When considering children or youth, it is important to realize that no child or youth is an island.  Put differently, children and youth are a part of a wider picture, and that wider picture – for good or bad – can play an important role in their development.  From this perspective, a parent’s request to “fix” their child may be difficult to do.  We can work on a number of different strategies, but when they are immersed into their different environments (e.g., family or school), the “fix” may not hold.  When they are in their natural environments, the problem returns.

Helping a child or youth constructively deal with issues often means including their family in therapy and working with teachers and administrators in their school environments.  Sometimes these systems first must be addressed before their problems are tackled satisfactorily.  When the dysfunctionalities of these environments are attended to, then the child or youth can function more successfully within them and their problems may disappear. 

If we are to understand the problems that children and youth have, then, we must first understand the systems of which they are a part and how they may be affecting them.  This may mean understanding the family life cycle or understanding what is age appropriate.  This is not always easy, and family systems need to be open to the many changes that children and youth undergo if they are to remain healthy and happy.  Below are some links that will provide you with some useful tools in addressing the needs and issues of your child or youth.
Just as no child or youth is an island, neither is a family. This graphic helps you understand the different influnces upon the people who comprise a family and their possible consequences. Click here to explore how different factors influence your child or youth's lives along with the rest of your famly. CLICK HERE
Sometimes we have difficulties communicating with our children because our expectations are not realistic. If we are to be effective in our parenting skills, we need to know how what is appropriate for our children and what limitations their age should place upon our expectations. This chart lists the developmental skills of our children according to age and what type of activities are appropriate for their age group. CLICK HERE
As a person matures, they and the family go through what therapists call an "Individual Life Cycle." In this window, I list the first five of these cycles and then relate them to Erik Erikson's developmental stages. The result is a helpful tool that helps you understand the different transitions, their effects upon the individual and famly as they move from infancy to adolesence. To access this information, CLICK HERE.