Private: The Artistic Science Blog

A Seat At the Table: Part 2 Self Esteem and Maturity

Self Esteem and Maturity are two key components to being a successful adult navigating today’s world. So, why not do everything in our power to foster and cultivate it in our children during childhood. We do this thing with children sometimes. Actually, we do it often. We give them a pass. We say they are not mature enough to handle situations. Little do we know, that we are inadvertently saying something more. In actuality, we are saying that the kid is incapable in some capacity. So us adults need to handlethings them. Now, don’t get me wrong. A kid does not deserve a seat at EVERY table.

There are things that their underdeveloped brains cannot reconcile. But I challenge you to think that these instances are rare. There are many tables a child should have a seat at. Including any table where people are discussing things that will directly impact the trajectory of their lives. We can help them to see the bigger picture of life while helping them to feel good about themselves and confident.

self esteem and maturity

Fostering Self Esteem and Maturity through Shared Decision Making

Think about how you feel when someone asks your opinion about something. When you feel like your input matters and makes a difference. Feels good doesn’t it? That same feeling is what children get. Except maybe times 100 when they are asked their opinion. And honestly, their opinions may surprise you!

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Shared decision making

A Seat At the Table: How To Strategically Use Shared Decision Making To Empower Your Child, Foster Maturity, and Decrease Emotional Oubursts

Shared Decision Making is a topic I explore with parents often. This is the concept of allowing your child to be in on the conversations about things that directly effect them. A seat at the table so to speak. This can be a controversial topic for some. However, it has been my experience in working with children and families that if it is embraced, positive change is soon to follow.

Children with social, emotional, and/or behavioral issues have a lot going on for them. Things may be difficult at home, at school, or in both places. Take a minute to imagine how hard that must be. Put aside the inconveniences to your life, or any frustration you feel for a moment. Imagine, or maybe you know, what it is like to not feel like you can handle your life. How scary it must be for a child who is unable to reason and make accurate cause and effect connections. Now on top of it all, add the feeling of uncertainty. Not being sure what is expected of you. Not feeling like you have the tools you need to achieve what is expected of you. Basically, feeling like you are out of control.

While all of this is happening, adults are congregating to meet and talk about the plan that will help get this child back on track. Often times this plan is well intentioned, but most times the child’s input does not weigh heavily on the decision making process. So, it’s no wonder then that often times, many plans need to be put in place before something works. And inadvertently it is the child’s feedback (lack of change, increased behavioral or emotional issues, etc) that lets us know that the plan is not working. So why not directly involve them to begin with?

Dr. Ross Greene, has coined the phrase “Kids Do Well if They Can”. How true is that? Think about it. What kid wants to do poorly? Watch this video by Dr. Greene to get an idea for the philosophy that drives my shared decision making model.

Shared Decision Making Model

All in all, shared decision making helps to anchor the child. It gives them more control. It allows them to be a part of the conversation about the things that will play a role in how their life turns out.

In this series, we’ll take a closer look at five ways shared decision making can improve your child’s well-being.

  1. Self Esteem.– Shared decision making in my experienced has helped children to feel good about themselves.
  2. Maturity.- Shared decision making allows the child to cultivate a certain way of approaching problems. Hearing adult perspective and reasoning can help the child make some of these connections, too.
  3. Self Efficacy.- The child will start to feel like they can do positive things. So, they will.
  4. Accountability.- The child is given the opportunity to understand what is happening and what is expected of them. So, they can take greater responsibility for what happens.
  5. Strengthen Parent/Child Relationship.- Parents feel closer to their child when they think of them as a partner. And, Vice Versa! This closeness also known as “Attachment” plays a central role in a child’s ability to overcome adversity. Don’t worry! There are still ways to maintain your stance as a parent. More on this later.

More on all of this next week!


Emotional Intelligence

The Role of Caregivers in the Development of Emotional Intelligence in Children

Emotional intelligence is a term that is cropping up more and more. It refers to an individual’s ability to recognize emotions. This includes their own emotions as well as those of others. It means that an individual is able to label feelings appropriately. Emotionally intelligent people are able to use the information they gather to guide thinking, and behavior. This allows them to manage/adjust emotions in order to achieve their goals.  Articles such as this one highlight the many advantages afforded to those who possess emotional intelligence. So, just how does one learn emotional intelligence?

The answer is that we learn from our primary caregivers.

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Beware: Reductionist Approaches to Understanding the Soul Can Undermine Human Existence and Cause Suffering

“What if we consider your soul as the sum total of your neurocognitive essence, your very specific brain signature, the unique neuronal connections, synapses, and flow of neurotransmitters that make you you?” [Marcelo Gleiser for NPR]

I’ll be honest, to me it is so painfully human and reductionist to try to pin down the concept of a soul and apply it to something more concrete. The mechanisms behind neurocognition are all directly observable, and understandable to humans. We know that brain processes happen as a result of action potentials that occur in the context of neurons, and neurotransmitters. We know that our brains are made up of the same core components but that they are all different. These differences are the result of our genetics, and our individual experiences. So, this perspective is reductionist-yet- it is safe. Because we can grasp the concepts associated.

And, I get it. I understand why we need to continue to have these conversations. Because, it is human nature to want to know more about human nature. And as alluded to in the aforementioned article, we are constantly striving toward advancements in technology and motivated to achieve immortality.

We have all of these unanswered questions swirling around in our heads. Floating around in abstract space as we go about our very concrete lives. In certain moments, we may tap into this space. And explore, postulate, question. Most of the time, either out of necessity to cater to our concrete lives, or out of fear we exit this space. Without having any answers. Sometimes, there are brave souls who formulate theories in an attempt to explain what has up until that point been unexplainable.

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Imagination Unicorn

Filling In The Gaps: How Your Child’s Imagination Could Be Working Against Them

Imagine! That word alone has the ability to open people’s minds to endless possibilities. It allows us to experience alternate realities unique to our own perceptions and perspectives on the world. Most of the time when we think of imagination, we think good things. Imagination is Unicorns, flying dragons, taking a trip around the world in a rocket ship, teddy bears that can talk, cell phones (before they existed), and a man on the moon.

And of course, there are well established reports and research indicating that a robust imagination is not only a healthy part of childhood, it is directly correlated to a healthy childhood. Furthermore, a healthy imagination in childhood has been linked to positive outcomes and experiences in adulthood. In fact, adults who are able to hold on to their sense of imagination are reportedly happier for various reasons.

As a child therapist, much of my work is centered upon tapping into a child’s imagination as a conduit to reconciling social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Because to them, imagination is easy. It allows us the ability to explore how they feel in a way that is removed yet still connected to their sense of self. This translates to a feeling of comfort which allows for positive change to occur more readily.

What is less talked about though is how Imagination can work against a child. Especially a young one who is using their imagination to fill in the gaps as they are making sense of the world. Let me explain.

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ABCs of Behavior Cover

How Understanding the ABCs of Behavior Can Help You to Understand Your Child Better

The ABCs of Behavior refers to more than just a crash course on behavior in general. Specifically, it reflects three distinct stages of behavior. Taking a closer look at each stage is helpful as we figure out ways to support healthy behavior in children.

Here is what the ABCs of Behavior stand for:

Antecedent- The event or activity that comes immediately before the problem behavior. This is often referred to as the trigger.

Behavior-  The observed behavior.

Consequence- The consequence or what happens immediately after the behavior.

This Scenario explained by the University of Kansas breaks down ABCs of behavior beautifully.

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Reset Button parenting and supporting a behaviorally challenged child

Why You Should Hit the Reset Button: Parenting and Supporting a Behaviorally Challenged Child

Parenting and supporting a behaviorally challenged child can make the already complex and daunting journey of parenthood feel that much more difficult. We all want what is best for our children. So, when they are engaging in behaviors that make things harder for them, and for us, we tend to zero in on this behavior. We want it to change. So that they can learn in school. So that they will have more positive interactions and relationships with others. Also, we want our own lives to be as minimally complicated as possible.

Furthermore, receiving phone calls from teachers multiple times a week is undoubtedly anxiety provoking. Moreover, if the behaviors are happening predominately in the home, figuring out what to do can be that much more complicated.

As a result, it is super easy for us to focus on these behaviors. Parents try to do everything in their power to change them. This may include talking with the child about their behaviors often. Or, finding suitable and appropriate consequences. There is also a tendency to keep track, in order to recount to others what exactly occurred.  If it gets disruptive enough parents will often seek the help of a therapist.

Today, I want to talk about how we approach those behavioral issues.  Because, how we conceptualize these behaviors, and our response to them all play a role in what happens as a result. In my work with parents, I often find that their actions and ways of thinking about their child’s behaviors are actually counterproductive to their goal of getting the behaviors to stop. This is usully not due to any deliberate actions on the parent’s part. Usually, it is simply because parenting and supporting a behaviorally challenged child is hard.

Sad boy parenting and supporting a behaviorally challenged child

Lets talk about it.

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Nothing is Real: Part 1 Wrap Up: Art and Consciousness

Nothing says Nothing is Real quite like the relationship between art and consciousness. As I’ve explored Perspective, Perception, and the human experience of suffering, art has always been my anchor. Really, that’s  because of the many concepts surrounding art. Specifically, it’s because the creation of art as well as the experience generated by the creation for both the creator and the observer are all are rooted in the idea that something came from nothing. If it were not created, it would not be real.

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Childhood Depression Cover

Nothing is Real: Perspective Perception & Childhood Depression

Childhood depression is often overlooked or misunderstood by parents and caregivers. This is because it does not always look like what it does in adults. In adults, you can usually tell if a person is depressed through the observation of their behaviors. Other times, a depressed adult just tells you. However, children, especially those who have not reached those developmental milestones which allow them to effectively commmuniate complex feelings, tend to show their depression more than they vocalize it.

Childhood depression

Symptoms of Childhood Depression

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Ultimate Anxiety Relief Tool Kit

How to: Create Your Very Own Ultimate Anxiety Relief Tool Kit

To those who struggle with anxiety the creation of a personalized Ultimate Anxiety Relief Tool Kit can make a world of a difference. These kits place relief at your finger tips wherever you may be.

When put together in a thoughtful way, they have the ability to help a person stay in control of their anxious symptoms. Your kit can be a small bag that you keep in your purse, or backpack. It can also be a box. Really, it can be whatever you want it to be. The point is to keep all of the parts together in an easily accessible space.

You can make multiple versions of your Ultimate Anxiety Relief Tool Kit and keep them in special places like your desk at work, your car, or anywhere else you frequent.

In order to make your Ultimate Anxiety Relief Tool Kit, you will need to make sure you have something to engage each of your senses.

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A Seat At the Table: Part 2 Self Esteem and Maturity

Self Esteem and Maturity are two key components to being a successful adult navigating today’s world. So, why not do …

Shared decision making

A Seat At the Table: How To Strategically Use Shared Decision Making To Empower Your Child, Foster Maturity, and Decrease Emotional Oubursts

Shared Decision Making is a topic I explore with parents often. This is the concept of allowing your child to be in on the …

Emotional Intelligence

The Role of Caregivers in the Development of Emotional Intelligence in Children

Emotional intelligence is a term that is cropping up more and more. It refers to an individual’s ability to recognize …