Episode Seven: Using Positive Psychology with Children and Teens

Episode Seven: USING POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY WITH CHILDREN AND TEENS with NADENE VAN DER LINDEN, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST  16th March 2017 As parents and teachers, how can we best communicate with children and teenagers to gain a positive relationship? Do we over-reward children in today’s schooling system and what can parents and teachers do when they are struggling to deal with teenage misbehaviour? My guest today is Nadene van der Linden, an experienced Clinical Psychologist working with adults, adolescents and children at her practice based in Ocean Reef in Perth. Recently, Nadene published her own eBook “Tales from the parenting trenches: a clinical psychologist vs motherhood” which is available on amazon.com.au  Tracy: Nadene thanks for joining me today Nadene: Thanks Tracy Tracy: Nadene you write a great blog for your website, Linden Clinical Psychology, so today I wanted to focus on a few key articles relating to parenting, especially communicating with children. In your article, “Coaching Kids: my journey with positive psychology”, you share an anecdote of how you used the principles of ‘positive psychology’ to coach your daughter’s netball team. Tell us what is ‘positive psychology ‘? Nadene: Positive Psychology is the science of thriving, how individuals and communities can thrive. And so there are four principles that are associated with positive psychology. 1. Is rising to life’s challenges and making the most of setbacks and adversity. 2. Engaging and relating to others 3. Finding fulfilment in creativity and productivity 4. Looking beyond oneself to help others to find lasting meaning, satisfaction and wisdom. Tracy: And how can parents and teachers use these techniques to enhance the development of children and teenagers? Nadene: I think the model helps to guide us in the way how we look in our children’s development, so that we are promoting the idea of setbacks and adversity as normal and it’s expected even.  And we can focus on the problem solving approach so we can look at how can we get through this together rather than it is a problem if there is something going on in my child’s development. Also we can look at it to help broaden our understanding of what it means to be a healthy human. So it’s about connecting and relating and engaging with others rather than been solely focused on one Maths test or performance in a musical instrument or a sporting career or something like that. So healthy humans are more than just individual success. Also it lets us see that being creative and productive is really important to human feelings of success and thriving and that we can get a lot out of life by participating. So for example I find that there is a lot of focus on leisure activity and what we do with that but actually humans do much better if we are creating and producing. Finally I think the last principle helps us create and find ways through our children and our school communities to support and help others and that we can find that very rewarding and find a meaning in our life which is for some people quite missing at times so when we connect with other people’s struggles and difficulties and we help them they can actually benefit us as well. Tracy: When it comes to children’s behaviour why is it important to ignore what you don’t like more often? Nadene: Well this idea comes from the idea of positive reinforcement, and really what we know is that when you draw attention to behaviour you are feeding it. So when you draw attention to behaviour that you don’t like rather than ignore it, you are actually feeding it with attention. And because children love attention sometimes even being reprimanded or punished will be experienced in a positive way to some degree because they are looking for that attention. When we ignore it we are not feeding the behaviour with attention so more than likely it won’t happen again. So essentially what I am saying to people is that be careful about what you feed and if you ignore what you don’t want to see you are more likely to get less of that. If you do notice of what you do want to see you are more likely to get more of that. Tracy: Why do we as humans often tend to maximise the negative and minimise the positives, the good things? Nadene: Well the human mind is really a protective device so it’s trying to keep us safe and its trying to find solutions to things. So negative things are seen as problems that need to be solved and problems that we need to resolve to stay safe. So that means that even though it is helpful in some situations sometimes the mind finds negatives even though there are lots of positives. For example as parents we worry about things that we see in our childrens behaviour and we try and get rid of that. We sometimes find it difficult to ride through stuff that’s hard because our mind is worrying about the long term consequences for our children and how that’s going to play out for us. Our minds are tend to be drawn to problems both in our own lives and that of our children rather than allowing ourselves to enjoy what is going well and what is working.  Tracy: What can you do to enjoy what is going on to maximise the positive? What strategies or advice can you give people?   Nadene: Well I think that you need to recognise that natural tendency of your mind. So rather than saying ‘I have to focus on that problem’ you could say to yourself ‘is that my mind focusing on the negative again’ and make a list of what is going well or how your child is doing well or even how you are doing well as a parent or even in your personal life so that your focusing your mind on the positive aspects of your life. There are also techniques such as mindfulness and gratitude practise which help us stay in the present moment and notice what is actually happening now rather than getting into that problem focused future worrying about what could go wrong and what is the problem. So those are the two techniques that I recommend to people to look into using in their day to day lives to help with their emotional wellbeing. Tracy: You said ‘There is so much in life that we participate in and don’t win so developing skills to manage the feelings associated with losing is important as is learning to value participation for reasons other than direct rewards such as winning payment.’ Do we over-reward children? Nadene: I think there can be tendency to over-reward children with physical items such as stickers, toys and money. And I would encourage everyone to verbal praise and body language as much as possible because there is no need to be worried about using too much of that kind of reward but what we run into problems with is children refusing to do anything without knowing what they are going to get paid to do it, or what will they get for that. Parents then find themselves in negotiations about what’s going to happen. I am not saying that any kind of physical reward is inappropriate and sometimes t is very helpful for motivating behaviour that is stubborn to change. But we don’t to have every daily interaction marred by what can I get out of this so we are trying to promote in our children sometimes we do things out of good will because we have got a relationship and just because it creates a more harmonious community or home environment. Tracy: So should everyone get a prize? Nadene: I don’t think everybody should get a prize. One thing that I noticed as a parent is that these days when you play ‘pass the parcel’ everybody has to get a prize in each wrapper rather than it being who gets the end prize and generally I find that there are a lot of prizes, competitor and participation ribbons and things like that given at schools. It doesn’t really recognise that the prizes supposed to be about rewarding excellence and they don’t really mean very much if everyone gets one as in the game that I was talking about it kind of takes the spirit of the game if everyone gets a prize at every wrapper, sort of like a turn taking exercise then. Most children I find are aware that participation ribbons are not really worth that much. They understand the system of who won and who didn’t win. I think that we can reward participation in other ways so we can do that with praise and belonging and recognition that it’s not always easy to participate in something that you’re not the best at.  Tracy: How do we make sure that a child’s motivation or a teenager’s motivation is for intrinsic gain or intrinsic value rather than simply doing it to achieve a prize, some extrinsic reward? Nadene: I am not sure that we can make it happen but I am sure that we can try and encourage that and we can try to demonstrate there are things that we do as adults that are not just for ourselves that we don’t get paid for to do and that societies and communities run better when there is people who do things because they value trying their hardest, they value doing well and they value something that is going to contribute. I think that in all of us there is a need for extrinsic reward as well so not very many of us will go to work without being paid. We might do some volunteer work but we won’t do the whole of our job without getting some reward. So it’s not necessarily a problem if children need some reward for doing somethings in their life, but it’s about having a balance so they realise that they can reward themselves with their own sense of self-worth by recognises their own achievement and that doesn’t necessarily come with a prize or a gift.  Tracy: When it comes to praise how do we give genuine praise? Nadene: So genuine praise is helped if the child feels that you are thinking about how you are giving it to the and how you are really noticing them. So constantly just saying well done, well done, good job like that can get a bit old for children and they start to really wonder if you’re actually noticing them. So try to notice what they are doing and why you like it and actually verbally praise that from time to time. You can of course give them a ‘high-five’ or say that I really like that, it doesn’t always have to be extremely complicated but l guess varying it and not making it a routine thing that doesn’t have any meaning. Tracy: If we over-praise and over-reward are we at risk of children never losing or like you just said never failing and therefore not developing the skills or resilience needed to face a lack of success for example? Nadene: I think that the course of life means that children are going to face disappointments and are not going to be able to reach some of their goals so even if we give a lot of verbal praise and a lot of encouragement we can’t really protect them from those things so for example they may not get into a sporting team at the level that they wanted to or they might miss out on the music program at school. Those sorts of things can’t be avoided sometimes so the praise and the noticing that you give as a parent for just generally being a good person and participating in family routine won’t get in the way of that. Tracy: What can you say to a child when they do experience disappointment? What are some phrases or words that parents or teachers can use to alleviate their disappointment? Nadene: I think that part of it is actually acknowledging the disappointment so a lot of what we do with children is not validate their feeling and try and encourage the moving on process and as you said the alleviation. So sometimes the most important thing is to say ‘yes it is really disappointing, it’s hard when you lose, you wanted to win and you tried your best and something happened which meant that you couldn’t win’ but it doesn’t mean that you are bad or that you are not good at this it’s just sometimes things just don’t work out. So something along those lines so definitely instead of going along with ‘it doesn’t matter, let’s get on with it, let’s move on, what are we doing today, let’s have an ice-cream, so sort of things that we often do as parents when we are busy and when we are trying to help our children feel better sometimes it actually works more effectively if you sit that uncomfortable feeling of’ I didn’t get that’ or ‘I didn’t win’ or ‘maybe I let my team down today’ and then sometimes you find when you do that you will find that the child will go ‘yeah mum it is disappointing but it is not the worst thing in the world’ and they will move on quicker whereas if you try and push them with ‘come on now let’s get on with it everybody loses sometimes’ they might them become more distant from you and stuck in their feeling. Tracy: Nadene can you use constructive criticism under the Positive Psychology model? Nadene: I discourage people from using criticism of any kind wherever possible. And that is because generally people defend against criticism and it’s experienced as ‘I am bad’ or ‘I am wrong’ so rather I would encourage you to talk about what is not working, what we need to see. Sitting down with your child or if this is a work colleague because this happens in work places as well. Talking about what can we do about this together and what might fix it. Sometimes your child may actually have some good ideas; sometimes they may not be great ideas. You can also throw in your ideas because it’s a team problem. But as a whole constructive criticism doesn’t really work even if you put it in the feedback sandwich of a positive and negative. So in terms and trying to get what you want you are better off if you try and look at it as this is a problem what can we do about it rather than personalising it to what the children is doing. Tracy: When you need to improve skills and knowledge and you need to give feedback and point out those errors how you can best do that? Nadene: I think showing example of what we are looking for as opposed to what we are getting. Rather than saying ‘this is not right this is wrong’ what we would say it ‘this is what we got from you, this is how we need it to look’ or ‘I can see that you are doing really well with this part of the skill but we know need to add this bit on’ or ‘have you seen how so-and-so does that?’ You have to do that within reason because some children don’t like their parents comparing them to other children. But if we are talking about a particular skill you could use sort of a role model, or a basketball player or an example of school work that someone else has done that might help with that but really just try to detach the behaviour or the skill problem from the person and see as obviously you need a little help to get to here.  Tracy: as a teacher it is so difficult sometimes because you need to point out where they went wrong so they can fix it and improve but at the same time you don’t want to de motivate them as well as shatter their confidence. So how do you balance that? Nadene: I think that it is quite difficult and I am thinking of when I was in year 12 myself and I got an English literature assignment back and it had 9 out of 20 on it and it was the first time of my life that I ever failed anything and there wasn’t any feedback other than something like a poor effort and I was shattered and I thought oh god I am going to fail year 12 and it’s going to be dreadful. So when I think of that example what would have been more helpful was to have my teacher say ‘you are past year 11 literature so what happened with this one, it seems as though you didn’t understand what you were supposed to do?’ or ‘you need to look at this reference book to understand what was expected’ or ‘give me an example of some-one else’ work that I can look at to get it. Try to make it about skilled development rather than you were wrong or that you were bad or that you were not clever enough to do this I think.  Tracy: Let’s move on to your article, “Winning ways for talking with children”. You said that…in addition to your role as a clinical psychologist, you’re also the parent of two young children…and so you are always interested in what works with children from both a professional and personal point of view. In particular, better and more helpful ways to communicate with children, especially around strong feelings and behaviour.”  So what do parents and teachers need to remember when they’re communicating with children? Nadene: I think that the core thing is to remember is often with children we are seeing behaviour rather than words so children don’t have to cognitive skills or the language skills to communicate in the same way as us so we need to be aware of that the is a real tendency for adults to talk to children as if they are just mini versions of themselves but a lot of your words are going to be lost if you talk at length if you don’t keep it short and simple. Also acknowledging children’s feelings and point of view, this does not mean that you have to agree to those feelings and point of view but you do need to understand that they are present for the child and be willing to hear it out and listen to it and generally you will get a much better result if you are able to do that.  Tracy: In the article you included a Fact Sheet from the University of Maine: from this fact sheet and from your own experience, how should we best communicate with children?  Nadene: Again I think it is about acknowledging their feelings and talking about that and I think remembering that it’s not about what we say it’s about body language and the tone of voice that we use. I think that we need to always avoid name calling and put downs. This sounds really obvious but there is a lot of ‘you are being silly’, ‘don’t be stupid’ things like that that go on in families which are actually experienced as a put down vibe to the child. Which I suppose mostly parents are doing not to bad generally when there is not big feelings in the room but when there is big feelings that when things get a bit tricky so just being aware that if things are getting difficult or your child’s not behaving in the way that you would expect that often it is because they are struggling with how they feel so we need to look at what is going on rather than try to talk over or give orders. Tracy: Speaking of feelings there is a quote in the fact sheet that says…”Adults usually do not have any difficulty communicating with children when it simply involves giving directions (how to use scissors) or explaining things (why cars are dangerous). But they sometimes have difficulty communicating when feelings are involved – either the child’s or their own.” Why is that? Nadene: Well there are a couple of reasons. I think that one of them is that when your child has big feelings you will also be having big feelings as well. So that can be about why this isn’t working, am I an incompetent parent or it’s to do with your own child or the way that you were parented and there issues being raised for you. So there is a model of therapy which uses the word shark music for that which essentially what its saying is that sometimes parent are feeling endangered or threatened when their child misbehaves in a certain way or it flicks back to the past that they would have. The other thing is that there is a perception that dealing with feelings takes too much time and that the children should do what they are told and get on with things. But if we have to sit down and talk about how we feel that things might take longer but actually what we know is that if you can talk about feelings and what is going on for the child then often things will improve rather than trying to push them through inexperience. Tracy: Why is acceptance so important to begin with? Nadene: Acceptance of our child says you are ok and that I love you even if you make a mistake or if your behaviour was not ok. So the fact sheet is really talking about that needs to be the way in which we are with our children. So I think that it’s a beautiful gift that I got from my parents actually is that no matter what I did or how I spoke to them they always made me feel that I was loved even if they didn’t accept me behaviour. If you make your love conditional on how your child behaves or how they perform at school your child will have an underlying anxiety that they will carry through with them for life actually which will make them feel that all relationships they have if they are not performing at all or not complying that the love might be removed or the positive feeling might be removed. So there are times when you might say something to your child that is a put down or wasn’t ok and has made your child feel bad but you actually can fix that by going back later and saying ‘I was overwhelmed by my feelings so I still love and accept you as you are I just got a bit out of control’ and try and patch up that relationship. So sometimes when we have difficult times with our children, parents will avoid apologising or going back and talking about it because they just want to forget that it ever happened because it is difficult for them or their shark music has come up like I was talking before. But if you can repair that it would be so helpful for your child later in life to know that in that moment things were not great for us but my mum or my dad still loves me and it is ok between us it’s just that they didn’t like what I did.  Tracy: Can you share some of the other key points for us for communicating such as listening attentively and so on? Nadene: So giving your child your full attention when they want to talk to you is really important. We can tend to be very busy and sometimes things that children talk about aren’t particularly interesting to an adult’s point of view but when we do that we keep a relationship open and we say ‘you are important to me’ and ‘you can come to me about things’. Make your requests simple, keep your language simple similar to what I was saying before. If you need to say something to your child make sure that they are actually listening to you and that you have their attention so you might have to use their name and you might have to get down to their level. When you child talks to you try not to interrupt them and let them say what they need to say and then give a considered answer. And of course trying to avoid saying ‘don’t this’ and ‘don’t that’ we are trying to keep our children safe and trying to guide their behaviour but as we have talked about with the humans tendency to focus on the negative and sometimes the way that we talk to them is very negative as well. So it’s more helpful to try and ask for what you want so ‘please go and put on your shoes’ rather than ‘don’t just sit there, put your shoes on’ is a more helpful way and it helps the relationship with your child and it helps guide that habits that you want without making it about I’m not good or I’m doing it wrong again. Tracy: How do you break the habit of using the word don’t because it can be quite habitual and you might not even notice that you are doing it half of the time. Nadene: I think that it is a tough one and I do catch myself doing it sometimes as well but you need to bring that into your awareness so with the human mind once that you are aware of it and made a decision about it you need to remind us that you can even put something on you fridge that says ‘do’ or something like that or ‘no don’ts’ if you want to stop getting into that habit. But really it’s about making an active choice, catching yourself in the moment and when you see them catch your breath and say ‘ok I don’t want them to do that and how would I re-phrase that in the opposite. What do I want to see and then go with it. The more that you do that and the more that you practise it will become more your natural way but at the moment you have a habit of just saying don’t, don’t don’t. The only way to break those habits is to bring it into their awareness and practise. The occasional don’t is not going to harm your child in the long term but we just talking about optimal parenting. Tracy: Why is it so detrimental to use the word don’t? Nadene: I am not sure that it is detrimental but it’s that it can make the child feel like that they are in trouble, that they’re bad and they’re wrong. And it’s also not really explaining what we want. So what we want is for them to brush their teeth, or what we want is for them to look when they cross the road. So it is more informational for them if you say ‘look both ways when you cross the road’ rather than ‘don’t just cross the road’. So we try and guide the behaviour and encourage the correct behaviour rather than reinforcing the behaviour that we don’t want to see by talking about that. Tracy: Nadene the final article that I wanted to talk about today was the article that you wrote titled “I love you, I hate you: 10 tips to survive parenting teens”. Now my daughter is only 8 so I have a few years before I reach this stage, although as high school teachers we work with teens on a daily basis and parents of high school students will find this article particularly valuable I feel. Now to write the article you said you ‘talked to the experts – the current and graduate parents of teens.” What did you learn from this research? Nadene: So I consulted with the experts because I wanted to know about the practical how to. So obviously I have studied psychology a lot and I have read a lot of books but that does not always mean that what you read has going to play out in real life, it certainly hasn’t always with the parenting of younger children that I have done from a practical experience. So I learnt a lot from how to engage your teen, how to connect with them, how to get them involved in a relationship with you and what actually works, so that was very helpful. Tracy: Through your professional experience, what are some of the common struggles and perhaps, mistakes that parents and teachers sometimes make when working with teens? Nadene: I think that it’s seeing some of the oppositional and difficult behaviour as ‘not liking me anymore’ as a parent or the teacher feeling that the student is being very disrespectful. Really a lot of teens are trying to work out how to be an adult and how not be seen as a baby or a child anymore. And they are trying to, in the case of a parent, trying to separate from them. So they sometimes do that with words and because they are not mature and don’t have their full logic and reasonal functioning sometimes that will be done in a way that is a bit too extreme or its hurtful. The other thing is lecturing so people talk on and on and on about the future and what they need to do and I see a lot of anxious children in their teen years who are thinking that they need to have their life plan sorted and they need to know what to do. And also a lot of what you just said will become bla bla bla because they will just tune you out if you talk for too long. So you do need to keep things not as simple as the younger children but still short and relatively coherent and giving them the space to have their ideas rather than just lecturing about what you know to be the truth because you are the adult. And the other thing is trying to be your child’s friend rather than providing boundaries and guidance. So yes you might have this conflict with your teen if you don’t put in place boundaries but you are actually not parenting them and bad things can happen when children don’t have boundaries and fences.   Tracy: How important is ‘setting boundaries’? How should we set them? Nadene: Teens need boundaries because they are at this point in life where they can make a lot of choices and they are starting to interact with people that you may not know very well. They need them to feel cared for and loved, so a lot of adults that I have worked with have had parents who let them do what they want, go to whatever party, no curfews, no boundaries and whilst they enjoy their freedom at the time, the general feeling at the time was that their parents weren’t interested or didn’t care enough for that. And unfortunately so really awful things can happen when there is no fences so you do need them in place. Young people are still working out their boundaries with alcohol and drug use and what sort of people are safe to be around or not so having boundaries there and guidelines about the sorts of people that they can mix with is helpful. Tracy: How do parents know where to set the boundary? Nadene: Well I think that you need to use your own value compass for that. What I don’t recommend is ‘what is everybody else is doing?’ because your teen will tell you that everybody else’s parents are letting them do that. If you are not comfortable with your child going to certain parties, or drinking, or taking drugs, those are quite important ones I feel from a professional point of view just don’t let your children drink or take drugs. They will probably do it but not on your watch because it will affect their brain development. They can get into difficult situations and not just as the victim but sometimes they can be the perpetrator of things and they will have to carry that through the rest of their life because they made a poor choice. So use your values, but of course teen’s need some freedom and they need to make their own decisions so for example taking the train into the city to go shopping with their friends on Saturday might cause you some anxiety but it’s probably something that they are ready for. But going to a party in which there is no parent supervision or there is going to be a lot of alcohol is probably not a good decision. I think really checking in with your radar about why am I uncomfortable with this request that I am getting from my teen. You will sometimes know when they are lying to you about things as well and they can be devious and try and stay at other people’s houses and go off and do things that they want to do. I think that if you could somehow keep some connection with who they connect with, and if that means keeping your home open to have teens come and visit and your home is appealing to their friends to come over means that you get to be kept in the loop about who they are mixing with and some of the experts that you said I talked with said they were very glad that they said ‘absolute no’ to some acquaintances and some friends because they were involved in heavy drugs use and things like that. Had they allowed that, there is probably a strong chance that they become addicted and then that’s where it was happening to others that they were mixing with so common sense and more so I think not writing off every request from your teen but really considering their safety is the foremost thing. Tracy: You have already touched on quite a few there but what are some of the 10 tips to survive parenting teens? Nadene: I think that being the major tip is be connected, find ways to connect and have that relationship so even when it is difficult try to find ways to spend some time together that is positive and relaxed and calm. So one of the experts actually talked about doing the dishes every night with one of her sons so in that way she could in a low key way just be around him and it was a non-threatening conversational tip. Again keeping the boundaries in and we have talked about that a lot. Keeping them busy, actually I think that is a really important one so teens can get to this point where all that they want to do is play computer games and they don’t do much outside of school. But the more relationships that they can have with healthy adults the better because when they don’t like you and they feel the need to separate you they might be able to talk to other adults like their sporting coach or their art teacher or something like that. And also busy teens can get into less trouble socially so they find a way to feel successful in life in a range of modes which is good for all of us which fits in with that creative and productive value of the positive psychology. Tracy: Your final tip was to…’see the good in them wherever possible? How do you do this when the relationship is struggling? Nadene: I would say try to look outside of the relationship that you have with them so where are they shining outside of the relationship with you? Are they very good at something, are they doing well at school, are they polite to their friends and families, try and notice those things even really small things. So maybe overall it’s not going well but did this morning did they say good morning to you? Are they generally when you are not in this sort of conflict with them do they have some sort of qualities and attributes that you really like? On then focusing on them. Tracy: What can you really do if your buttons are being pushed or you are meeting anger with anger for example? Nadene: I always highly recommend taking a deep breath or several and when you do that it calms down your nervous system and it gives you a chance to think about how you are going to react. So generally when it is your own child you know what they are like and the things that are going to do and how that push your buttons so you might also need to work on a plan for attack on that and when you breathe deeply you then get the space to think right to activate the plan. But if you feel your anger rises and you don’t catch that you will tend to be reactive and probably meet fire with fire and do something that you are going to regret, or say something that you are going to regret. And that probably will happen, I think that it will happen to all parents and we say things that we wish we hadn’t or that we speak with too much anger so again if that happens then it is about going back and repairing that ‘I’m sorry I lost my temper, I’m going to try not to do that again, the discussion or the things really got me riled up so I am sorry for that’ and in a way that helps young people learn that when you get things wrong you can do something about it, because quite often young people think that once you have made a mistake that that’s it and that you can’t fix it. So if you as a parent can model that you are not perfect, emotionally either and this is the way that we deal with it as an adult it is giving them then skill that they can learn over time as well.  Tracy: Is it also important as a parent or teacher to understand then why those particular buttons are being pushed for you? Nadene: Certainly, and I think that if your reactions are quite extreme and that you are feeling very guilty or very sad about them or even anxious or you feel like you can’t control them then I would really recommend going and seeing a clinical psychologists who specialises in parenting teens because they can give you a lot of help to understand why you are being triggered and sometimes if you don’t know why you are being triggered and the same thing has happened again then I would recommend getting some professional help. You won’t need to go to therapy for the rest of your life but sometimes just one or two sessions are enough to get that lightbulb and those skills in place so that you can parent in the way that you want to.  Tracy: Is it important to understand that this is a stage of development for teenagers and to not take it too personally? Nadene: I definitely think that that the case so some of the things that you see are just part of how that young person is trying to find their way in the world so they are not going to stay like this forever and many people notice a very big change in their children around the age of 25 so you might not get it bang on 18 when you are wanting but as young people grow they start to get more responsibility and more sense of what the world is actually like and they will probably develop some more compassion for you and that you are actually just a person. Tracy: Nadene, can we finish today by discussing “parenting styles”. As we all know, parenting style and recommendations have changed over the years, and indeed, continue to change…there are magazines, websites, books and experts who all have advice to share. In your professional experience as a Clinical Psychologists, what is the most important thing to remember as we try to establish positive strong relationships with children and teenagers? Nadene: So my tip here would be that whatever you are reading or whatever that you are following that you look to some-one who is talking about strong relationships and connections with your child. So if it is more about boundaries and schedules and how to’s rather than this being a process of parenting, it takes time and that the most important thing is about being in a good relationship with your child then I’d be concerned. So whatever parenting model that you follow as long as it’s got connection and strong relationship as its founding principle then I think that it would be ok because as you said there are fashions in this stuff as well and certainly the way that our parents were encouraged to parent is quite different today so certainly what I see is that wherever there is love and attempts to connect and moments of where there is repair when things go wrong, whatever time in history that happened, things go well. Tracy: Well Nadene you run a busy practice here in Perth, so thank you for finding the time to join me today. I hope you enjoyed my interview with Clinical Psychologist Nadene van der Linden from Ocean Reef in Perth.   Nadene’s ebook “Tales from the parenting trenches: a clinical psychologist vs motherhood”  is  available on amazon.com.au, and if you would like to read Nadene’s blog or get in contact with her practice, visit http://lindenclinicalpsychology.com.au/  And please note: material provided in this podcast is for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. This podcast was produced by Tracy Burton featuring music by Paul Cusick. Thanks for listening.   Download the Podcast – Using Positive Psychology with Children and Teens pdf

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