Therapeutic Interventions

1. Review the parents' family histories, discuss their concerns about the child's dependency needs, and define their role in the parent-child relationship.

2. Ask the parents to list their fears, worries and concerns that may be contributing to overprotective parenting (or assign the "Overprotective Parent vs. Positive Parent" activity from the Parenting Skills Homework Planner by Knapp).

3. Assign the parents to listen to the audiotape Helicopters, Drill

2. Express unconditional love for the child verbally and behaviorally. (4, 5)

3. Encourage mutual respect by treating the child with respect and eliminating comments or behavior that would damage the child's self-concept. (6, 7, 8)

Sergeants, and Consultants (Fay) and discuss the three different types of parenting styles at the next counseling session.

4. Define unconditional love for the parents (e.g., complete and constant love given regardless of personal attributes, attitude, behavior, or performance) and discuss how this type of personal regard is essential to the development of feelings of adequacy and self-worth in children.

5. Brainstorm with the parents various ways that unconditional love can be given (e.g., frequently state, "I love you," play with the child, pay attention when the child speaks, hug the child, spend quality time with the child).

6. Explain to the parents that demeaning comments create feelings of dependency and inadequacy; assign them to observe their parent-child interactions for one week and list any of their behavior that may be considered demeaning by their child.

7. After reviewing the parent's list of demeaning interactions with their child, role play respectful and positive methods of handling these encounters.

8. Teach the parents to remain respectful when disciplining by focusing on the behavior and not the child and by letting the child know that although the deed is

Attend workshops and read literature focusing on teaching children to become responsible. (9, 10)

Initiate interactions with the child that encourage more self-reliant, organized, and self-confident behavior. (11, 12, 13)

not acceptable, love is given unconditionally.

9. Refer the parents to a parenting class which focuses on helping children develop responsible behavior (e.g., Becoming a Love and Logic Parent by Fay, Cline, and Fay).

10. Assign the parents to read child development literature which addresses promoting responsibility in children (e.g., Children: The Challenge by Dreikurs and Stoltz or Parent Talk by Moorman).

11. Ask the parents to substitute the phrase "Next Time" (see Parent Talk by Moorman) for "don't" to shape positive future efforts from the child (e.g., "Next time, please park your bike in the garage" versus "Don't leave your bike outside in the rain.").

12. Assign the parents to use "Act as if" (see Parent Talk by Moorman) to encourage the child to make an effort despite the fear of failure, (e.g., "Act as if you knew how to draw that tree"; "Pretend you can jump rope"; "Play like you've done this before"; or "Fake it until you make it.").

13. Instruct the parents to teach the child the skill of completing a large task by subdividing it into smaller more manageable tasks (e.g., making a bed: smooth the sheets, pull up the covers, place the pillow, put on the spread).

6. Implement strategies at home designed to foster responsible behavior. (14, 15)

7. Verbalize confidence in the child's ability to function independently. (16, 17, 18)

14. Instruct the parents to implement "The Four Steps to Responsibility" (see Parenting with Love and Logic by Cline and Fay) by: (1) Giving the child a manageable task, (2) allowing any mistake to become a learning opportunity, (3) using consequences to teach appropriate behavior, and (4) giving the same task again to check for learning.

15. Ask the parents to use "Red Light, Green Light" (see Parent Talk by Moorman) to turn an irresponsible behavior into a responsible behavior by implementing the following: (1) Describing the inappropriate behavior to the child: red light (e.g., unmade bed, wet towels on floor) and (2) describing the expected behavior: green light (e.g., bed made before school, towels on rack).

16. Advise the parents to offer encouragement when the child is acting overly dependent and asking for too much assistance and to help only in a supportive role by allowing the child to do the majority of the problem solving.

17. Ask parents to use the statement, "Check Yourself' (see Parent Talk by Moorman) (e.g., "This is sharing day at school, check yourself to make sure you have what you need when it's your turn to share.") to help the child develop the ability to prepare successfully for upcoming events and personal experiences.

Affirm the child for progress in assuming responsibility and acquiring independence. (19, 20)

9. Outline circumstances in which the child can safely learn from the consequences of a mistake or poor decision. (21, 22)

10. List and discuss the benefits of allowing the child to gain wisdom from the experience of making mistakes. (23, 24)

18. Assign the parents to assist the child in prioritizing key assigned tasks and to designate a target completion time.

19. Discuss with the parents the importance of giving frequent affirmations to the child for independent and responsible behavior in a private, low-key manner.

20. Assign the parents to acknowledge the child's independent and responsible behavior in the presence of the child.

21. Brainstorm with the parents the various times they can allow the child to learn form the consequences of a poor decision without creating significant danger, destruction, or distress.

22. Assign the parents to identify the circumstances in which they have allowed their child to struggle with the consequences of a personal mistake or poor judgment.

23. Assist the parents in creating a list of the benefits to both the parent and the child of allowing the child to learn from mistakes (e.g., child learns to accept responsibility for the outcome of both good and bad decisions).

24. Instruct the parents to express empathy and understanding when the child struggles with the result of poor judgment or irresponsible behavior without interfering to prevent the teaching value of the consequence.

11. Develop household rules that promote responsible behavior and are positive in expectation. (25, 26)

12. Use logical and natural consequences to teach the child responsibility. (27, 28)

13. Offer choices and explicit limit-setting statements to teach the child responsible decision making. (29, 30)

25. Advise the parents to establish household rules with the child by brainstorming necessary rules and framing them in positive rather than negative language (e.g., hang coats in closet, arrive on time for dinner, bedtime is 8:30 p.m.).

26. Assign the parents and child to complete the "Creating and Cooperating with the Family Rules" activity from the Parenting Skills Homework Planner (Knapp) to promote a cooperative effort in making the family rules work.

27. Instruct the parents to allow natural consequences (e.g., getting hungry after failing to eat, feeling tired after lack of sleep) to teach the child about the results of poor decisions; advise them that natural consequences are powerful teachers when parents don't interfere with the lesson.

28. Assist the parents in creating a list of logical or parent-imposed consequences (e.g., restricted use of television when homework is not done, earlier bedtime when child is uncooperative with the bedtime routine) to use when no natural consequence is available to modify the child's behavior.

29. Assign the parents to use limited choices to share control and facilitate responsible decision making by their child; advise them that choices should be framed so that either option is acceptable to them (e.g., "Would

14. Use a reality-based decisionmaking process to teach the child to solve problems independently or with minimal guidance. (31, 32)

15. Verbalize the special considerations required by a you like to wear your red shirt or green shirt today?"), should be limited to specific stated alternatives (e.g., "Would you like to eat a hamburger or a pizza tonight?"), and the parent should be prepared to choose if the child refuses to choose.

30. Instruct the parents to set reasonable limits for the child by using statements that make the child's desired privileges contingent upon the child's appropriate behavior and responsible decisions (e.g., "Feel free to go out with your friends as soon as your room is cleaned.").

31. Advise the parents to allow the child to solve as many problems as possible using a 5-step process that offers guidance when requested but doesn't take over for the child (e.g., (1) Ask the child to describe the problem; (2) Ask the child for plans to solve the problem; (3) Offer to brainstorm possible solutions with the child only if help is requested; (4) Discuss with the child which solution would work best; (5) Invite the child to share the results of the solution selected).

32. Advise the parents that providing empathetic listening to the child whenever the child is struggling with a personal dilemma is often all that is needed to help solve the problem.

33. Ask the parents to create a list of accommodations the child child with special needs and plan for any necessary accommodations. (33, 34)

16. Offer statements of encouragement when the child demonstrates feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. (35, 36)

17. Establish and maintain structured daily family mealtimes and weekly family meetings. (37, 38)

requires because of a special needs condition (e.g., physical or mental disability, chronic illness, ADHD, psychological disorder) and help them plan for providing these accommodations without overprotecting the child and creating unnecessary dependency.

34. Assign the parents to work cooperatively with the child's school staff and other professionals in the area of special needs to create a plan for necessary accommodations while encouraging personal growth and independent functioning.

35. Assign the parents to observe their child for two weeks and make a list of behaviors that indicate low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.

36. Instruct the parent to offer statements of encouragement when the child demonstrates feelings of inadequacy and role play positive statements they can use to support the child (e.g., "I think you can handle it"; "I see you as capable"; "I'll bet you can figure that out.").

37. Assign the parents to establish a nightly family mealtime when the whole family sits at one table with the television and other media turned off and the conversation is focused on daily events and other items of interest.

38. Instruct the parents to initiate a weekly family meeting to allow

18. Encourage the child to verbalize hopes for the future and long- and short-term goals that are important. (39)

each family member to discuss family business and concerns, household rules, give recognition for personal accomplishments, and plan for family events and activities.

39. Instruct the parents to work with their child to formulate long-term goals for the child's future education, lifestyle, and career and to record the short-term steps necessary to reach these goals.

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