wft logo
Wasatch Family Therapy Newsletter
RelationTIPS from Wasatch Family Therapy
November 2009
In this issue
Help For Parenting Teens
Find Time for Yourself (without feeling selfish)
The Great Time Divide
Pre-Teen Divorce Adjustment Class
Group Therapy
Free Therapy - Happy Holidays
Help! I'm Parenting a Teen!
by Jonathan Harrop, Marriage & Family Therapy Intern
 Jonathan Harrop
Many people think I'm crazy because I love working with teenagers. What is it about teenagers that's so fun? Perhaps it's the challenge. Perhaps it's because I still feel like one...or perhaps it's because I just really enjoy their uniqueness and what they have to bring to the table. Either way, some of the most helpful and fundamental information I have received that has helped me enjoy working with teenagers comes from the Arbinger Institute.

"The Parenting Pyramid," is the model of parenting used by the Arbinger Institute, and focuses on what is most fundamental, or foundational, in parenting. We want our children to grow up and be good contributing individuals in society, now how do we get them to do that! This is what the Parenting Pyramid attempts to teach - how do we, as parents, help things to go right? How do we help our children make good choices? How do I help my child excel in school? How do I keep my child from acting out aggressively? There are a multitude of questions like these that we all have and want to know the answers to. The parenting pyramid gives a model that can best help us help our children in these ways.
"The Parenting Pyramid"
Parent/Child Relationship
Parent's Relationship
Personal Way of Being

One of the most widely known and used methods of parenting is that which is easiest to use- Correction.  Correction is usually seeking to change something that has gone wrong. When I was 5 years old, I stole some candy from the grocery store with a couple other friends who had enticed me to go with them. I thought this was a great idea until I got caught. As I stood there in tears, the store manager threatened to call the police, but he did something even worse: he called my mother. My mom picked me up from the store, apologizing profusely to the store manager, and then took me home. When we got home, my mother made sure to correct me, and after many tears from this correction, I understood that stealing was very bad. For me, this correction did the job. Correction, however, is not the only form of discipline.

While correction is a very important part of disciplining children, there is another aspect of discipline that is just as important, if not more - Praise. More important than correcting our children when they do something wrong, is catching them when they do something right and praising them for it. Think about yourself. Do you feel better about yourself when you are constantly being corrected for the things you do wrong, or for when you are praised for doing something right? Usually when we are constantly corrected, we are not encouraged to do better; rather, we begin to feel discouraged, and it becomes harder to correct what needs to be corrected.  Kids feel this same way!

Correction should be the least used form of discipline. While it is indeed needed, we need praise much more. When you correct your child on something, like cleaning their room, then begin looking for the times that they clean their room - and praise them like crazy for it. This will usually make them want to clean their room even more, which is the key. However, if all you did was correct them for all the times they didn't clean their room, then they will not want to clean their room, and they likely won't, and it will be a constant battle between you and them. Correct a little, and praise a lot!

Here are a couple general rules for good correction:
1-Do not punish while you feel like reacting in anger. Children tend to learn more from our examples than from what we say. If we react in negative anger towards our children when they do something wrong, then guess what they are learning: that you are supposed to act out in negative anger when someone does something you don't like.
2-Have logical consequences that are connected to what they did wrong.  Let's say my 16-year-old teenager goes 600 minutes over on his cell phone, and increases our bill by $300 for that month. There may be the temptation to want to ground him from his friends for the next year, to take away his license unless he is running errands for me, to ground him from dating for 6 months, and whatever else our imagination can conjure up. While he may need to be punished for breaking such a rule, this kind of consequence will probably do no more than make him hate me. Why would this be the case? Because the consequence that I impose on him is nothing more than me taking out my anger on him in harsh and extreme ways. In order for this punishment to get into their head in a way that they will learn their lesson and not hate us is to follow the example of nature, and create logical consequences.  A natural consequence for not staying within the calling limits is that he will have to find a way to pay for the extra charges and he will not get his phone back until it is paid. If I can be calm and collected in giving this punishment, then he will not hate me, for it will not be about my anger over what he did, but will stay focused on his actions and the consequences that follow. Another word of advice with this... if you will involve your children in deciding the consequences, then they will more likely own the consequence.
3-Make sure that you can follow through with the consequence.  Going along with the 16-year-old teenager example, if I were to use the first, extreme method of punishing, then I would probably have just as hard of a time with it as my teenager would - for now I will have a teenager full of attitude at home that I am stuck with because I said that he could not go anywhere with anyone for the next 6 months. We need to remember that when we give a consequence, there is often a burden we take ourselves that we must follow through with it. If we don't follow through with it, then our children will learn that they will be punished for a small moment and then everything will be fine, no matter how extreme it is. That is not a good lesson to teach our children.

If you're wondering "What should I praise in my child?", praise the good things that they do. While praising their beauty can be a good thing, it is more focused on praising the genetics they received that made them look so pretty. They didn't have a lot of control over that. More meaningful praise is the praise of a choice - a decision we made. When I make a right decision, and someone catches me and praises me for it, it makes me want to do it again and again. It is our actions and choices that need the positive reinforcement.  

First Session Is Free! Schedule an appointment with Jonathan Harrop, Marriage and Family Therapy Intern today! Email to set up an initial appointment or call (801) 944-4555.
Find Time for Yourself: Overcoming the Selfish Myth
Studio 5 TV Segment
By Julie Hanks, LCSW, Clinical Director
Julie Hanks LCSW
The Oxygen Mask
Several years ago, while traveling on an airplane from UT to CA with my 6 month old son in tow, the safety instructions given by the flight attendant struck me quite differently. "Should the cabin pressure change an oxygen mask will be made available. Place your mask on first, then assist dependent others." As I held my beloved baby in my arms I thought how foreign, how wrong it would feel for me put my mask on first in the event of an emergency, and yet I also realized how crucial it would be to both of our survival. If I put his mask on first and then I passed out, what good would I be to him or to anyone else?

This analogy applies to our personal lives and the need to care for our physical and emotional selves. It's often easier to place other's masks on first and soon find yourself "passed out" due to our lack of "oxygen". Before putting your mask on, you may first need to discover what your "oxygen" is. In my therapy practice, and in workshops, I hear stories of women who have lost touch with their personal needs, goals, and desires. Reclaiming the things that bring joy and passion into your is the first step in finding time for yourself. Here are two questions to help you identify your specific type of "oxygen". Grab a paper and pen and write down the first things that come to mind.
1) What brought me pure joy as a child?
Now, take a step to incorporate what brought you joy as a child back into your life. For me, I felt pure childlike joy swimming in my Grandma's pool in the summertime and standing on the piano bench singing like a little bird while my dad accompanied me on the piano. If I don't get enough sunshine and water, and if I spend too much time away from music I start to feel less joy in my life now.
2) What do I want to do before I die?
No matter how big your dreams, I encourage you to take one tiny step toward your goal. If you want to travel in Europe, start planning your itinerary and saving a few dollars a week. If your goal is to publish a book, start by writing an outline. You get the idea...
Click HERE to read the entire article.
Men VS. Women: The Great Time Divide
Studio 5 TV Segment

By Julie Hanks, LCSW, Clinical Director and Matt Townsend, Relationship Coach
Do you and your spouse differ on how you spend your time? How you define quality time? Watch this lively discussion on how men and women can bridge the time divide between them!  WATCH VIDEO ONLINE
UPCOMING Studio 5 Segment Dec. 15 11:00 AM on Channel 5!
Watch Julie Hanks  for a great Holiday topic:How do I get my spouse to help more with holiday festivities?
NEW! Coping with Divorce
Pre-teen Divorce Adjustment Class for Ages 10-13
Presented by Todd W. Dunn, Ph.D.

This 6 week class is designed to help 10 to 13 year olds cope with this painful time. Topics will include learning about divorce, dealing with loss and transition, healthy coping skills and strengthening parent/child relationships.
Class begins Tuesday, January 19th
Time: 4:30-5:20 PM
Fee:   $150.00

For more information or to register, please contact Amber at 801.944.4555 or email here.
Join A Therapy Group! 
Women's Therapy Group - Wednesdays 5:00-5:50pm
On-going weekly therapy group for women. Depression, healthy
relationships, family issues, body image.
Sexual Abuse Survivor's Group - Thursdays 7:00 - 8:30pm
On-going weekly therapy group for women healing from childhood
sexual and other forms of abuse.
K.I.D.S. Group - Fridays 3:30-5:00pm
Bi-monthly play therapy group to help children ages 8-11. This group will help your child gain skills to manage anxiety and strengthen social skills.
Starting soon: Men's Group, Teens Groups, Children's Divorce Class!
To join a group please Email or call (801) 944-4555. 
Happy Holidays - First Session FREE!
Wasatch Family Therapy would love to introduce you to our interns. Amber Dunford, Mental Health Counseling Intern and Jonathan Harrop, Marriage & Family Therapy Intern are offering professional counseling services at a significant discount! Right now you can book your first 50 minute session for FREE.

Each session after is only $50. Evening appointments available.
Click here to schedule YOUR FREE appointment or call 801-944-4555.
Join Our Mailing List