Thinking Out Loud

Stop Signs

Seven-year-old Willie was having trouble on the playground with Dylan. Every time they played together, they fought, and it had reached the point that just approaching each other resulted in bad feelings and conflict of one sort or another. Their parents tried to encourage them to simply avoid each other. Although this seemed like a straightforward solution because each boy acknowledged not liking the other, it just didn’t work. Their teacher, Ms. Comstyle, tried talking with the boys individually and together without success. The principal even intervened, which did have an effect . . . short term. Needless to say, everyone was frustrated. Read More

Playing Checkers or Counseling?

Frequently, I’ve heard from parents of a child I’m counseling, the child’s rendition of our session.

Parent: How was your session today?

Child: We played checkers. I beat him.

Parent: Did you do anything else?

Child: No.

Parent: Did you tell him about what happened at school yesterday?

Child: No.

I usually anticipate this type of interaction and explain to parents how careful they must be asking their children questions about counseling sessions, inadvertently inserting expectations, and not necessarily taking what’s said (by the child) as the whole story. Read More

Cyber Communication

Without fail, I am asked to comment on internet communication—whether it’s during a workshop, book talk, or other speaking venue. Because I am not tech savvy, I’ve been cautious about my entry points into the world of cyber communication, and like many I can sound old-fashioned, as in “What’s wrong with talking to someone face to face or picking up the phone and calling.” I don’t intend here to offer a comprehensive evaluation of internet communication, but I will tell you my personal experience and share stories that can help give perspective to this complex topic. Read More