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Play Therapy Parenting Podcast
Dr. Brenna Hicks
Dr. Brenna Hicks, The Kid Counselor, provides the tools to help parents gain confidence in their parenting skills so they can create the family life they desire.
Jul 16, 2021
"I Love My Kids, But I Don’t Like Parenting"
In this episode, I comment on a blog post I saw on todaysparent.com that I couldn't ignore. "I love my kids, but I don’t like parenting—and I know I’m not alone". So I'll unpack my thoughts on that by first exploring my opinion that many parents may feel like this because they are not properly equipped. Second, I explore how our reality as parents and our expectations as parents might be too divergent, and this is what's causing some parents to experience these feelings.
Jul 14, 2021
"Encourage The Effort Rather Than Praise The Product"
This is a continuation of the "Rules of Thumb" series from the Child-Parent Relationship Therapy curriculum, which is the core training used in my In-Home Play Therapy program. "Encourage the effort rather than praise the product". Encouragement is probably the most important tool in your parenting toolbox even though you probably don't use it! In this episode I talk about the difference between praise vs. encouragement, the difference between outcome vs effort, and internal vs. external motivation. Learning to encourage instead of praise is instrumental in raising self-motivated, and self-empowered children that have high self-esteem.
Jul 1, 2021
"Never Do For a Child That Which They Can Do For Themselves"
You will never know what your child is capable of unless you allow them to try! I know it's hard to watch your child struggle with something, like opening lids on a jar, or tying their shoes, or trying to pack and lug around their sports bag, but did you know that when you constantly do things for your kids, you might be "programming" them for "learned incompetence" or "learned helplessness". This is in contrast to your child positively learning that they can do things for themselves, they just need to build their competence and confidence to do so, and you can help them by letting them "struggle" a little bit. So as long as they are at the age where it's appropriate for them to do that task, such as tying their own shoes at 5, or carrying their own baseball bag at 8, then you help them build their confidence and skills to handle their own problems in the future, instead of being in a state of perpetual helplessness. In this episode, I unpack all of these points as we dive into the Rule of Thumb "Never do for a child that which they can do for themselves".
Jun 25, 2021
Adding Structure to your Summer Prevents Behavior Issues
We are a month into summer... are your kids driving you nuts? It could be that you need to add some structure back into your kids lives to prevent behavior issues. In this episode, I talk to you about the importance of structure and schedule in kid's lives, I give you a quick tip for the top 3 causes of behavior problems, and finally, why summer scheduling and structure is important for adults also. The path to calm, confident, and in-control parenting starts now!
Jun 14, 2021
"You can’t give away what you do not possess." - How can you extend acceptance to your child if you don't extend it to yourself?
This is a continuation of the "Rules of Thumb" series from the Child-Parent Relationship Therapy curriculum, which is the core training used in my In-Home Play Therapy program. "You can’t give away what you do not possess." is a reminder that you need to be good to yourself as a parent, in order to grant patience, acceptance, and grace to your kids.
Jun 7, 2021
"Digital Pacifiers" - Why Screen Use Is Harming, And Ruining Our Relationships With Our Kids
Another Memorial Day weekend observation... I couldn't believe how many families were at our hotel (poolside, restaurant, lobby, etc.) all ignoring each other, with their faces glued to their "Digital Pacifiers!" The use by both adults and children was alarming. We need to be aware of how much screen time our children have, and realize how badly it is damaging the relationship we have with our kids. We also need to educate ourselves that psychologists, psychiatrists, and neuro-biologists are hired by these gaming companies, specifically to make devices, games and social media MORE ADDICTIVE. Finally, start being aware that as kids use more devices, diagnoses for anxiety is increasing dramatically. As a result, the prescribing of anxiety medication for kids has increased astronomically. We're also starting to see specialized facilities for "detoxing" off devices springing up nationwide. Device overuse in kids is spiking at an alarming rate, and if we don't start educating ourselves about the dangers, and making changes in our families, we are going to see generations of kids that are anxious, socially isolated, and addicted.
Jun 4, 2021
Why Reasoning Doesn't Work with Kids
While my family was on a weekend getaway over Memorial Day weekend, I couldn't help but do some people watching while I was sitting by the pool, reading a book. I witnessed a perfect example of why it's futile to reason with a kid (a 4 year old, at that!) In this episode, I explore this concept of kids not having reasoning skills, how trying to reason with them often escalates the situation, and how a different tactic in responding to a child can completely change the outcome of what would normally be a frustrating situation. The path to calm, confident, and in-control parenting starts here!
May 27, 2021
"What’s most important may not be what you do, but what you do after what you did!"
"We are certain to make mistakes, but we can recover. It is how we handle our mistakes that makes the difference." This is such a great rule-of-thumb from the Child-Parent Relationship Therapy training that is the curriculum in my In-Home Play Therapy program. In this episode I talk about how if your relationship with your kids is broken somehow, that you need to fix it. When you do, you are modeling for your kids how to handle these situations. And finally, this rule of thumb teaches our kids ownership of their behavior. - The path to calm, confident, and in-control parenting start now!
May 24, 2021
The Parenting Journey - 50th Episode Celebration!
This is my 50th episode! I'm so grateful to my podcast listeners. In this episode, I'm looking back on my week's observation of the "Parenting Journey". Parenting is full of ups and downs, but we are all united in a goal of being the best parent we can be. We want happy kids and a happy family, and I'm honored that you spend time with me and that I'm a small part of your parenting journey.
May 22, 2021
"Focus on the Donut, Not the Hole"
One of the most important things we can do for our kids to cherish the relationship that we have with them. In this episode, I talk about a Rule of Thumb from the Child-Parent Relationship Training, “Focus on the Donut, Not the Hole.” We look at the importance of putting our attention on the good that exists already, spending the time necessary to build the connection, and why the relationship leads to the results that you want.
May 17, 2021
Natural Consequences of Behavior
In this episode of the podcast, I talk about the natural consequence of child behavior. There are three points that I'd like to share with you regarding natural consequences. The first is that children are not rational. Next is that the natural consequence is different than discipline or punishment. Finally, when a child is given the opportunity to deal with the natural consequence of their behavior, they develop self control, self regulation and self responsibility.
May 13, 2021
"When a child is drowning, don’t try to teach them to swim"
One of the "Rules of Thumb" that we teach you in the In-Home Play Therapy program is this concept of "When a child is drowning, don’t try to teach them to swim." In this podcast, I discuss why it is so important to remember that children don't have abstract reasoning skill until starting about 12. So "teaching a lesson" in the middle of an emotional moment for your child is absolutely futile... you need to meet them in their emotion to de-escalate the situation.
May 9, 2021
The Four Universal Outcomes of Play Therapy
We all know that therapy is beneficial and that positive change is associated with the process. But what can you count on in terms of areas of growth when a child participates in play therapy? There are four universal outcomes of play therapy, regardless of what the child is dealing with when they begin. In this episode, I unpack each of the four outcomes and help you understand why growth in these areas are so beneficial for kids and their futures.
May 7, 2021
Play Therapy (spaghetti) vs. Talk Therapy (waffles) : A Comparison
Often people assume that if talk therapy works with adults, it should work with kids, too. But have you ever asked your child a question about how they feel or why they did something and gotten, “I don’t know” or a blank stare with a shrug? In this episode, I talk about how adults compartmentalize their lives into boxes. But children feel everything and their lives are a big tangle of emotions. I also explain how play therapy principles make sense to a child who isn’t rational or logical. You will finally understand why kids need a different approach to dealing with their issues.
May 5, 2021
Wake Up! Social Media is Ruining our Kids (TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.)
Do you know what your kids are doing on social media? Do you REALLY know? I work with a lot of pre-teens and teens every week, with debilitating personal issues. One of the common threads I see is social media use. If you really care about your kids, it's time to stop being passive, and start taking a more active role in supervising what your kids are doing on their devices.
May 3, 2021
Cutting: What You Need to Know as a Parent
Cutting: What You Need to Know as a Parent. Why kids are doing it. How they are finding out about it. How they are hiding it. How they are sharing it. What you can do about it.
May 1, 2021
Anxiety: The Untold Epidemic of 2021 Kids
You probably haven't heard many people talking about how badly our kids are absorbing the "adult response to the coronavirus". No one is really addressing it. The phones at my office are ringing off the hook with desperate parents trying to get help for their anxious kids. In this podcast, I talk about the problem, share three examples of what anxiety does to kids, and how you can effectively respond to your child, if you see the signs.
Mar 31, 2021
One Way Kids Bridge the Gap Between Their Actual Self and Their Ideal Self
Often one of the underlying causes of emotional and behavioral struggles is that who the child wants to be (their "ideal self") is very different from who they are (their "actual self"). In this podcast exclusive, I share what happens in the playroom when a child is ready to bridge the gap between their actual and ideal self.
Mar 30, 2021
How Angry Emotions Mask Deeper Feelings
Parents are often concerned when children express angry or aggressive behavior. In this podcast exclusive I discuss how parents can recognize the deeper emotions driving the angry, aggressive behavior. Once you understand why kids default to anger, you will be able to respond in a way that helps them express their vulnerability and develop an emotional vocabulary.
Feb 8, 2021
Lessons on Consistency and Hard Work Paying Off (Applied to Parenting)
Have you ever wondered if all the work you put into learning how to be a good parent is paying off? Have you noticed that the more consistent you are with applying your parenting skills, that you surprise yourself by how well you handle behavior situations with your kids? In this episode, I tell the story about how I noticed a parallel between something I have been personally training for, and how consistency and hard work pays off in your parenting.
Jan 13, 2021
2 Main Parenting Goals You Should Be Working On In 2021
Are you setting goals or resolutions for the new year? If so, is one to create a better relationship with your kids? Or to parent in a kinder way? In this episode, I share two main goals for 2021 that can start you off on the right foot in how you interact with your kids. If you just want to put 2020 behind you because of guilt over the way you handled parenting moments, then stick with me this year and I'll teach you how to build a better relationship and interact more kindly with your kids.
Nov 12, 2020
Do Your Kids Feel Loved By You? (How to Make Certain)
Are you loving your kids in the way that they feel love? You might be completely wasting your efforts in showing love to your kids, unless you are speaking their "language!" In this episode, I introduce you to the 5 Love Languages of Kids, so that you can know for sure that your kids feel loved by you.
Nov 6, 2020
The Antidote to Guilt, Shame, and Blame as a Parent
We know that kids don’t come with an instruction manual and parenting doesn’t have a road map. That often leaves us confused, defeated, frustrated, and ashamed of our failures. It doesn’t have to be that way! This episode highlights a question that I ask myself almost on a daily basis, and gives the key that opens the door to freedom from guilt, shame, and blame.
Nov 1, 2020
How to Talk to Your Kid's Teacher About Behavior Problems
Is your child's behavior at school creating stress and anxiety in your family? Do you fear daily reports from the teacher? Are you unsure how to handle what's going on when you talk to the teacher or staff? I've helped many families navigate this issue in my private practice. When there are struggles at school, you have to address them directly. Use these simple tips to prepare you so that you feel confident talking to your kid's teacher.
Oct 15, 2020
2 Tips for Parents Dealing with Their Child's Anxiety
Have you ever felt helpless to handle your children’s anxiety and worries? Have you tried things that didn’t seem to help? Do you want nothing more than to see your kids happy and worry free? With the sharp increase in child anxiety levels this year, it’s important to have effective tools to help manage this struggle. In this second part of this two-part series, you get practical skills to reduce your frustration and their anxiety.
Oct 9, 2020
What are the Warning Signs of Anxiety in Children?
Do you wonder if some of your children’s behaviors are related to anxiety? Have you seen an increase in big emotions, worry, fear, or confusion? Is one of the unforeseen fallouts of 2020 that our kids are experiencing increased anxiety? If the phone calls to my office are an indicator, this is the new childhood epidemic of this year. This is the first of a two-part series on recognizing anxiety in children, and how best to help your child through their worries.
Sep 28, 2020
Is Your Child a “Two Marshmallow Kid?”
Have you ever felt that your kids are too impulsive? Do they get out of control when they are overly excited? Are they quick to melt down when they don’t get their way? Does their behavior seem reckless sometimes? A good predictor of adult success is how well a child can control their impulses. In this episode I share some tips with you to help your kids learn self-control.
Sep 10, 2020
Why your child should say "I'm angry”
You probably hate it when your child loses it when they get upset! But do you know what's going on in their brain when they have that reaction? In this episode, I explain the results from a study that reveals when a child says, "I'm angry," it decreases the emotional over-reaction. This is how kids can learn self control.
Sep 1, 2020
What You Need to Know about Your Kids' Thoughts, Emotions, and Behaviors (spoiler - they're all connected!)
Kids say things that often lead us to the wrong conclusions about what is going on. A Yale study reveals how much our feelings influence what we think and do, especially children! This episode dives into the trick that helps us get to the heart of the emotion that our kids feel, rather than focusing on what they say.
Aug 3, 2020
Stop trying to reason and rationalize with your child!
Have you ever tried to explain to your child why something they did wasn't a good idea? We've all done it. But here's the problem... kids aren't rational until about 12 or 13, so you're wasting your time explaining things rationally to them. Kids are emotional and here-and-now. So to effectively communicate with them, you have to speak to their feelings and emotions. In this episode, Dr. Brenna tells you how that works.
Jul 17, 2020
Understanding your kid’s big emotions (anger, crying, etc.)
One of the key practices in Play Therapy is figuring out the emotion behind the behavior. When you know what emotion is causing a child to act a certain way, you can then reflect that feeling back to them and often diffuse any behavior issues. In this episode, I discuss how many of the "big" emotions that children have are rooted in a sense of powerlessness. I discuss the science behind it, and how you can respond appropriately to reduce behavior issues.
Jun 2, 2020
Say it in 10 words or less!
Kids under 13 do not have rational thought, yet parents try to rationalize with their kids during discipline. This is completely futile! Kids are emotional, so it’s more effective to meet them in their emotion, reflect their feeling, and if you impart some instruction, say it in 10 words or less! Anything beyond 10 words gets lost. In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting®, Dr. Brenna explains this “rule of thumb” that comes straight out of her 10-week private parent coaching called Child Parent Relationship Training (CPRT). For more information on CPRT visit www.thekidcounselor.com/cprt
Apr 24, 2020
Pediatricians should prescribe PLAY! (not meds)
In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting®, Dr. Brenna discusses how the American Academy of Pediatrics published their “best of” 2019 journal articles, and one of the studies explores prescribing PLAY to combat all the stress, busyness, and anxiety that kids are experiencing these days. This is something Play Therapists have known for over 100 years! It’s nice to see the medical/pediatrics community acknowledging the benefits of play for kids.
Apr 22, 2020
"Be a thermostat, not a thermometer"
In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting®, Dr. Brenna shares a parenting tip from her private parent coaching class (Child Parent Relationship Therapy [CPRT]) "Be a thermostat, not a thermometer” is a metaphor that teaches you how to RESPOND to your kids, instead of just REACTING to their emotional fluctuations.
Mar 30, 2020
Today I Just Want To Encourage You
In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting®, Dr. Brenna just offers some encouragement during this time of unknown. As you adjust to this “new normal”, and with kids doing school from home, and you possibly working from home, hopefully, we can reflect on some good things that are happening in families. So stay encouraged as we navigate this time we find ourselves in, and be leaders for your children.
Feb 26, 2020
The Truth about "Baker Acting" Kids
In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting®, Dr. Brenna discusses the involuntary committing of minors (known as “Baker Acting” in Florida) to mental health facilities. Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of what this process looks like, and how traumatic of an experience it can be for kids. So please be informed about this extremely important topic.
Feb 18, 2020
Say Goodbye to Power Struggles with your Kids
In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting®, Dr. Brenna discusses how the root of many, if not most, behavioral issues with kids is Power Struggles. Learn what causes the power struggles and how to eliminate them with your kids.
Oct 17, 2019
Why Reflecting Feelings Works (even on adults!) - Play Therapy Parenting® w/ Dr. Brenna Hicks
In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting®, Dr. Brenna shares a story of a Mom who has taken Brenna’s private parenting coaching, using the Reflecting Feelings skill. Normally, this Mom uses Reflecting Feelings on her 4 year old, but an opportunity came up to use it on her adult sister… and it worked! Watch this video to learn WHY Reflecting Feelings works so well.
Oct 5, 2019
How to be truthful with your kids, even when the truth is hard! (great advice for adoptive families) - Play Therapy Parenting® w/ Dr. Brenna Hicks
In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting®, Dr. Brenna discusses the topic of talking to your kids about hard subjects, and why you should do so truthfully, by using age appropriate language. The example she uses is of an adoptive family whos child's Mom died of an overdose, and how to address this topic with the young child.
Sep 5, 2019
The Consequence is Enough - Play Therapy Parenting® w/ Dr. Brenna Hicks
In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting®, Dr. Brenna discusses three ways to prevent the "emotional investment" in our child's behavior from becoming a negative influence and undermining our disciplining effort.
Aug 12, 2019
To a Child, Different is Bad
Sometimes it's easy to forget if a child has a developmental delay, when dealing with their behavior problems. In this episode, Dr. Brenna Hicks delves into the mindset of a child with developmental delays and how it affects their self-esteem and behavior. Dr. Brenna gives three tips to parents who are dealing with this issue to help build up their child.
Jul 30, 2019
Kids already know what they need to work on
"The very heart of play therapy lies in the belief that children innately understand what they struggle with, they just don't necessarily know how to fix it. And they will work on it through their play if they're given the time, the tools, and the opportunity." In this podcast, Dr. Brenna tells the story of a boy, without telling him why he was there, discovers, on his own, within 20 minutes what issues he needs to work on. Dr. Brenna also touches on the topic of "competence themed" play.
Jul 10, 2019
Let Your Kids “Play" Through Their Issues
In this video, Dr. Brenna shares an example from her play room to explain how children "play" through their issues. Whereas adults "talk" or "work" through their issues, children play through their issues and "re-write their story", so to speak. The take-away is to not "protect" your child from their feelings. The only way through an issue, is to go through it! Dr. Brenna also touches on a secondary topic of non-traditional family configurations and how that affects kids.
Jul 1, 2019
The Goodness of Kids
In this video, Dr. Brenna comments on a situation that happened in the lobby of her practice where she overheard a Mom, maybe unknowingly, using a play therapy principle that communicated that the Mom trusted the child, knows that he will do what he's been asked to do, and that she believes in his abilities. What a great encouragement to see a Mom interacting with her son in this way. Learn what this play therapy principle was by watching the video and learn how to respond to your kids so that they become capable and trustworthy.
May 13, 2019
Trends in Child Diagnoses
From ADHD to Autism Spectrum to ODD, CD and Bi-Polar. Dr. Brenna talks about the trends she observes in her practice about childhood diagnoses. She believes that Play Therapy should at least be considered as a non-medication alternative to try before simply medicating children.
May 1, 2019
Seeking child therapy does NOT mean you are failing as parents!
Sometimes it is a struggle when families pursue therapy for their kids. In this podcast, Dr. Brenna helps you to understand the way that the therapy process works and some of the common concerns that parents have as a result of feeling that they need some support and help for their kids.
Feb 26, 2019
Get Your Kids Moving to Combat Diagnoses!
In this video, Dr. Hicks talks about research revealing that a holistic approach, that aligns with Play Therapy, is effective in combating common child diagnoses. Before you accept a pediatrician's diagnosis, and medicate your kids, consider this simple, more natural approach!
Feb 8, 2019
Stop Rewarding Negative Behaviors
Many parents don't realize that the way they respond to their kids is actually REWARDING their NEGATIVE behavior! In this video, Dr. Hicks explains what this looks like, and how to implement a play therapy technique to prevent rewarding negative behavior.
Dec 29, 2018
The Top 3 Most Preventable Behavior Problems
Dr. Brenna discusses the top 3, most easily preventable reasons kids display behavior problems. So before reacting, mentally go through this list to see if you can quickly eliminate the cause for these top 3 reasons children misbehave.
Dec 29, 2018
Play Therapy with Teens
Play Therapy works for all age groups. In this episode, Dr. Brenna explains what play therapy with teens and older populations may look like, and why it's effective.
Jun 19, 2018
The "Magic" of Play Therapy
Sometimes, Play Therapy is described as "Magical" because people don't know why it works so well, it just does. In this episode, Dr. Brenna explains how play therapy works by telling a story of one of her clients who worked through his issues through play. He did it at home... not the play room... and his Mom witnessed, first hand, the "magic" of play therapy!
May 10, 2018
A video that I had to record as a result of a simple bumper sticker on a car in front of me… and it is now my personal mission to make every parent claim positive and encouraging traits about themselves! Watch all the way to the end so that you can be empowered to fight the critical and harsh way that we talk about ourselves as parents.
Apr 26, 2018
How To Increase Your Emotional Vocabulary
The more you understand the "wheel" of emotions, the more you can help your child communicate what they are feeling accurately. In this video, Dr. Brenna Hicks introduces you to Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions, and the theory of how it all fits together. You can use this knowledge to better Reflect Feelings to your child.
Apr 12, 2018
The Importance of Learning to "BE" With Your Kid
In this episode of the Play Therapy Podcast, Dr. Hicks explains why sometimes it's okay to simply "be" with your kid. You don't need to solve, explain away, or distract them from their current issue. Brenna gives several examples from her office, and from other Moms, how to meet the child in that emotional moment.
Apr 5, 2018
The Four "Pillars" of Play Therapy
The four "Pillars" of Play Therapy are the foundational skills that Play Therapy is built on. Dr. Brenna Hicks gives an overview and examples for each of these skills. This video is foundational training for any parent looking to add Play Therapy skills to their parenting "tool box".
Mar 29, 2018
All Feelings Are Valid
In this episode of Play Therapy Parenting Podcast, Dr. Brenna Hicks talks about the play therapy skill, reflecting feelings, and why it's okay for parents to simply reflect a child's feeling back to them, and then stop! We tend to want to solve problems for our kids, or try to make our kids feel better, when sometimes, simply "sitting" in the child's emotion is what they need more.