The Emotional and Mental Health Challenges of Parenthood
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
2M ago
As a psychologist working with children and young people, I meet *parents* (for brevity I’ll use ‘parents’ throughout this article, but I’m referring of course to all primary caregivers, biological parents or not) every week who are struggling with parenting related negative emotions and experiences such as parental stress, guilt, fatigue, frustration, anxiety and overwhelm. There is also a plethora of academic and research literature documenting the existence of these experiences. For instance, many studies suggest that most parents experience worry and anxiety about their chi ..read more
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What does science tell us about psychological treatments for children and adolescents with challenging behaviours?
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
8M ago
Around 10% to 15% of young people experience difficulties with aggression, impulsivity, following instructions and other challenging or disruptive behaviors – well beyond what the average child or young person of their same age experiences.  What this looks like in their daily life varies considerably from child to child – but usually these kids and teens seem to get frustrated more easily than others, find it really tough to manage this frustration and often yell/scream/throw things.  Some might also have low motivation to follow instructions from adults, and some might consistentl ..read more
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Therapy, self-help or online therapeutic programs for children/teens with mental, emotional or social health challenges: What happens outside the session/program is what matters most
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
1y ago
Many children and teens with mental, emotional, or social health challenges are engaged in some kind of therapeutic program – this might be a course of one-to-one therapy, a group program, online learning programs, or even self-help books or workbooks. There are thousands of different therapeutic programs for young people, and these have many varied types of content.  These programs might cover topics such as understanding and managing their body and physiological tension, maintaining and repairing relationships, increasing their positive and confident self-talk, identifying their value ..read more
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‘Defusion and Acceptance’ Ideas to Help Children with Upsetting Thoughts and Beliefs
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
1y ago
Children and teens (like adults) often report thoughts and beliefs which they find distressing (for example: “I’m horrible”; “people think I’m boring”; picturing themselves doing badly on a test). There are different ways parents/caregivers might help their child/teen cope with these.   For example, we might help young people to think about whether their thoughts and feelings are really true – and whether there are alternative thoughts and beliefs which might be more accurate and helpful. Another way of parents/caregivers helping young people to understand and manage distressing t ..read more
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Busier Brains: Helping Kids and Teens with Emotional Health Challenges Feel Better by “Doing Enough”
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
1y ago
A psychologist named Peter Lewinsohn back in the 70’s wrote an article which suggested that (at least part) of the reason people feel depressed is because a) they don’t have as many potentially rewarding activities in their lives compared to others, and b) that they don’t find the activities as naturally rewarding as other people. Although today psychologists are more likely to believe there are a range of (more complicated) causes for depression rather than just this one factor - there is some research to support the idea that ’underactivity‘ might be important in at least contributing to l ..read more
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“Exposure” for Children with Anxiety Symptoms (Helping Children Act in Brave Ways)
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
2y ago
One of the most important ways therapists help children with anxiety symptoms is a technique called “exposure”. This article provides a brief introduction to exposure and how therapists might use it with kids who experience anxiety. Definitions Exposure is defined as a “controlled therapeutic technique which involves a child being in the presence of an anxiety-provoking stimulus or situation” (Marks 1973). In other words, a child who is anxious about insects might spend some time, with the support of a therapist or a parent, looking at or touching a moth or other insect. Sometimes this is d ..read more
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Parental Warmth and Responsiveness for Children and Adolescents with Emotional Health Challenges
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
2y ago
It might seem obvious to most of us as parents/caregivers today that acting in a warm, loving, caring and interested ways towards our children is important – however it has actually only been in the last 50 or 60 years that this idea has been discussed and studied by researchers interested in child development. However during this last period of time, the concept of parental warmth and responsivity has been researched and discussed extensively – so in this article I am going to answer some frequently asked questions about this concept and think about how we might use these ideas in parenting ..read more
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Attention and Concentration Challenges in Children and Young People
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
2y ago
How long are you able to read something or think carefully about a topic without being distracted by something else?  Are you happy with the length of time you can do this?  Does it depend on the time of day or what you are doing?  Has it changed over the years for you?    The questions above are about something called “attentional control” – in other words, our ability to keep our attention and thoughts focused on a chosen task, object or idea for a set period of time.   Attentional control may involve two separate brain systems – with one responsible for&n ..read more
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Helping Children and Teens Use Eye Contact: Does it Really Matter – And How to Talk About it Without Nagging
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
3y ago
Have you looked directly into someone’s eyes today when you spoke with them?  Did it help you understand them?  Or connect with them?  Or did it make you feel uncomfortable?  And (perhaps more interestingly) did this eye contact or lack of something you thought about or did you do it all automatically?  Eye contact is a concept that generally doesn’t occupy much of our thinking.  Most of us use appropriate eye contact automatically and without much thought.  However eye contact may be an extremely important part of maintaining connected relationships with ot ..read more
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Understanding (all) the reasons children act in challenging ways
Developing Minds
by kirriliesmout
3y ago
Imagine you have been unwell for several months - intermittent, low level but unpleasant symptoms  – stomach pain, headaches and dizziness.  A GP can’t find anything wrong with you and so you try diet changes, vitamins and getting more sleep – none of which makes a difference.  You start to worry about whether you have a serious illness, - and feel frustrated about having to take time off work/social activities.   Eventually a specialist diagnoses you with a particular medical condition.  Unfortunately it can’t be “cured” – but you now know how to manage it, what ..read more
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