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Connecting with your Middle School Child: The Five Core Needs of Children and How to Manage Difficult Conversations PowerPoint Presentation
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Connecting with your Middle School Child: The Five Core Needs of Children and How to Manage Difficult Conversations. Sarah Rich, Psy.D. Middle School Counselor St. John’s School. Recalling our own Middle School Years. Think about the following questions:

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Connecting with your Middle School Child: The Five Core Needs of Children and How to Manage Difficult Conversations


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    Presentation Transcript
    1. Connecting with your Middle School Child:The Five Core Needs of Children and How to Manage Difficult Conversations Sarah Rich, Psy.D. Middle School Counselor St. John’s School

    2. Recalling our own Middle School Years Think about the following questions: • What do you remember about your friends or social life in Middle School? • How did you experience talking with your parents about grades, school, friends, crushes, relationships, puberty, human sexuality, etc.?

    3. Kids’ Advice to Parents…. • “When you get mad, tell us why and try to say it without raising your voice” • “Make us feel like no matter who we are or who we become, you’ll always accept us and love us. Make us feel comfortable being us.” • “Never act cranky, and always be available to us!” • “Stop Yelling!” • “Listen! And don’t criticize us that much ‘cuz we really take it to heart.”

    4. Kids’ Advice to Parents…. • “Spend time with us (No forcing us to be with you excessively and then ignoring us).” • “Don’t downplay kids’ illnesses or hurts” • “Don’t criticize when you don’t have to” • “Make children feel comfortable with telling parents about anything, not that they are forced, or guilted, etc.” • “Listen before you start yelling or criticizing!”

    5. Kids’ Advice to Parents… • “Be cool. No dramatic interventions about sex-ed and stuff” • “Be real. Don’t beat around the bush or talk in code. Just say it!” • “Don’t push your own fashion advice” • “Don’t start screaming at your kids right away, start out talking.” • “Don’t push into your child’s life, let them come to you.”

    6. Kids’ Advice to Parents…. • “Whataburger pleases me…” • “Don’t EVER try to talk ‘cool’!!” • “Keep an open mind. Some things may not be as bad as they seem. Listen before you confront.” • “I like when my parents take an interest in my life, but it should come up in the ‘convo’ casually or else it is awkward.” • “Don’t ask about ex-boyfriends. Don’t ask about guys ever PLEASE!! If I tell you I’m in a bad mood and I don’t know why, please don’t keep asking.”

    7. Kids’ Advice to Parents… • “Don’t be judgmental” • “If your daughter/son is more irritable and snappy than normal, it might have to do with a guy/girl/break-up/boyfriend/girlfriend problems. Ask if they want to talk about it.” • “Parents don’t understand that even though it’s middle school, it’s still the real world, we are just like them.” • “Don’t tell things to other Parents.” • “DON’T stalk me!”

    8. Kids’ Advice to Parents… • “If your child tells you something, don’t freak out and ask a million questions!” • “Don’t approach it the wrong way. If you make it a big deal, we get annoyed and will get all defensive. If you make it sound like we will do something wrong, we say ‘you’re wrong.’ Just because we are in middle school, don’t assume we will make a ton of mistakes.” • “Don’t talk to us. Ever.”

    9. Five Core Needs of Children and Adolescents… • 1.Affirmation: • Understanding and honoring the child’s unique developmental stage • Identifying and validating the child’s unique characteristics, affect, psychosocial environment, and world view • Providing unconditional love and acceptance for who the child is Roffman, D. (2001) Sex and Sensibility: The thinking parent’s Guide to talking Sense about Sex. Da Capo Press: Cambridge, MA.

    10. Five Core Needs of Children and Adolescents… • 2. Information: • Providing alternative points of view and promoting critical thinking • Providing information in context and in a manner attuned to the child’s cognitive ability and particular stage of development • Recognizing that the social and emotional components of learning are at least as important as the intellectual Roffman, D. (2001) Sex and Sensibility: The thinking parent’s Guide to talking Sense about Sex. Da Capo Press: Cambridge, MA.

    11. Five Core Needs of Children and Adolescents… • 3. Clarity about Values: • Naming the values you want children to value; speaking more about values than rules • Role modeling, rewarding, explaining, applying, and teaching children to apply the values you want them to value; when appropriate, imposing a logical consequence • Helping children correctly identify the values modeled and implied around them, and the values expressed by their own behavior and choices. • Helping children identify and resolve values conflicts. • Roffman, D. (2001) Sex and Sensibility: The thinking parent’s Guide to talking Sense about Sex. Da Capo Press: Cambridge, MA.

    12. Five Core Needs of Children and Adolescents… • 4. Limit Setting: • Understanding the central importance of limit setting from a developmental standpoint • Making certain that clear, reasonable, age appropriate boundaries are firmly in place in children’s lives. • Being prepared to negotiate limits and boundaries when appropriate as children mature. • Roffman, D. (2001) Sex and Sensibility: The thinking parent’s Guide to talking Sense about Sex. Da Capo Press: Cambridge, MA.

    13. Five Core Needs of Children and Adolescents… • 5. Anticipatory Guidance • Educating yourself about the developmental challenges ahead, and building in the strengths children will need. • Imparting communication, interpersonal, problem solving, decision making, assertiveness, and risk management skills • Helping children anticipate “what ifs” and eventually incorporate “what if” thinking; helping them to “walk through” in advance situations they may face • Turning children very gradually “over to themselves” • Roffman, D. (2001) Sex and Sensibility: The thinking parent’s Guide to talking Sense about Sex. Da Capo Press: Cambridge, MA.

    14. General Tips for Difficult Conversations: social life, relationships, dating, sex, alcohol and other drugs, risky behaviors • Look for small/informal opportunities to get a conversation going (ex: TV show clip) • Several “small” conversations are generally better than the big, looming “TALK.” • These topics are too important and too complex to cover in one talk. Faber, A. and Mazlish, E. (2005). How to talk so Teens will Listen and Listen so Teens will Talk.

    15. General Tips for Difficult Conversations: social life, relationships, dating, sex, alcohol and other drugs, risky behaviors • Be Non-Judgmental: Take the shame factor OUT of discussions about relationships, dating, sex, risky behaviors… • Acknowledge and respect their perspective and then state your perspective. Give them something to think about. • Talk about Safety and Health Risks • Blake (2001) found Sex Ed. curriculum was significantly more effective when combined with home based intervention. Faber, A. and Mazlish, E. (2005). How to talk so Teens will Listen and Listen so Teens will Talk.

    16. General Tips for Difficult Conversations: social life, relationships, dating, sex, alcohol and other drugs, risky behaviors • When you talk to your teens about these topics, you are giving information, NOT permission. • Morals, values, religion: many factors play a role in what you teach your children about relationships, intimacy, love, and friendship. These family values should be clearly articulated. • One common denominator: Emotions and Responsibility. Faber, A. and Mazlish, E. (2005). How to talk so Teens will Listen and Listen so Teens will Talk.

    17. Final Thought… • “As parents, our need is to be needed; as teenagers their need is not to need us. This conflict is real, we experience it daily as we help those we love become independent of us…” -Dr. Haim G. Ginott Between Parent and Teenager (The Macmillam Company, 1969)

    18. Recommended Reading: • How to Talk so Teens will Listen and Listen so Teens will Talk. By: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish • 7 Things your Teenager Won’t Tell You, and how to talk about them anyway. By: Jenifer Marshall Lippincott and Robin M. Deutsch, Ph.D. • Sex and Sensibility: The thinking parent’s guide to talking sense about sex. By: Deborah M. Roffman • Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy! Loving your Kid without losing your Mind. By: Michael J. Bradley, Ed.D. • The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. By: Wendy Mogel, Ph.D. • Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall?: A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager. By: Anthony E. Wolf