Best ways to soothe a child

Learn about: Best ways to soothe a child from John Grienenberger, PhD,...
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Best ways to soothe a child

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Parents often have different ways of soothing children when they're upset or hurt. A good example might be the child on the playground that is running and trips and falls. And there are two things that are needed when that happens. The child needs to know that you connect with their feelings and that you resonate empathically. They also need help knowing that they're going to be okay. Some parents move in quickly and come in with a lot of feeling and resonate on an empathic level, but maybe don't provide as much of a sense of mastery over the difficulties they experience. And other parents might emphasize that independence and being able to overcome adversity. And they might help the child get up and dust themselves off and be okay, maybe even more quickly than the child is feeling okay. And really I think the optimal response is to integrate both of those; help the child to understand that you get it, you understand that they're upset, you're there for them, but you know something that maybe they don't know in that moment, which is that they're going to be okay, that pain goes away, that fear goes away. And that way you're helping them to be able to face difficult times and situations even when you're not there.
ALL PARENTS, Parenting

Learn about: Best ways to soothe a child from John Grienenberger, PhD,...

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John Grienenberger, PhD

Family Psychologist

John Grienenberger, PhD, is a psychologist, attachment researcher, and Co-Executive Director of the non-profit Center for Reflective Parenting in Los Angeles. He is also Clinical Director of PCH Treatment Center. He has extensive experience in family work, and has trained hundreds of therapists in his mentalization-based approach to working with families. He has authored numerous papers, presentations, and training programs in the areas of psychotherapy, attachment, mentalization, and parenting, and has conducted trainings and presentations both nationally and internationally. He has a part-time private practice in West Los Angeles conducting psychological and psychoeducational testing as well as providing psychotherapy to children, adults, families, and couples. Along with spending time with his 12 year old daughter and nine year old son, John also enjoys backpacking, snowboarding, hiking, and mountain biking.

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