Talking to Your Child

Originally, my goal was to write a blog weekly, but it is not realistic for two reasons. First, I want this blog to be meaningful. I do not want to write to just to write. This became evident as I sat in front of my computer trying to force something out. Second, I have a demanding schedule and finding time weekly is a lot. So my new commitment is to blog at least once a month and any over is just extra.

talking parent

So for February I want to focus on communicating with your child. From the #MeToo Movement to the Florida school shooting, children are being exposed to a lot via the media. First and foremost, as a parent you first have to use active listening. Most people listen long enough to react instead of waiting to hear the person out, and then form a response. This also means not engaging in another activity while they are talking. And using nonverbal signals to show that you are engaged in what they are saying.

Second, reflect back what they stated to make sure that you got a clear understanding of what they are trying to say. This gives your child an opportunity to correct any wrong perception prior to you potentially making a quick judgment.

Third, ask questions for clarification and shows that you really were paying attention. Not to mention it gives clarification, point two.

Fourth, give them the reasons behind your answer. I grew up in the era of “Because I said so!” Children will accept a negative response better if they first are heard, and second they can have some type of understanding of your reasoning.

Fifth, do not ignore their questions just because you are uncomfortable with the topic. You would rather your child get answers from you then from their friends or the internet. You are also able to control what they learn first. If you need advice on how to approach the topic, schedule a later time to talk and then research.

And sixth, if you find that your child needs more assistance understanding the subject, seek out a professional to help. There have been a number of times I see a client who states they have been asking for therapy for months/years. No child is going to ask for therapy just for fun.

I hope these suggestions are helpful for you talking with your children. Feel free to ask any questions.

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Dance as therapy!

There were two videos this past week that went viral. One was a six years-old girl who was invited to perform at the Zumba conference This young lady had amazing moves, but more remarkable is she has a bone marrow disease. She uses dance as a way to deal with living with this disease. The other was a video of a woman who used dance to deal with labor pains prior to giving birth to her second child. So today, I decided to do a blog on Dance Therapy.

The American Dance Therapy Association defines Dance Therapy as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.” Dance Therapy is used with people of all ages and in all populations to help individuals with developmental, medical, social, physical and psychological impairments. I can remember volunteering for the Special Olympics Prom for DeKalb County in Georgia. One year the prom fell on the same night as the prom of the school I worked at. We had regular education students who chose to volunteer at the Special Education prom over attending the school prom. Dance served as an equalizer between the special education students and the regular education students. For those hours they were one and shared a love of music and dance.

Recent articles have shown that Dance Therapy has successfully been used with clients who have dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, eating disorders, autism, and with people in prisons. There are only a select number of universities in the United States that offer degrees in Dance Therapy, but there are alternative ways in which therapist’s can become certified to use Dance Therapy. You click the link above and go to the American Dance Therapy Association’s website to locate a dance therapist in your area.

I hope more people find dance as a coping skill to use to get through whatever they may be going through.

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