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Relationships matter:  change comes through forming trusting relationships. People, not programs change people.

If it  was going to be easy to raise kids, it never would have started with something called "labour".

It's more effective to reward your child for being "good" (appropriate) than to punish him for being "bad" (inappropriate).

The teenage years require a delicate balance between the young person's need to gain independence, and the parent's need to retain authority.

You cannot reason with someone who is being unreasonable.

Criticism is not a motivator.

Adolescence can be the cruelest place on earth. It can really be heartless.  ( Tori Amos)

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. (Peggy O'Mara)

If you (parents) tend to overreact to your child's misbehaviour - your child learns that he can't trust you. Mom, Dad, stay regulated!

"Moody" and "unpredictable" are adjectives parents will often use when referring to their teenagers.

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The 5 “Conventional” Options

All the ideas regarding treating behavioural problems from the “conventional” experts could be placed into 1 of 5 broad categories.

1. medical

2. biochemical

3. counselling

4. skills acquisition

5. behavioural

The next series of blog entries will summarize what these categories entail.

1. Medical

One of experts that parents turn to for help is often the child’s pediatrician. During the office appointment the parent describes the behaviours of concern and the doctor will probably conduct or arrange for a number of diagnostic tests. These tests may range from striking him in the knee with a little hammer to check for reflexes to looking into his brain using the latest imaging techniques. Along the way the child may be poked, asked to pee into a bottle, submit blood samples for analysis, have his hearing and vision checked and possibly many more tests. The doctor of course is looking for a MEDICAL cause for the inappropriate behaviours. If a medical problem is found and can be “fixed”, then of course a medical solution is offered.

Examples of medical solutions could be:

– surgery

– drugs – example – antibiotics, anticonvulsants, vitamins, etc.

– assistive devices – glasses, hearing aids, etc.

– diet

– etc.

In my opinion, the medical options should be the first line of investigation. If a child truly has a medical problem, we would be negligent to not pursue that avenue. No other course of treatment will do what you want if in fact the cause is a medical problem. In my experience, however, seldom does the doctor find a “clearly definable” medical problem that is causing the behaviour problems. The reasons for this are two fold:

a) there isn’t a “medical” problem (the most common reason)

b) the medical diagnosis was missed (doctors are not infallible and diagnostic tools are  not perfect)

If the doctor says “There is no medical problem causing the behaviour problem”, you have the option of believing this statement or seeking another opinion. You, as the parent are in the best position to be observing the child and you may feel the doctor has missed something. If the determination of the medical doctor does not “feel right”, then by all means seek another opinion.

Clearly the medical option is not a universal solution to all children’s behaviour problems but it should be the first question asked.

The next option is biochemical

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Workshops

+ Behaviour Management

This full day or 2 evening workshop will introduce you […]

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+ Lick Your Kids

  “Lick Your Kids” (figuratively not literally) (2 hours) First […]

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+ A Parent’s Guide to the Teenage Brain

  A teenager’s brain is not just an adult brain […]

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+ Reading Rescue

A program for children with reading problems

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+ Taming a Toddler

Many parents wonder what hit them when their sweet little baby turns into an unreasonable toddler – ideas for dealing with mealtime, bedtime, temper tanturms, toilet training, noncompliance, etc.

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Contact

2720 Rath Street, Putnam, Ontario
NOL 2BO

Phone: (519) 485-4678
Fax: (519) 485-0281

Email: info@rickharper.ca

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Parents' Comments

“Our daughter was the joy of our life until she turned 13, then all hell broke loose. Rick helped us understand what was happening to her and we made some adjustments that helped us get through it. She’s now in University and doing well.”

(D.A. – St. Thomas)