Seminar Date: April 17, 2013

The parent seminar topic at Of One Mind this Wednesday night was “Home Again- What to do When Your Young Adult Drops out of College.”    The presentation was given by Richard B. Cohen, LMFT, MAC, CCBT, CDVC, who said it’s important to first understand why someone drops out of school.  Did they have difficulty finding the discipline to self structure themselves?   Were their courses not engaging?   Do they have a learning disability?  Were too much drugs or alcohol involved?  Richard said we must first identify the problem before attempting to solve it.

Richard then stressed the importance of teaching young adults to do things for themselves.  If a parent does everything for their child for 18 years, how is the now adult child supposed to know how to take care of themselves?   If you’ve never done your own laundry, how would you know how to?  Confidence comes from experience.    The good news: is it’s not too late to change.  If your young adult has come back to live at home, Richard said this can be an opportunity to help improve their behavior.

Richard suggested that parents make new rules for living at home.   Decide what is important to you.  Honesty and respect should be a requirement for living in your home.  If your young adult isn’t in school, getting a job can be a requirement to live there.   Do they pay rent?  Make their bed everyday?  Take out the garbage?  Do the dishes?   What you don’t want is someone living in your home that stays up all night, sleeps all day and disrespects you.   If you allow this behavior as a parent, you are enabling your child to dysfunction.   Richard asked the parents with young adults living at home: “How are your children going to take care of themselves when you are gone?”

Richard said it’s important that parents be able to verify information.  Richard said he’s shocked that some young adults do not show their grades to their parents.   If you are paying for your kid’s school, you absolutely get to see their grades.  It’s your investment.   If your young adult is looking for a job, ask them to bring back business cards from the places they’ve applied to.   Richard said that once your kids know you are checking, they give more compliance.

Richard said that young adults who blame others for their failing haven’t yet learned to take responsibility for themselves.  For kids who have a hard time taking responsibility, Richard suggested giving them experiences where they get to be responsible.  Send them on a task, have them come back, then talk about it.   Help your child grow up by teaching them readiness responsibility to self manage.    Parents who take on too much responsibility for their kids end up diminishing their child’s self esteem. It’s okay to help your child but you don’t want to enable.  Enabling can be destructive.  Helping them teaches them to do something.    To paraphrase the old saying: Far better to teach your child to fish so they can eat forever, rather than give them a fish so they can eat today.

If your young adult is looking to go back to school, Richard recommended making them a financial partner in the experience.   The kids who do best in college are the ones who help pay their own tuition either by working or taking out a loan.  It makes sense.  This way they have an investment in themselves.  It’s not “someone else’s money.”

Some parents at the seminar told Richard they feel powerless and that their young adults don’t listen to them anymore.  Richard asked “Where’s your child going to sleep tonight?”  If they are sleeping in your home, they need to listen to you.  Richard’s suggestion was to “Change your response and your child with react differently.”  Richard reminded parents that they still have a lot of power if the young adult is at home and the parent is providing free rent, food or transportation.   Parents need to let their young adult know exactly what behavior is expected from them in order to receive any of these benefits.  Don’t listen to what your young adult tells you.  Just look at what they do.

Create accountability by making it clear that these are the rules for living in your home.   If your young adult says they aren’t going to follow your rules because they are over 18, they are right.  They don’t have to.   They also don’t have to live in your home anymore.   They can go make it on their own.


Seminar Date: March 13, 2013

The seminar topic “Does Your Child Learn Differently?” was presented by Jonathan Greene Ph.D., ABDP last night at our West Los Angeles office.   Dr. Greene, who refers to himself as a cognitive scientist, began by discussing individual differences and how we all learn differently.   Dr. Greene is a big fan of open source learning and shared free resources that are available such as the Khan Academy and TED.   Dr. Greene excitedly mentioned that universities such as Harvard and M.I.T. are now putting their courses online with professor notes.   Dr. Greene stressed the importance of using all these resources to supplement your child’s education.   Dr. Greene says that education has changed and believes that families should be the primary motivators for their child’s learning.  Dr. Greene warned parents against relying on their child’s school to take care of that for them.  Dr. Greene also noted the importance of parents focusing on their child’s passions rather than deficiencies.   What does your child do well?  If your child is genuinely interested in something, do what you can to help them go deeper with their calling.     Dr. Greene told parents that they should participate with their kid’s exploration rather than just assign work.    Find our what they are interested in.  Ask them lots of questions.  Figure out how you can help them go deeper with their passion.

Seminar Date: February 6, 2013

“How to Strengthen the Communication with your Teen or Young Adult” was the topic at this week’s Of One Mind’s free parent seminar in West Los Angeles. Richard B. Cohen LMFT, MAC, CCBT, CDVC, asked the parents “How do you become a safe person for someone to talk to?” Richard shared the importance of predictability. Consistency helps people to trust us and go deeper in their communication. Richard also encouraged the parents to listen, to let their child go first, and allow them to finish without interruption. Everyone will be heard. No one needs to dominate.

Richard noted that parents may feel the need to speak immediately due to the anxiety experienced over what they are hearing.  It’s more important to just listen.  It’s okay if your child is angry with you. It’s their anger and they are entitled to it. Richard encouraged parents to not get defensive and also warned not to communicate resentment silently with their body language such as eye rolling.

Richard then repeated the importance of actually listening to the other person. Being able to repeat back and clarify what you have heard. “You are important if someone listens to you. You are really important if someone remembers what you said.” This is especially true in the parent-child relationship. When a parent doesn’t remember what the child has said, this child may feel the parent doesn’t care and not share as much in the future.

Parents need to be very clear regarding what their agenda is with their children. “The rules of the game need to precede the game.” Richard then asked the parents what the rules were in their home if he were to move in. “Can I be disrespectful? Can I curse at you and still get my allowance? Do I have to clean up my dirty dishes?” Parents must let their children know exactly what behavior is expected as a family member in their home. And when that’s not followed it’s important to point it out right away as Richard warned “Whatever you tolerate will occur more and more often.”

Richard told the parents that when dealing with unacceptable behavior they need to be assertive not aggressive. An assertive person tells you what THEY are going to do. An aggressive person tells you what YOU are going to do. Richard also said that if things get too heated and family members aren’t listening to each other then stop and continue the conversation at a later time when everyone is calm.

Richard also recommended that parents pay acute attention to the smallest details. What he called “the opposite of ignoring.” Parents need to set limits and point it out to their child when their behavior isn’t congruent with the rules. Teach your children what your values are and then hold them accountable to it. Call out the behaviors you don’t like. Know what your agenda is. Don’t be mistreated.

Of One Mind will be repeating this same seminar topic next Wednesday night February 13th 2013 at 7pm at our Encino office located at 16501 Ventura Blvd. Suite 104. If you would like to attend, please RSVP to 818-465-9985 ext 113. Thank you!

Seminar Date: November 28, 2012

This week’s seminar was “Recognizing a Problem- At Risk Behavior in Teens & Young Adults.” The topic was presented in Encino by Richard B. Cohen, LMFT, MAC, CCBT, CDVC. Richard said the first order of business for parents raising kids is to take care of their own (the parents’) relationship. Parent’s need to make sure they are on the same page. In order for behavioral change to occur the parents first need to agree there is a problem. If one parent thinks nothing is wrong, the child can continue to work the situation to get what they want. Richard mentioned that most parents usually wait until it’s too late to take action. Richard stressed the importance of monitoring your child. One warning sign to look for is your child’s school attendance and academic performance. If there is a problem going on in your child’s life it can be harder for them to focus on school. Another area to watch is your child’s connectedness to yourself, peers and groups in the community. More connections usually means fewer problems. Your genes play an important role as well in determining risk factors. If one parent has something genetic going on (ie. addiction) their child is 4x as likely to have the same problem. If both parents have it then the child becomes 16x as likely! In terms of nurturing, Richard shared a study showing how parents’ expectations get communicated to the kid. Similarly Richard said if you raise your kid right you will teach them your thinking. Richard explained how “Let me tell you why I wouldn’t be doing that” works much better in the long run than saying “You can’t do that.” Richard also pointed out the important difference between punishment and consequence. Punishment suppresses behavior. Consequence changes it. Richard encouraged all the parents in attendance to use consequence rather than punishment. Our next seminar is “Parenting Today’s Teenager” and will take place at our West LA office next Wednesday December 5th at 7pm.

Seminar Date: October 17, 2012

Richard B. Cohen LMFT, MAC, CCBT, CDVC presented a parent seminar last night in Encino on “Teens & Young Adults that Rule the Roost.” Richard discussed the various parenting styles as developed by Diana Baumrind (Authoritative, Authoritarian, Indulgent and Neglectful) and explained how each style raises a different child. If a parent is too permissive their child might grow up thinking they can do whatever they want all the time. Richard said parents should lay out clear expectations for what they want the relationship with their child to be like. It is important for parents to share the rules to the game before the game begins so their child knows what is expected from them. Richard told parents to focus on what they will do, not what their child will do. Parents must be on the same page with each other and make sure they practice consequence rather than punishment. If a behavior has a consequence then it becomes the choice of the teen or young adult to deal with the results of their behavior, rather than thinking this is something the parent did to them. Richard told those in attendance that he likes working with oppositional behavior and that parents need to accept that this may be the attempt of their teen or young adult to explore an identity separate from their parents…while still maintaining the rules. If you missed out on this seminar Richard will be doing the same topic on November 14, 2012 at 7 PM at our West LA facility.

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