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Therapist's Corner...
Building PRIDE with your children!

     Parents, when is the last time you said to yourself, “I just had an excellent interaction with my child!” Has it been a while? For some of us, those interactions are few and far between. Most parents can relate with the idea that behavior correction tends to happen more often than behavior praising. If you can relate to that thought, don’t worry.
     Children, particularly younger children, have very “unique” ways of communicating their needs and wants to us. As they mature and learn how to put their feelings into words, they use a special language that often involves acting out, aggression, noncompliance, and just downright naughtiness! For example, when a friend takes a child’s toy, a child may bite to retaliate instead of asking for the toy back or reporting to a supervising adult. Sound familiar? While it’s important for us to learn how to listen to our children, it’s no wonder that parents become incredibly frustrated and lose patience.
     Thankfully, there’s practical tools parents can use to help increase the positive interactions and decrease the negative. A set of tools that I frequently use in my practice are PRIDE skills. PRIDE stands for Praise, Reflect, Imitate, Describe, and Enthusiasm. Proper use of these skills can result in increasing a child’s self-esteem, improve the parent-child relationship, decrease behavior problems., decrease abuse potential, and decrease child mental health problems - thus decreasing caregiver stress! PRIDE skills are best utilized during a special 10-15-minute play time each day that the child gets to lead entirely. Appropriate activities for this special play time include building blocks, dolls, animal figurines, toy cars, puzzles, etc. These activities should exclude electronics and/or anything competitive as rules make it difficult for a child to lead the activity. Additionally, the special play time should not be used as a reward and removal of the time should not be used as a consequence.
     Let's get into the “how to” of PRIDE skills. First, praise appropriate behavior. This is done through comments from the caregiver such as “I like the way you are playing so quietly!” or “I’m proud of you for being polite.” Praise should sound like a frequent commentary of what your child is doing well and what you’d like to see more of. Second, reflect appropriate talk. This is done by repeating and expanding upon the appropriate talk that your child uses. For example, when a child says, “I like to play with these blocks” the caregiver should respond with “These are fun blocks to play with.” Next, the caregiver should imitate appropriate play. As the child leads the activity, the caregiver does the same actions as the child to show that the child’s actions are appropriate and appreciated. Describe appropriate behavior is the next skill. This is best accomplished through a running commentary of what the child is doing, as long as the behavior is appropriate. Finally, it’s important for a caregiver to express enthusiasm as they participate in the special play time. Let the child know you’re happy to be spending this time with them and that the activity they chose is fun and appropriate.
          There are a few helpful tips to consider while engaging in PRIDE skills during special play time. First, the caregiver should avoid asking questions of the child, as this takes away from the child’s ability to control the play. By allowing the child to direct the play time entirely, they are able to make decisions, model behavior, and receive positive feedback on their good decisions and accomplishments, which results in building strong self-image for a child. Additionally, it’s important to anticipate that the child may behave inappropriately at moments during the special play activity. When this occurs, a parent need not correct the inappropriate behavior, but rather remove all attention until the child corrects their behavior and begins to play appropriately. This is best done by turning one’s back to the child and disengaging until the very moment that the child behaves appropriately again. Re-engaging is best done by praising the appropriate behavior that motivated the caregiver to turn back around.
     While a parent will see strong results by using a concentrated play time to use these skills, they can definitely be used in a caregiver’s everyday interactions with children. Catching children being good and praising such behavior is a very effective form of positive reinforcement! The PRIDE skills are best used congruently with other behavior interventions, but are a simple change that parents can make to begin seeing improvement in the harmony of the home and the usage of appropriate coping skills in their youngsters.

~ Kylie Surmeier, Therapist


Therapist's Corner...
The Key to Balance is……No?

     We all know that balance in a good thing, right? A balanced diet, balanced budget, balanced home and work life. Yes, these are all good things that are not always easy to come by.  Every day we are bombarded with expectations that threaten our ability to find balance in our lives.  Whether it be fitting in one more errand over our lunch hour or taking on one more volunteer position, there are always opportunities that force us to feel unbalanced in our lives.  Balance does not happen without good boundaries, and good boundaries cannot be set without the word no.  Many people feel guilt in using the word no.  No is the best way to directly communicate boundaries to employers, friends and family members.  So next time you are confronted with the conundrum of answering no or compromising your balance, ask yourself:
1.) Is this something that drains my energy?
2.) Is this something someone else can just as easily do for themselves?
3.) Am I avoiding answering no, because I feel guilty?
     If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then, you have been presented with an opportunity to set good boundaries with the word NO.

~ Jordan Plummer-Allen, Therapist


From Our EAP...
Unplug To Recharge

     As winter gives way to spring, now is a great time to unplug from the incessant distraction of our devices and connect with each other instead. Our Wellness Expert, Johanna Dunlevy share some tips on disconnecting to reconnect and make better use of your time.
     It is estimated that the average American is distracted every three minutes by something in the workplace and that it can take up to 20 minutes to refocus and get back on task. While this may seem extreme, we are living in a perpetual state of notifications, reminders, and alerts. Because we carry the world in our purses and pockets via our phones, we are addicted to staying plugged in.
     Plugging in, in many ways, has made life so much easier and richer – these days, who owns a paper map or uses a phone book? Remember those? Plugging in allows us to stay in touch with people at a moment’s notice halfway around the world. It makes possible instantaneous communication between loved ones. Whether you are texting, calling, emailing, or sharing photos and stories on social media, the opportunities to stay connected are endless.
     But all of that comes with a flipside. And that flipside is that we often find ourselves attached to our devices. This might mean being distracted while at work or bringing work home and therefore finding it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life integration. Feelings of inadequacy, fear of missing out (FOMO), and even feeling more isolated are all negative side effects of our attachment to constantly staying plugged in.
     Did you know?
* 84% of cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their device[1].
* 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating[2].
* Studies indicate some mobile device owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes[3].
     There are many ways you can unplug without permanently abandoning your device.
     One of the easiest ways to start is by identifying no-phone zones. Perhaps you decide that you are not going bring your phone to the dinner table, check during a movie, or use in your car. Maybe you leave your phone in your bag or a desk drawer while at work to avoid the temptation of checking social media.
     You can also try routine and scheduled breaks from the screen. Start by taking a break from social media or your favorite game for a week or two. You may be surprised to find that your in-person connections grow stronger or maybe you rediscover your love of reading.
     Give your morning routine a break. Instead of checking work email or Facebook first thing when you wake up, make your first waking hours a screen-free time.
     Another thing you can do to detach from your device is to organize and eliminate apps. With regards to organization, you could move some of the apps you find yourself wasting the most time with off your home screen and adjust notification settings for the ones you find most distracting. By eliminating apps you no longer use you will be less distracted and further reduce distracting notifications.
     If you’re having a hard time managing a good work-life integration, call 800-327-4692 to learn more about our Life Coaching benefit! 


~ Lana Lenz, EAP Coordinator (Resource: Employee & Family Resource;

FRGN Anniversaries!!

     Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. is an amazing place to work. Congratulations to these employees on their FRGN anniversaries!

Denise Bredthauer...6 years

Carrie Sheldon...11 years & Tricia Gudgel...2 years 

Welcome to the Team!!

     Family Resources of Greater Nebraska would like to welcome Karla Sextro to the therapy staff. Karla is  a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Karla brings with her a wide variety of training and experience as well as passion for her work. She has experience treating a full range of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders including children and youth on the autism spectrum disorder. Additionally, Karla specializes in working with at risk teens, having worked at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Geneva prior to her employment at CHI St. Francis Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center.


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