In recognition of “May is Mental Health Month,” Outreach Concern, a non-profit Southern California school-based counseling agency, has released 10 tips for parents that will impact their children’s present and future performance.  

Dr. Rick Capaldi, co-founder of Outreach Concern, with more than 38 years as a practicing psychotherapist specializing in children, families and adolescents, has provided parents with a set of guidelines to help control and regulate their children’s emotional temperature and actions. 

“Parents’ failure to recognize and address where a child is on his or her emotional continuum can negatively impact their security, stability and decision making,” said Dr. Capaldi. “Parents need to be the first line of defense in assisting their children in developing skills to prevent responses that may sabotage a child’s accomplishments or possibly lead to harmful or destructive behavior.” 

Children's PerformanceAccording to Dr. Capaldi, parents can apply the following tips to effectively identify and assist their children in controlling and regulating their own emotional temperatures leading to productivity at home and in school:  

1. Pay Attention: Learn to read and understand your child’s environment, their social, emotional, behavioral and academic arenas, as well as how he or she deals with life’s successes and disappointments. 

2. Get Involved: Ask questions and solicit input. Show your child you want to understand and be involved in his or her life. Respond in an accepting, non-judgmental manner. 

3. Establish Boundaries: Be specific regarding your expectations. Remember children need structure, discipline, and reinforcement in order to develop and thrive.

4. Confront Issues: Be fair, open and accepting, but willing to make the “tough unpopular decision” when necessary. 

5. Monitor Technology: Explain that the use of cell phones and iPads are all “on loan” and a privilege, not a right. You reserve the right to monitor their technical behavior and that misuse of technology means a child may lose his or her privilege. 

6. Acknowledge Attempts, Reward Accomplishments: Recognize your child’s efforts and attempts toward tasks and goals, but only reward a job that’s well done and complete. Not establishing a difference between effort and accomplishment minimizes the importance of their success and weakens self-esteem, self-concept and motivation. 

7. Stop “IZEing”: Keep parent-child communication clear and specific. Avoid using metaphoric phrases. Don’t horriblize, generalize, moralize or commercialize. These responses turn your child away from you and escalate their emotional temperature.

8. Teach Consideration and Courtesy: Model and direct an awareness and appreciation for others and their property. Recognize that what makes courtesy common is when it’s constantly reinforced at home.

9. Partner with Teachers and Counselors: Developing partnerships with significant influencers in your child’s life helps make your child successful in school, at home, and later on in life. 

10. Get Help When Necessary: There is no stigma attached to getting help for mental health issues other than those a parent assigns. Your child deserves every opportunity to be successful when it comes to his or her academic, behavioral, social and emotional well-being. 

About Outreach Concern 

Founded in 1994, Outreach Concern is a low-cost, non-profit school-based counseling agency that offers an array of intervention and support services to students and their families in private and public schools in Southern California. The agency has worked with more than 500,000 students and their families deal with academic, behavioral, social and emotional issues that impact student performance, both in and outside the classroom. In addition to its results-driven counseling program, Outreach Concern provides schools with access to a highly comprehensive pupil personnel program that incorporates an emergency response team, a multi-county referral network, a 24-hour school safety crisis hotline and a variety of prevention programs that positively impact student performance.

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