Friday, August 29, 2014

What kind of Parent are You?

What Kind of Parent are You?

Take the following quiz to find out what your parenting style is; you'll find the answers at the end of the quiz.
1. If your son hits a child at a sports practice. What would you do?
a. Lose your cool, ground your son for a long time, and or spank him.
b. Ignore the kids and let them handle it.
c. Talk to your son about why hitting is wrong at an appropriate time, and give him a consequence that fits the infraction.  If he does it again, increase the consequence slightly.
2. Your son and his friends have made a big mess, and now they want to go outside. What would you do?
a. Yell at them to clean up now, because you said so.
b. Argue with them, but finally give in and let them do what they want.
c. Help them clean by making a game out of it or ask your son what the rule is before he goes outside.  At an appropriate time discuss why it’s important to clean up, and encourage his questions and minor arguments to spur a dialogue.  If he continues to disobey, tell his friends they have to go home.
3. You and your pre- teen daughter are renting a few movies, and she wants to rent an R- rated movie that all of her friends have seen. What would you do?
a. Tell her no and that’s the end of it.
b. Argue with her that it’s not appropriate, but let her wear you down to let her do what she wants.  It takes too much energy sometimes to fight, and it’s not a big deal anyway.
c. At an appropriate time, discuss with her why an R rated movie is not appropriate for her age, encourage her questions and minor arguments to help spur a discussion.  At present, you help her find a more appropriate movie.  If she continues to argue, warn her she is about to lose her right to any movie.  If she continues, take her home without a movie.
4. You daughter is procrastinating about bedtime by saying that she would like something to eat. What would you do?
a. Make her go to bed hungry because it's her bedtime.  You don’t discuss the rules because you’re the adult, and she shouldn’t question or challenge your rules.
b. Go ahead and let her eat a snack before bed.  You’re just not up for an argument tonight.
c. If this is the first time she’s done this, give her a healthy snack, but an at appropriate time, have a discussion about bedtimes, snacks, and routines.  Encourage her input about what would be best for her at an appropriate time and then hold her to the agreement you strike with her.  If after a discussion she still relies on using excuses to stay up, make her go to bed without a snack.
5. What do you do if you kids don't do their chores?
a. Yell and make them do it right then.
b. Do the chores yourself.  It’s easier than arguing!
c. Remind them that they need to do their chores.  Encourage them to brainstorm what is the best way to remember to do the chores and how they will get done.  Hold them to the agreement by giving appropriate pre-agreed consequences that fit the infraction if they don’t stick to the agreed rule.
10. What is the main goal of parenting and discipline?
a. To make your children obey you because they are the child and you are the adult.
b. To make sure that everyone is happy.  You worry that if you make your child follow the rules, they might hate you, and that’s never healthy either.
c. To raise your children to be independent, responsible people by helping them think for themselves, take responsibility for their actions, and lead productive, happy lives.  Although you have rules and make your children follow them, you have fair consequences and encourage a lot of discussion and even minor arguing and compromise making from both sides.

If you had more 'A' answers, you are more of an authoritarian parent. You stress the importance of obedience in regards to authority, no questions asked. Most authoritarian parents rely on punishment only and a ‘because I said so’ mentality.  You are often the cold rule enforcer and believe allowing ‘arguments’ could make you appear weak as a parent or make your child weak.  You have all the power.

If you had more 'B' answers, you are more of a permissive parent, which means that you exercise very little if any control. You are often more of a friend than a parent to your child.  Your child ultimately has most of the power.

If you had more 'C' answers, you are more of an authoritative parent.  You have rules and give appropriate consequences for your child, but also encourage them to think for themselves, voice their opinion, and learn to manage their own behavior.  You always make sure that your child understand that even if they make mistakes, you love them.  You are warm but firm with your children.  You empower your child.

Your school social worker is always available for parenting support.  Call Rachel Parker at (803) 575-5455 or email at

Monday, August 11, 2014

RIP Robin Williams: Save a Life, Learn How to Identify and Help a Suicidal Person

Robin Williams' death is a tragedy.  Learn what you can do to prevent this from happening to someone you know and/or love.

Signs a person MAY be suicidal

  • Gives valued things away
  • Obsessed with death
  • Verbal statements about wanting to die
  • Perfectionism
  • Dealing with a major recent crisis
  • Apathetic/Depressed
  • Unexplained anger, impulsivity, risk taking
  • Substance use
  • Recent attempt by family or friend

What NOT to do:
  • Never tell a depressed or suicidal person to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get over it’.
  • Don’t ignore a depressed loved one.
  • Don’t ask “You’re not serious, are you?” or “You’re not thinking of suicide are you?” or “You’re kidding, right?”

What to do:

  • Be persistent about making sure the person is ok.
  • Talk privately.
  • Allow plenty of time.
  • Ask them outright if they are suicidal – how you ask is less important than that you ask it. See the next suggestion about how to ask THE question.
  • Get the person to a professional ASAP. NEVER wait. It is best to physically take them to a counselor or the emergency room as soon as they confirm they are suicidal.
  • Never allow a suicidal person to be alone.

How to ask THE question:

  • Do you ever wish you could go to sleep and never wake up?
  • When people are as upset as you seem to be, they sometimes wish they were dead. Do you feel that way, too?
  • Are you thinking about killing yourself?
  • You look miserable, are you thinking of committing suicide?
  • If you are uncomfortable doing this, get the person to someone who is trained, such as a school counselor, a medical professional, or a counselor.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Use it if you or a loved one is or is suspected to be suicidal.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How to help your child control their impulses..

Many children are impulsive.  Impulse control is managed in the frontal lobe, and some children are better at it than others.  But it can certainly be improved upon.  One way to do this is through age appropriate exercises and discussions that help 'flex' and strengthen the impulse control 'muscle' in the frontal lobe.  Research shows that with practice, this skill can be improved upon!  Here are some ways how:

Get them thinking!  Instead of TELLING a child what to do ("Don't touch that!"), get the child's mind working by ASKING them what would happen if they carried out the behavior in question.  Ask them how different ways of handling the same situation would result in different outcomes.  This helps exercise the part of the brain that controls executive functioning. Executive functioning includes impulse control, planning, organizing, and thinking about past consequences and future outcomes.  This functioning can be improved with your support and encouragement.  Just think of it this way: you're teaching your child how to think!

You can also play games with them.  For example, with younger children, play Simon Says or Red Light/Green Light.  This helps them take their thought processes one step beyond just reacting.  They are forced to think before they react.  With practice, they'll get better at this, and it will help them control impulses in every day life.

Develop a visual cue with your child that you can use in public that will help them 'stop and think'.

Board games such as "Stop, Relax & Think", "Look Before you Leap" and "The Angry Monster Machine" are great tools to help children improve their impulse control.

When your child uses impulse control, be sure to point out what a good job they did.  Be specific.  Don't just say, 'Good job!!'.  Say, 'I like how you waited your turn in line, even though you wanted to jump ahead.  You waited patiently for everyone and that a wonderful display of patience!'

Saturday, August 20, 2011

ADHD and food

I've long thought that ADD/ADHD was influenced by diet.  I notice when I eat 'wrong' I lose focus and get more irritable, and have always suspected a link.  Click HERE to read an article that supports it!

I'm not in total agreement with the article.  For example, several breakfast ideas are suggested.  Many of the options would have LOTS of hidden sugar, including the pancakes, yogurt, and granola.  Just be sure to read labels!  Simple carbs magnify ADHD.  Simple carbs include white bread and pastas, sugar, and potatoes.  You MUST read labels, because sugar is in most deli meet, sauces, dressings, cereals, yogurt, and many canned goods.  Corn syrup, pure kane sugar, brown sugar, and honey are more things to watch out for.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Need help? Try 211!

If you are at a loss as to where to find social services or other resources, calling 211 is a great place to start.  They offer referrals to housing, food assistance, child care, counseling, shelters, emergency assistance and much more with a simple phone call.  Visit for more information!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Do I need counseling?

Sometimes it's hard to know when it's time to see professional help for a mental health issue. For some problems, it may be adequate to read some books, do some research, and try to fix mental health or relational problems on your own. But if you've come to a point where you've tried and tried, or you feel like you are not sure where to turn, it may be time to enlist the help of a counselor. Even with problems that may seem simple, it can be extremely helpful to have an outside party give some perspective and guidance.

But how can you tell if you have a really serious problem that almost always requires the help of a professional? Here are some warning signs to look for:

* Suicidal - the person makes comments or shows signs of being suicidal

* The person is no longer able to function in one or more areas of their lives, including their personal or professional roles

*The person feels very sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks and it's not due to bereavement

*Overwhelming fear for no reason that comes on all of a sudden. This is often accompanied by a racing heart beat or heavy breathing.

*Severe behavior that puts the person and/or others in harm's way. This may include violence or risk taking

*Not eating, throwing up, or taking laxatives to lose weight

*Intense worry or fear that gets in the way of living life normally

*Difficulty staying still or concentrating which impacts work or school negatively

*Frequent intoxication from drugs or alcohol

*Severe mood swings that interfere with work or relationships

*Drastic changes in personality

*Any behavior that causes a major life crisis, such as divorce, school failure, physical violence, etc.

Monday, July 11, 2011

ADD and ADHD - the myths and facts explored

Is it possible that you or a loved one has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)?  First of all, allow me to dispel a common myth.  ADD/ADHD is not simply a problem of not being able to focus.  It's much more complicated than that.  It's more like a syndrome that affects your ability to manage your focus.  So while those with ADD/ADHD may have a hard time focusing, they may also have a hard time stopping an activity they are really interested in.  Another major part of ADD/ADHD that many don't realize is the short term and working memory problems.  Things are easily forgotten and lost, and it is hard to hold information in the brain long enough to work out problems.  This is why many with ADD/ADHD have problems working out complex problems, reading, thinking about consequences, learning from mistakes and punishment, etc.  This is related to their executive function deficits, which make them impulsive, unorganized, irresponsible, and poor at planning.  One author described ADD/ADHD as a condition that rendered you unable to be affected by your past or future, but only by the present.  That is why those with ADHD/ADD may 'do the easy, fun thing' in the moment, and not think about consequences or outcomes. Fortunately, this condition has been extensively studied and written about, and there are many things that can be done to help those with ADD/ADHD compensate for their shortcomings.  If you would like to make an online appointment with me, please feel free to email me.  I offer online and telephone counseling to give suggestions about how to better manage ADD/ADHD.  For more information, visit