Assessment and Evaluation for Your Child

By Eleanor Harrison, PhD What does it mean to have a psychological evaluation or an educational assessment done on your child? I often get calls about neuropsychological assessments or psychological assessments or just “what’s wrong with my child?” assessments. I hope to clarify the differences in this article so parents can make better decisions about how to get help for a child who is struggling. Maybe you’ve noticed your child is struggling in school. This can look a number of differe...
More

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC In my work with children and their families, I notice that there are more and more grandparents raising their grandchildren. This has become a trend due to very unfortunate circumstances: parents in prison or with mental health problems that render them unable to care for a child, child abuse, substance abuse, financial difficulties, death. When you have to embark in this journey of raising grandchildren, many emotions and feelings come to the surface. Some em...
More

Does My Child Need ADHD Testing?

By Eleanor Harrison, PhD I get many phone calls from parents who want ADHD testing for their child. Often, the child is doing poorly in school, displaying behavior problems, or is having difficulty with friendships. Sometimes, a teacher, friend, or relative has suggested the child may have ADHD. A sibling or parent might have recently been diagnosed with ADHD. So when is it a good idea to pursue an ADHD evaluation? ADHD was the diagnosis of the day not long ago. It seemed that many child...
More

Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Child

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC In my work with children and their parents, I frequently learn that the parent’s expectations of their children are unrealistic. And not having their expectations met brings parents a lot of disappointment, which translates into consequences for children, turmoil, and breaks in the child/parent relationship. To help you navigate this tricky terrain, I would like to share some thoughts about how to set realistic expectations for your child. I grew up in Roma...
More

The Perfect Storm – Perfectionism in Relationships

By Lesley S. Cunningham, MA, LPC We all say, “No one’s perfect!” But there is a subset of people who frankly strive to be and can seem pretty close. Born Perfect We are born as perfect as we will ever be: untainted, un-programmed, and un-manipulated. But soon thereafter, our well-intentioned parents may begin “fulfilling their dreams” through us, consciously and unconsciously. The dreams for their children hopefully will be translated into shaping behaviors that turn boys into success...
More

Holiday Coping: Take a Deep Breath

By Eleanor Harrison, PhD Yes, take a deep breath. The holidays are fast approaching and many people find this time of year stressful. Whether it’s because you have the dreaded Christmas party coming, you are cooking the turkey this year, Aunt Marge will be in town for the holidays, or you are living alone and fear loneliness, the holidays can be very difficult. The advertisements don’t help for they portray loving families with loads of money and perfect homes. In the movies nobody’s family arg...
More

The Importance of Empathy

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC According to the dictionary, empathy is “the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else's feelings.” In my work with parents and children, I often find that empathy is almost non-existent in certain individuals. They understand that someone is hurt or in pain or grieving but have no ability to put themselves in that person’s shoes. A heart without empathy is like a plant without water – it...
More

School Attendance: A Slippery Slope

By Eleanor Harrison, PhD School attendance is something I never thought about as a parent. My children went to school most days unless one of them was sick. My friends sometimes kept their kids home for “free” days or went on long vacations during the school year. When I took a job with a school district as a support to the truancy program, I learned a number of things about school attendance that I thought I would share with you. Attendance Habits Start in Kindergarten Studies have shown...
More

Preparing Children For Change

By Lavinia Ball-Marian, MA, LPC A few months ago we decided to move to a different town. In addition to requiring negotiating, logistical planning, and lots of sweat work, the move involved preparing our daughter for what was to come. With the excitement of moving also came the fear of the unknown, for both my daughter and me. Tons of questions went through our heads and we knew that we were going to miss our town – our friends, the restaurants, the stores – everything that had been fami...
More

Parent Alienation: Manipulating a Child’s Loyalty

By Lesley S. Cunningham, MA, LPC Basic Instincts Children have a basic instinct: to survive. It is the reason for attachment, it is the reason for crying, and it is the reason why divided loyalties can happen. The survival instinct endows children with the innate ability to “read” their parents and, as a result, they are reading us constantly – our words and vocal intonations, but perhaps more importantly, our every move, the smallest facial expression, sigh, or teary eye. Parents al...
More