In psychology, when a child is presented with what parents or carers describe as “obsessions”, there are a few things that we need to consider before deciding whether the obsessions are in the realms of “normal” or whether there is a need for treatment. In other words, we need to think about when something is a passion and when it is an obsession. We also need to consider whether the child’s obsessions, compulsions or restricted interests are part of a broader diagnosis like obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, or giftedness.
It is normal for children to repeat play and have fads from time to time. In fact, repetition is one of the ways that we learn. Practice is essentially repeating something over and over again to improve our skill or mastery. The drive behind practice or passion is about self-improvement or a desire to be good or gain mastery over something.
This week on ABC Radio Sunshine Coast I will be covering “Fads and Obsessions”. What were the fads that you remember when you were younger? What is the difference between a fad/phase and an obsession? I’ll talk about understanding fads and obsessions across childhood and when an obsession might be a clinical concern worthy of intervention. Tune in or call in for a chat on Thursday morning after 9:30am on 1300 903 222.
We’ve all felt the feeling of boredom. For some of us it might have been longer ago than others. Many of us have busy and full lives these days, but some children (and some adults) are more prone to experiencing boredom.
While it is normal to feel bored from time to time, a low tolerance for the feeling of boredom has been associated with a number of concerning outcomes including depression and hostile aggression. Those who are boredom prone are also more likely to procrastinate, feel insecure and more likely value the end product of activity (eg payment for work) rather than extract joy and meaning from the activity itself. Boredom has also been cited as a factor in studies of substance use, internet addiction, dropping out of school and marital issues.
Back in the day, well, back in the Ancient Greek day, there was a story about a guy, Narcissus, and the girl who fell for him, Echo. Not a very happy story, I’m afraid, because Narcissus ends up falling in love with his own reflection and both he and Echo are left pining for a love interest that cannot love them back. No, Disney-type happily-ever-after there.
Narcissism is a sad and lonely trait. While most of us are keen to have positive self esteem and feel good about ourselves, extreme levels of narcissism in some people can lead to them being diagnosed with a personality disorder. In extreme cases, narcissists struggle to function in day to day lives and relationships because they are totally driven to feel good about themselves with no care about the expense to others. Narcissists value other people only when they can help them achieve their own self-centred goals. Narcissists often exaggerate their talents and achievements, feel superior to others and believe that they deserve exceptional treatment. They find it hard to tolerate negative feedback and will more likely deny or blame others. They can even re-interpret past events so that they are more self-flattering and they will bias their ideas about others so that they feel like they are more accepted and desired than they may truly be.
This Thursday on ABC Sunshine Coast mornings the topic will be narcissism or extreme self absorption. When is self absorption “normal” and when is it an issue that needs intervention or treatment? Do “kids these days” still care? How do you promote caring in kids?
Please tune in at around 9:40 EST or call in for a chat on 1300 903 222.
We all know the scenario, you have finally wrangled the children through their early morning routines (perhaps with the help of my previous blog). They are out the door and headed for the car. You are about to step out of the door on the way to work and school when you hear the shrill, high-pitched whines that indicate that one child has missed out on getting the front seat of the car, again. It’s exhausting…and the day has hardly begun. So, do you leave it, and them, and take yourself off to work by bus – allowing the battle over perceived crime and unfairness to prevail? Or, do you step in with an over-riding command that instils terror and has all of the kids trembling quietly while they buckle themselves silently into the back seat?
Sadly, like all conflict, there is a continuum of extremity when it comes to sibling rivalry and aggression. Sibling conflict can be very violent and, concerningly, research now tells us that it is much less likely to be reported to authorities than other forms of violence or bullying amongst children.
This Thursday, around 9.40am EST, on ABC Sunshine Coast Mornings I will be chatting about child discipline.
How do you respond when your child does something they are not supposed to do?
Is it ever appropriate to smack? What do you remember about they way you were disciplined as a child?
How stressed do you get when your child misbehaves?
Psychologists and researchers refer to troubles with a person’s “get up and go” as issues with “motivation” or a lack of “behavioural activation”. Behavioural activation is important and it is wise to keep an eye out for the child who is straggling in the morning.
Not getting up and getting a move on at the start of each day means that there is less of a chance that we will do, meet, taste, touch, hear, see and feel things that feel good or are rewarding.
It is wise to prepare yourself for threats to your chosen profession. Last year, I was asked to address my colleagues at the Annual General Meeting of our regional Australian Psychological Society (APS) group about my experiences as a psychologist in regional practice. I’ve had some requests from those who could not attend to share some aspects of the presentation. So, below, I’ve posted the bits I mentioned in relation to the things that I believe threaten psychology as a profession. Let me know what you think!
Emotional regulation is the ability to be able to monitor and change aspects of our emotions. You hear a lot about it these days and many people do have times when they find it difficult to regulate their emotions.
When it comes to children, it seems that everyone wants to offer something that will get a child to regulate their feelings. All of a sudden everyone is doing it, offering it, tutoring it, providing vitamins that assist it, offering bodily manipulations that enhance it, selling special aids and machines to assist and all sorts of experts (dodgy and non-dodgy) begin to jump on the band wagon. So much so that, like other concepts that get bandied around too often, I do get a little concerned that the well-researched ideas behind emotional regulation may start to lose “street cred” and people will begin to tune out to all of the emotion regulation information and consider it to be waffle.