How to Talk to Your Kids About the Breach at the U.S. Capitol

How to Talk to Your Kids About the Breach at the U.S. Capitol

Written by Dina El Nabli – Published in NJ Family, 1/7/2021

No matter where you stand politically, we can all agree that yesterday’s breach at the U.S. Capitol was a very sad day for our country. We’re all still processing our shock after watching an ugly chapter in a U.S. history book come to life.

This afternoon, I was heartened to know that my son’s social studies teacher spent the class period talking to students about what happened. She told them that no matter who you voted for or what your political views are, violently disrupting the Democratic process is unacceptable and wrong. Chances are children of all ages are hearing about what happened. Here are some tips to help you talk with your kids about yesterday’s unsettling events:

Be proactive about having an age-appropriate conversation with your kids.

photo by istockphoto.com/inhauscreative

The New Normal Is Not Normal

The New Normal Is Not Normal

Amanda Marshall

Doctoral Candidate, PEC Psychology Intern

In some ways, it seems like we are getting back to “normal”. Perhaps you spent months at home and now you are back in the office. Maybe your children are attending some school days in person after months of virtual learning. We still wear our masks, avoid handshakes, and stand six feet apart; however, in many ways, we are back to the hustle and bustle of “normal” life.

But nothing about this is actually normal.

We, as a society, are experiencing a collective trauma, and that must be acknowledged. It is important for you to know that your child is not alone in their struggles to keep up with school during this strange year. Your family is not alone in their difficulty deciding who to see for holidays. Many people are overwhelmed and having trouble with things that used to just be part of the day.

We may be more accustom to this unusual time but living through this pandemic has an impact on us each day, and we are all experiencing these struggles together. Here are some tips for getting through the day-to-day in this not so normal time:

Turn off the news. The 24-hour news cycle can increase anxiety and while it is good to be informed, sometimes we need to close off the outside world and focus on those who are with us.

Be a resource. In line with turning off the news, be a resource for accurate information for your children and support them if they are feeling stressed. Avoid toxic positivity, such as saying, “Don’t worry, everything will be ok!” Instead validate their emotion and be present with them. Try saying, “I can see how worried you are. I am always here for you. How can I help?”

Family time. Many people are experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression. It is important that family members do not shut each other out during this time. Set up times for your family to engage in something fun together and connect. Family game night can have a healing effect!

Reduce the pressure. Although work and school may have expectations like those of a typical year, it is important to recognize our limits. It is OK to take a break when one is needed. This year is a unique experience, so try to adjust your expectations for yourself and your family. It is OK if after a long day you can’t bring yourself to cook that healthy meal you planned – who doesn’t love an impromptu pizza night every now and then? It is OK to adjust your priorities in the interest of self-care (and help your children to do the same). Try to be OK with some imperfection for now.

Ask for help. Balancing all the expectations and responsibilities of life can be exhausting. Know when it is time to ask for help and ASK. Help can take different forms. It might look like ordering that pizza after a long day or hiring a tutor to work on homework and review lessons with your child (free resources are also available online!). An increasing number of people have been reaching out to therapists for support as this pandemic contributes to heightened experiences of anxiety and depression. We are here for you!

One day we will gather again. Until then, know that you are not alone and we will get through this together.

Dr Liz Matheis on the Timothy Hodge Show – Discussing COVID-19’s Impact on Kids and Students

Dr. Liz stops by the show to discuss the Covid -19 Pandemic and the impact it can have on kids, and teachers returning back to school. She will also touch basis on   the effect it has on Mental Health of both Educators and the children.

Dr. Liz is a licensed clinical psychologist and certified school psychologist. She has worked in the public schools as a member of the Child Study Team as well as the Coordinator of the Child Study Team. During her tenure in private school, she served as the team leader to provide supports to teachers and paraprofessionals, emotional support to parents, and school-based counseling for students as well as behavior management.

While working within the schools, she maintained her private practice work part-time until 2012. Since then, she and her husband, Dr. Rob, have expanded the practice to include a team of therapists who have expertise in areas of child, adolescent and young adult therapy, such as play therapy, parent coaching, family therapy,

Does My Child with ADHD Need a 504 Accommodation Plan or an IEP?

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Featured on theexperiencedgraduate.com

DOES MY CHILD WITH ADHD NEED A 504 ACCOMMODATION PLAN OR AN IEP?

Your child has an ADHD diagnosis and you’re not exactly sure what he needs at school. His teacher has spoken to you about the accommodations she is providing, but once she’s done with him this year, then what? Will his next teacher know him well enough and know well enough to offer the accommodations provided by this year’s teacher, or better yet, to offer different ones as he needs them?

All of these are big questions without little answers. Your child’s needs are different from the next child’s needs with ADHD. Let me start by informing you of where you can go for an evaluation in order to gain an ADHD diagnosis for your child.  Then, I will review the difference between the two types of plans and which one your child will need based on his academic, behavioral and/or sensory profile.

Image by pexels

3 Ways to Take Care of Your Body and Mind During the Mental Fatigue of COVID-19

3 Ways to Take Care of Your Body and Mind During the Mental Fatigue of COVID-19

Thriving During the Holiday Season

Thriving During the Holiday Season

Written by Dr. Liz Matheis

Featured on DifferentDream.com

Thriving during the holiday season, traditionally a time of stress that results in a feeling of depletion once they’re over, can be tricky.  This year there’s additional component of COVID-19 to factor in. Many of us are fearful about gathering with family members, becoming ill, or passing on the virus to others.

Our children and adolescents are feeling the effects of the pandemic. The number of children and adolescents who are anxious and fearful of the outside world is growing, and they crave normalcy. So how do we make thriving this holiday season possible? Here are 3 ways to make the season enjoyable by creating new traditions and changing the way we celebrate.

Shift Your Focus

It is so easy to think about activities or traditions in which you may not be able to partake rather than using this time to create memories that you and your family will look back on for years to come. In my house, I want to hear, “Remember in 2020 when we….?”

Even though it feels like the holidays will be different, different doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be bad. Think about this year as an opportunity to sit with each other, to listen without the need to rush on to next thing. Enjoy each other’s company and get to know each other again. This pandemic gives parents the chance to see what daily routines look like and to understand what their children are doing each day. Couples can reconnect. Siblings can enjoy each other’s company. Perhaps it’s not all that bad, right?

"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Julie C.
"Dr. Matheis has a remarkable ability to understand the unique needs of her patients and address them constructively. She builds strong, meaningful relationships with patients and their families, encouraging trust and collaboration. When working with my son who struggles with autism-related anxiety, she created an environment in which he was able to calm down and open up to her in ways I had not seen before. She was able to reach him and helped him work through his crisis/problem. Most importantly, she empowered him to move forward."
- N.L.
"Dr. Matheis is amazing. She has tremendous resources and loads of energy. She is not willing to accept anything less than the most effective results for her clients. She made me feel as if my son was her top priority throughout the entire process. I would, without reservation, give her my highest recommendations.  Thank you, Dr. Matheis!"
- Anonymous
"Dr. Matheis has an amazing ability to read kids and connect with them. She has been an invaluable resource for our family over the past several years and has helped us with everything from educational consulting, to uncovering diagnoses as well as family therapy. Working with Dr. Matheis never feels clinical and most importantly, our children love and trust her. We can not thank you enough Dr. Liz!"
- Anonymous
"My teenage son had been seeing Dr. Matheis through his senior year of high school, as he was only diagnosed with ADHD at 16 years old.  Dr. Matheis came highly recommended from our pediatrician and she has done wonders for our son as well as our family, navigating new ways for him to deal with his diagnosis without the use of medication.  She taught him ways to organize himself and even when something did not work for him, she patiently continued teaching him new ways to keep himself on track.  She has also helped us as parents to understand how his mind works so that we did not continue to blame his lack of focus on him, rather on his unique way of thinking.  Thank you Dr. Matheis!!!!"
- LG
"Dr. Liz is the best! Our family was directed to her by our Pediatrician to assist with figuring out severe mood changes, severe anxiety, strange new fears and food aversion that had come onto one of our children literally overnight. After just a couple of visits, she suggested that the issues may actually be rooted in a physical issue and suggested we immediately take our child to be swabbed for strep, because Dr. Liz suspected PANDAS (a pediatric autoimmune disorder brought on by strep). The same Pediatrician that suggested Dr. Liz would not do the swab (they do not believe in PANDAS and we no longer go there) but I took my child to my doctor who did the swab and it was positive for strep. When our child went on antibiotics, within 24 hours all symptoms went away and our child was back :-) Dr. Liz then recommended a PANDAS specialist who helped us and our child is in complete remission and is happy and healthy. We are incredibly grateful to Dr. Liz for her knowledge of all things, even the most remote and unusual and for helping us so much! Thank you!"
- Anonymous
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Anonymous
"Thank you, Dr. Liz. Although we have told you countless times, it will never feel enough. You have listened when J could barely speak and continued to listen when he was sad, angry and confused. You've challenged him and directed us in our roles as parents. You've helped J face his fears while the list evolved and changed, and yet you've stayed committed to 'the course.' We pray that your children realize that time away from them is spent helping children learn and that vulnerability is a sign of strength and bravery."
- June I
"My son was admitted to an Ivy League school when only 2 years ago, you assessed him and saw his struggles, his Dyslexia. We are grateful that he no longer has to carry that deep feeling of inadequacy or shame that must have kept him so self conscious and from reaching his potential. He has the PERFECT program for him. He has A's in high math and economics. He became a Merit Scholar, a Boys State legislature, the HEAD captain of the football team and help a job ALL while studying and managing his classes and disability. I am PROUD of you, a young doctor, who knows and sees the vulnerability of children and helps them recognize "it's NO big deal" God bless."
- Anonymous

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