Life is busy for all of us. Oftentimes, as a result of this, we tend to take advantage of the moments where our children are keeping busy in a positive way in order to cross items off our to-do list. That being said, it is important to let the child know that we see them making the choices and doing the things they need to be doing in order for us to have the opportunity to tackle our list of responsibilities.
Before, or while, we are addressing the tasks that need to be completed, it is also important to address your children and praise the behaviors that they are demonstrating to create this possibility. Praise works best when it is clear and direct. Instead of a “Good job” or “Thank you,” it is most beneficial to let the child know EXACTLY what they are doing that you appreciate and are praising. So, tell them that you see them getting along with their siblings, playing nicely, completing their responsibilities, reading quietly, etc. Praise also goes a little farther when you couple it with physical touch. If your child welcomes physical affection, rub their head or their back or offer a high five or a fist bump.
If you are able to tackle enough of the tasks to open up your schedule, let your children know that too. Offer to do something fun with them as a reward for them making positive choices. Rewards can be something as simple as spending time together, like playing a game or watching TV or a movie. Rewards can also be a trip into the community, such as going to the park or out for a sweet treat (it is summer, ice cream anyone?). The most important thing is that the child values the reward and sees the connection between their positive behaviors and it.
In short, relationships need cooperation. Direct, descriptive, immediate (or here-and-now) feedback coupled with touch increases the probability that your child will want to cooperate with you. A reward makes that “work” even more worth it!
Her therapy clients describe Kristen as respectful, energetic, compassionate, playful and supportive.
Kristen’s therapy style is engaging, informative, and goal-directed with a positive, strengths-based, flexible, encouraging attitude.
Kristen earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from The Ohio State University. Prior to working at the Willow Center, Kristen has worked with youth in a variety of settings (community mental health, educational treatment programs, and residential treatment). Kristen believes in meeting a youth and family where they are at and building on current strengths and successes in order to make positive changes across all aspects of life. Kristen’s therapeutic approach is grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), strength-based therapy, and using play in order to promote positive change.
Over the last decade, Kristen has developed specialized clinical skills through her experiences working with individuals and families with early childhood-to-adolescent difficulties. Kristen has helped families obtain better balance while struggling with distressing symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma, grief/loss, social/peer issues, difficulty at school, behavior problems, ADHD, and developmental delays. Kristen has developed competency in understanding youth and their families’ individualistic relational challenges with separation, divorce, and co-parenting. Kristen helps youth, and their families, in developing skills and tools to increase the likelihood of success in all settings and environments. Kristen believes in the power of connection and relationships to promote positive changes in one’s life and situation, regardless of past experience.