Awarded the 2018 Educator of the Year Award by the Learning Disability Association of America!

 I will  be offering workshops in the PSW approach to identifying a SLD to the following groups: Westwood School District (9/5); Fairfleld School District (9/14); Little Silver School District (9/22); Mountain Lakes School District (10/4); Hanover Park School district (10/9); NJ Association of Learning Consultants (10/20); Newark School District (11/2, 11/6); Rutgers GSAPP Continuing Education (12/6).

I continue to offer training in conducting evaluations for specific learning disabilities at the following districts: Westwood (1/15/24); Newark (2/20 & 2/22/24); Southampton (2/16/24); and Burlington (2/26/24).

A Survival Guide for Parents During the Outbreak: Tips for Nurturing Parent-Child Relationships

A Survival Guide for Parents During the Outbreak: Tips for Nurturing Parent-Child Relationships

If dealing with the constant flow of bad news about the outbreak were not enough, staying at home with your children can add a huge amount of stress. More than ever, relationships between parents and kids as well as between parents, will be tested and must be nurtured as they are the key to maintaining emotional regulation and well-being.

Here are some issues that have arisen thus far and some ideas about how to address them:

  • Minimize exposure to the media.  While this has been said repeatedly, it is so important that it is worth saying again. If you need the facts, go to a reliable source like the CDC website (gov). Hearing reports about how many people have become infected and died may inform you about the seriousness of the disease, but this is something we already know. Preserve yourself and your family by limiting this kind of exposure.
  • Discuss the online paradox with your kids. Paradoxically, the move to online instruction has complicated an already conflicted area of parent-child relationships. While many parents and kids struggle with each other about how much time to spend online and monitoring online content in normal times, the virtual world has now become primary in our stay in place environment. Nevertheless, parents will need to engage in discussions (note the plural!) with their kids about online use. Even where families have adequate access to devices for all members, an ongoing discussion should be started about how much to be online, and how to set parameters so that online academic instruction and online socializing and entertainment do not conflict. This should include:

setting a schedule for each type of activity. Here is another no brainer although often easier said than done. The key here is for parents to create a schedule together with their kidsEven though there may be disagreements about how much online time is to be scheduled and what type of activities, websites, etc., it is better to have objections voiced proactively before implementing a schedule. Otherwise, kids may violate the schedule when parents are not monitoring them. To go a step further, seek out objections because talking about disagreements lowers the probability of prohibitions being violated secretly.

revisiting schedules regularly. It is likely that revisions will have to be made to schedules or complaints will be voiced and the latter should be discussed in a regular weekly meeting. One way to proactively diminish acting out as a protest against a schedule perceived as unfair, is to set up a complaint box where kids and parents can drop their objections which would then be reviewed and discussed. Different family members can rotate in the job of director of complaints and collect the complaints and report on them in family meetings.

engaging kids as experts in technology and the web. Since many kids are more knowledgeable about technology and websites than some parents, embrace this and give struggles about online use a turn by having kids teach parents how to do things online, how to use different platforms, etc. Instead of fighting about online use, make this area a constructive activity by elevating kids to be the teachers.

scheduling non-online activities. Exercise remains an important part of a weekly schedule and whether this means taking a walk, a run, doing exercises at home, it is a way to burn off excess nervous energies and calories. Using online websites to direct exercising would be another way to use virtual life constructively.

arranging an online book club to discuss books that were read. Parents can arrange with other parents that their kids read material either provided by school or chosen on their own and then set up a virtual meeting to discuss what was read. This is another constructive way to use online life and will nurture social relationships as well.

  • Recognize that you or your kids may become more on edge than usual and be more irritable. Being inside in more confined ways leads to boundary problems and kids and adults may find they become angrier more quickly than usual or become angry out of proportion to the situation. Parents and kids may wish to use the following proactively:

Know your triggers

Stop yourself from an angry meltdown by removing yourself from the situation to create some distance

-Utilize breathing exercises ( progressive muscle relaxation to “cool down”

-Return to the scene when calmer and have a discussion about your triggers. Ask offending family members what they were hoping to accomplish by activating your triggers. Try not to reward bad behavior by giving in to excessive or unreasonable demands in order to stop it as this will only heighten the probability of the demands recurring.

  • Most importantly, take care of yourself as a way of being available to others. This may sound naive when parents must care for kids and themselves, work at home, and procure food and other necessary items. However, the only other choice-not taking care of yourself-will not serve you well. All of the above applies to adults as well to maintain your emotional and physical well-being.
  • Constantly work to nurture relationships with your kids and adult partners as this is the key to surviving with the least amount of friction as possible. Talking can help.

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