Monday, March 23, 2015

Understanding and Combatting Imbalance of Family Power

Dr. Beth Grosshans is a child psychologist who has retired from private practice and focuses on speaking engagements with educators and parents. The author of Beyond Time Out: From Chaos to Calm, Dr. Beth Grosshans is currently working to revise and update the well-received 2008 book. One of the key concepts of the book and her presentations is imbalance of family power.

Imbalance of family power (IFP) describes a situation in which children control the home dynamic through incessant whining, tantrums, sleeping issues, and mealtime misbehavior. These behaviors are common to some extent in every family but can reach extremes when children act out constantly in public settings, such as school, and boldly defy their parents’ wishes at home. Displays of disrespect can take the form of refusing to be taught or trained and even threatening to run away.

Dr. Grosshans notes that, while such behaviors are diverse and vary in severity, they have a common root in IFP. The state of IFP is characterized by family life being disrupted and non-peaceful more than 30 percent of the time. In her book, Dr. Grosshans provides practical techniques for regaining control of the home environment and creating a healthier, more constructive family dynamic.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Skills for Anxious Children

Accomplished clinical psychologist Dr. Beth Grosshans has provided psychotherapy to children in both outpatient and inpatient settings. The author of Beyond Time-Out, a parenting text that discusses power dynamics and child anxiety, Dr. Beth Grosshans now focuses on sharing her expertise with schools.

When a child displays anxious behaviors, parents frequently rush to separate the child from the source of the anxiety. Experts warn, however, that such a response instead strengthens the anxiety and prevents a child from learning coping skills. Psychologists suggest that children with fears need to develop the confidence to manage their feelings and face scary situations.

This process involves both empathizing with a children's feelings and supporting them as they face their fears, a message that can be as simple as, “it's okay to be scared; I'm here for you.” Experts warn parents not to ask a child if he or she is worried or to show worry themselves, as the child can then feel that he or she should be afraid. Instead, parents and other adults can model calm behavior, encourage tolerance of anxious feelings, and make a plan for coping with a potentially frightening situation. However, if the child seems to be experiencing disruptive levels of anxiety, parents may need to consult with a mental health professional.