Posts Tagged 'family support'

The difference between rewards and bribes

serious looking girl with ice cream

Unaltered image. Marcin Kargol, Flickr. CC license.

When working with parents of challenging children, the topic of rewards (or, in behavioral language, “positive reinforcement”) typically comes up early in consultation or treatment. Parents often express some concerns about rewarding their children for acting appropriately, and invariably I’m asked if providing rewards is simply a dressed-up version of bribing kids to behave well. This is a great question and I’m always happy to take the opportunity to explain the differences between rewards and bribery to wary caregivers.

First, let’s take a look at some definitions as they appear in the Oxford Dictionary:

  • bribe /brīb/ verb: to dishonestly persuade (someone) to act in one’s favor by a gift of money or other inducement
  • re·ward /ri-ˈwȯrd/ verb: to give something to (someone) in recognition of their services, efforts, or achievements; to show one’s appreciation of (an action or quality)

The differences should start to become clear simply from reading these two definitions. Consider the following three factors attempting to distinguish between these two very different methods of influencing behavior.

  1. Intent. Right off the bat, it’s clear that bribery has a negative connotation as it tends to be associated with questionable morals and/or conduct. For example, one might envision a sports referee being offered a monetary bribe in return for deliberately influencing the outcome of a game. So, the first way in which bribery differs from offering a reward is that it is usually intended to promote questionable or dishonest behavior, rather than encouraging “good” behaviors one might define as constructive, prosocial or fair.
  2. Timing. The second major way in which bribery differs from rewards, particularly as it pertains to changing child behavior, is in the timing of the delivery. While an effective reward is generally set up ahead of time (i.e., before the behavior has had the chance to occur), a bribe is offered in the middle of a challenging behavior episode, usually in the desperate hope that it will turn things around.
    Here’s a classic example. A parent takes a child to the grocery store. About halfway through the trip, the child starts to whine and complain. This quickly escalates into a full-blown tantrum. In an effort to stop this disruptive (and embarrassing) behavior, the parent offers to buy the child a donut at the bakery counter in return for better behavior for the rest of the shopping trip. The child stops crying, and the parent buys the child a donut (while making every effort to finish up the shopping as quickly as possible before another meltdown can occur!). In this instance, the parent delivered a bribe in exchange for improved behavior.
    Now, let’s consider the same scenario with the parent choosing to provide a reward instead of a bribe. Before the shopping trip, the parent tells the child that she will be able to select a treat from the bakery if she can stay seated in the cart and refrain from begging or throwing a tantrum while they shop together. (Note that the parent was very specific about the desired behavior, rather than simply telling the child to “be good”). If the child successfully demonstrates the desired behavior, the parent will reward the child with the bakery treat for a job well done. However, if the child is unsuccessful (e.g., does not remain seated or has a tantrum in the middle of the store), she will not receive a donut during this shopping trip. If she asks her parent if she can have the treat, the parent explains that the child she receives a reward when she behaves well in the store, and this time she did not behave well. The parent can then decide if the shopping trip will continue despite the undesirable behavior, if the child takes a consequence (e.g., time out in the car), or if shopping gets postponed for another time and everyone goes home. This decision will depend on the severity of the child’s behavior and the parent’s remaining reservoir of patience at the given time!
  1. Long-term impact on behavior. Both rewards and bribes have the power to influence child behavior. However, bribery tends to have only short-term positive effects and can often encourage undesirable patterns of behavior in the long run. In the aforementioned example, the donut bribe did result in an end to the tantrum in the grocery store. The parent might leave the store that day thinking that a donut was a small price to pay for a few moments of peace and a successfully completed shopping trip! However, the take-away message for the child is that a tantrum can lead to donut treats, while being helpful and cooperative in the store from the start has no positive consequences at all. The next time this child accompanies her parent to store, it is likely that a bribe may be necessary again (and it might take more than a donut to appease her). In other words, bribes can teach children to behave badly to get the things they want. A well-planned reward, on the other hand, encourages desirable behavior in children. In our example, the child earned a donut for displaying the “good” behavior the parent defined for her ahead of time. She earns nothing for a tantrum, which means that in the long run, she is more likely to display “good” behavior on shopping trips with mom or dad. Parents sometimes find it helpful to think of the use of rewards as a “contract” between themselves and the child. And for those concerned that their children will still be expecting treats at the grocery store until they leave for college, I offer the reassurance that rewards are typically faded out when desirable behaviors become habitual and they are no longer necessary to help shape the child’s behavior.

Do you have a strong-willed child? Are you ready to learn more about how to change his or her behavior for the better? Consider joining us for the The Challenging Child: Positive Parenting for Family Harmony, a six-session workshop where you can learn evidence-based strategies to help you reverse coercive cycles of child noncompliance, improve parent-child communication, and rediscover the things you love about your son or daughter.

– Sarah E. Baker, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Center for Human Development at Beaumont Health

Beaumont’s Big Brother – Big Sister Class

big brother holding baby brother

The Big Brother – Big Sister Class continues to be popular among families year after year. Beaumont’s Prenatal and Family Education department offers approximately one or two classes per month at Beaumont Royal Oak, Troy, and Grosse Pointe.

This lively, interactive class is designed for children ages 3 to 8 years old (although 9- and 10-year-old children are also welcome). During the class, your child will learn what new babies are like and how to prepare them for their new role as a big brother or big sister. We use dolls and an educational DVD to keep your child interested and engaged.

Your child will learn the day-to-day care that a new baby needs. Children also learn how they can help mom and dad when the new baby comes home. Safety is discussed and stressed to the young child. Hand hygiene is another component taught.

A parent joins the child for the class. As your child learns about his or her new baby sibling, we will share written information with you on how you can prepare your child for the new baby’s arrival and how to help the big sibling adjust to the newest member of the family. Techniques are discussed to help the sibling understand the normal range of emotions during this time of family transition and how to express these feelings based on their age.

The Big Brother – Big Sister Class should be taken approximately four weeks before your new baby arrives.

Click here for more information or to register for an upcoming session.

– Maribeth Baker, RN, LCCE, HBCE, Program Coordinator, Beaumont Health Prenatal and Family Education

Share your expertise with new parents as a Parenting Program group speaker

woman interacting with babies and toys

Every year, more than 55 parent groups begin their six-month journey of support and education. The topics presented help new parents gain confidence, in turn building a strong family foundation.

The Parenting Program is always seeking qualified individuals who can give a few hours a month to provide the quality education that our families have come to expect. Please take a minute to consider this opportunity to volunteer.

What we look for in a speaker

You must have knowledge or experience in the topic that you’re presenting. Here are a list of suggested presenter backgrounds and recommended topics:

  • Pediatrician, physician assistant, nurse, nurse practitioner
    • Topics:
      • Common Childhood Illnesses
      • Feeding
      • Sleep
      • Development and Temperament
  • Nutritionist
    • Topic:
      • Feeding
  • Teacher, occupational and/or speech therapist
    • Topics:
      • Play and Reading
      • Development and Temperament
      • Speech and Language Development
  • Counselor, therapist, social worker
    • Topics:
      • Adjustments to Parenthood
      • Our Past and Parenting
  • Massage therapist or someone with certification or appropriate training and experience
    • Topic:
      • Infant Massage
  • Experienced dads
    • Topic:
      • Focus on Fathers (Our “dads only” topic)
  • Experienced parents
    • Topics:
      • Child Safety
      • Travel
      • Baby Sign Language
      • Play and Reading
      • Photography
      • Exercise

Note: Retired individuals are especially welcome to share their expertise in any of these topics.

What being a speaker involves

  • We recommend that a new speaker observe an experienced speaker to get a feel for the group dynamic.
  • Each presentation is between 45 minutes and an hour.
  • Speaker outlines are provided, as are topic handouts for parents.
  • We educate in a very informal way.
    • We meet in living rooms or classrooms, and typically sit in a circle with babies on a blanket on the floor.
    • Parents are relaxed and open to discussion.

One of the greatest benefits to being a group speaker is seeing the response of parents and babies. The experience is energizing and very rewarding!

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer group speaker, please call our group coordinators at 248-898-3233 or email them directly.

  • Betsy Clancy: Elizabeth.Clancy@Beaumont.org
  • Nichole Enerson: Nichole.Enerson@Beaumont.org

Even dads get the blues: Postpartum depression in men

silhouette of man with head down

Having a baby is an amazing and wonderful experience, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful. No matter how much moms and dads prepare for the day when they bring their little bundle of joy home, parents can still be shocked by the reality of life with a new baby. It can take time to find the family’s new groove.

This can be complicated further with the addition of the most common complication of childbirth: postpartum depression (PPD). A whopping 10 to 20 percent of new moms will experience PPD and/or postpartum anxiety, and that is only the number of moms who report it!

But what about the dads? Does PPD only affect moms? The answer to that is no. Research is showing that up to 14 percent of new dads in the United States (compared to 10 percent internationally) experience paternal postpartum depression (PPPD).

The symptoms may differ from traditional depression symptoms, making PPPD challenging to diagnose. These symptoms may include:

  • Irritability isolating or withdrawing from relationships
  • Working a lot more or less
  • Low energy
  • Fatigue
  • Low motivation
  • Poor concentration
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Impulsivity
  • Risk-taking behaviors, often including turning to substances (e.g., alcohol, prescription drugs, etc.)
  • Physical symptoms (e.g., headaches, muscle aches, stomach/digestion issues, etc.)
  • Anger and outbursts
  • Violent behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts

Untreated depression in dads can have incredibly negative effects in many aspects of life, including impacting their children. Depressed dads are more likely to be stressed out and neglectful, as well as more likely to spank their children and less likely to read/interact with them, all of which can cause long-term consequences for their kids (Nauert, 2015).

The good news is, much like maternal PPD, paternal PPD is easily treatable. If you or someone you know may be experiencing PPPD it’s important to get help. The sooner treatment starts, the sooner you’ll enjoy your new family and be the dad you always wanted to be! For more information please check out these websites:

– Raelle Plante, MSW, Postpartum Adjustment Coordinator with the Parenting Program at Beaumont, Troy

References:

What is support?

"Support" spelled out in Scrabble letter tiles

image credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery. CC license.

Support is unconditional. It is listening, not judging, not telling your own story.

Support is not offering advice. It is offering a tissue, a touch, a hug. It is caring.

We are here to listen, not to work miracles.

We are here to help parents discover what they are feeling, not to make the feelings go away.

We are here to help parents discover their own strength, not to rescue them and then leave them vulnerable.

We are here to help parents discover that they can help themselves, not to take responsibility away from them.

We are here to help parents learn to choose, even when the choices are difficult.

– Unknown

At the Beaumont Parenting Program, we are happy to support and educate first-time parents who deliver at Beaumont. We offer specialized support for single mothers, parents experiencing postpartum depression, families of multiples, and families with a child in the NICU.

For Postpartum adjustment support, we offer weekly drop-in groups. Read more about postpartum adjustment.

For families who lost an infant during pregnancy or as a newborn, Beaumont offers the “Looking Ahead” Bereaved Parents support group.

However, Beaumont Health offers a wide range of support groups depending on your need, from cancer care to eating disorders to women’s pelvic pain and more. Check out the complete list of Beaumont support groups.

When a sibling has cancer

Father and daughter holding hands

Cropped image. Spirit-Fire, CC License.

The word cancer invokes a plethora of emotions and questions. The impact is wide and affects the family, friends and community of the person diagnosed. Cancer can be a difficult diagnosis to manage and treat. However, there are advances made in medicine daily and the prognosis and survival rates are improving. This can be encouraging news for parents with children who have cancer, but what about the siblings?

Children who have a sister or brother with cancer experience a range of feelings and how these feelings are expressed is going to depend largely on their age and developmental level. Younger siblings may have more tantrums as they witness the changes in the family dynamics, whereas older children and teens may experience anxiety and depression as they begin to grapple with the awareness of their own mortality. Below are some helpful tips to consider.

Share information

Tell the siblings about the diagnosis and changes that will likely take place. Even younger children can sense that things are different and will fill in the missing pieces with wrong information, which could increase their anxiety. Use age-appropriate language and allow siblings to help when they can. Allowing siblings to help and keeping them informed can decrease feelings of jealousy, anger and attention-seeking behaviors.

Consistency is key

When a sister or brother has cancer, things can seem consistently chaotic for the entire family. It is important for the siblings to continue with their school and extracurricular activities as much as possible. Routines help children feel safe and secure. Sometimes other family members or friends may help with caretaking responsibilities, such as picking up from school or making dinner. Letting your children know about these changes and who they can expect when will help.

Make time

It is important for siblings to have individual time with their parents, especially if other family members are caring for them. Try to carve out time to spend with your healthy children; engage in a fun activity and inquire about their day. This will be a stress reliever for all and it teaches children how to cope and have fun in the face of adversity. Encourage your healthy children to talk about their feelings or worries, and feel free to share your own thoughts and feelings. This can help you stay connected with your healthy children and gives them a safe outlet to express themselves. Validate their feelings, even negative ones, and show unconditional love.

When to get help

Sometimes you can do the best that you can but it isn’t enough. Either healthy siblings or the whole family needs help coping with all of the changes. If you notice prolonged uncharacteristic behavior or changes in mood such as poor grades, disinterest in favorite activities or ange,r feel free to reach out to the clinical psychologist within the Oncology Department of your nearest children’s hospital.

– Carnigee Truesdale-Howard, PsyD, ABPP, Pediatric Psychologist with Beaumont Children’s Hospital Divisions of Hematology/Oncology & Gastroenterology

Empty arms: The complicated grief of perinatal loss and how Beaumont can help

 Lots of lit tealight candles

Today, October 15, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

For many parents, the moment they learn they’re expecting, they begin to attach to their baby. They begin planning. Dreaming. Thinking about all they want and hope for their yet-to-be born child.

The greatest heartbreak is when there is a pregnancy loss. This loss is often devastating because it’s not only the loss of a child, but the loss of all the hopes and dreams parents had for their child. Intense grieving often follows.

Many parents who’ve suffered the loss of their baby find much comfort and support in Beaumont’s Looking Ahead Bereaved Parents Support Group, a group specifically designed to meet the needs of parents who’ve lost a baby.

How our group can help

Our support group focuses on the very specific loss involved in pregnancy, stillbirth or death of an infant. Our members find the group particularly helpful because they’re with others who’ve experienced a similar loss. Parents can really express the intensity of their loss openly.

Tips for your support system

Often family, friends and co-workers may mean well with their comments and reactions, but sometimes these are hurtful as well. Comments like “Your baby’s an angel in heaven now,” “It’s for the best,” “You’ll get pregnant again soon,” “Why are you still so sad?” are upsetting.

Instead, it’s best for family members and friends to just listen and be non-judgmental. The best response is often as simple as “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

It’s also helpful to recall and remember the baby who died. Refer to the baby by name. One of the greatest concerns that grieving parents have is that their child will be forgotten. Grieving parents want and need acknowledgment that their baby existed. That they are parents and their baby mattered and is remembered.

Join us

Our Looking Ahead Bereaved Parents Support Group is a drop-in group, so pre-registration isn’t necessary. Parents can come to just one group, or attend monthly. The group is facilitated by Judy Kotzen, LMSW, a medical social worker at Beaumont Health.

  • When: The second Tuesday of every month from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak in the Administration Building West (AB-West) at 3601 W 13 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, Michigan 48073. Enter in the Administration Building’s main entrance, then follow the signs to the private dining room on the first floor.
  • Parking: Park in the South Deck (green)

For additional information

Please contact Judy Kotzen at (248) 898-7219.


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