Communicating effectively to raise problem solvers

Psychologist Chris Fulton, PhD, shares advice for parents on how effective communication with your children can help them develop their problem solving skills
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Communicating effectively to raise problem solvers

Some of the things to avoid when communicating with your child is avoid the harshness and the negativity that could consume communication with your child, especially if your child is having trouble with an emotion, they’re crying, or they’re frustrated – try not to engage with them at that level. Try to stay as neutral as possible. Try to avoid also sarcasm. That just creates kind of an air of hostility that will continue if you don’t actually curb it early. The other thing too that I really like to do is to make sure to ask and not tell when you’re communicating with your child. A lot of times, we’ll just tell them, “You need to do this, you need to do that,” when they ask us questions, or when they just tell us things. But what we need to do is kind of elicit their communication to us. One time my daughter was getting bullied by some boy at the bus stop and she was just telling me the story. And I felt like, “Okay, I’ve got to tell her to ignore him, I’ve got to tell her to hang out with her friends.” But you know what I did? I said, “Hey, what could you do? And what have you tried? And if that doesn’t work, what else can you do?” And so what I try to do is to get her to think about ways to kind of solve her problem. And I think that’s really helpful when you’re communicating with children.

Psychologist Chris Fulton, PhD, shares advice for parents on how effective communication with your children can help them develop their problem solving skills


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Chris Fulton, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Christopher Fulton is a licensed clinical psychologist and has been in private practice for over ten years. He received his doctorate in 1994 from the California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles. Dr. Fulton has clinical training and experience in a variety of settings, and also has administrative, teaching, supervision, consulting, research and psychological testing experience. Dr. Fulton provides consultation and ongoing therapy for children, adolescents and adults. He conducts group, individual, couples and family therapy and actively works with a variety of childhood disorders, including: adjustment disorder, ADHD, anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant and other emotional-behavioral disorders. Among his most frequent areas of concentration is divorce, for which Dr. Fulton offers therapy for all involved.

Utilizing research-supported methods in treatment, Dr. Fulton's approach to therapy involves a combination of cognitive-behavioral, family systems and interpersonal interventions. In his work with children, Dr. Fulton involves parents and assists them in developing appropriate responses to their children, since he believes that ultimately the parent will make the most significant impact on the child. Dr. Fulton helps parents establish appropriate boundaries, communication and methods of discipline in order to increase positive relationships with their children.

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