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Archive for December, 2014

I’ve been working with kids lately on recognizing their brain and bodies response to WHEN THINGS DONT GO JUST RIGHT. In session I always use a whiteboard and draw a visual schedule. I have been drawing the picture you see marked “2” to prompt discussion around this common phenomenon:

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A boy walking down the street happy as a clam with his ice cream. It suddenly falls. This is unexpected and NOT JUST RIGHT. I use this prompt to give kids an example to go off of. Within the last few weeks, I’ve gotten some amazing responses from kids about their own experiences of when things don’t go JUST RIGHT. We draw these situations out, talk about how their brain is wired to expect things to go as planned and how when things do not, their brain struggles to know how to respond appropriately. This allows for both education, processing upsetting events, and also working towards some concrete ways of managing this feeling when it arises in the future. I ask that parents help their children begin to identify examples throughout the week of “When things don’t go JUST RIGHT” and write them down. In doing this, we are helping the child better understand themselves, their triggers, and the thoughts and feelings associated with these triggers. The goal is that with greater awareness, we can help kids to learn to recognize the feeling before it gets too big and too explosive.

Just today, I came across this wonderful Dr. Seuss picture and text and thought it worth sharing:

Seuss Just Right 2

What a great mantra for all of us.

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WE ARE ALL STUCK IN PATTERNS

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We all have patterns we seem to repeat often, sometimes daily. By drawing these patterns out and filling in the problematic thoughts, we become aware and can set goals to break them. In this example, the young man has allowed his room to get so cluttered that the job seems daunting. His mother expects him to “clean it” completely everyday. However, this has not been enforced with any clear plan.
In the visual we created recently, he walks into the room and instantly feels overwhelmed. He then gives up and falls back to something comforting, watching videos on his tablet. This pattern occurs everyday for the last two months. We all sat down recently to discuss how to break down the daunting task of cleaning this room into manageable steps. We came up with the following:

What does it mean to clean your room (being explicit with expectations)?

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A large part of me believes that this child needs a fresh start. If mom either helps or completely cleans the entire room and then follows through with the clearly stated expectations (upkeep of your room daily), then I believe the child will develop a positive pattern of maintaining his room. However, if she continues to expect the boy to overcome this self-created mountain, I don’t know if this pattern will be broken. That is why we wrote the statement “If you don’t clean your room, I will. If I do, you lose your tablet for 1 day because I had to spend my free time doing your chore”. This lets the child know that keeping the room in its current state is not an option. This is important, even if it means that the parent has to do something that the child “should have done” themselves.

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