Category Archives: Uncategorized

Help! My Child Is Addicted To Video Games!

Technology can be wonderful. I mean, who doesn’t love ordering something on Amazon and have it be delivered the very next day?

But we are seeing that technology, and specifically video gaming, is quickly taking over a huge part of daily life. A typical family can find themselves in the living room, with each family member on their own personal device and there is little to no interaction. We want technology to expand our lives but it can easily slip into making our lives much smaller.

Video games are here to stay. The creators of the games have made them intentionally addictive so it is understandable why your child is enraged when you ask them to put the game away.

Ideally, when you buy your child their first game, you set up boundaries for playing time. For example, gaming is allowed after homework and any family chores are completed. And you also decide on the amount of time per day that your child is allowed to spend on gaming.

But if that ship has sailed, it is time for a family meeting. Express to your child that you miss spending time with them so you have made the decision that there will be less video game time. Expect your child to be angry at first and you may need to help your child to figure out what to do with the time that they previously spent gaming.

How do you know if your child spends too much time playing video games? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does my child play video games alone in order to avoid social interactions?
  2. Does my child play video games to avoid interacting with family members?
  3. Does my child use gaming as an escape from personal problems such as depression, anxiety, or homework struggles?
  4. Does my child have off-line friends?
  5. Is my child involved in after school activities?
  6. Does my child attend birthday parties and other social events?
  7. Are my child’s grades where they should be?

If your answers to these questions are causing you stress, let’s talk about it! I can offer you strategies to decrease your child’s video games use and increase family harmony. Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at

All my best,                                                                                                                                                                                 Jeri


Practice Increasing The Feeling Of Well-being!

I am a firm believer in a person’s ability to choose to be happy.  I recently read a book by Dr. Martin Seligman, a University of Pennsylvania psychology professor, titled, “Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being.”  Dr. Seligman suggests that well-being is more than just feeling happy: it is a feeling a contentment based on knowing your life is flourishing and has meaning. He suggests the following four exercises to increase your sense of well-being:

1. Be aware of your strengths. Write down a story about a time when you were your best. Think about what personal strengths you utilized: were you brave, honest, forgiving, a leader? Then think about how you can use your strengths more often in your life.  Dr. Seligman’s research revealed that people who knew, and used, their signature strengths had higher life satisfaction.

2. Find the good. Before you go to bed, take a moment to reflect on three things that went well that day – and why they happened. Make a decision to focus and attend to the good things in your life.

3. Express gratitude. Think about the people in your life who have been especially kind to you but that you may not have properly thanked. Call or email that person to let them know how much you appreciate their kindness. 

4. Respond intentionally. The next time someone you care about shares good news, actively and intentionally respond. Instead of a passive response like, “That’s great,” express genuine excitement and ask follow-up questions. Dr. Seligman suggests that good relationships and true engagement actively cultivate a person’s well being. Give these exercises a chance, an increased sense of well-being will be yours!

If you would like to talk about ways you can feel more content in your role as a parent, I am here to help! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at

All my best,                                                                                                                                                                 Jeri



5 Tips To Help Your Child or Teen To Develop Resilience

Children and teens – and lets be honest, adults too – need to be resilient.  We all need to develop strengths and acquire skills to cope with  life’s daily challenges, to bounce back from set-backs, and to prepare for future challenges. The following are 5 strategies to teach your child or teen to develop resilience.

1. One major obstacle to forming resilience is negativity. Negative thinking tends to make people look badly at people, actions and behaviors as well as attracting negative experiences. Teach your child to focus on the positive. Find the good in situations. After school, ask your child or teen to tell you the good things that happened during the day before discussing anything negative. 

2. Teach flexibility. Children and teens who are flexible adjust well to different ideas and changing situations. Teach your children to try different foods, listen to different kinds of music, experience different cultures, different social groups and different hobbies.

3. Teach responsibility. When your child or teem blames someone else or circumstances for a poor outcome, help your child or teen to understand that he or she gives another person or circumstance power over their life. Ask, “What can you do to feel better?” and “What can you learn from this?”

4. Tell your child or teen that there is always a choice. In every situation, a person has a choice about what to do, how to respond, and how to feel. For example, after a poor test grade, a person can feel sad and give up or, instead, get support and work on learning the materials while aiming for success.

5. Having a purpose is an important factor of resilience. The easiest way to explain purpose is to talk about the big picture, the big world, about considering others and about making a difference. Encourage your child to give their time for the greater good of society. Children can help by volunteering their time or skill to what they consider a good cause and use the resulting good feelings as their reward.

If you would like to learn more about teaching your child or teen about resilience,  I am here to help! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at

All my best,                                                                                                                                                                   Jeri 

Need a little pep talk?

February can be such a dreary month, filled with gray and rainy days. The storm this weekend truly made things worse; my home was without power for the past three days. When the power was restored this morning, I was filled with such joy and relief. I will never take a hot shower again without feeling profoundly grateful!

I am a lover of motivational quotes and I find that a good quote can provide the pep talk I need to stay positive. A few of my favorites that got me through this weekend:

Inhale courage, exhale fear.

Staying positive doesn’t mean things will turn out ok. Rather, it means that you will be ok no matter how things turn out.

Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine.

When something goes wrong, just yell “plot twist” and move on!

“Just believe in yourself. Even if you don’t, pretend you do and at some point you will” – Venus Williams

Life doesn’t get easier, you get stronger.

And the very best one:

Not to spoil the ending, but everything is going to be ok.

Soon it will be spring! If you are feeling the February doldrums, let’s talk! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at

All my best,                                                                                                                                                              Jeri




Anxiety and School Avoidance

I have had a number of parents tell me, “My child refuses to go to school. And he is too big for me to make him get in the car and go!”   It can be overwhelming and frustrating when your child refuses to go school. School refusal, or school avoidance, typically presents itself in the following scenarios:

1.) The student attends school in the morning but leaves during the course of the day.

2.) The student awakes and experiences intense internalized behavior (stomach aches, nausea, headaches) or intense externalized behavior (crying, screaming, tantrums) when told he or she must go to school.  These behaviors disappear as soon as the child is told he or she can stay home.

28% of school age children will struggle to attend school due to anxiety at some point during their education.   This behavior is as common among boys as girls with the most common age of school attendance issues in students who are 10-13 years old. Peaks are also seen at times of transitions such as 5-6 (starting kindergarten), 11-12 (starting middle school) and 14-15 (starting high school).

There are generally four common reasons for school refusal or avoidance.  First, the student is starting a new school. Two, the student wants to avoid a distressing school situation such as a test or oral presentation, a school field trip or the school bus. Third, the student wants to escape an uncomfortable peer interaction. And fourth, the student is fearful of the parent’s safety or desires to receive attention from parents by being at home.

There are varying degrees of school avoidance or refusal:

Initial School Avoidance Behavior:  a brief period, resolves without intervention.

Substantial School Avoidance Behavior:  occurs for a minimum of two weeks.

Acute School Avoidance Behavior:  two weeks to one year, a consistent issue.

Chronic School Avoidance Behavior: interferes with two or more academic years.

What to do if your child refuses to go to school?  The best strategy is to do your best to keep your child in school.  When you allow your child to stay at home because he or she is anxious, you reinforce the anxiety by conveying that the anxiety-provoking event should be avoided.  You can assist your child to manage the anxiety by helping them learn self-regulation skills such as deep breathing, mindfulness, using squeeze balls or worry stones. Often a cognitive behavioral therapist can assist your child to learn positive self-talk and to learn social skills through lessons and role play.  Parents can assist by establishing consistent evening and morning routines as well as using rewards for attendance. If your child has avoided school for more than two weeks, an evaluation by a mental health professional may be necessary.

If your child is refusing to attend school and you are at your wit’s end, please contact me, I can help! Please call me at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at 

All the best,                                                                                                                                                                            Jeri