Tag Archives: Christy Monson

Giving Children Too Much Power (Christy Monson)

Giving Children Too Much Power, Christy MonsonJonathan, age three, had a sore throat and a hacking cough. He woke up about midnight, coughing and crying. He couldn’t breathe.

Dad held and rocked him for a little while and then gave Jonathan to Mom to cuddle while Dad ran to the store to get medicine.

Power Problems

After Jonathan took the medicine about 2 a.m., he wanted to watch a movie. Dad said it was time for bed, but Jonathan cried. Dad turned on the movie. Mom shook her head in disbelief and went back to bed. At 4 a.m. when the movie was over, Jonathan wanted to play. Dad and Jonathan built a tower of blocks until about 4:30 when Jonathan fell asleep. Dad carried him to the bedroom and then went to bed himself.

Solution: Structured Choices

In a situation like this, Jonathan, at age three, isn’t old enough to have good judgment. Dad and Mom need to be responsible for making these middle-of-the-night decisions. Giving some choices is a good diversionary tactic, especially at 2 a.m. when Jonathan is crying.

Dad can take him to bed, but Jonathan can decide:

Will the bedroom door be open or shut?
Do I want the hall light left on?
Will I snuggle my favorite teddy under the covers or keep him on my pillow?

Family Talk, Christy MonsonChildren need the opportunity to make selections. Learning this skill will be a great benefit to Jonathan as he gets older. A parent can give him the gift of democracy by establishing limited freedom with choices.

Start a Family Council

Family councils are a great place for youngsters like Jonathan to become proficient at decision-making as they up. Councils are a great venue for parents to teach children to brainstorm ideas, single out several choices, and pick the best one. Parents can plan together, work out their parenting styles, and teach their children how to be proactive. ###

Christy Monson has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Marriage & Family Therapy from University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out her informative website [link].

 

Teach Children to Believe in Themselves (Christy Monson)

Christy Monson, Teach Children to Believe in ThemselvesA young girl, Jane, came in for therapy. She felt victimized in the neighborhood and at school. Her dominant father showed her how to fight back physically and berated her because she didn’t engage in conflict. Her mother fretted and worried, but had no solutions. Jane knew what she wanted, but was afraid to share her ideas for fear they were no good. Her self confidence was severely lacking.

The four of us worked together to empower this child using the following ideas. Both parents were willing to listen and learn and change their behavior.

Listen to Your Child: This was an especially difficult task for both parents. The father discounted everything Jane said. Mother interrupted the girl, talking over her and sharing her worry. When the parents began to listen, Jane didn’t know what to say at first.

Ask for the Child’s Opinion: It took some time for this family to open their communication and discuss their issues. But therapy gave them a time of accounting, and they were successful.

Come Up with Solutions Together: The three of them learned to come up with answers together. Although the father found it hard not to impose his ‘law’ in the discussions, he did learn to keep his mouth shut and listen.

Family Talk. Christy MonsonWork Together to Unravel a Problem: Mother had the most difficult time being solution-focused. She was not used to following through to resolve a problem. Over the years she had kept herself in a constant state of drama with her worry, and it was hard for her to let that go.

Discuss Your Success: When this family had a victory in solving a problem, they were able to talk about the things that worked and the things they would do differently next time.

Ask the Child How He or She Feels About the Victory: Both parents were delighted with their victories, and they praised Jane. I suggested that they asked Jane how she felt about her triumph.

Over the months, Jane’s relationship with her family and friends changed. She no longer felt victimized by those around her. Jane shared her ideas when she had play dates. She could lead and follow in the activities. She developed several close friendships in the neighborhood and at school. ###

 

Speakers Group MemberChristy Monson has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Marriage & Family Therapy from University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out her informative website [link].

 

Addressing Anxiety in Children and Teens (Christy Monson)

Christy Monson, addressing anxiety in children and teens, national institute of mental healthAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, twenty-five percent of teens in our country, age 13 – 18, suffer from some type of anxiety disorder [link]. Learning and using strategies for addressing anxiety in children and teens can help.

We all feel nervous or anxious at times, and so do our children. When our kids feel worried or upset, here are a few ideas for all of us to remember to keep ourselves peaceful. If we practice these principles and teach them to our children, the probability of them being overly anxious as teens and adults will be lessened.

1. BREATHE DEEPLY. Many times we can calm ourselves using breathing exercises. Breathe from your diaphragm and fill your lungs with air. Inhale counting to ten and then exhale counting to ten. When you stop your thought processes and focus on counting and breathing, you are essentially taking a time out from your anxiety.

2. DAYDREAM. Create a video clip of a place you enjoy—like swimming in the ocean or hiking in the mountains. Use not only your visual sense, but also include sound, feeling, taste, touch and smell to your image. Our thinking creates our feelings. So if we are anxious, we are thinking thoughts that cause anxiety. If we change our thinking, we will change our feelings. The daydream video can pull us out of our anxiety. Kids will enjoy creating videos. Make an imaginary one (a day dream) or use the new computer apps to develop an electronic one.

3. SHOW GRATITUDE. Reflect on things you are thankful for. I found in my practice as a therapist that gratitude was one of the most effective methods of reducing depression and anxiety. When we start to count our blessings, we realize that life isn’t as difficult as we think. Create a gratitude game with your children. Draw pictures of things you are thankful for and put them on the fridge so you can see them often.

Christy Monson, Love Hugs and Hope4. EXERCISE. Play a game of ball. Large muscle activity for adults and children is a great way to help us release our feelings. Exercise reduces tension and takes our minds off our problems. There is an extra benefit of playing with our children: They love it, and so do we. During these activities, we are building stronger relationships with those we love.

5. SOOTHE. Rub a small square of soft cloth. This substitute soother can be anything you or your child chooses—cloth, smooth rock, bracelet, ribbon. Several of my young clients kept a pet rock in their pockets to rub when they needed to relax. Our grandson had a two-inch square soft tricot cloth he kept in his pocket to feel when he felt anxious.

6. DOODLE, DRAW or WRITE. This is a great technique for young and old to release feelings in any way they choose. Some like to make abstract doodles. Others like to draw images of their frustration. Journaling is an age-old art than can benefit all those wishing to avail themselves of it. If I journal my problem and brain storm solutions on paper, I always come up with a good resolution. Writing helps me focus my thinking and find the best answer for me.

7. EXERCISE HUMOR. Find something to laugh about. Laughter is one of the greatest gifts we can include in our lives. Kids are the best at acting silly and laughing. Enjoy your children by giggling together.

These are only a few ideas that will help all of us reduce the anxiety in our lives. If a child is showing extreme signs of tension—such as pulling out their eyebrows, twisting their hair until they create a bald spot, excessive hand washing or the like, be sure to visit your primary care physician to explore all possible solutions. ###

Christy Monson has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Marriage & Family Therapy from University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out her informative website [link].

 

Childhood Trauma: Helping Youngsters Recover (Guest: Christy Monson)

BTRadioInt-300x75-300x75This excellent interview with Christy Monson was featured under a slightly different title on April 6, 2014. Unaddressed, the effects of childhood trauma can be substantial. Christy has some great insight on the issues affecting the traumatized child, and how we can help these youngsters recover more quickly and more effectively. -JDS

……………………………….

Christy Monson, childhood trauma, the traumatized childHow does one explain and process tragedy, trauma and loss to a child? Although youngsters have the ability to handle these circumstances as well as most adults, how we help and support them certainly matters.

In this program, Christy Monson, will share her insights and interventions for recognizing the behaviors and reactions of the tragedy-affected youngster and how we can help the grieving, traumatized and hurting child heal with our love and support. As Christy will explain, our role in helping this child stabilize and recover is a very important one.

Love, Hugs and Hope, When Scary Things Happen, Christy MonsonAn experienced Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Christy built a very successful counseling practice in Nevada and later in Utah. She is the author of Love, Hugs and Hope: When Scary Things Happen. This book for children is the focus of this program.

Christy has authored other books, also, including the soon-to-be released, The Family Council Guidebook: How to Solve Problems and Strengthen Relationships.

www.ChristyMonson.com

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK

Make Memories: Work and Play with Your Family (Christy Monson)

CMonsonphotoThis past summer, my husband and I hosted a reunion of his childhood cousins. As kids, these wonderful people loved being together. Some of their families lived in Idaho and some in central California. The parents made a special effort to spend time with extended family, even though they didn’t live close. Every summer the cousins worked together on one farm or another, weeding, feeding livestock and irrigating.

Eventually everyone grew up and went their separate ways. They became doctors, international business men, teachers, and engineers in many walks of life. They saw each other at weddings and funerals, if their busy schedules permitted.

As they reached retirement age, they felt the need to reconnect. At the reunion this summer, they spent three wonderful days reminiscing and getting reacquainted with each other.

Family Talk BookSome of the memories they shared were of a crabby uncle, but most of the stories were told about work and play with hard-driving parents, struggling to eke out a living. No one focused on the barn being full of hay or the price of the potatoes each year. They remembered the time they spent together, filling the irrigation ditches, chasing an errant calf or eating pancakes until they were about to burst.

They talked about the ball games they won, the horses they rode, and the pranks they played on each other. Their reminiscence was about the pleasure they experienced in interacting with each other as kids—their communication and relationships.

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it.

Greg Anderson

 

The parents of these cousins are not with us anymore, but here are some of the principles we can take away from their child-rearing practices:

1. Spend time with your kids
2. Work and play together
3. Give them a sense of family
4. Enjoy your extended family

 

Most of us don’t have to fill the irrigation ditches or milk the cows anymore. Life has changed. But we can still build relationships with our children through work and play.

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.

George Bernard Shaw

 

As adults what do you remember of your youth? What memories mean the most to you? ###

Christy Monson has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Marriage & Family Therapy from University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out her informative website [link].

 

Praising Children (Christy Monson)

BTAboutThemThe more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. –Oprah Winfrey

………………..

CMonsonphotoTeach a child to praise himself, and his life will be positive.

Vincent, age 10, came into my therapy office with a negative attitude and a sour look on his face. He never got his homework done on time. It didn’t matter because he got C’s on his tests. His mother said he did fine in school and praised him for his work. His father said he needed to learn to ‘buckle down’ and work harder. His grades needed to improve.

Praising children can be a multifaceted proposition.

If your child doesn’t believe your praise is sincere, he may reject it.
Vincent didn’t believe his mother’s compliments. He knew he didn’t get his work done on time, and he knew he could do better than C work.

* Be honest with your child about his work. Praise him for his effort and help him organize his life so he can succeed.
*Teach your child to work hard, whether he is learning to walk or solving a complicated math problem.
*Practice will help him feel good about himself.
*Praise him sincerely for his efforts.
*Ask him how he feels about his accomplishments. He will probably be honest, and you can help him find the good in his work so he can praise himself.

Family Talk BookIf your child doesn’t believe he has done a praise-worthy job, he may discard what you say.
Vincent knew he needed to improve his work ethic, so he didn’t believe his mother.

*If your child has partially completed the task in front of him, praise him for the job he has done.
*Help him find the good in his work.
*As he sees his positive effort, he will feel better about himself and hopefully complete his task.
*Talk about the steps he needs to take to complete his task. Depending on the age of your child, you may decide to work with him, turn the task into a game, or give him a specific time frame to finish in.
*Then you can sincerely praise him for each part of the undertaking he has completed.
*He will know he deserves the praise.
*Help him praise himself for the responsibilities completed.

If your child is in a negative mood, he may rebuff your praise, even though it is deserved.
Often Vincent was angry and rejected his mother’s attempts to be positive.

*Give your child some space alone to collect himself and feel happier.
*When he feels better, find a solution to his problem for next time.
*Thinking creates feeling.
*Talk about positive thoughts with your child.
*Remember happy family times.
* Create fun day dreams.
* Make up silly imaginings you can laugh about.
*Praise your child not only for the task he has completed, but also for his positive attitude.

Praise your child for who he is, not just what he does.

*Each child is a wonderful, intricate, creative entity that can’t be duplicated.
*Find the magnificence in your child and love him for it.

When I work with children in a counseling setting I always give them a homework assignment to think of three good things about themselves as they go to bed. For negative thinkers, that’s a hard task.

At first, Vincent failed miserably at finding the positive about himself. But when his parents pointed out the best in him, he began to see his worth. Soon his was able to see himself as good even when there was no task involved. His self esteem began to grow.

It’s rewarding to see children find the best in themselves and in their daily assignments.

As you sincerely praise your children, they will learn to pat themselves on the back. Positive thinking is a lasting gift that will keep on giving the rest of their lives.###

Christy Monson has an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Marriage & Family Therapy from University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out her informative website [link].

Synergy of Friendship: Competition or Cooperation? (Christy Monson)

BTAboutThemTodd ran across the playground. “I’m faster than you,” he yelled to his friend Ben.
Ben looked up from his game of marbles. “I already told you I’m not racing.”
“I’ll beat you in the 50 yard dash at the school track meet,” said Todd.
“I’ll cheer for you when you win,” said Ben.
Here’s an interesting exchange between good friends. Todd loved the competition of a race. Ben enjoyed a game, but didn’t seem to care about winning.

CMonsonphotoGrowth of Synergy
As the relationship between these two boys developed, a magical synergy began to grow. Since Todd loved the race and the thrill of competition, Ben started to run with him. He knew that if he sprinted with Todd then Todd would play a game with him. Sometimes he talked Todd into a game of marbles, basketball, or Four Square. It didn’t matter to Ben; he loved to be with others.
The boys began to take pleasure in each other’s activities. Todd had fun playing the games with Ben and enjoyed them more as he grew older. Ben even joined the track team in Jr. High to be with Todd. The relay race became his favorite.
The mothers of these two watched the boy’s collaboration and felt grateful for the friendship. Both boys developed skills they wouldn’t have had without the friendship.

How Parents Can Contribute
What can a parent do to augment a situation like this?

1. Be aware of what’s happening with your children and their friends.
2. Listen when your children talk to you about activities with friends.
3. Support the positives you hear from them.
4. Define with your children the function of competition in our society and in your family as you see it.
5. Identify the role of societal cooperation and family cooperation and its importance for them.
6. Help each child recognize his or her strengths.
7. Aid them in setting the personal goals they want to achieve.
8. Talk, talk, talk with each other.

Family Talk BookWhich do your children value most? Are they get-ahead people? Or do they enjoy the journey with others? What do they learn from their friends? What is your role as a parent in helping them become well rounded?
Use family councils meetings to help children become the best they can be.

Check out Christy Monson’s latest book, Family Talk, and discover more ideas about holding family meetings. For more information and additional resources, go to Christy’s website at www.christymonson.com.

 

Quick Tip #4: Using a Family Council Meeting to Help a Child Avoid Bullying (Christy Monson)

BTQuickTipQuick Tips are short, to-the-point audio tips, interventions and strategies intended to help the listener effectively teach a skill or manage an issue with a child or adolescent.

………………..

CMonsonphotoMost every child will encounter bulling at one time or another during their grade school experience. Even children who are fairly assertive will have negativity thrown their way when they are in a new situation.

In this Quick Tip, Christy Monson shares an example of a family council meeting using role playing to give a child ideas, skills and practice to handle a tough situation. (3.35)

 

Family Talk BookFamily therapist Christy Monson, LMFT, had a large counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. This tip, from her latest book (revised), Family Talk, is available for purchase. For more information, CLICK HERE.

 
 
 
TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


(START/STOP Audio)

Teaching Children Kindness (Christy Monson)

BTAboutThemHow do we teach children appreciation and compassion? Helping children become empathetic is an ongoing process. The habits we create in childhood will last a lifetime. Are we not all a Work-in-Progress?

CMonsonphotoThe Cookie Jar Incident
James rushed into the house after school.

“Mom, can Tom play?” Tom stood in the door way, waiting.

James hurried to the cookie jar and helped himself to a handful.

Mom entered the kitchen. “Tom is welcome to stay until it’s time for soccer practice.”

She turned to James. “Would you like to offer Tom some cookies?”

“Oh, yeah,” said James. “I forgot.”

Tom got his cookies, and the boys hurried off to play.

A Teaching Moment
Small incidents like this occur in all our homes daily. Mom could just let this incident pass, but it was an important teaching moment for James. Just before bed that night when things were quiet, Mom talked with James about it.

“How do you think Tom felt when you grabbed some cookies and didn’t offer him any?”

James thought a minute. “Umm, not very good.”

“How would you feel if Tom did that to you at his house?”

James hung his head. “Mad that he had cookies, and I didn’t.”

Mom rubbed James’s back. “Good thinking. It’s no fun to watch someone have treats when you don’t get any.”

James smiled.

“What will you do differently next time?” Mom asked.

“Be sure to give some to Tom.”

Family Talk BookMom’s Wise Approach
Notice how Mom taught James a very valuable lesson in caring:

• She handled this situation without attacking or blaming.

• She used open-ended questions (Ones that can’t be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’) to find out if James understood the concept of sharing.

• She praised James for his insight.

• She finished the conversation by asking James what he would do differently next time, helping him to set a behavioral goal to go with the sharing concept.

The BEST Way to Teach Kindness
Mom modeled the behavior she wanted James to learn. She treated him as she would have him treat others. I’m always amazed when I see a parent lecturing a child in a belittling way about love and kindness. What is the meta message Mom and Dad are giving?

Mom may need to have this conversation several times before James really internalizes it. No one paints a masterpiece or gives a musical concert without a lot of practice. Let’s give our children time to grow and become the best they can be—and that takes time and effort.

And while we’re teaching our kids, let’s evaluate our own lives. Is there room for improvement? Remind yourself to be kind when you remind your children. ###

Visit Christy’s website [link] for more information on her books, free downloads on helping children through divorce, death and tragedy, and other pertinent information for helping children become the best the can be.
To access Christy’s radio-style interviews and articles on The Changing Behavior Network, use the search box on the right, entering “Christy Monson.”

 

A Mother’s Gifts: A Message to All Moms (Christy Monson)

BTSpotlightI asked Christy if she would share this story as a special tribute to Mother’s Day. I first read this story about her grandmother, Nana, in her book, Family Talk. (That’s Nana with the much-younger-at-the-time Monson children in the photograph below Christy’s picture.) –JDS
…………

As mothers we have significant influence in our families. Many times we give gifts of light and love to our families that we don’t even notice. As we bless the lives of others, we find that we are strengthened also. I have found this to be true, especially when problems arise. There are always situations that don’t run as smoothly as we would like or unexpected circumstances that disrupt our plans and even our lives.

CMonsonphotoHere’s an example that happened in our family.

A Priceless Legacy

My ninety-nine-year-old grandmother, Nana, lived in our home. We loved and enjoyed her. All of our children took part in her care. They helped with her meals, played games with her, read to her, and rolled her wheel chair outside into the sunshine so she could watch them play soccer. When problems arose, we sat down as a family to decide how we would handle the difficulty.

Nan and the Monson Children 002Nana always liked to be busy, so the kids came up with the idea of giving her the clean socks to match. That was a wonderful idea, and it kept her occupied for long periods of time. She left us the priceless legacy of not only being part of the group, but also being a contributing member of the family right up to the time she died.

One afternoon I went into her bedroom to see if Nana had awakened from her nap, and I found that she had passed away. Shock and disbelief wafted over me. I spent a few minutes sitting in the living room, pulling myself together before the children came home from school. What was I going to do? How would I handle the situation?

After everyone had arrived home, we sat together as a family, and I told the children Nana was gone. They were all grief-stricken. Each of the children expressed their feelings differently. Some wanted to go into the bed room and say good-bye to her. Others decided to remember her when she was alive. We all cried and shared memories.

After sharing our initial grief, we talked about the things we had to do—the coroner, funeral arrangements, and notifying relatives. Everyone took an assignment and pitched in to help. By the time I went to bed that night, everything was arranged, and I felt peaceful. There was an added spirit of love in our home that everyone could feel.

Shared Experiences; Life-long Memories

It’s now been quite a few years since Nana died, but whenever we refer to it, all of our children have significant impressions of that day and time. It’s indelibly fixed in our memories as a spiritual, soul-expanding experience that has made us all stronger individuals.

Look at your own family. Find the times where you have given gifts of love, listening, and sharing of feelings that have made a difference in your lives. See where you have created that synergy with the generations past and the generations of the future. The world is a better place for your goodness.

We honor you on this happy Mother’s Day. ###

Visit Christy’s website [link] for more information on her books, free downloads on helping children through divorce, death and tragedy, and other pertinent information for helping children become the best the can be.
To access Christy’s radio-style interviews and articles on The Changing Behavior Network, use the search box on the right, entering “Christy Monson.”