Dr. Amy Stark
Child Psychologist, Author & Speaker
Teaching Families How to Live Divorced
and Self-Esteem for Girls and Boys
Food For Thought
I recently heard an interesting statistic. Parents have only 37 minutes of meaningful contact with their children daily. When put in these terms, all the communication you have is much more important. In those very few minutes, we need to convey values, check in on feelings, discuss the schedule for the next day, check on homework, and try to have a few minutes of laughter. Here are a few things to think about, to ensure that you give your kids depth.
- Give them your full face. Do not be on your phone and make actual eye contact. Many kids today do not know how to talk to each other without texting someone else at the same time. Giving your full face means that it’s important. It also teaches the meaning of eye contact and depth of connection.
- Don't just gossip about classmates and teachers. Talk to them about their friendships and relationships and the importance of how they speak to others. Have their feelings been hurt? Have they said things to friends that were hurtful?
- Ask about their worries and struggles. Give advice when necessary but encourage them to try to "problem-solve" first. I have a chalk board in my office with monthly topics. This month has been what is your hardest subject? Most kids wrote about their struggles. Lots of kids were worried about math. I was encouraged to see some kids leave notes “don’t give up” for the kids who admitted they struggled. We need more of that!
- Listen for signs of bullying. Does your child have lunch alone? Do they dread recess and lunch breaks? If so, ask them what is really going on. Offer support and make sure to check in with the school. We all need to do more to make sure all our kids feel safe and well treated.
- Teach kindness. A little old-fashioned kindness goes a long way. Do they make sure no one is left out at recess? Do they include others? Do they stand up for someone else or go along with the crowd, as a child is bullied?
- Lastly, tell them you love them every day! That's the easiest one of all.
Dr. Stark's Web site is not intended to take the place of a court-ordered advice or the advice of another professional. Although you may use the input found here to your best advantage, we recommend that you do so in conjunction with the work that you are doing with your individual therapist. Remember: this Web site is not therapy; it's knowledge and support.
Psychologist License PSY7828, California213 E City Place Drive
Santa Ana, CA 92705