Defining Codependency

July 22, 2011 By A.Arneson

What is codependency?

How do people recover from codependency?

The term “codependent” originally referred to a person who is inextricably and pathologically associated with another person who is a substance addict. Over the last three decades, enormous popularity and careless use of the term have rendered its definition basically equivalent to relationship anxiety or conflict of any sort. Driven by the need to understand plus a tendency to worry, millions obsess over the term, often using it as a tool for self-harm. In the interest of healing and peace of mind, we need the term’s current meaning to be defined and demystified.

Melody Beattie, author of several books on the subject, concedes that codependency is difficult to define, and that the word is frequently misunderstood after decades of mainstream use. These challenges are symptoms of an information void, both popular and professional, namely a lack of detailed knowledge about human emotional functioning. The key that unravels codependency is knowing exactly what people are trying to accomplish with their dysfunctional behavior, and how that behavior is driven by healthy motivations. From this understanding, we can extract a precise and functional definition of codependency, in all its variations.

Codependency can be defined as an interlocking of two ineffective patterns of behavior, an interlocking that prevents emotional needs from being satisfied. The dovetailing of emotional problems keeps the partners bound together, or “entangled,” but denies them the deep satisfaction that they should be getting from the relationship. Both partners try to meet their own and the partner’s needs, as all living organisms do, but the attempts are converted to ineffective, destructive behavior before needs can be satisfied. Both partners require a constant state of disappointment because childhood pain is stirred up when emotional needs are met in depth. Codependent partners typically do not realize their own roles in creating relationship problems because their childhood pain and ineffective attempts to meet healthy needs (a.k.a. defenses) are unconscious.

The two emotional needs that suffer most in a codependent relationship are separation and emotional contact, as defined in the Impulse Model classification system. Everyone needs both, but those in codependent relationship experience very little relief in either area.

Examined in the context of codependency (versus countless other contexts), separation is the need to not lose oneself in the relationship—i.e. to avoid letting all of one’s attention, thoughts, feelings, energy, effort, and goals in life revolve around the relationship. This aspect of separation has been described as “detachment.” Another, equally relevant aspect of separation is the need to keep one’s dysfunctional (ineffective) behavior out of the relationship, and also to put distance between oneself and the partner’s dysfunctional behavior. This second aspect is often referred to as “boundaries.” Insufficient separation often leads to explosive relationship ruin, followed by perhaps years of emotional entanglement, even without communication—yet another aspect of separation.

Without adequate separation, there can be no emotional contact, i.e. genuine connection, which both partners crave but cannot tolerate beyond a certain threshold that defines their level of health. Despite their need for connection, they are compelled by pain and anxiety to avoid it. They sabotage their connection with destructive behavior, which in turn leads to more entanglement and less connection. Emotional connection cannot be forced; it emerges spontaneously after the supporting emotional needs are met sufficiently.

A trap into which countless people fall (often before divorcing) is the attempt to force a relationship improvement after reading the strategies recommended in self-help books. Such strategies sound good, but are useless if the reader is 1) unable to tolerate more relationship satisfaction, and therefore 2) cannot interpret or follow the strategies properly. Followed incorrectly, self-help strategies lead to deeper entanglement, disconnection, and erosion. The codependent becomes more sophisticated at being dysfunctional, and now with written justification for destructive actions.

The only cure for codependency is healthy relationships. A book cannot download a new capacity for healthy relating to the reader. One always functions from one’s existing level of health, no matter how good the book’s information is. Thus, if one is currently unable to implement better behavior strategies—a fact often indicated by poor responses from one’s partner—it simply means that a healthy relationship must be provided by others outside the codependent partnership. One must live through the ensuing healing discomfort until a new level of health is attained.

Meanwhile, in a comprehensive recovery strategy, one must insist on doing a better job in one’s codependent relationship, which means to meet the partner’s emotional needs more effectively. Mechanically speaking, one’s own needs will be met automatically as one embraces the relationship properly. This strategy helps the partner to heal also, if he or she is capable of healing. If not, the healthier partner will eventually outgrow the relationship.

Far more important is to define what codependency is not. It’s not the anxiety engendered by relationship intimacy or conflicts. It’s not giving or receiving urgent nurturing. It’s not the sense of desperation or neediness that inexorably accompany one into adulthood, following dysfunctional childhood. It’s not the frustration or disappointment one feels after the partner fails to meet one’s needs. It’s not the expectation that one’s partner should handle the relationship maturely and responsibly. Nor is it one’s general feelings of misery, depression, or self-loathing.

Following a dysfunctional childhood, certain feelings can be expected that are intensely uncomfortable, especially loneliness, anxiety, and neediness. No matter how acute such feelings become, they never equal codependency; they are the predictable, unavoidable responses to deprivation. One should not expect to think or wish the feelings away, nor should they be an excuse for self-punishment when they continue unabated and dominate one’s life. Prolonged nurturing from other people is essential for recovery from childhood pain; this is a mechanical fact, not spiritual daydreaming. If one attempts to improve a relationship without the necessities, and fails, self-criticism is pointless, unwarranted, and serves only to hinder recovery.

Self-help readers again are especially vulnerable to self-punishment, as they actively seek answers to their problems—including diagnoses, such as “codependent.” Without guided interpretation (and scrutiny) of self-help books, such people devise their own private justice system and use it against themselves. The word “codependent” becomes a whip for justice. Their most common mistake is their deep belief that pain should be punished. Naturally, this conviction does not work as a remedy. The only effective remedy for pain is the immediate relief that comes with addressing the needs behind the pain.

For example, detachment can be effortless when one receives adequate emotional contact and/or safety—two basic needs in the Impulse Model. Attempting to force detachment by thinking about it is a futile exercise, at best, when the other needs are desperate for attention. Contact could be sought from a friend or professional, while safety can be experienced alone (in a pinch) with the right technique.

As with detachment, genuine boundaries must be provided from outside oneself when boundaries were absent from childhood. Otherwise, when working alone from inside the codependent relationship, the real thing will be foreign and almost impossible to achieve. Slamming doors, for example, is often an attempt to create boundaries, but fails and adds to entanglement due to the sense of danger (lack of safety) and loss of emotional contact.

If one succeeds in living through painful feelings without contaminating the relationship with dysfunctional behavior, then one is no longer in a codependent relationship. A relationship is a space between two people, a field of activity, into which the partners introduce those elements that define the relationship. As long as that space is kept clean, the relationship remains healthy, even if the partners are still struggling individually. This is what it means to have real boundaries; they are real and effective when they protect the relationship from ineffective behavior on both sides. One’s own boundaries contain oneself, but also ward off a partner’s imperfections, and quickly restore the relationship space if it’s distorted. This ideal state implies that one is finally tackling both intimacy anxiety and childhood pain, neither of which should be equated with codependency.

It is helpful to note that dysfunction is not a natural state. Deep down, as all living organisms naturally do, we demand that our friends and family be absolutely healthy, the way that nature intended us to be. Anger at their emotional unavailability or other failure is normal, to be expected. It is not a symptom of codependency, and should not be yet another excuse for self-punishment.

However, once one realizes that dysfunction is a reality, one must accept one’s duty of being a source of remedial nurturing for significant others. There is such a thing as healthy dependency; it’s a condition of life and an honorable goal. It exists where boundaries and connection are genuine. And what a relief to know that it’s OK to actually need another person, in a world where codependency is our moral, mortal enemy. One must embrace one’s duty gratefully and responsibly, and persist despite discomfort until both partners are happy and satisfied.

The Counseling Relationship

July 13, 2011 By A.Arneson

What is counseling?

How can counseling be improved?

Counseling is a format defined by private talking between a practitioner and a client, for the client’s benefit. Within this format, scores of procedures may be followed, all fitting neatly within the definition of counseling. For most counseling relationships, the primary procedure is the development of the counseling relationship itself, while the details of the specific method that the practitioner advertises are of secondary import. The quality of the counseling relationship determines the level of benefit derived from this crucial component. The biggest challenge of the counseling professions becomes evident at this point. What are the features of a beneficial counseling relationship? How exactly is it constructed? Why do so many professionals not build a robust counseling relationship?

A client seeks counseling for help with big problems. But the client experiences immediate relief and continues to hire the counselor only if the latter adequately addresses specific emotional needs—a complex issue seldom understood by clients or professionals. In the current state of counseling education, practitioners are not taught what emotional needs are, nor how to properly meet each one in real-time. They are not educated in the detailed mechanics of emotional healing, the core of which is satisfaction of critical needs. Instead, practitioners are taught 1) procedures that work part of the time, for certain people, and 2) general and abstract concepts of counseling, which often do not translate into concrete, specific action.

All established psychotherapy procedures—e.g. Gestalt role playing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s examining the evidence for your destructive belief—exist because they meet specific emotional needs. That means that they are helpful part of the time. However, they are only helpful if the practitioner 1) builds an adequate relationship that can withstand challenging procedures, and 2) sufficiently intuits the underlying mechanics of the procedure, enough to permit correct execution and adjustment for client differences. Both criteria depend on the practitioner’s grasp of emotional needs—a thorough treatment of which is not provided by formal education. Procedures are taught as steps to follow, without a complete, practical foundation of knowledge about the procedure’s target needs or how they fit into the larger puzzle of healing requirements. In other words, practitioners trained in a specific method are attempting to reproduce the effects discovered by the method’s founder or expert students, but without the founder’s intuitive (but also limited) grasp of healing mechanics. Similarly, abstract concepts of counseling—e.g. offering compassion, listening without judgement—are intended to guide the practitioner to address emotional needs, but without concrete identification of needs or their mechanics. Problematically, interpretation is left to the individual practitioner.

New counselors, licensed and credentialed, thus find themselves on the arduous path of actually learning how to provide help. Some admit that they spent six years in school, acquiring a license, and the next six plus years, in practice, learning how to do the job. What is the quality of their service if they never fully understand the conditions necessary for emotional change? If they are not guided by the absolutes of human healing, then what sort of relationships are they building? Formal education could be improved tremendously, in a way that prepares us to offer immediate and profound benefits.

The demand on counselors is strong, regardless of their license, method, level of experience, or the role they play in the client’s life. Every client is predictably inclined to view the counselor as a surrogate parent—a perception called “transference” that equals expectation. This new parent will either meet or, yet again, neglect emotional needs neglected during the client’s childhood, either relieving or reinforcing the client’s history. Transference occurs when the practitioner meets the client’s emotional needs to a certain depth, or even suggests a care relationship before that care is actually ministered. This natural, spontaneous shift in awareness can happen between strangers on the street, thus it will surely happen in a formal counseling relationship. In short, transference is unavoidable. The practitioner can only prepare for and accept it, as opposed to shirking the responsibility, blaming the client for being too difficult, or making excuses if the relationship goes sour. Due to transference, the client will be extra vulnerable if the counselor fails to meet basic needs; gross failure can be devastating.

Naturally, the extent to which the practitioner can meet emotional needs also depends on the format and method followed—the setting and function of the relationship. For example, a medical doctor’s bedside manner touches on the same needs addressed in a counseling format, but in less depth. No practitioner should feel responsible for offering more emotional need satisfaction than he or she can realistically provide. However, within realistic margins, the counselor must actually do the job of meeting needs, lest the client suffer unnecessarily. The client is merely requesting that the relationship remain healthy—a factor that he or she will recognize, but cannot control independently. The relationship remains healthy only if the professional meets relevant needs with format-appropriate behavior.

Proper education about emotional needs and mechanics is paramount if the quality of healthcare services (in general) is to improve. While no classroom can replace on-the-job training, more knowledge about emotional mechanics is better than less. What exactly does this client need from me today? Ultimately, procedures need not be elaborate, time-intensive, or intellectualized; they must only be effective, by matching the operative emotional need of the moment.

Having a healthy relationship is the most empowering potential benefit of the counseling relationship—something that the client probably never experienced before. Clients have problems precisely because their parents, siblings, and teachers failed to provide healthy relationships. They need to update and complete their parenting experience with new, hired caretakers capable of doing the job right. They need their needs to be met for the first time.

Preventing Violent Child Behavior

Is your child becoming increasingly aggressive?

Is violent behavior a problem in your family?

How can you improve your child’s social skills?

The best way to prevent violent behavior is to give your child a stable, secure home life with firm, loving discipline and full-time supervision during the toddler and preschool years. Everyone who cares for your child should agree on the rules he’s expected to observe as well as the response to use if he disobeys. Whenever he breaks an important rule, he should be reprimanded immediately so that he understands exactly what he’s done wrong.

Your youngster has little natural self-control. He needs you to teach him not to kick, hit, or bite when he is angry, but instead to express his feelings through words. It’s important for him to learn the difference between real and imagined insults, and between appropriately standing up for his rights and attacking out of anger.

The best way to teach these lessons is to supervise your child carefully when he’s involved in disputes with his playmates. As long as a disagreement is minor, you can keep your distance and let the youngsters solve it on their own. However, you must intervene when children get into a physical fight which continues even after they’re told to stop, or when one child seems to be in an uncontrollable rage and is assaulting or biting the other. Pull the children apart and keep them separate until they have calmed down. If the fight is extremely violent, you may have to end the play session. Make it clear that it doesn’t matter who “started it.” There is no excuse for trying to hurt each other.

Help your child find ways to deal with his anger without resorting to violence. Teach him to say no in a firm tone of voice, to turn his back, or to find compromises instead of fighting with his body. Through example, teach him that settling differences with words is more effective and more civilized – than with physical violence. Praise him and tell him how “grown-up” he is acting whenever he uses these tactics instead of hitting, kicking, or biting.

Always watch your own behavior around your child. One of the best ways to teach him nonviolence is to control your own temper. If you express your anger in quiet, peaceful ways, he probably will follow your example. If you must punish him, do not feel guilty about it and certainly don’t apologize. If he senses your mixed feelings, he may convince himself that he was in the right all along and you are the “bad” one. While punishing your child is never pleasant, it is a necessary part of parenthood and there is no reason to feel guilty about it. Your child needs to understand when he is in the wrong so that he will take responsibility for his actions and be willing to accept the consequences.

10 Ways to Help Your Child Cope with Peer Pressure

Is your child stressed out from peer pressure?

Do you worry that your child will make the wrong choices?

Standing up to peer pressure is one of the greatest challenges that children face. Many are unable to stand up to the challenge and are led into participating in risky or even illegal activities. Help your child deal with peer pressures by doing the following:

  1. Strengthen the bond with your child. He will be more likely to respect your views and values and better able to resist peer pressure if he has a good relationship with you and feels you are a source of support. This bond needs to be nurtured long before your child’s teenage years.
  2. Promote your child’s self-esteem. Children who are confident and have positive self-worth are more likely to pursue friendships with children who are good role models and better able to resist negative peer pressure. Find opportunities to boost your child’s self-esteem and enjoy success by involving him in activities that capitalize on his strengths and interests. And, of course, praise him for things he does well at home.
  3. Set a good example. Your child is a keen observer of what you do and may learn more from what he sees than what he hears. If he sees that you are constantly striving to keep up with other parents, he will likely do the same with his peers. If he sees you drinking and smoking, he is less likely to resist engaging in these behaviors. If you do drink or smoke, giving it up will make a vivid impression on him.
  4. Talk with your child about peer pressure. Let your child know that you understand how hard it can be at his age to do things that make him stand out. Tell him that his peers may respect his decision not to join them in an activity even though they may not express it, and that some may even admire his courage in resisting what they could not. Help him understand that a friend who is pressuring him to do something that may be harmful is not much of a friend. Appeal to his desire for autonomy by encouraging him not to let others manipulate or make decisions for him.
  5. Avoid overreacting when talking about peer issues. Your child may tell you things that may make your jaw drop. If you overreact, you will discourage him from talking with you about these issues again. At the same time use these teachable moments to introduce some cautions without moralizing or lecturing. Although it may seem as though he is dismissing what you are saying, he will hear you.
  6. Choose your battles carefully. Don’t make an issue out of your child’s wanting to wear the same clothes as his friends or adopt a trendy hairstyle. Make your stand on high-risk peer behavior. Battling your child constantly over minor issues may drive your child toward peers who are similarly alienated from their parents. Not sweating the small stuff will enable you to be more effective when you challenge him on the larger issues.
  7. Help your child develop good decision-making skills. If he can learn to trust his own instincts when making decisions, he will be less likely to let others make decisions for him. Encourage him to think through the possible consequences of the decision he is facing, including whether it may cause him harm. Let him know that giving in to the pressure now may make life harder for him later on.
  8. Help your child develop responses to peers. Help him figure out what to say to peers who are pressuring him to participate in high-risk activities. Suggest responses that are short and simple and that he can say comfortably. If he is receptive, role-play with him or encourage him to practice in front of a mirror.
  9. Get to know your child’s friends. Make a point of encouraging your child to invite his friends home. Spend some time with them and assess whether they are positive influences.
  10. Don’t hesitate to set limits for your child. Your willingness to say no to him sets a good example and may help give him the courage to say no to a peer when faced with a potentially harmful situation.


After School Activities for the Hyperactive Child

Is your child hyeractive?

Does your child struggle with social problems?

Are you frustrated or embarrassed by your child’s behavior?

ADHD refers to attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder. Most children who suffer from this disorder suffer from attention problems as well as hyperactivity. Parents of such children are well aware that inattention and hyperactivity continue throughout the day. Keeping such children busy after school hours can be as difficult as keeping them safe during the school day.

The first step while choosing the right after school activity for your child is to understand how ADHD affects him. Is your child interested in sports? Is he put off by the fierce competitiveness, or does he find it hard to get along with teammates? Does your child vocalize his feelings, or is communication a problem?

For a child suffering from ADHD, physical exercise is always beneficial. Exercise takes up the extra energy and helps to stimulate the brain. Team activities teach social skills and discipline. But, if your child shies away from team sports, you may want to look at activities like dancing, cycling, swimming or gymnastics. Martial arts not only teach techniques of self-defense but also teach self-control and patience.

If your child shows aversion to sport and shows inclination towards the fine arts, you may need to look at some other options. Acting classes are a wonderful form of creative exercise. It also provides the child with ample opportunity to develop his social skills. Music, art or dance can help the child to keep himself busy and entertained.

In case the child is not interested in any of the above, you may want him to join a Boy Scouts club or other community oriented clubs that take up social work. Cleaning a park, putting on a show, helping out in an old age home are various activities that may pique your child’s interest.

Whatever form of activity you choose, make sure that you monitor your child’s progress periodically. If you feel that there is no progress, you may need to change the activity. Anything that increases your child’s self-esteem is good. You may enlist the help of the coach or teacher to assess your child’s development.

There are certain activities that are detrimental to a child suffering from ADHD. Computer and video games are a definite NO. Since these games need no interaction, children will feel all the more isolated. These children also find it difficult to distinguish between the good and the bad messages. They may therefore show an inclination to stick to messages that are not needed. Games that need the child to sit and wait for his turn patiently tax his patience and will not be a success.

Although you would want these children to be as near to normal as possible, understanding their needs and limits will help you select the right after school activity – one that is fulfilling, tiring as well as challenging.


5 Tips for Talking to Your Teen

Does your teen need help?

Is your adolescent driving you crazy?

Do you want to regain a peaceful family life?

One of the greatest feelings about being a parent is in knowing that your teens can talk to you about their feelings and everything else that’s going on in their world. Establishing this great relationship with your teen requires good communication.

It is an ongoing process that takes a lot of patience and understanding on your part as a parent. Once you have established an open line of communication with your teen, it will be easier to deal with any other kinds of issues that could show up.

Your teens are going through a period in their life where they feel a strong need for becoming an independent person and working on creating a separate identity. They usually express these needs by acting distant, defiant, disinterested, emotional, and rebellious.

These are the times where you have to remember to be very understanding. Although they may appear to be indifferent and uninterested, they are actually very perceptive of your reactions, what you do, and what you say. And they certainly want to be able to talk with you about what’s going on in their life.

With that in mind, here are some of the things that you should look out for when talking to your teen:

  1. Stop nagging. It never works! You will never get your teen to listen to you by nagging. Doing this just closes the door to any attempt of communicating with them.
  2. Do not always try to solve your child’s problems. A lot of times, all they really want is for you to listen to them and let them know that you are there to help. Often, just by letting them talk to you about their problems is enough to give them comfort. And not offering any answer gives them a chance to figure out the solutions for themselves.
  3. Do not criticize. You’re supposed to build up their self esteem, not tear it down. Letting your teens have control in areas like the clothes thy wear, the music they listen to, or their hairstyle gives them a feeling of acceptance and the assurance that they can talk to you with more complicated matters in their lives.
  4. Do not give a lecture or a speech. You need to give your teen a chance to respond and talk to you.
  5. Do not underestimate them by saying that what they are going through is just a phase. You have to be able to acknowledge that they have a problem and it is a big deal to them.

Childhood & Teen Obesity

What is childhood obesity?

Is there a cure for obesity?

Does your child overeat?

The term Obesity in Childhood is show the excessive weight of body in comparison of normal child weight. This may be a reason of much dangerous disease in body in childhood. There are many reason behind the obesity in child as Physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, with genetics and lifestyle both playing important roles in determining a Childs weight.

There are many factor of disease in child as heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, back bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem. Overweight young people are more likely than children of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

The term childhood obesity may refer to both children and adolescents. In general, we use the word, children to refer to 6 to 11 years of age, and adolescents to 12 to 17 years of age. If otherwise, and when possible, we will use a specific age or age range. Childhood obesity is usually caused by eating too much and exercising too little. So we have to create new family habits for healthy eating and increased physical activity. It can help a child lose weight and can also improve the health of other family members.

There are many other ways to create a healthy environment in your family:

  • Remove sugar-sweetened drinks from the home.
  • Give more whole-grain foods with meals and breakfast.
  • Reduce the number of meals eaten out side at fast-food centre and other restaurants.
  • Sit together for lunch/dinner and have that meal at least 30 minutes.
  • Remove TVs and computers from children’s bedrooms.
  • Include children in active chores, such as washing the car or walking the dog.

Children can play ball at the local park and take healthier foods in school, at the end of the day family should support is what really counts. You are an also role model for your kids. They definitely follow you. Children form habits from parents, and usually maintain them into adulthood. If your children see you reach for a banana instead of a brownie, they are likely to do the same. If they see you go for a walk or wash the car, they may join you definitely.

Parents, teachers, companies, healthcare professionals, teens and kids all have a part to play in the movementin schools, at home, in restaurants, doctors offices, and in the community. Childhood obesity has no one cause, and there is no one solution. Thats why the Alliance is taking bold, innovative steps to help our children live longer and improve the health of our nation.

Author: Harry Johnson

Self Esteem and School Difficulties

Does your child have low self esteem?

Are your child’s school experiences affecting her feelings of self worth?

In 15 years as a pediatrician, I have helped many children and their parents deal with challenges in school. I am always surprised how profoundly these difficulties affect the child’s self image, as well as that of his or her parent. Parents will be reluctant to seek help in the school system for fear that their child will be “labeled” and carry that label throughout his or her life. And it affects the child even more. When I discuss school with a teenager, it strikes me when they say, “I am supposed to be in 10th grade, but I am only in 9th because I stayed back in the first grade.” Clearly being retained was a profoundly traumatic experience that still affects how they are in school today.

So how can parents help their children get the school help they need, without it being perceived, by the child as a failure on his or her part?

  1. Emphasize their strengths. This may seem like an obvious point, but too often, school can become all about the things your child cannot do. Whenever they are graded the emphasis is on what they did wrong, rather than on the many things they did right. Unless you make the conscious effort to point out all of their strengths, they can become discouraged and give up on school. So, for example, your child has a learning disability that affects his reading, but also has an amazing imagination, help them to cultivate that imagination and use it to motivate them to continue reading.
  2. Celebrate any wins. This goes hand-in-hand with the first point, but it deserves separate mention. By really celebrating any success they have at school, you are training them to think of school as a fun place where hard work leads them to success. They will be more likely to continue that hard work even in the face of a set-back.
  3. When they do have a setback, re-frame it by saying, “What can we learn from this?”. and “What changes can we make so next time works out better?” Rather than looking at a low grade as a failure that has some direct reflection on them, you want them to see it as another step in the learning process. Not only will this build their confidence, but it will teach them determination which will benefit them whenever something does not go their way.
  4. Re-examine your own disappointment. As parents, we want our kids to succeed so that they have a great life, full of opportunities. However, we have to be vigilant that we are not trying to have them make up for some shortcoming that we have. So if you become very disappointed in a grade your child brings home, take a moment to examine what is really causing that disappointment, so that you are not subconsciously reliving your own school failures. Then you can truly be there for your child to help him or her overcome the challenge at hand.
  5. Emphasize that you are on their side. This may seem obvious to you. Even when we yell at our kids, we see it as a reflection of our dedication to their success. However, if your child is struggling, he or she can begin to feel very lonely, as if everyone is against him or her. So it is important, as parents that we show our kids that we really want them to succeed and will do everything we can to see that this happens. Then your child will view the two of you as a team working toward a common goal.
  6. Know your rights and get your child the help he or she needs. With the incredible budget constraints that schools have, they may be resistant to doing a full evaluation of a child who is struggling. Rather they may hope that a little extra help here and there may be enough to help get that child through school. However as parents we do not want our children to just “get through” school we want them to have the best educational experience possible. So if your child is struggling an would benefit from a Planning and Placement Team or a full psycho-educational evaluation, be sure that you directly request this from the school.

In the end, no matter how challenging school may be, your children should come out of school with a feeling of success, that he or she overcame the challenge and did the best they can. Then later in life they will, they will be willing to put in the effort to overcome any obstacle.


Author: Dr. Douglas Curtiss