I can tell when they are lying

Actually parents can't tell much better than chance if their kid is lying.

Four-year-olds lie about every two hours. A six-year-old about once an hour. In studies where kids are observed in the home about 96% of the kids lied. Most lie to cover up something they did wrong. Avoidance of punishment is the the primary reason kids lie to their parents.

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Show a little empathy

Very often when a child expresses strong emotions such as anger or sadness, parents are quick to avoid or discount the emotion. Ironically, most parents I work with have a fairly good sense of what might be upsetting to their child.

The next time you encounter strong emotions from your child, resist the urge to stop the emotion. Instead, offer up possible reasons for their upset. This is especially helpful for younger children that may not yet have the capability to verbalize these strong emotions. It is helpful to comment on what is observable with your child and offer tentative possibilities of what might be upsetting them.

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Seek to understand before solving

A parent came in for therapy with her daughter who had significant depression. As the child described her depressed feelings, her mother said with great concern "Honey, how can you be depressed? Don't you know how beautiful and capable you are?"

At that point the daughter shut down and talked little the rest of the session with her mother present.

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Recognizing Positive Behavior--Easy to do

Here is a simple, but powerful strategy to recognize positive behavior by your child or help reinforce positive qualities in your child.

Post a Note Strategy:

All you need to do is to post a small note (Post-it notes work great for this) daily for 30 days in your child's room on the wall. Preferably it should be in an area of the room where perhaps other recognitions are located (trophys, certificates, artwork, etc.)

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What is your ratio?

A parent recently came for a session with her child. There'd been a significant amount of arguing that occurred over that past week. When asked about any positive interaction that occurred over the past week with her child, she had great difficulty coming up with any examples.

Often parents who are struggling with their children get trapped in a negative feedback loop with their child. Most of their interactions focus on correcting, scolding, reminding, or venting frustration with their child.

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