What Does it Mean to Truly See Your Child?

What Does it Mean to Truly See Your Child?

written by Corinne Masur Psy.D., posted on Psychology Today

Recently I read an article about Adam Phillips, the wonderful British child psychoanalyst. In it he was quoted as saying, “There’s nothing to you until someone sees something in you.”

At first I wondered, is this really true? Don’t we know ourselves and know what we are capable of even without someone else noticing?

And then I remembered my training. In studying child development, I learned that it was eye contact with the parent that helps the infant to settle down when agitated or frightened, and it is through eye contact with the parent that infants learn social regulation. In fact, the greater the amount of parent-infant eye contact, the better the social regulation of the infant.

So, quite literally, from the very beginning babies need to be looked at — and seen — by their parents.

I also remembered that later in development, at ages two, three, and four, the greater the ability of the parent to “see” (that is, to know and to admire their child), the more likely it is that the child will feel worthwhile. The child of this age who feels noticed and valued by the parent will incorporate these feelings into their own sense of themselves as admirable and valuable. This is the basis for self-confidence.

All two and three-year-olds will say, “Look at me!” What they need is for the parent to see what they are doing – and also who they are. Children of all ages want to know that they are noticed, that they are valued, and that their particular abilities are appreciated.

Of course, this does not mean you need to say “Good job, Buddy” every few minutes. This has become an extremely popular habit amongst parents. But children are smart. They know when they have really done something worth praise and when they have not. If you keep saying “good job,” it becomes meaningless.

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Does your daughter need a boost of self-confidence? Introducing Girls Confidence Summer Bootcamp at PEC!

Individual & group session available – 4-6 Summer sessions tailored to your Summer schedule.

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What Is ‘Sadfishing’ and Why Are Teens Doing It?

What Is ‘Sadfishing’ and Why Are Teens Doing It?

written by Kristina Behr, posted on Parents

Social media is often an integral part of teenage life. But what was once a simple way to stay connected with friends and family, has now evolved into a medium where distinguishing the real from the fake amid alarming trends has become increasingly difficult.

One such trend, sadfishing, is raising concern, particularly among teenagers. The term, which researchers defined in the Journal of American College Health in 2021, refers to social media users who “exaggerate their emotional state online to generate sympathy.” It could be in the form of a sad photo, an ominous quote, or a vague post.

Journalist Rebecca Reid coined the term in 2019 after a questionable Instagram post by Kendall Jenner. In the post, Jenner described a “debilitating struggle” with acne and received a large amount of sympathetic responses from her followers. However, it was later revealed her post was just an elaborate marketing scheme for her skincare partnership with Proactiv, and Reid labeled her behavior as sadfishing.

We all may be guilty of posting something vulnerable and emotional on social media from time to time, which isn’t a bad thing. But excessive posting could be a sign of a larger mental health issue in teens or a cry for help.

 

PEC Girls Confidence Summer Bootcamp

Does your daughter need a boost of self-confidence? Introducing Girls Confidence Summer Bootcamp at PEC!

Individual & group session available – 4-6 Summer sessions tailored to your Summer schedule.

For more details & information, contact Michelle Molle Krowiak at: mkrowiak@psychedconsult.com

PEC Girls Confidence Summer Bootcamp

Does your daughter need a boost of self-confidence? Introducing Girls Confidence Summer Bootcamp at PEC!

Individual & group session available – 4-6 Summer sessions tailored to your Summer schedule.

For more details & information, contact Michelle Molle Krowiak at: mkrowiak@psychedconsult.com

Boosting Children’s Self-Esteem During Summer Break

Boosting Children’s Self-Esteem During Summer Break

written by Yanet Vanegas Psy.D. , posted on Psychology Today

Summer break is not only a time for relaxation and fun but also an excellent opportunity to work on boosting children’s self-esteem. With the right activities and mindset, parents and caregivers can help children develop a strong sense of self-worth and confidence that will benefit them throughout their lives.

1. Encourage Exploration and New Experiences

  • Encourage children to try new activities or hobbies they’ve been curious about. Whether it’s learning a new sport, trying a new craft, or exploring nature, each new experience can build confidence as children discover their capabilities.
  • Support their efforts and provide positive reinforcement, focusing on the process rather than just the outcome. Praise their effort, creativity, and perseverance, regardless of the result.

2. Foster Independence

  • Give children age-appropriate responsibilities and opportunities to make decisions. Whether it’s planning a picnic, managing a small budget for a summer project, or taking care of a pet, allowing children to take on responsibilities helps them develop confidence in their abilities.
  • Offer guidance and support when needed, but allow them the freedom to learn from their mistakes and grow from the experience.

3. Cultivate Positive Self-Talk

  • Teach children the power of positive self-talk by modeling it yourself and encouraging them to do the same. Help them identify and challenge negative thoughts or self-doubt by reframing them in a more positive light.
  • Encourage them to practice affirmations or create a “positivity journal” in which they can write down things they like about themselves or achievements they’re proud of.

Autism Acceptance: A New Understanding of Neurodivergence

Autism Acceptance: A New Understanding of Neurodivergence

written by Carla Shuman Ph.D. posted on Psychology Today

April is Autism Acceptance Month. Autism, which is one type of neurodivergence, has received a lot of attention from the press and social media in the last several years.

There are many people who speak and write about autism, including autistic individuals. If you are autistic or know someone who is or might be, it’s important to recognize that our understanding of autism is evolving. I hope this blog post contributes to improving awareness of the current conception of what it means to be autistic and the implications of this new knowledge.

The following are some facts about autism that are often unfamiliar to people but that are important to acknowledge as we move forward in helping autistic people thrive.

1. You can be autistic your whole life and not realize it until you’re an adult.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of individuals seeking an assessment to clearly determine if they are autistic in my practice. Many people would not have “met the criteria” according to previous standards and sometimes even the current ones in the DSM-5 (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition). This is why many autistic people prefer to use the term neurodivergent. This term explains that their brain is different but that it doesn’t necessarily fit into the traditional definition of autism.

2. Autistic people can acquire neurotypical social skills, but this does not mean they are no longer autistic.

The behavior they learn by observing others never feels right to them, but they often do it in an attempt to fit in. This is called masking. This doesn’t mean that they are comfortable behaving like their peers or that they find social relationships with their neurotypical peers enjoyable.

When autistic people can relax and be themselves without the expectations of typical social exchanges, they can enjoy being with people. For example, the expectation to ask personal questions of a new acquaintance might make them uncomfortable interacting, and that’s not how they typically connect with new people.

3. Autistic people can have empathy.

Sometimes, they have quite a bit of empathy, and their emotions can be very intense. They can feel the pain of others tremendously, and it impacts them more deeply than the average person. So, it is not the case that every autistic person lacks empathy and can’t relate to others’ pain. It is often the case that they cannot relate to their peers or to situations that bother or hurt others.

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