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 parenting advice emotionally disturbed child

Consejo del psicólogo de la escuela
. Cheri King-Guler received her Master's in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. . She has worked with students of all ages and specializes in parent interventions. . Cheri was published in the Communique, the monthly newspaper for the National Association of School Psychologists. . Cheri has a unique perspective on special needs children, as she has experienced the special education system as a parent as well as a school psychologist. . She is presently pursuing her second Master's degree in counseling psychology. . In addition, Cheri writes both fiction and non-fiction for children.

. Please feel free to contact me at . Cheri . with any questions or concerns you might have about your child that I may assist you with. . I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 parenting advice emotionally disturbed child

Cheri Querido,

. My 13 year-old daughter is having a difficult time with her friends. . She comes home crying on a weekly basis. . Instead of talking to them about a problem, she keeps everything bottled up inside until she explodes.

. There is a group of about 14 girls that hang around together at school and at lunch time. . My daughter is usually the first one to the lunch table, when everyone else shows up she gets crowded out. . She and another girl have started sitting at another table. . They then explained to some of the friends why they were sitting there and they are now mad at her and calling her a "princess" and bowing to her. . This hurts her feelings and she has told them this. . Unfortunately, it was not a very nice way in which she responded to them.

. She recently got her hair cut, now they are telling her she shouldn't have--also saying that she has done this to look like a certain friend. . I do not know what to say anymore. . I have tried talking with her, but it just gets her more upset. . Anything you can help us with would be greatly appreciated.


. Krystal

. Aurora

. Dear Krystal,

. It is an unfortunate reality that teenage girls can often treat each other more unkindly than children at any other age. . It sounds as if your daughter is interacting with a group that has begun establishing a more rigid social hierarchy, which can be when the teasing and social cuts become more painful. . However, one positive for your daughter is that she is still part of the group, and it is apparent that she continues to have friends. . My impression is that what we need to help her with is how to respond to her friends.

. Most of the time, when a girl your daughter's age asks for advice about what to do when other children are teasing unkindly, she is told to "ignore them" or "tell a teacher." Unfortunately, neither of these actions is really an option if your daughter wants to remain within the group, and she knows this. . For most teenagers, the peer group is the strongest influence in their lives, and when it comes to social or relationship issues, their peers are often more influential than the teen's parents. . Your letter indicates that you are beginning to notice this change with your daughter, because you are finding it more difficult to talk with her about issues that upset her.

. However, it IS possible to maintain a close relationship with your daughter throughout her teenage years. . In fact, it appears that you already have a strong bond with your child, because, although she becomes upset when discussing the issue of her friends, she continues to talk to you. . She continues to tell you what is happening to upset her, and she continues to want your input (although it may not always feel that way). . When discussing these issues with your daughter, I would suggest that you talk to her once she has calmed down a bit. . When she is crying, tell her that you love her, offer to give her a hug, and let her know that when she feels ready to talk about what happened you will be there. . Sit down with her in a favorite spot-at the kitchen table or living room sofa with a cup of tea perhaps-and hear her out. . Then ask if she wants suggestions and the two of you can engage in a little problem solving. . I believe you might find that these times will become very special to you both, and will work to strengthen the bond between you and teach your daughter that she really can talk to you about anything. . This, of course, is essential as she moves through her teenage years and f increasingly difficult problems.

. Now, about her friends. . Teenage girls tease each other and make unkind comments for two reasons. . First, they want to get a reaction. . And, perhaps more important, they are trying to establish themselves within the social hierarchy at school. . Unfortunately, it is not always the nicest girls that are the most popular. . Nice girls can be popular, certainly, and we all want our daughters to be compassionate and kind. . Yet there will always be a couple of girls in any class that have climbed the social ladder by being pretty and making other girls appear less worthy of popularity than they are.

. The best way for your daughter to cope with the girls that are upsetting her is to show them that their comments are not making her upset. . If she responds to the girls in a way that makes them look foolish or unkind in front of the rest of the group, they will very likely stop bothering her. . However, it is important that your daughter does not begin to believe that it is acceptable to be mean to others-this would put her in the same role as the unkind girls. . Instead, you should explain that she can keep other girls from making her miserable by showing them that she is not weak.

. For example, when the group of friends is bowing and calling her a princess, a good response that comes to mind is, "Why thank you, my subjects. . It's nice to see that you finally see my place in the world." She can say this with a big smile, to show that she is not taking herself too seriously, and the other girls will no longer be in a position of power. . Or, on other occasions, if a girl is simply being nasty and hurtful, she could always comment that, "I feel bad for you. . You must have a really rotten life to think that it's ok to be so vicious and mean," and then turn away. . Again, the girl who is doing the teasing will no longer be in a position of power-so what's the point of continuing?

. I hope these suggestions make a good start. . Please, let me know if you need anything else.

. Resources

. Cheri's Column Archives

. Angry 7 yr. . old /thumb sucking and hair pulling

. Special Needs/ODD

. Attention Deficit/Social Skills

parenting book learning school Extremidades del profesor
por Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.

. Dear Cheri ,

. I am trying to find answers to the problems I am having with my 9 year old daughter. . First, I must tell you I am not very good at talking about my problems and probably will have things a little out of order, but I will try my best because I am very concerned about this issue.

. From the time Brittany was born in 1994, she was not cared for by her biological parents. . Her father is my oldest son, and Brittany was her mother's second daughter. . The girls have two different fathers. . When Brittany was two weeks old, I had her and her 11 month old sister, Amber, removed from their home because of the way they were being cared for. . My wife and I got temporary custody of both the girls and then set about trying to get my son and Brittany's mother to be better, more responsible parents.

. We had custody for the majority of the time for the next two years. . There were trial periods when the girl's parents were allowed custody so the various agencies could evaluate their parenting skills, but the girls were always returned to us. . After these trial periods failed, I decided to adopt both girls so that they would have a stable home and not be shuffled around like Barbie dolls. . When I say that I decided to adopt them it is because I did not, at that time, know that my wife did not want to adopt them.

. After several years of court battles against their parents, government agencies, (they didn't want to let me adopt Amber because she was not a blood relative) we finally got to adopt both girls. . It is here, I believe, that my troubles with Brittany actually began because this is when my wife of 28 years left. . She said it was because she had already raised her family and now was her time to have fun. . I got shared custody of both girls and we went on with our lives. . The girls live with me all the time and my ex-wife is supposed to get them on certain holidays and a couple of months during the summer.

. From the day she was born, Brittany has been like my own daughter. . She clung to me like no other child I had ever seen. . I had already raised three sons, but I was closer to Brittany than any of my other children. . This continued until the past few months.

. About November, 2003, I really started to notice that Brittany was not as close to me as she had always been, and that she was being very defiant to everyone around her. . My ex-wife came to Ohio to share Thanksgiving with us. . My mother had surgery and my ex was going stay with her for two weeks to take care of her. . The third day she was here, she was ready to go to my mother's for the night and asked the girls to go with her. . They said they would rather go spend the night with their biological mother and come home in the morning to spend the day with my ex.

. I am sorry I forgot to mention, I told the girls about six months ago that they were adopted and who their real parents are. . Their mother has another 6 year old daughter by yet another man, but has finally settled down and lives with a VERY good, Christian man. . Amber and Brittany have a good relationship with her and Dan and are actually at their home as I write this letter spending the day with her and their sister, Chelsea.

. During this Thanksgiving incident, my ex-wife told the girls that if they didn't go spend the night with her at their grandma's, that she would pack her things and go back to Michigan. . The girls decided to spend the night with their mother, and my ex packed her things and went home.

. Brittany's behavior has been poor since about that time. . Her grades have dropped, she doesn't want to listen to ANYONE, she pouts a lot and says that the kids at school and church group don't like her and poke fun of her, etc.

. I found a note to a boy that she has liked all school year. . It had the normal questions on it, do you like me circle yes or no, etc., but the last question really upset me. . She asked him, "Do you want to have sex with me". . I have always talked to the girls about all subjects and they know that having sex is something that they should wait until they are married to do, where babies come from, about their periods (thanks to my sister!), etc. . This was when I really realized that I have to find out what is wrong and get her back on the right track.

. I hope this letter is not too confusing and that you can spare a little of your busy time to help me with Brittany. . I must tell you that Amber is a wonderful daughter and does not show any of the signs that Brittany does. . She does have her certain problems, because she was a drug baby, but copes with everything very well. . Her grades are good and she seems to be a very happy girl. . Thank you for anything you can do.

. Don

. Dear Don,

. You are absolutely right in asserting that your daughter is in need of help. . And, with the situation you describe, it is perfectly understandable that your daughter would be confused, angry, frustrated, and scared. . I would like to preface my answer by stating that, although I might be able to give you some insight into Brittany's behavior, I think it is essential that you seek professional help for her. . In fact, I believe you and your daughters would benefit from family therapy. . I strongly think that Amber will eventually exhibit significant issues as well, because she is coping with the same difficult problems as her sister.

. You mention that your daughter's behavior problems began last November, which coincides with your announcement that you were not their father, but their grandfather. . This information could cause any child to become very emotionally distraught. . It would not surprise me if Brittany is very angry with you because you lied to her. . I understand that you and your ex-wife may have had your reasons for deceiving the girls, but the fact is that deceive her you did. . Your daughter is old enough to feel betrayed, and it may take some time until she can forgive you. . And honestly, although I am certain that your daughter loves you and always will, I would not expect your relationship to ever be the same as it was before you told her the truth. . This is one of the issues that need to be addressed with a therapist.

. You also gave some insight into your daughter's relationship with your ex-wife, the woman she believed was her mother. . You stated that your ex-wife decided to leave you to raise the girls by yourself so that she could have her freedom. . You also allude to the fact that she does not spend much time with Brittany or Amber-by choice. . Brittany is aware of this. . Also, losing a mother to divorce is difficult for any child, but if the child also realizes that her mother has chosen not to interact with her on a consistent basis, the normal abandonment issues he or she feels will be much more intense. . Add that Brittany was then told that your ex-wife is not her mother after all, and the abandonment and resulting feelings of low self-esteem get worse, not better. . Your ex-wife's behavior last Thanksgiving further cemented these feelings. . I am afraid that your daughters were testing her to see if they were important enough for her to wait for-and she failed the test. . This is another issue that needs professional intervention.

. The incident last November must have further upset your daughter because your ex-wife forced her to choose between her and her biological mother. . Brittany's relationship with her mother is extremely confusing and tenuous for her right now. . Although she has a good relationship with her at last, she still feels abandoned. . And while she may love her new sister and her mother's significant other, imagine how she must feel watching them live the happy, normal life she must feel that she deserved. . She may feel that she wasn't "good enough" for her mother to care for properly, and this will lower her self-esteem even further. . I am not indicating that I question for a moment whether or not you provide a loving home for your daughter, but again, the unfortunate way Brittany discovered she was adopted has damaged her relationship with you, which might be causing the yearnings an adopted child feels for his or her biological mother to be more intense. . Therefore, her relationship with her biological mother is another issue that needs to be discussed with a professional.

. Finally, regarding the disturbing letter you found to her classmate. . You did not indicate how you handled the situation, but I have a suggestion. . It is essential; of course, that Brittany understand that sexual behavior at her age is clearly wrong. . However, she may be seeking male attention and is doing so in an inappropriate fashion. . This behavior, of course, can be very dangerous. . This issue should be addressed immediately.

. Again, I strongly suggest that you not only seek individual therapy for Brittany, but that family therapy be considered as well. . Your relationship with your daughters has been changed forever. . They have had some very, very, difficult issues to cope with in the recent past. . It is clear that you are a dedicated and loving father-please; get the help your family needs.

. I would appreciate an update on how your family is doing.

. In this column, I hope to provide parents with information and suggestions to assist in raising happy and healthy children. . I plan to offer ideas for intervening when your child experiences difficulties, whether they are academic, social, or emotional. . However, I wish to clarify that I am merely offering suggestions, based upon my own professional training and experience. . It is always advisable to consult with professionals at your children's schools for additional assistance.

. I am available to work with a limited number of families on a consultation basis. . If you are interested in more comprehensive assistance for your child, feel free to contact me at . [email protected] .

. Best wishes always,

. Cheri King-Guler, M.S.

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