Age Appropriate Discipline for Children

Age Appropriate Discipline Techniques   The most common parenting mistake I see comes from parents who fail to change their discipline tactics as their children get older. I am supplying you with a practical guide, a break down of how parenting must evolve as your children do. Lets first understand that discipline should always be in line with the child’s developmental stage, intelligence, and maturity level. Discipline is often hard, and unless it’s developmentally appropriate, it will also be ineffective.   Birth until Two Primary developmental characteristic: No sense of object permanence (the ability to trust that a person or object will not disappear once they are out of sight). Most effective discipline technique: Distraction Distraction is the most common form of discipline for very young children because they do not develop object permanence, until about the age of two. That’s why removing something from the child’s grasp or attention and replacing it with something more appropriate is the best form of correction during this phase.   Toddler, Preschool, and Early Elementary Primary developmental characteristic: Vulnerable to stimulation overload Most effective discipline techniques: Firm but soothing redirection During this phase, parents must understand that very young children act out due to stimulation overload, and not because of willingness, spitefulness, or meanness. The emotional load that a preschooler feels about something, as small as losing a toy can be equivalent to an adult coming home to discover their beloved pet has died. If this happened to you, you might fall to your knees and cry. No one would scold you for your behavior because they’d know that you were experiencing an emotional flood. When toddlers and preschoolers do the same, parents need to see that as an emotional surge, rather than willful malice or naughtiness. Time Outs When a very young child acts out, redirect their behavior calmy. Try to identify the source of overstimulating and eliminate it as best as possible. For example, many parents find that timeouts are useful at this age because it removes the child from the overstimulating event or environment. However, timeouts should be brief (about one minute per year of age), and the parent should remain in the child’s sight or within earshot. Even after the child develops object permanence, it can be traumatic for them if their parent disappears during an already upsetting event. Remaining near your child during a timeout also makes it easier …

Letting Go of Adult Children

Letting Go of Adult Children: How to Get to the Other Side of the Grief   Letting go of adult children can be extremely challenging. Some time ago, I spoke with a mother who was having a terrible time with her adult daughter. Her daughter was in her early twenties, living at home. The tension between the parents and child was becoming too much to bear. It was straining to the point of almost breaking what had long been a beautiful relationship.   She fought with her daughter regularly, nagging at her for not getting out of bed until noon and criticizing her for not being more helpful around the house. In essence, she stayed in her role as a parent to a young child while expecting her daughter to act more maturely.   When talking about her struggles, I used a phrase I often use with those who have lost a loved one. I spoke of “getting to the other side of the grief.” Rather than staying stuck on this side of grief, I talked about how rewarding one’s relationship with their adult child can be. To get there, however, parents have to walk through letting go of adult children, letting their kids make their own mistakes and find their paths. My patients breakthrough Today, my patient’s daughter no longer lives at home. She gave her daughter a deadline by which she had to move out and stuck to it. She grieved the entire time; watching her daughter move on was awfully painful. Now, however, she says she’s catching more and more glimpses of her daughter as an adult. They can discuss future career options and have even begun to collaborate on ideas for decorating her apartment.   Of course, allowing her daughter to grow up wasn’t a smooth transition. As my patient put it, letting go was “horrendously painful.” But she recognizes now that without forcing herself to walk through that pain, to “get to the other side of the grief,” they’d still be where they were, arguing and combative and deeply unhappy about their relationship.   Nowadays, many more children live with their parents into adulthood   It’s not an unfamiliar story. Many more children live with their parents into adulthood today than they did even twenty years ago. For many, the decision is primarily financial, and with proper respect for healthy boundaries, such arrangements can work …

Men and Emotions

There’s still a stigma in our society that makes it hard for men to show their emotions and keep their masculinity. Women have come a long way with their ability to emote; emoting has always been more acceptable for women. In the past, women had trouble with aggression. Now women can be in the workforce, go for gold medals, and be on sports teams. Women have bridged the gap in aggression & passivity and emoting & action better than men. Men have not caught up in terms of their ability to show their emotions and feel masculine intact. We have devoted our attention to executive men with relationship problems because they have a history, where they’re encouraged to be aggressive, and are rewarded for being aggressive in the workplace. At home or in an intimate relationship- men act aggressive, and they get “in trouble,” or they get passive and get “in trouble.” They aren’t able to say what they really want or what they really need, which causes the relationship to go south. How men and women deal with certain emotions differently An example of an emotional difference between men and women is anger and how they express it. Women struggle with anger by having the thoughts that anger is not okay, or it’s wrong. Whereas when men get angry, they are terrified that the anger is going to lead to becoming physical and that they will actually hurt somebody. Men fear that if they admit they are angry, then their next step is to hurt someone. How to properly handle anger The way to correctly handle anger is to think about the anger, emote, and deal with the anger; as a result, the anger will not build and blow. Would you like to learn more about men and their emotional health? Head over to to find dozens of free self-help articles.

Setting Boundaries

Good Boundaries Make Good Relationships A lot of people may think boundaries are mean because they view them as a separating thing. Another way people may view them is as “rules.” It’s important to know that boundaries are very critical in a good relationship, but they are not meant to separate or set rules. What they are intended for is to help people understand, what works for you and what doesn’t. Boundaries let people know when they’re intruding. Nice Ways to Set up Boundaries When setting boundaries with others: Kindly set the boundary Know the different levels Enforce them with constructive aggression What happens when somebody dismisses a boundary? Or when they don’t acknowledge or care about the boundary? When someone doesn’t respect your boundary, use constructive aggression to make sure you are being taken seriously. For example saying, “when you talk about that subject, it bothers me.” When stating this, it is setting up a boundary by letting the other person know that the subject they are speaking of, bother’s you. If the other person responds with something similar to, “It’s no big deal,” enforcing your boundary by replying with “I know you don’t understand it, but this is really important to me.” This lets the other person know that you are serious, and this boundary is just that, a BOUNDARY. Setting Boundaries in a Relationship People suffer for years or wait for a crisis to seek help. But once they get the support, they often wonder, “why didn’t I start this sooner?” No one can read anyone’s mind; that is why setting boundaries and communicating them to others is essential. Do not expect your partner to read your mind, be sure to inform your partner. In a relationship, when one person starts setting boundaries, a lot of the time, the partner starts getting better at setting them too. To learn more, go to where you will find free self-help articles.

Grand Opening in Richmond, VA!!

We are live from Dr. Laura Dabney’s grand opening in Richmond, VA.  Look at how amazing the new office is. I hope you enjoy this quick video! Grand Opening in Richmond, VA, address: Dr. Laura Dabney’s new office is located at: 1545-B Nuckols Road, Glen Allen, VA 23059 11545-B is located in the middle of the Grove Park Office Park There is plenty of free parking. If you or anybody in the area is looking for a psychiatrist or a life coach reach out to us, we take referrals and things of that nature. Look us up, find us, and give us a call at 757-340-8800. We also have the office in Virginia Beach if you or anyone you know need services in that area as well.   If you prefer to schedule a call, click here! Check out more blog posts at