2) Think before you speak

I realize that during the heat of the moment it's difficult to stop and think to avoid saying something hurtful. If the situation is that far gone, you need to get up and leave anyway. But, if you know you're going to have a confrontation and that it may get a bit tense, write down what you want to say before hand and stay on topic. Practice Assertive Communication techniques.

3) Identify Solutions

Instead of focusing on whatever happened that made you angry in the first place, work with the other person to try to come up with a solution.

4) Let go of that grudge

It's unrealistic to expect that someone is going to do exactly what you want him or her to do all the time. At some point they will do something to make you angry. Learning to forgive the other person will help you both.

5) Learn to relax

Learning relaxation techniques to help you relax and de-stress will help you control your anger when it flares up. We discussed breathing earlier, but you can also use a relaxation technique called visualization to picture yourself in a relaxing setting or to picture a relaxing scene. Self-talk is helpful, too. Repeating phrases, such as take it easy or take a deep breath, can help you overcome your anger when it starts to get out of control. Other proven methods of relaxation include, yoga, journaling and hypnosis.


We hope that this handout has been helpful to you. At the Counseling Center of New Smyrna Beach we have several therapist who can assist you in getting the treatment you need. If we can be of help please call 386.423.9161 today. Start living your legacy!