T.H. asks from San Antonio, TX on December 23, 2010
Should a Counselor Just Listen? I Need Tips on How to Deal...
I have had 11 sessions with a licensed psychologist. I have asked her point blank how I should handle things or for tips to better get along with difficult people. She has not really given me any. She says 'let's think about that for next time" or "Let's come up with a plan next time." Then I vent some more. Sometimes I decide to do x. Still, I want expert advice on how to handle things. We can't move like some other familes who feel this is a snotty area with rude people.
I have a child who is doing very well in school, except for being excluded sometimes. Frankly, when we play at our neighborhood park she is excluded often. We go to other neighborhoods and we all have a fun time. I even lead group games. I can ignore things, but it breaks my heart that my child experiences this.
Would a life coach be better? I want to make sure I am handling this and teaching my child how to deal with it. If my husband would agree, and he won't, I would move. My child is sensitive and I fear all this will tear her down. She is a quiet child unless she feels comfortable. She is serious at school and earns excellent grades. She is a teacher's dream and they are watching for bullying since it was an issue before with a couple of girls picking at her. The school says they see no problem and she has a high self esteem. They do admit several girls will be her friend, then avoid her(not a friend in my book).
M.B. answers from Beaumont on December 27, 2010
You have the issues and the counselor is doing the professional thing by not giving you easy answers. No matter where you move you will have problems with these issues so you might as well settle down and deal with it.
V.M. answers from Los Angeles on December 23, 2010
she is just bidding her time. life coach will do the same. the answer is inside you : ) I know what you mean - been there...Good Luck!
C.B. answers from Boston on December 23, 2010
There is a book by Elaine Aron that described my daughter perfectly, and perhaps yours as well, and it helped me tremendously since it has sections by age and what to expect and how to handle it. It also made me aware that I am highly sensitive myself. http://www.amazon.com/Highly-Sensitive-Child-Children-Ove.... My daughter is now 13 and while still super sensitive, she has a small but tight group of girl friends who are all into drawing and acting and anime movies. My daughter would not want to go to parties, and stand near me or behind me while checking out that everything was safe, and by the time she felt safe to join the party would be over. She still dislikes parties or any loud large social gathering (forget going to see fireworks or a circus, and school falls in that category too), but loves sleep overs or get togethers with a small group. These kids not only "pause to check" every situation until those situations are 2nd nature (like going to a well known friend's house), but they also sense more deeply and strongly. They are not "shy" and the author defines the difference. Walking into a class room they do not only see a group of kids, but notice all the colors on the walls, the way the sun slants into the room, the mood of the teacher, the smell in the room, the crunchiness of the carpet, all the little details that the rest of us either just scan and forget or simply do not notice. My daughter would know instantly if some object in our house or the class was moved, she can sense people's moods, she detests strong smells, hates tags in her clothes, senses pain very strongly, she is highly artistic and expressive, can play for hours by herself. This trait can be seen in very positive light, and it is essential that parents learn how to not be overbearing and to speak softly and give this kind of child lots of support early on. You also need to be able to speak about your child in positive terms while she is in earshot since they are very mature for their age and need to hear adults describe them in positive terms to achieve high self esteem. The author described that in early age you adjust the environment to the child so that they become confident enough to later on adjust themselves to the environment. It worked very well for us, and since I am very similar in temperament it was not a difficult way to raise her. As for your counselor, she sounds worthless in my un-experienced opinion. You go to a specialist to get their expertise, not to have them echo your own inexperience and figure things out on your own. A tape recorder can do that! Good luck with your journey to get to know yourself and your child better. One thing I can say about my super sensitive child, she knows herself very well, has never gotten into any mischief since she thinks things through naturally before trying anything new, and while she may only have few friends, they are really intelligent and thoughtful girls, and I would rather she has a few very caring friends that a ton of acquaintances. Consider yourself hugged.
One addition: I had to rehearse my daughter in elementary grades about issues that would come up. She would give away all her new stickers if her friends asked and came home crying since they were all gone, and I told her to say "I like you but these are new and I want to keep them". Similarly with an incident where older girls would tell her to get off the swings after she waited for 10 minutes to get on one. We have one brazen neighbor and I would ask her " what would Karen say" (name changed to protect the innocent, haha). But discussing issues and helping her with rehearsed lines worked for us early on, and now she can help herself.
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L.W. answers from Detroit on December 23, 2010
I maybe wrong but I think a seasoned therapist would suggest that you use this experience as a teaching tool for your daughter. I would not run from the situation but i would continue to go to the other parks and enjoy ourselves, I may even meet a few people and bring them to the nicer park. Teach your daughter that the behavior she is experiencing is unacceptable, teach her that their behavior is their problem that they will have to deal with eventaully and it has nothing to do with who she is. Be strong for her and encourage her to be strong. Sorry you are going through this!
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M.C. answers from Detroit on December 23, 2010
Your counselor sounds clueless. Time to look for another. I've talked to many people in my lifetime who have sought counseling. Sometimes one wonders if the only reason people go into the field of psychology is to find out what is wrong with themselves...not to help others. They seem to just listen, take notes, and offer no really good advice. Honestly, I think if you have any questions or need advice...you know where to turn...Mamapedia. You'll find some of the most experienced and kindest people who love to help. I think you are right in respects to snotty people in certain demographics--it may be best to consider moving for the sanity and mental well being of all.
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M.W. answers from Boise on December 23, 2010
Counselors are trained to try and guide you into thinking and figuring out the answers to your own questions. It's not supposed to be a Q and A section. They want you to learn to think more deeply and they will throw in comments, not answers, that if you ignore, you will stay in your rut, but if you think about, you will start going in the right direction.
I think from your post, and I could be wrong, that you are trying to overprotect your daughter from normal meanness that goes on in schools from time to time, by your suggestion of wanting to move. Wherever you live there will be mean kids. If your daughter doesn't have any friends at all, then I would suggest having her pick a nice girl and invite that girl over to your house, not a group, just one girl over and over again so that your daughter and that girl can bond. Or put your daughter in girl scouts or a church youth group or something like that that teaches good values and attracts parents with kids that they are trying to instill morals into.
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P.W. answers from Dallas on December 23, 2010
Try a new counselor or try another approach. Are you having emotional issues or is your child? Are you seeing a counselor for adults for yourself or speaking to your child's counselor for children? Maybe your child needs her own counselor if she doesn't have one. I ask because I am wondering whether you are asking an adult counselor for parenting tips.
If parenting tips are what you really need then why not find a parenting course that appeals to you that will guide you?
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S.W. answers from Minneapolis on December 23, 2010
A Life Coach will almost always be better than a counselor or therapist when you are looking for a plan of action. Therapists are about figuring out what is "wrong" with you, a coach starts from a place that you are fine the way you are, you just need some new behaviors to put in place to reach the outcomes you want. They should help you examine your thoughts, language, and practices (things you do) that may be holding you back and work with you to design new ones, put a coaching plan in place, and help you in implementing it.
I've seen several counselors/therapists in my past and none of them helped me. I saw a Coach for 3 months and made major changes in my life! I was so impressed that I went through the Coaching training myself. It has been life changing. I highly recommend looking for a coach. You still need to find one that you are comfortable with, of course, as they do have different personalities and approaches.
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K.U. answers from Detroit on December 23, 2010
I don't think a therapist is your answer, from what you have described (and apparently you deleted some stuff from your post before I finished typing mine, about the people in your neighborhood). There's nothing wrong with you. You just happen to live in a neighborhood full of snotty people and you can decide to just accept it for what it is and not let it bother you. If these people are that rude and snotty, then why worry about being friends with them anyway? Stop worrying about what other people think!
EDITED TO ADD: I understand it is hard to see your child excluded and left out - but she will survive and maybe this will help her to see who her real friends are. All her life she will need to deal with difficult people and honestly, learn to just let it roll off her back. Is it bothering you more than it is bothering her?
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L.G. answers from Austin on December 28, 2010
I love the quote, "Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child." You cannot shelter your daughter from snotty people or from girls picking on her. If she is an easy target, then she will get it no matter where she goes.
You need to figure out if she is an "easy target" and if so, help her to come across as more confident or help her with being a good friend. An example of helping her to not be an easy target: Say someone tells her she has weird hair, tell her to respond with an agreement and then a laugh. She could say, "Yeah, you should see it when I first wake up!" and then laugh. Or if someone tells her she's stupid, she just has to say something like, "Yeah, maybe we could work together on our homework and you could help me." It totally takes the power away from the teaser, especially if they are complimented in a way that sounds sincere. Role play with her so she gets the idea.
As far as dealing with difficult people, you just have to be polite. Teach your daughter to do the same. If someone is rude, never be rude back. Assume they are just having a bad day and that they are really very nice. It gives you the opportunity to see the good in them. As a teacher of high school kids, I had to deal with a lot of anger issues. I would always bring the teenager outside the classroom so we could talk privately. I would ask, "Are you having a bad day?" All the defense mechanisms would drop immediately and they didn't have to try and save face. Even if the kids acted out regularly, I always asked the same question to give them the opportunity to tell me what was really going on. Hurt people hurt people. If you are kind to hurting people, they will usually stop being rude.
Instead of asking the counselor to tell you how to deal with rude people, I would ask the counselor why he/she thinks it bothers you so much. Is there some pain that you have experienced in your past that you have not dealt with? When you see kids excluding your daughter, does it trigger something from your past? That's what I think your counselor should be asking you about.
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