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Archive for July 2015


Are you looking for help for your child’s behavior issues?

Question and Answers on speech bubblesMy Facebook fans often ask: How can I find someone like you but near me?

Start networking. It takes time. Ask your pediatrician, other parents, trusted teachers and day-care folks, and see if any names of good professionals pop up. You want to find someone who identifies themselves as a “behavioral” and/or “developmental” oriented therapist (preferably a Ph.D. or Psy.D. doctoral level psychologist). Make sure they aren’t all about quickly diagnosing problems and then moving your child onto medications.

Specifically, the professionals you want to meet with should work with parents and child(ren) in the office at same time. That’s makes a difference. The professional should be someone you also feel comfortable with. You should walk away from a first meeting with some tips and strategies. If not, thank them for their help and keep looking.

Please contact Dr. Rao about reproducing any material found on these pages.

Do you have a “Safety Rule”?

Question and Answers on speech bubblesOne parent asked: I have a 4.5 year old boy who has an issue with running in parking lots. It’s a game now. At first I chased him, I now have an infant and can’t run after him. This is scary and frustrating and I know I’m mishandling the situation. But I can’t let him run! I’ve tried bringing objects to entice him but they rarely work. I’ve tried not chasing him and being stern. Haha. Any suggestions to correct this after a year of this game!? 

Answer: Game of Chase isn’t for Parking Lots

As the mother of a five year old recently told me, running in parking lots is a dangerous habit many young boys need to break. Start with a 100% refusal to chase them. That’s what makes it rewarding and a game to them. The problem is they need a new habit – built on a simple phrase called “Safety Rules”.

Before you get out of the car or before you enter a parking lot … and always before you approach a street corner do this:

  1. Pause while holding their hand firmly.
  2. Get eye contact (you may have to kneel).
  3. Set the Safety Rule firmly – “You stay by my side or else you will have to hold my hand when we cross. And if you don’t listen, we go home and you lose something special, agreed?”
  4. Make them repeat it before you take a step.
  5. If they listen and follow the Safety Rule, give them lots of praise. If not, sorry to tell you that you’ll need to go back and try it again, and again if needed, until they comply.

Many years back I worked with disadvantaged inner city boys who were always bolting off. Often, I’d have to go up and down the stairs of our clinic repeating and practicing safety rules until they realized there would be no playtime until they complied. “I have all day,” I told them with a measured calm voice. “It’s your choice… We’re both missing out.”

Please contact Dr. Rao about reproducing any material found on these pages.