0 comments on “How placing judgement hurts you”

How placing judgement hurts you

Hong Kong psychological services

Human minds organize things and people to process information quicker. The downside to this is categorizing people leads to stereotyping. The key is to be aware of your own stereotypes so that you don’t overlook other valuable information. The more often we judge others, the more often we judge ourself. This can lead to social anxiety and self-consciousness. Here is how you can help yourself.

1. Be aware of your judgements. Are you judging because:

A. Something about the other person represents a part of yourself that you don’t like?

B. The other person reminds you of someone who hurt your you?

C. The other person represents something that you want to be?

2. Speak kindly to yourself and others.

3. Is the judgement destructive or constructive. Destructive judgement is harmful and says that you or the other person are not good enough. Constructive judgement helps you or the other person grow and become better.

4. Reframe destructive judgement. Everyone is a product of their genes and their environment. People act and react to you based on how they perceive you and their own past experiences. Having this in mind helps you to view others objectively rather than critically.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Shame, the darkest emotion”

Shame, the darkest emotion

Hong Kong Clinical Psychologist

Art work by Kalok Ng Email: thekalokng@gmail.com

Shame is the darkest emotion as it makes us feel like everything about us is wrong.  The difference between shame and guilt is that guilt tells us that our behaviour was wrong, where shame tells us that as a person we are horrible.  Guilt helps us to treat people better and stay out of trouble with society and the law.  Guilt is the feeling we get when we regret an action.  Shame is the feeling we get when we think we do not deserve to be loved.  Shame can be fleeting and teach us that we deeply regret something that we have done, or it can be long lasting.  Long lasting shame might stem from abuse from someone else or from ourselves.  Shame can start when we are children if we have been neglected, rejected or abused by our parents.  Shame can also happen if we abuse ourselves.  Shame can happen if we self-harm or criticise ourselves constantly.  And if we self-harm and criticise ourselves the shame deepens.

Shame can be dangerous if we feel it so deeply that we can not connect to ourselves and to others.  If the shame is painful enough we might try to avoid our emotions and shut down.  When we shut down we lack empathy.  If the shame is intense, we might become depressed or anxious.  Crawling out of the hole of shame can be tricky, but it can be done.  Here are some pointers:

1. Speak kindly to yourself.  Notice when you are abusing yourself and rephrase.  For example, “I’m an idiot,” becomes, “I am capable of fixing that mistake.  I can handle this.”  Speak to yourself like you would speak to someone that you respect and admire.

2. Understand that if you were abused, it has nothing to do with you. When you are abused, you might begin to believe that you deserved it, or that you are worthless.  Understand that people who are happy and comfortable with themselves do not abuse others.  Abusers tend to be people who are hurting deeply and want to control by devaluing others.  Break the cycle of abuse by healing your emotional wounds and treating yourself and others with respect and compassion.

3. Differentiate between guilt and shame: Guilt is my behavior was wrong. I feel bad and I learned that I will not do that again. Shame is I’m a horrible person, I don’t deserve to be loved. Guilt is easier to forgive because it is about the behavior and not who you are as a person. Shame is not helpful.

4. Ask for forgiveness: Ask the person you believe you hurt for forgiveness. If they can’t forgive you, give them some space.

5. Write yourself a letter asking for forgiveness: sometimes it’s more difficult for us to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive others. If you are having a difficult time, write yourself a letter. In the letter write down your emotions, why you are sorry and how you will make up for it. You do not need to punish yourself as you already feel bad about the situation.

6. Stop blaming: Be careful of blaming yourself. Especially for things that are in the past and you can not control.

7. Accept yourself: Accept that you are not perfect. Create some space for yourself to make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and become a better person.

8. Write or talk about your pain: Sometimes the shame is so deep that we don’t dare to tell anyone about it.  If this is the case, write it out.  Notice what you feel in your body, and then let the pain go.

9. Reach out for support: Speak to those who support you or reach out for professional help.  The effects of abuse can be unconscious and hard to detect.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Romantic Attachment: A Different Perspective”

Romantic Attachment: A Different Perspective

Hong Kong counselling therapist services

Artwork by Kalok Ng

email:thekalokng@gmail.com

The first relationship we had was with our mother when we are in the womb. We were safe and protected in the womb; we were warm and well fed.  When we were born, we bonded with our parents through feeding, sleeping and eye contact.

As we grew into children, we realised that we were separate from our mother, and we developed a sense of self.  If our home environment was neglectful, rejecting or abusive, we might have come to the conclusion that we were not worthy of love.  If our home was safe and warm, we might have come to the conclusion that we were worthy of love.  This relationship decided our attachment style to our parents and our image about ourself.  We may have had an avoidant attachment style to one of our caretakers if they were too rejecting, abusive or if they were overbearing.  We might have had an anxious attachment anxious style to one of our parents if they were neglectful or abusive.  As we matured and formed other relationships, we formed different attachment patterns to different people.

An avoidant attachment to a person is the idea that “I am worthy of love, but the other person is not.”  If you are feeling an avoidant attachment to someone, you don’t want the other person to become too psychologically close or dependent on you.  You dislike the idea of psychological intimacy and prefer to remain independent of the other person.

An anxious attachment to a person is the idea that, “I am not worthy of love, but the other person is worthy of love.”  This is the feeling that you want to become intimate or psychologically close to this other person, but you believe that they do not want to be close to you.  You might be anxious about the other person abandoning you.

Secure attachment is the idea that, “I am worthy of love, and you are worthy of love.”  Ideally, both people in the relationship have a secure attachment to each other.  When the attachment is secure, communication and growth can happen.  Both partners feel safe and secure within the relationship.

If we are insecure about our worthiness of love, we may become vulnerable to the influences of the media and society that may heighten our sensitivities to rejection and failure. This, in turn, may harm our relationships, continuing the belief that we are not loveable.  Certain steps can help us to break this pattern.

Recognising negative thought patterns and reframing them.

Sometimes we may have a negative internal monologue because we have been around negative people, or we have been abused.  When we recognise that we have a negative internal monologue – such as calling ourselves “stupid, fat, or ugly.” Try to reframe that thought to constructive criticism. For example, “My boyfriend said he wants to spend time with his friends.  I understand it is nice for him to spend time with them.” Instead of “I think he is cheating on me because I am fat.” The first phrase provides a workable situation that enhances growth, whereas the second phrase leaves you unmotivated with a lowered self-esteem.

Allow yourself some space around your fears and emotions without judging them.

We evolved to have fear to keep us out of danger and to prevent us from being eaten by bears, or killed by a neighbouring tribe.  However, sometimes our fear is irrational.  Sometimes we are afraid to talk to another person we are attracted to because we have a fear of rejection.  In this case, don’t judge your fear.  Don’t put yourself down.  Instead, breathe into the part of your body that is tight from the fear, and imagine a space opening up in that area.  Run through the worst and best case scenario in your mind.  If they reject you, how will you respond?  If they accept you, how will you respond?  Remember, rejection does not mean you are not worthy of love.  It merely means you are at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Learn communication strategies that enable you to express how you feel

If you feel that you are unworthy of love, you may have a hard time articulating your feelings.  This might be because you have not been listened too in the past, or you believe that your feelings do not matter.  If this is the case, begin by noticing sensations in your body.  For example, if you have a stomach ache, ask yourself if you are anxious or scared, or if you have a tight chest ask yourself if you are sad or angry.  When you begin to recognise the emotional signals in your body, you can be patient with yourself in learning how to verbally express your feelings.  Another option is to write your feelings out and send to the other person.

Learn strategies to boost your self-esteem.

Learn about who you are as a human being.  What are you curious about, what is your passion?  What are your strengths and weaknesses and how can you promote growth in your life by setting goals and accomplishing them?  Take care of yourself physically by going to the gym, eating healthy and getting enough sleep.  Refuse to allow any negative people in your life who abuse you.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Identifying Toxic People”

Identifying Toxic People

Hong Kong counsellling therapist services

co-author Paul Logan (www.basicreflex.com)

Artwork by Kalok Ng

Email: thekalokng@gmail.com

Identifying toxic relationships and abuse

Toxic relationships often harm our self-esteem and leave us feeling drained of energy. When we learn how to recognize toxic relationships and abuse we can move away from them. If we have a history of being abused, we may not recognise that we are caught in a cycle of abuse. After reading this article, people ask themselves, “Am I toxic?”  This article is meant for you to understand that sometimes we can all be toxic, for example, if we are in a conflict or in a dangerous situation.  However, toxic people are often more times than less, toxic.  A toxic person does not usually ask themselves if they are toxic because they believe they are always right.  Some warning signs to watch for are:

You feel unheard 

You have told the other person how you feel or think, yet they do not seem to hear you.  When you speak, they may often talk over you or not allow you to get a word in edgewise.  They may speak as if they are the expert on all topics, therefore what you have to say is irrelevant.

Your words and emotions are used against you

The toxic person watches your emotions and listens to your words carefully so that they can use this information in the future to get a reaction out of you.  Toxic people often draw energy from other people’s negative reactions.  If the toxic person is feeling angry or depressed, they want those around them to feel the same way.  You may often feel as if you are constantly walking on eggshells.  You are never sure what pleases them or makes them angry.

The toxic person tried to isolate you from friends and family

This is a huge red flag that should not be ignored.  If the toxic person wants to separate you, beware that this might be an indication that abuse is around the corner.  If you are isolated from others, they can abuse and control you with the interference of others.  Some people who have social anxiety might also want to be with you alone as well.  They are not toxic, they are just nervous around others that they do not know.  Some people might also want to enjoy your company alone.  However, it becomes a problem if you are in a relationship with someone who does not want you to have contact with anyone other than them.

The toxic person criticises you or shames you in private or in public

The toxic person is often concerned that they are going to lose you.  To keep you they might try to use this tactic to make you feel bad about yourself.  If you feel bad about yourself, you will be easier to control. Beware if you often feel humiliated or small around this person.

When toxic people enter your life, they want you to believe that you can’t live without them. They use manipulation tactics to keep you hooked on them. These tactics may include:

Acting hot and cold. 

One minute they are love bombing you, sweeping you off your feet and the next minute they want nothing to do with you.  They may profess their love to you, and the next to disappear for days at a time.

Gaslighting 

Gaslighting is used to make you feel like you are going crazy.  For example, they might say, “I didn’t do that, you’re crazy.  Have you completely lost your mind.”  When in fact, you saw or heard them do this particular action in question.  They will use this tactic to make you doubt your own judgement.

Playing victim to get your sympathy.

This tactic works on those who are high in empathy.  Often toxic people are attracted to empathetic people because they can use the empath’s willingness to help them.  Once they have your sympathy, the toxic person will hurt you to control you or make you feel bad about yourself.

These are just a few of the tactics that toxic people use.  Leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult because self-esteem has been damaged. Often the help of a counsellor or therapist can be useful to make sure that you are safe both physically and emotionally. It can take some time to rebuild self-esteem and self-identity after abuse.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Understanding Trauma”

Understanding Trauma

Hong Kong counselling therapist services

Trauma occurs when an accident, abuse, loss or something unpredictable causes us to feel emotions such as intense fear, shock, denial and distress. For the most part, people might have trauma reactions such as nightmares, hypervigilance or physical symptoms after a tragic or dangerous event that heals by itself after a short period. However, depending on the intensity and duration of the trauma, people might need to reach out to a trained mental health professional to recover and get back on track. Here are some concepts to help you understand trauma for yourself and your loved ones.

  1. The mind-body connection: Our mind is connected to our body, and there is a constant feedback loop between the two. During an accident or traumatic event, our system goes into fight or flight for protection. If our body is in fight or flight for too long, our mind becomes distressed and hypervigilant. Our immune system and nervous system might also be affected, and we might experience physical symptoms. After a trauma, it is essential to find ways to relax so that our mind and our body can get back to normal. If you are having a difficult time sleeping or focusing at work, a mental health professional can help you.
  2. Avoidance or seeking: Often after a trauma, we want to avoid the person, place or situation that caused the trauma. This may or may not be in your favour. Reflect on the situation and ask yourself if avoiding will raise or lower your quality of life. If avoiding will reduce your quality of life, but you can’t go back to the situation, seek a professional. Those who do not avoid might tend to seek out the situation, person or place that caused the trauma to relive and figure out the situation. Just like avoiding, this can be dangerous or helpful. If seeking out the situation is dangerous, and you find yourself doing it, reach out and seek help.
  3. Not everyone wants to talk about it: Everyone copes with trauma and loss differently. If someone is not ready to talk about it or seek help, do not push them. This might be doing more harm than good because it might interfere with the person’s natural coping system.
  4. Withdrawing: You might want to withdraw from your partner, friends, and from social events.  This is to help you to find the stability you perceived lost.  This might affect your relationships in a negative way if you do not communicate what you need and what you are feeling.
  5. Express and release: Express and release the trauma through art, music, dancing, sports or writing. This can help to release the trauma’s powerful hold on you.  A professional can also help by listening with empathy and no judgement.
  6. When to seek help: You can seek help at any point after a trauma. However, if you’re relationships or quality of life is suffering, reach out as soon as possible. Some symptoms to pay special attention to are constant agitation, hypervigilance, strained relationships, flashbacks, nightmares and physical symptoms such as tension, a pressure in the chest, chronic pain, stomach and headaches.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Should I stay with my cheating partner?”

Should I stay with my cheating partner?

Hong Kong counsellling therapist

People cheat for many reasons.  It might be that the primary relationship lacks physical or emotional intimacy.  Another reason might be that one person feels unappreciated and seeks validation outside of the primary relationship. For more information on why people cheat, click here.

It is difficult not to take being cheated on personally.  Trust in the relationship is missing and may be hard to repair.  Here are some options and points to consider in an unfaithful circumstance or relationship.

1. Was your partner trying to hurt you or get revenge?  If your partner had an affair to punish you, can you forgive this?  Are they punishing you for having an affair? Or are they punishing you because you have not met some of their expectations?  This is a conversation to have to with your partner to understand their motivation and if you can repair the relationship.  If your partner cheated to hurt you to have more power or control over you, be cautious in taking them back.

2. Your partner is insecure in relationships in general: If your partner cheated because they are afraid you will abandon them, or they are insecure in relationships in general, they might always cheat.  If your partner is insecure because you have not been appreciative, emotionally or physically available, then you can aim to work towards repairing the relationship if you have the desire to save it.

3. Your partner wanted new sexual experiences: Your partner may have cheated because they wanted a unique or varied sexual experience.  If your relationship lacks sexual intimacy, your partner may have strayed to have their sexual needs met.  The question to ask yourself in this situation is, why don’t I want to have sex with my partner and can we work and repair this?  Am I ok with an open relationship?  Do I also want new sexual experiences that we can try as a couple?

4. Your partner wanted validation: Does your primary relationship have gratitude and appreciation for one another.  Couples often focus on what they do not have in a relationship instead of what they do have.  If someone is feeling taken for granted, or neglected, they might rationalise having an affair.  This is an opportunity to make your relationship stronger if you can see past the violation of trust and use it to build intimacy in your relationship.

An affair can break a relationship if the trust has been broken past the point of repair.  If both partners are willing to work on the problems in the relationship, a relationship can become stronger after an affair.  An affair might bring new appreciation to the relationship because it brings an awareness to how hurtful losing the relationship would be.  If you believe the relationship is worth saving, focus on the other person as a person and not a possession.  A marriage counsellor or therapist might be able to help both partners see the other person’s perspective and help the couple to communicate better.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment. Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “How can I express how I really feel?”

How can I express how I really feel?

Hong Kong counseling and therapy services with Dr. Monica Borschel

Sometimes we might have a difficult time expressing how we feel because we are afraid of how others will react or what they might think of us. We might have a hard time expressing how we feel because we are not sure what it is we are feeling. Emotions can be complex. Part of it might be because we tell ourselves that how we feel doesn’t matter. Here are some simple guidelines to understand and express how you feel.

1. Your emotions matter: Emotions give us information about our environment and our choices. If we feel threatened or out of control we might feel angry or anxious. If we have lost or fear losing someone or something, we might grieve or feel sad. When things are going the way that we want them too, we feel happy or excited.

2. Emotions are in your body: One of the keys to understanding how you feel is to pay attention to sensations in your body. Is your heart racing or is your stomach tight? When we learn how to identify where we feel emotions in our body we can learn to speak about how we feel.

3. How are you perceiving the emotion? Our body gives us a signal about threats in our environment and our heart races. We can tell ourself that we are afraid, or we can tell ourself that we are excited. Be curious about the story that you are telling yourself about your bodies response to the environment.

4. Heathy responses: Healthy responses to emotion include talking, crying or calming down. Talking about how you feel helps to minimize conflict and misunderstanding. Crying helps to relieve pressure and stress and calming down prevents you from yelling or becoming aggressive.

4. Accept your emotions, don’t avoid them: Avoiding your emotions or distracting yourself from your emotions will not help you to understand or learn from them. Often when we feel heartache we tend to avoid it. Negative emotions help us to grow and understand ourselves better. Broken hearts help us to understand love, appreciation and compassion. We also learn from our mistakes by paying attention to the feelings we don’t like.

5. Write it out: It might be easier for some people to write their emotions out before they are able to speak about them. Writing your feelings on a piece of paper might help to clarify any confusion you have to what you are feeling.

6. Practice, practice, practice: If you are not used to speaking about your feelings, it will be quite challenging in the beginning. Don’t give up, try again. Every time that you try, it will become easier. There might be people in your life who are unable to cope with your emotions or anyone else’s for that matter. Practice with people are are open to hearing how you feel.


Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “How to better manage your days when you are depressed.”

How to better manage your days when you are depressed.

Hong Kong counselling and therapist services

Depression is a liar. It tells us that we are fundamentally flawed and that we should hide. Depression is exhausting. It’s difficult to reach out for help because we don’t want to burden anyone. Sometimes when you are depressed you need to do opposite of what you feel.

1. Reach out for professional help. You might feel like you don’t deserve it or that you don’t need help. You need to push through those thoughts and emotions so that you can get better. If you are too tired to get out of bed, arrange for a Skype consultation. If this seems overwhelming, ask a friend to make the appointment for you.

2. Organize your schedule and stick to a routine. If you can, organize your day hour by hour and develop a daily routine. This will help you to get things done because you will be less confused about what you should be doing.

 

3. Write your thoughts and emotions. Writing out your emotions can help you release some stress. Negative thoughts that are helpless or hopeless should be reframed into positive action.

4. Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which helps us to feel happier and more motivated.

5. Social support: This one is difficult when you want to hide at home. Mentally prepare yourself to set up a time to meet people who care about you and can help you relax.

6. Laugh: comedy and laughter increase our positive emotions.

7. Go out into nature.

 

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

 

0 comments on “Easing Academic Stress in the Home.”

Easing Academic Stress in the Home.

Hong Kong counselling therapist services-child therapy

Academic pressure is a major source of anxiety and stress for many children and teens.  As a parent, you want what is best for your child.  Here are a few pointers to help you ease the academic pressure your child might be feeling.

  1. 1. Have a stress free homework routine.  After school allow your child or teen to have a snack.  Food will help them to be in a better mood and help their brain concentrate better.  It is difficult to think when you are hungry.  Set a regular routine where after they eat, do homework, and then they can be rewarded with play or exercise.
  2. Allow your child breaks.  The brain can only focus for certain amounts of time.  Children have a shorter attention span than adults.  If your child is having a difficult time sitting still, make a game out of the homework.  Say, “If you can focus and do this worksheet properly, you can have two minutes to play, or do whatever you like.  When I count to ten, we resume the homework again.”
  3. Take the pressure out of the home.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  If your child is struggling in math, do not add more pressure by shouting or punishing them.  Sit down next to them and patiently explain it to them. If you are unable to be patient with them, hire a patient tutor.  Speak kindly to your child.  When your child is calm, they can think better.
  4. Allow play and exercise for added focus and brain power. Your child or teen needs to play and exercise in order to sit through school.  Exercise increases blood flow to the brain making it easier to focus and learn.  Children need to play to reduce stress.
  5. Stress reduction.  Anxiety and stress hinder learning because the fight or flight system is activated.  Anxiety and stress make it difficult to focus and learn.  Stress and anxiety can be reduced in different ways, such as play, art, exercise and breathing techniques.  Allow your child to open up to you and express how they are feeling without judgement and punishment.
  6. Sleep. Make sure your child or teenager is getting enough sleep at night.  Lack of sleep makes it difficult to learn.
  7. Proper nutrition.  Too much sugar will create fatigue and shorten attention span.  Proper nutrition and diet lead to a healthy body and brain.
  8. Remain calm.  The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.  This enables a better learning environment in and outside of the home.
  9. Decrease screen time. Overstimulation from the iPad, television, computer, video games and phone decrease attention. Limit the amount your teen or child is allowed to use these electronic devices.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or Skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Understanding your child’s behaviour and emotions”

Understanding your child’s behaviour and emotions

Hong Kong counseling therapist services - child therapy

Many parents struggle with what they consider to be bad behavior from their children.  Demands from work and relationships can lead to a sense of feeling overwhelmed.  The last thing an over-stressed parent has patience for is children who misbehave.  The following is a guide to behavioral management to use at home to gain control over what feels to be an out of control environment.  Children often push boundaries. Therefore, changing behavior requires patience.  At first, children will resist the boundaries and rules; they may even behave worse than before.  Stick to the plan with patience and diligence, and in time behavior will improve substantially.  Offer children choices so that they feel as if they have some control in their lives.  Children are often told no, don’t do that, or do this.  They don’t have as much power as an adult; this can be frustrating at times.  Treat your child with respect, like you would any other human being in an age appropriate manner.

Some sound advice on behavioral management for children

  1.  There are no bad children, only behavior that can improve. Often children with behavioral problems suffer from anxiety or are gifted; they find themselves easily bored.  When children are anxious, they can become easily overstimulated. Turn down the noise and the activities within the room.  Create a safe environment by providing predictability.
  2.  Action and consequence.  Develop house rules which everyone in the household is expected to follow.  Try to phrase the house rules positively.  Always let the child know exactly what is expected of them and what the consequence will be if the rule is broken.  For example, house rule number 1: “Hands and feet are for playing and not hitting or kicking.”  It is important that everyone in the household follows the rules and enforces the consequences.  This means that parents are also not allowed to hit or kick the children.  Children learn from watching adults. Children think, “if mom and dad hit me when I am angry, then I can hit others when I am angry.”  Condition children through positive reinforcement.  Always reward the positive behavior by acknowledging it, ignore behavior that you believe is just to get attention – like temper tantrums. Use negative reinforcement if they misbehave. For example,  if you throw your toys, I take the toys away.   Do not raise your voice to shout at children. Lower your voice so that they have to calm down to hear what you are saying.  You can say the following, “I know that you are angry, but I can’t understand you when you are kicking and shouting.  When you are ready, we can talk about what you want.”
  3.  Maintain eye-contact. Children are easily distracted by sound and other things in the environment.  When you want their attention, ask them if you can see their eyes.  Say, “Can I see your eyes please?” If they are still running around and not listening to you, walk over to them and place your eyes at the same level as theirs; this may require you to squat or kneel down.  Maintaining eye-contact lets the parent know that the child is listening, and allows the child to know that they are being seen.  Kneeling down to be at the child’s height also allows the child to pay attention and contains a level of respect between the child and the parent.
  4.  Modeling behavior and emotions.  Children model the behavior of their parents.  If a parent reacts to anger by punching the wall or throwing objects, so will the child.  If you are too angry to deal with your child, walk away until you have calmed down.  When you are ready, model emotions by talking about how you feel.  Example, “I am feeling angry right now because the internet isn’t working and I need to finish my work.”  Then the child watches you take deep breaths as you try to calm down without shouting or throwing things.  Children are kinesthetic and connected to their parents.  If a parent is anxious, the child becomes anxious.  This is also known as “mood contagion.”
  5.  Create predictability. Let your child know what is planned for them that day.  Children are under their parental control and often do not have a choice in what happens within a day.  Let them know the schedule ahead of time.  If your child is playing, tell them we need to clean up in ten minutes.  If you are in a rush, tell them they have one more minute to play and then they need to go.  This way the child mentally prepares for what is to happen next.
  6.  Let your children play. Children relieve stress and anxiety through play, as well as learn how to create, negotiate and problem solve.  Play is also a great way to connect with your child.  When playing with your child, let them direct the play. If they want to play with legos, you follow.  Out of respect, ask them if you can play with their toys as well.
  7. Manage your stress. It is hard to feel patient when you are overwhelmed with your stress.  Allow yourself some alone time to exercise, read or do an activity that you enjoy, daily if possible.  Respect your needs and request that others do so as well.  Express gratitude and appreciation daily.  This trains your brain to focus on the positive instead of the negative.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist

Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel