Pausing the “Fix It” Tendency

MH900399402As a parent, you don’t want to see your child uncomfortable, struggling, or in emotional pain.   It is so tempting to jump in and “fix it.”  We challenge you to consider pausing with alternative steps before eliminating the discomfort and solving your child’s dilemma.

  1. Validate your child’s feelings.  If your child is scared of the dark, ask questions to learn more about the fear before saying there’s no reason to feel scared.  If he is scared of a monster in the closet, what kind of monster does he imagine?  What does it look like?  Validate those fears with a response such as, “That does sound scary” before reassuring him that he is safe. Immediately focusing on a solution dismisses the emotions and sends the message that uncomfortable feelings must be avoided.  Although it would be wonderful to not experience any yucky feelings, they are inevitable.  Facing those tough emotions helps your child learn to work through them and find healthy ways of expressing and coping with them.  Feelings come and go, but everyone needs a safe space to let those feelings out.
  2. Encourage healthy expression of all emotions.  Children often get the message that certain feelings are not ok.  For example, I have frequently heard children explain “I got in trouble for getting mad.”  Everyone feels mad from time to time.  The important lesson is learning that “getting mad” is not “bad”… what can get one in trouble is how he/she copes with anger and whether the choice of expressing the anger is healthy.  If he took a deep breath and walked away instead of punching his classmate when he felt angry, he would not have been sent to the principal’s office.
  3. Build your child’s problem solving skills.  Ask “How do you think we can make this better?” or “What would you say to your best friend if he or she had the same problem?” This approach will encourage your child to tune into his or her creativity through exploration of options.  Your child’s ability to find solutions will also contribute to improved self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and independence, which are critical ingredients for developing into a successful adolescent and eventually adult.



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About Kimberly Rodgers, LCSW, RPT-S

Kimberly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Florida and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor through the Association for Play Therapy. She also supervises clinical social work interns pursuing licensure. She has worked as a psychotherapist for twelve years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia and Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida.

Her experience includes foster care, adoption, youth shelter, youth related research, school-based counseling, and sexual assault crisis center settings prior to private practice. She specializes in counseling children, families, and adults struggling with stress, anxiety, trauma, and adjustment to life transitions. Kimberly is a current Board member of the Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida and former Vice-President of the Southwest Florida chapter of the Association for Play Therapy. She is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers and EMDR International Association.

Kimberly is founder of Monarch Wellness (originally Monarch Therapy), an integrative center focused on empowering individuals and families through emotional and behavioral metamorphosis. In addition to counseling and play therapy, the center offers other supportive modalities to further enhance emotional healing and stress management including support groups, yoga, laughter yoga, breathwork, integrative relaxation, and sound therapy. Monarch Wellness' sister site offers health related information and inspiration for everyday families to live healthier every day. The center is also involved with House of Gaia community center and other community and service focused organizations. More information about Kimberly and her practice can be found online:

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