Tag Archives: Family Talk

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].


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].

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


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.”


Family Talk: Creating a Synergistic Home (Guest: Christy Monson)

CMonsonphotoEveryone’s in a rush today. It seems that authentic and meaningful communication with others is a vanishing skill. Even handwritten letters have given way to quick emails, quicker texts and hasty tweets.

Few of us have enough time to spend meaningfully with others, and it probably shows.

Families are not immune to this “abbreviation” of communication. In many instances, loved ones needing our presence, our time, our words and our support don’t get nearly enough. Oh, families remain intact, but without the strength and bonding that could be there. This is most realized when an emergency or difficult circumstance affects the family.

According to our guest on this program, retired therapist and author Christy Monson, families that focus on becoming synergistic, and put the work into making it happen, not only handle the tough times better, bonds within the family grow stronger and stronger.

Family Talk BookOne important activity of synergism is the family meeting, or Family Council. When family meetings are scheduled, and the time and effort for having them are honored, children learn how their presence and input matters. They learn the facts of family finances and how to set and realize goals. And they learn that conflicts and probles can be resolved, because walking away is not an option. Indeed, family meetings can teach dozens of insights and skills that children can practice for a lifetime.

In this program, Christy discusses the benefits and payoffs of synergistic families, and she takes us through the steps of establishing, conducting and maintaining the Family Council. Her experience and personal examples will make it meaningful.

Christy has authored many books and articles that support and strengthen individuals and families. In thie program we’re featuring her latest book, Family Talk: How to Organize Family Meetings and Solve Problems and Strengthen Relationships. (27:48)




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


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