S2E16 - Helping Adopted Siblings Thrive: Play Therapy Parenting Pillars
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
1w ago
In this episode, I answer a question from Gaer in the UK about her two adopted sons, ages 3 and 9, who are both starting play therapy to help with anxiety and emotional dysregulation. Gaer's youngest in particular has been acting out physically when upset.  I explain that it's common for siblings, especially of the same sex, to take on "internalizer" and "externalizer" roles when it comes to expressing emotions. The older son is likely internalizing his feelings while the younger is externalizing through aggressive behaviors. Neither is healthy, as both boys lack the emotional vocabulary ..read more
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S2E15 - Keeping Your Relationship with Your Child at the Center of Parenting
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
2w ago
In this episode, I talk about how the relationship with your child is the most important thing, even more important than the specific parenting skills and techniques we've been discussing. While learning and applying skills like reflecting feelings, setting limits, giving choices, and using encouragement are certainly valuable, we can't lose sight of why we use those approaches in the first place.  It all comes back to preserving and strengthening our relationship with our kids. Every time a child is struggling or misbehaving, there is almost always a fracture or damage to the relationshi ..read more
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S2E14 - Encouragement: The Easiest and Most Effective Parenting Tool You Can Use Every Day
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
1M ago
In today's episode, I discuss the importance of encouragement and how it differs from praise when it comes to parenting. Encouragement is all about focusing on your child's efforts and contributions, rather than giving value-laden words that have opposites, like "good" or "awesome." When you encourage your child by starting with "you" and acknowledging their perseverance, problem-solving skills, or willingness to take on challenges, you help them develop a healthy self-concept and sense of identity. This empowers them and reduces power struggles, as they feel a measure of control over their ci ..read more
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S2E13 - Gentle Parenting vs. Child-Centered Play Therapy Parenting: Which Path Leads to Better Outcomes?
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
1M ago
In this episode, I address a listener's question about gentle parenting and whether it has gone too far. I discuss the principles of gentle parenting and contrast them with the child-centered approach, highlighting the importance of setting appropriate limits and boundaries while maintaining a kind, respectful, and relational dynamic with your child. I explain that while gentle parenting aims to build a healthy bond and meet a child's needs, it often lacks a comprehensive framework for effective discipline. The child-centered approach, on the other hand, is highlighted by a well-researched fra ..read more
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S2E12 - Applying Limit Setting at Home: Effective Strategies for Every Day Parenting
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
1M ago
In today's episode of the Play Therapy Parenting Podcast, we're diving into the practical application of the "limit setting" pillar in daily parenting. Now that we’ve covered the four foundational pillars, it’s time to see how we can apply these skills in everyday interactions with our kids. Limit setting is unique in that it combines the other pillars—reflecting feelings and giving choices—making it a nuanced yet powerful tool for effective discipline. I explore how limit setting can be used proactively to address daily struggles, such as managing snack times, bedtime routines, or sibling con ..read more
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S2E11 - Using the Choice-Giving Skill at Home: The Key to Reducing Power Struggles
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
2M ago
In this episode, I discuss how to practically apply the "choice-giving" pillar from the child-centered play therapy parenting framework. I cover two types of choices to give your kids: Empowerment Choices Give your kids choices just for the sake of letting them feel empowered and in control Examples: Let them choose how to get to the car (hold your hand or push the cart), what to eat/drink, what to wear, where to sit in the car, what music to listen to, etc. This gives your kids a measure of control within your set boundaries Enforcement Choices Give choices tied to reinforcing a limit you ..read more
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S2E10 - Reflecting Feelings with Your Child at Home: From Theory to Practice
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
2M ago
In this episode, we explore the practical aspects of Reflecting Feelings, focusing on how this essential skill can be effectively used in daily interactions with children. Our goal is to demystify the process and encourage more confident and consistent application in your parenting. Key Points Covered: Understanding Reflecting Feelings: An overview of why this skill is fundamental yet challenging, emphasizing its importance in validating children’s emotions. Practical Application: Step-by-step guidance on how to reflect feelings accurately, from recognizing nonverbal cues to matching your verb ..read more
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S2E9 - Addressing Body Image Concerns in Young Children
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
2M ago
In this episode, I address a question submitted by a therapist on behalf of a concerned parent. The parent has a 6-year-old girl who is grappling with body image issues. As this little girl expresses concerns about her tummy being "fat" and worries that other kids are judging her, her mother fears she may be using food to soothe her big emotions.   These behaviors are merely cues, signaling deeper underlying issues that need to be addressed. More often than not, a child's fixation on food, sleep, or obedience stems from a profound need for control or a manifestation of high anxiety levels ..read more
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S2E8 - Encouragement vs. Praise: The Key to Nurturing Self-Esteem in Your Child
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
2M ago
I can't emphasize enough the profound impact of encouragement on a child's self-esteem, self-worth, and overall development. Unlike the other pillars we've discussed, encouragement stands alone as a powerful tool that shapes a child's understanding of their identity, capabilities, and innate value.   In this episode, we delve deep into the crucial distinction between praise and encouragement. Praise, although well-intentioned, often includes value judgments that inadvertently make children dependent on external validation. On the other hand, encouragement focuses solely on the child's eff ..read more
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S2E7 - Navigating Sibling Conflict: Listener Q&A with Hayley
Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
by Dr. Brenna Hicks
2M ago
In this episode, I answer a question from Hayley in Australia, dealing with a common issue many parents face: sibling conflict. Hayley has been diligently applying the principles we discuss here, such as getting down to her children's level, validating their feelings, and setting limits, yet she’s not seeing the positive changes she hoped for, especially when it comes to her children hitting each other.   I address the importance of neutral phrasing in limit setting, the impact of birth order on sibling dynamics, and the necessity of providing alternative choices to undesirable behavior ..read more
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