The Importance of Being Honest

  • From ages 5 to 10, kids develop an understanding of what it means to lie. If they’ve been raised in a home and a school where there are clear rules and consequences about the importance of telling the truth, they should always strive to be honest. They should want their parents, siblings, friends, teachers and other adults to think highly of their character.

 

  • From ages 10 and up, most children know perfectly well when they are exaggerating the truth or outright lying.

 
The Four Reasons Kid’s Lie
 

  • Mistakes: Sometimes kids lie without thinking and then make things worse for themselves by continuing the lie. A very important thing to remember is that if a kid tells a lie, it is always better to admit they were lying and to tell the truth right away. Parents, for example, understand that kids sometimes lie without thinking sometimes. What a lot of children don’t understand is that admitting the truth right away is a great way of establishing trust.

 

  • Fear: Sometimes children lie out of fear to avoid getting into trouble or receiving a consequence. It is important to explain to your kids that when they lie to avoid receiving a consequence they will get into more trouble than if they did something wrong and told the truth about it right away.

 

  • To Avoid Doing Things: Sometimes kids lie to get out of doing something they don’t want to do. Homework or a project they have to complete for school are just a couple of examples. It is very important for kids to remember that there are many things they have to do, even if they don’t want to. This will never end as the same is true for adults. Being responsible for things you have to do in life, even if it is a non-preferred task, is a good habit for kids to learn at a young age.

 

  • As a Way To Fit In:Sometimes kids lie to get others to like them. They may want people to think they are “cool.” They lie to win approval from their peers, parents, adults etc. It is important for children to remember that people will like them for being themselves and it is actually “un-cool” to lie. The message we need to send our children is that if you are being kind, respectful and honest, and someone doesn’t like you, they are not worth being your friend anyway. Truth, honesty and being yourself is the “coolest.”

 

Dr. Scott Koenig, Psy.D.

Avoiding Power Struggles with Your Child

Power struggles in parenting are common, but they can also be stressful, unpleasant and negatively impact the relationship you have with your child. In a power struggle, nobody wins! The good news is that implementing some consistent strategies can significantly reduce power struggles. When we learn how to reduce power struggles, we are teaching our children lifelong skills that build good character, such as responsibility and self-control.

 

What are we talking about when we say power struggles? We are talking about an exchange between a parent and a child that generally results in a high level of tension and anger. When we ask our child to do something and they refuse to comply, we often notice that we are involved in a power struggle. All humans strive to feel powerful. When a child is feeling overpowered, they may react to their feelings of powerlessness by fighting back through oppositional behaviors.

 

One observation I see often with families I work with is that parents make the mistake of engaging or escalating the negative interaction with their child when their child is in an emotionally reactive mood state. In addition, it often comes down to not following through. For example, if a parent states an expectation and then they retract it after their child protests, you are sending the message to your child that if they misbehave, they will get what they want. Ignoring is the opposite of paying attention. When you ignore a behavior you are sending a message to your child that they will not get their needs met by acting out, but rather by behaving in an appropriate manner. Obviously there are certain behaviors that should not be ignored (i.e. your child is causing harm to themselves or others or being destructive to property…etc.).

 

I often educate parents on the CPR’s of Parenting in an effort to reduce power struggles:

 

CPR’s of Parenting

 

Consistency –If I’m consistent, my child knows I am “unchanging” over a period of time.

 

Predictability –If I’m predictable, my child knows what to expect.

 

Reliability – If I’m reliable, my child knows that if I say something I’m going to follow through with it.

 

Dr. Scott Koenig, Psy.D.

How To Communicate With Your Adolescent About Drugs & Alcohol

How To Communicate With Your Adolescent About Drugs & Alcohol

Every adolescent will be exposed to drugs and alcohol at some point in their lives and research has shown that exposure and usage is occurring at a young age more than ever before. Encouraging your child to avoid the temptation and peer pressure associated with drugs and alcohol can sometimes be the difference between life and death.

 

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Here are some suggestions on how to approach this very important issue:

 

  • Research the effects of drugs and alcohol. Before you can educate your child, you’ll need to know the facts yourself. Be mindful when discussing this with your child that you are using language that they can understand and relate to. Make sure to allow them time to ask questions and avoid lecturing.
  • If your child is not willing to engage with you at this time, direct them to a website, article, or book that discusses the danger of drugs and alcohol use.
  • Open the lines of communication with your child. Having an open relationship without judgment or shame can often be the most successful way to help them avoid temptations or peer pressure.
  • Be aware of your child’s activities and who their friends are. This is especially important today with the constant and growing social media.
  • Reinforce your stance against drugs and alcohol on a consistent basis. To best encourage your child to avoid drugs and alcohol, you need to make it an ongoing discussion instead of a one time conversation.

 

 

Dr. Scott Koenig, Psy.D.

Fostering Healthy Parent-Child Communication

 

One of my main areas of focus in working with families is helping them to recognize the importance of establishing healthy parent and child communication. While your children battle issues of hormones, desiring more autonomy, confronting peer pressure and searching for an identity, parents are also dealing with many obstacles and questions as well.  Some of these include:

 

1) How much independence do I grant?

 

2) Do I continue to implement consequences and if so, what is effective?

 

3) How do I set healthy boundaries and limit conflict?

 

4) What questions am I allowed to ask my child?

 

5) What expectations should I have for my child?

 

There is no doubt that effective communication between you and your child may increase the likelihood that your children will avoid many of the pitfalls of adolescence such as substance abuse, succumbing to negative peer pressure, delinquency, criminal activity, and sexual promiscuity. In addition, effective communication is the cornerstone for having a healthy and satisfying relationship with your children.

 

During childhood and especially adolescence, your child is striving to gain independence, yet still retain close ties to the family. I have often noticed a correlation between healthy parent-child communication and how it can impact self-esteem, academic achievement, and emotional intelligence.

 

It’s extremely important to create an atmosphere within your family system that promotes a healthy dialogue between you and your child.

As parents, the goal here is to foster a safe environment in which all family members are free to discuss whatever topics they need to discuss without judgment. In addition, in developing and practicing healthy communication, sensitive issues that arise during adolescence, such as sexuality and substance abuse, can be discussed with greater success and ease.

 

Finding time to communicate with your child may prove to be a challenge, considering your busy schedule. You would be surprised how beneficial it can be to just devote a few minutes each day to actively listen to your child. Keep in mind that some of the issues they are dealing with may be uncomfortable for them to speak about and it should be treated with caution and empathy. Let your child know that you value their point of view. You don’t have to agree with them, but confirmation and validation of a child’s thoughts and feelings is an essential and often overlooked step.

 

Dr. Scott Koenig, Psy.D.

 

Benefits Of Summer Therapy For Your Child

Child Therapy In the Summer

 

Most parents would agree that the school year is typically a very stressful time for children and teenagers. Not to mention the emotional toll it can place on parents having to manage and juggle it all. Balancing schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and your child’s social life can often feel overwhelming for the entire family unit.

 

Although summer can be a wonderful time to decompress, one thing in particular I have noticed over the years is that the summer presents a wonderful opportunity to address any particular issue your child is experiencing. I find that children and adolescents are often more focused and engaged due to the limited number of distractions during the summer months. Beginning therapy in the summer to address areas of concern also presents a great opportunity to prepare your child for the upcoming school year.

 

Some parents may not be fully aware of some of the social issues or academic pressures their child may be experiencing during the school year. Providing your child the opportunity to confide in a therapist can help them work through resolving inner conflicts they may be experiencing. Children and teenagers sometimes do not feel comfortable discussing certain things with their parents that they are struggling with. One of my main goals when working with children and adolescences is to foster and improve channels of communication within the family system.

 

I recognize that every child and adolescent is unique and use an individualized approach to treatment. I view the therapeutic relationship as a collaborative one, and will work with you to create an action plan that specifically addresses your particular needs. It is my goal to provide a safe, secure, and confidential environment where your family can share your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or blame.

 

 

Dr. Scott Koenig, Psy.D.

 

Family Problems: San Diego Child Therapist

When it comes to managing family matters that can often feel overwhelming, a San Diego Child Therapist can be a wonderful resource. Whether you and your partner are experiencing difficulties with your first born, need help managing sibling rivalry, or your child seems to be struggling in a particular area, child therapy can be a great asset. So often, children may not feel comfortable talking to their parent or guardian about something that is troubling them. In addition, some children have not yet acquired the necessary coping skills to deal with their thoughts and feelings. Dr. Scott Koenig, a top rated San Diego Family therapist has a proven track record of helping children cope with their emotional and behavioral issues.

Therapy Session BenefitsSan Diego Family Therapy

A therapy session can provide your child with a safe environment to express their thoughts and feelings. It can also help your child and your family to find effective ways to communicate and interact, while also increasing their self-awareness and emotional intelligence. A treatment plan will be customized to meet your child’s individual needs, and Dr. Koenig will work closely with you to ensure the plan is implemented in the home as well as in school. To make an appointment with Dr. Koenig or to learn more about his services, please visit www.sandiegofamilytherapist.com.