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.

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