Dr. James MacDonald 332 Mimring Columbus, Ohio 43202 Phone/Fax 614 447-0768 macdonaldj86@gmail.com

Communicating Partners

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Helping Parents Help Children. Programs for Parents, Therapists & Educators


Hi all, I will send to you little pieces of the new book I'm writing from time to time. This piece applies to almost every family I have worked with. I am convinced that the less you "see" failures and the more you see "successes" the better your child will develop. Remember what is "right" for you is not usually developmentally "right" for your child. Jim

Perhaps the one reason for undesired behavior that concerns us the most is the child's emotional reaction to failing at a task. Actually, this should be restated as the child's reaction to "feeling" he is failing at a task. It is so easy for our children to come to believe that they are doing something wrong or failing when they are simply operating the way their current nervous system allows them to do so.

Three basic assumptions of Communicating Partners relate directly to the issue of children's perceived "failures":

  1. Children do not make developmental mistakes; whatever they do is what they can do at the moment on the basis of their abilities, history and environment
  2. One of the most developmentally harmful things we can teach a child is to feel "wrong" about what he is doing and that he should be someone he is not.
  3. Each child, regardless of his developmental delays, has some "signature strengths" that can be supported to help him build interactive relationships.

The goal of Communicating Partners is not to fix or repair problems a child is perceived to have but rather to build on his current signature strengths. We restate these principles here because we have seen so many cases of difficult behavior problems that result from the child and parents' perceptions that the child is failing at developmental tasks. We strongly feel that when the child and parents share the attitude that the child is not doing what he should be doing, conflicts develop that lead to continued disruptions in the confidence and competence of both parent and child. When parents and children feel they have to do the impossible, all sorts of disturbances occur and a general tug of war or depression can occur. When this happens, "behavior problems" will abound in the vacuum of any positive flow.

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Dr. James MacDonald 332 Mimring Columbus, Ohio 43202 Phone/Fax (614)447-0768 macdonaldj86@gmail.com