Author: Dr. Sherry Van Blyderveen

How to Encourage Your Child to Participate in Therapy

It is not uncommon for adults to consider seeking therapy long before they schedule their first therapy session due to a variety of anxieties and concerns. Common concerns include embarrassment and shame in regards to needing help, anxieties about being judged, fear of not finding a good match in a therapist, and uncertainty as to how any resulting changes will impact their life. Children and youth have many of the same concerns when their parents encourage them to participate in therapy. If you believe that your child would benefit from therapy, you will need to consider how best to...

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ENCOURAGING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE WITHOUT CAUSING SHAME

With the increasing emphasis on fighting childhood obesity, there is pressure as a parent to ensure that our children are not overweight. However, addressing weight and eating related issues is a highly sensitive topic, and one you should carefully consider. What’s Wrong with Talking to My Child about their Weight? Focusing on weight, rather than general health behaviors, reinforces the “thin ideal”. It has the potential to shame your child, and may lead to body dissatisfaction. Body dissatisfaction may cause your child to avoid social opportunities and physical activity due to shame about their body and fitness level. Research has found that comments about a child’s weight predict dieting,...

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Helping Your Child Through an Eating Disorder

Anorexia Nervosa is the refusal to eat sufficient food to maintain health, and a fear of weight gain. Bulimia Nervosa is also characterized by a fear of weight gain and an overemphasis on the importance of weight and shape, but is also associated with periods of perceived loss of control with eating and engagement in behaviors meant to compensate for eating (e.g. vomiting, use of laxatives, and over exercise). In each case, the person is consumed with thinking about food and not eating. These disorders usually begin around the time of puberty, with most youth being diagnosed by health care providers around 15 years of...

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Reducing Your Child’s Suffering With Validation

In every close relationship there is potential for differing perspectives and high emotions from time to time. This includes the parent-child relationship. You and your child are bound to disagree from time to time, and your child is bound to have moments of intense negative emotion. How you handle both of these situations has a significant impact on the type of conversations you will have with your child, now and in the future. A key parenting strategy to subdue conflict and/or intense emotions is validation. What is Validation? Validation is an interpersonal skill that can lead to an acceptance...

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