How do you explain it when you are depressed? What do you believe causes your anxiety? Why does your child break the rules despite you telling him dozens of times to follow the rules?
The way we attempt to understand our behaviors and emotions is called Attribution Theory. Do you attribute your depression to factors you can control or do you blame outside forces for your feelings? Do you believe that your child misbehaves because he has ADHD or because he does not have the ability to meet your expectations?
Your attribution style will influence how difficult (or easy) it will be for you to overcome the symptoms. In this podcast we discuss the best way for you to understand these issues and find ways to cope with your symptoms.
Resiliency is an attribute we want our children to develop. However, we often do things that are counterproductive. Helicopter parenting and other parenting styles often result in parents solving problems for their children. In fact, many parents work hard to ensure that there are no obstacles for their children at all!
To build resiliency, however, we must experience adversity. We must have experiences where we fall and have to get back up again to move on. Without these experiences, we will never grow as a person and develop the skills needed to handle life’s curveballs!
The Opt Out movement is gaining momentum. Just this week (the week of October 19, 2015), politicians in Florida and even President Obama’s camp have come out and finally commented on the growing concerns for our education system. Student are being tested too much and we have to take a stand.
The Opt Out movement is exactly what it sounds like, parents, students, and even some teachers are opting out of the state mandated tests! An entire school district here in Florida has recently stated that they will no longer comply with the high stakes testing, instead opting for nationally normed tests, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which have good psychometric properties and are well established.
In this podcast, Drs. Berney and Richard talk about the growing concerns of testing our students and begin the conversation on Opting Out. Join us and let’s make change happen.
It is estimated that 20% of school aged children suffer from mental health concerns, half of whom would be considered seriously impaired. While these numbers mirror estimates for adults, the fact that approximately 66-70% of students with mental health problems receive insufficient treatment is unacceptable. As Drs. Berney and Richard discuss, most students with mental health problems are managed in the school system.
While much of this prevalence can be explained by genetic heritability, there are many aspects of the modern-day school system that exacerbates these problems. Zero tolerance policies and high stakes testing push students to extremes and often result in worsening symptoms.
In this episode, Drs. Berney and Richard discuss several issues that should be addressed in our schools. The most important of which is the nature of the relationships between students, parents, and teachers. Drs. Berney and Richard also talk about needed changes in the ways in which we assess student achievement and respond to “inappropriate” student behavior.
We encourage you to follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thementalbreakdown) and Twitter (@drberney). You can also follow our blog (www.thementalbreakdown.com). We also encourage you to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (The Mental Breakdown) and write a review on iTunes to help others find us and join in on the conversation. You can also follow us on Mixlr (www.mixlr.com) and listen live when we record The Mental Breakdown podcast.
Tune in and join the conversation for change!
This episode was produced by Mr. Andrew Rasmussen.
This past week was Mental Health Awareness Week. It more or less passed with little to no recognition or air time. And this is the problem with Mental Illness in the United States.
Mental health issues only make front page news following a traumatic incident, such as the most recent mass shooting from a few weeks ago, despite the fact that 20% of Americans will suffer from a mental illness at some point in our lives. Following such a traumatic event, everyone talks about the issues with mental illness, not from a perspective of treatment, but from the point of view suggesting that those with mental illness are dangerous.
In this episode of The Mental Breakdown, Drs. Berney and Richard talk about the stigma of mental illness. They review the facts associated with the ways in which our society marginalize mental illness until such a time that a tragedy causes the issues to take center stage. Even then, though, the discussion is not about treatment or prevention, it is politicized and demonized to the point of even more avoidance.
In addition to their discussion on the stigma of mental illness, Drs. Berney and Richard discuss the areas of need, the other topics that merge with mental illness and warrant specific attention.
The first is guns. While they avoid the political punditry, Drs. Berney and Richard have a practical discussion about the issues of guns and the mentally ill.
The second is schools. The public school system is the number one provider of mental health services to children in the United States, yet their are less than adequately trained and are ill-equipped to provide the services so many students need.
The third are the caregivers. Although many with a mental illness receive treatment, it is the parents, loved ones, and caregivers that provide the front line, day-to-day care of the mentally ill. They, too, need support and attention.
After listening, we would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Feel free to write in on Facebook, Twitter, or on our blog!
As psychologists, we are often asked about kids’ use of technology. How much is too much? How long should I allow my child to play video games?
In this podcast, Drs. Berney and Richard discuss the 168 Hour Solution. Listeners will learn how to use this simple rule to structure and schedule their child’s day and ensure that the child is not spending too much time plugged in.
Drs. Berney and Richard also explain how the 168 Hour Solution can be used to ensure that your child’s responsibilities are met before they start using electronics. As mentioned in The Urge to Punish, structuring your child’s life and dealing with the antecedents (as opposed to focusing on consequences) will help you and your child better appreciate how much time they have available for video games. That’s right… We should shift the question from “How much time should my child play video games” to “How much time do they have available to play video games?”
It is important to remember that all electronics are not created equal. Online gaming is different than TV which is different than social media. You have to know your child so that you can decide the best way to manage these electronics!
In this week’s episode, Drs. Berney and Richard review a common question asked by parents of young children, “What is the right punishment for my child?”
To deal with this issue, Drs. Berney and Richard talk about the difference between “can’t do” and “won’t do” situations. When the problem is a “can’t do” issue, we need to deal with it as a teaching opportunity and consider three things:
1. Your Understanding vs. Their Understanding
2. Their Ability vs. Their Availability
3. Your Timeline vs. Their Timeline
If it is a “won’t do” issue, then we need to deal with consequences and consider:
1. Naturally Occurring Consequences
2. Immediacy of the Consequences
3. Avoiding Socially/Physically/Emotionally Aversive Consequences
Finally, they discuss the importance of dealing with antecedents, as opposed to waiting on the need for consequences.
In the previous podcast, Dr. Berney and Dr. Richard discussed the unintended consequences of prescribed learning. In this supplemental episode of The Mental Breakdown, Dr. Berney and Dr. Richard finish their discussion on how we can teach our children to learn by reviewing strategies parents can use to help their children manage the expectations of school and develop their love of learning.
This podcast was produced by Mr. Andrew Rasmussen.
Teachers use a variety of approaches to teach students specific skills, concepts, and theories. Since the start of school, however, I have found myself pondering the question, How are we teaching children to learn?
Sounds like a crazy question, but let’s consider it for a moment. Due to high stakes testing, every academic task has turned formulaic. Paragraphs are to be made of five sentences; including a topic sentence, three supporting sentences, and a conclusion. Sentences should have a specified number of words and include particular types of adjectives and adverbs if they are to be considered “adequate.”
We are teaching our children that learning is a process comprised of facts and figures that must be memorized, rubrics that must be completed, and formulas that must be followed. This may sound fine to many. Teaching students the exact way to learn material and present what they understand ensures that the students learn a process. However, there are unintended consequences.
In this week’s podcast, Dr. Berney and Dr. Richard discuss many of the unintended consequences of prescribed learning; which include decreased ingenuity, decreased love of learning, and an increase in wasted time.
This podcast was edited by Mr. Andrew Rasmussen.
We all know “black and white” thinkers. Though often used in a negative context, “black and white” thinkers tend to see through the gray in life and view things as either positive or negative. That is, they reduce decisions to a yes or a no and move on.
Many people see this as a problem. After all, life is full of gray.
Making a decision requires two steps. First we have to weigh the pros and cons, the advantages and disadvantages, of each option. This is the world of gray. For each option, there are numerous possibilities – some good, some not so good. As a result, we spend a lot of time in this step.
The second step – choosing your option – gets us back to black and white. There is very little, if any, gray in this step. You do not have to sit and ponder. You will either go left or right, there is nothing between the two.
Now that we have that sorted out, let’s get back to the real problem – all the gray to worry about and fuss over. At times, this decision-making leaves us paralyzed. It leaves us… decisionless.
In this podcast, Dr. Berney and Dr. Richard talk about the importance of identifying the critical, fundamental question at the root of the decision. Once that question is identified, a black and white decision must be made. From there, all other “what ifs” will be dealt with.
Dr. Berney and Dr. Richard also talk about therapeutic approaches to dealing with challenges associated with this first, and most critical step in making a change. If you are struggling with making a decision, we hope that this podcast will help you take the first step to change.
This podcast was produced by Mr. Andrew Rasmussen.