Michigan Family Institute Newsletter
www.mifamilytherapy.com        248-593-4784
January  2013
In This Issue
HOW CHILDREN CHANGE
DEPRESSION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE FOREVER
 


BOOKS 

Power and Compassion: Working with difficult adolescents  

(Guilford Press 1996)


Jerome A. Price

-----

Take Control of Your Divorce

(Impact Publications 2011)

Margerum J, Price J, and Windell J 
 
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Defusing the High Conflict Divorce 

(Impact Publications 2007)

Gaulier B, Margerum J, Price J, Windell J

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The Right to Be the Grownup
A Parent Skills Training     Curriculum 
 
(Zeig-Tucker Publications 2003)

Price J, Margerum  J 

SPEAKERS' BUREAU 


As a courtesy to the many trusted professionals who refer to us, we offer presentations for staff development and for parents in schools or treatment programs at no charge.
Subjects are many and varied and can be coordinated with your program's needs.

Just call or email us




Let us know which of the following groups would be helpful to you and your clients.

  • TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR DIVORCE
  • TUNE UP YOUR MARRIAGE: It's not that bad but could be better. 
  • THE RIGHT TO BE THE GROWNUP: Helping Parents Be Parents to Their Difficult Teens  
  • ANGER MANAGEMENT
  • HELPING TEENS NAVIGATE DIVORCES
  • THE TRUTH ABOUT DEPRESSION

Please call or email us with your preferences or with other subjects you'd like us to speak on or do groups for. We're interested in what will best meet the needs of you and your clients.

info@mifamilytherapy.com




HOW CHILDREN CHANGE 
 
Jerome A. Price, MA, LMFT, LMSW


Children are supposed to respond logically to the things we adults do to correct them or teach them. At least, that's the assumption we make as we decide how to choose consequences and correct troublesome behavior. Some children have a strong desire to please the adults in their lives...and some really don't.  So, what do you do with kids whose patterns don't seem related to receiving rewards or approval?

We've been taught that reward and punishment, otherwise known as Learning Theory, is the proper way to view children's behavior. However, Learning Theory is only one tool we can use to help children change.

The other common set of dynamics children and all of us respond to is the comfort we get from ritualized repeating patterns in our lives. Children may  tap on an aquarium to get the expected response of the fish darting about regardless of how many times they've been told to leave the fish alone. They find the predictable response comforting. Think about how often any of us do the same thing or make the same comment despite its lack of effectiveness in the past. We humans like ritualized behaviors.

I poke my sister....she screams....my mother screams at me....I cry and run to my room. This is a ritual. It doesn't matter that there's no reward involved or that the behavior gains  the child nothing. It's something he has control of, can initiate and others will respond as expected. Someone once said, "It hurts so good."

Any behavioral difficulty can be broken down into a cycle such as this which repeats itself. We can help ourselves and our children change this pattern if we realize that if anyone in the ritual changes their response, everyone else will change theirs as well over  a few weeks. In the simple example above, mom could give sister a dollar and not scream. Mom could go kiss the boy who poked his sister. It's not about a "right response". It's about a "different response". It creates confusion and breaks up the ritual. Mom could start spinning in circles singing "Be Kind to Your Fine Feathered Friends" and something  different will begin to occur.

Try it. Keep the new behavior for 2-3 weeks...and see.

 

DEPRESSION DOES NOT HAVE TO BE FOREVER

 

Judith Margerum, Ph.D., L.P. 

  

 

We don't have control over our genetic make-up, the family into which we are born or the economy but we do have control over what we do, how we think and how we relate to others. Our thoughts can keep us stuck but they can also free us.

 

Thoughts and words are powerful. According to Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, those who are pessimistic feel helpless and give up more easily. They are not as likely to succeed even if they have high potential.  

 

When I worked in foster care I noticed that some kids could come out of abusive situations and remain happy, positive and engaged with life and others remained angry, mistrustful and negative even when life was good. The positive ones adjusted to their new lives and the pessimistic ones did not. Alternately, coming from an advantaged life or being the brightest and most talented does not insulate one from a pessimistic attitude. I have seen those with a positive outlook rise above learning disabilities with hard work and persistence and I have seen those who have been told they were geniuses and star athletes throw their talent and their success away.  

 

The pessimist assumes so much personal responsibility for failures and disappointments that they stop trying. They may go into a job interview with less enthusiasm or not put the extra effort into a project because they "know" it won't matter. It is no wonder the pessimist ends up depressed more often whether due to their own self-defeating reasoning, courting disappointment or pushing others away with their less than positive outlook. Once a person learns how to identify, challenge and change these pessimistic thought patterns they gain a sense of power over every aspect of their lives.

 

 PLEASE PASS THIS NEWSLETTER ALONG TO COLLEAGUES WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED


MICHIGAN FAMILY INSTITUTE, PC
30233 Southfield Road Suite 109
Southfield, Michigan  48076
248-593-4784