June 25, 2012

The Summer Series: Katie Hurley

My guest today has had such a positive effect on my parenting. Katie has encouraged me think about how I want to interact with my child. She does this through the example she sets as a parent and through her work as a parenting expert. She has helped me be a better mom, for which I am grateful.

I'm thrilled to have Katie as a guest on my blog today. If you like what you read - and I know you will - be sure to visit her blog for more!

Thank you so much to Elizabeth for having me over for a little Q and A today. A blogging play date is always fun, and I look forward to meeting some new friends today.

Tell us a little about your work with children and families…

I won’t bore you with the details of my entire career (I don’t want to lose you on the first question, after all), but I have been working with children and families for many years. For quite some time, I worked in a non-public school for children with Learning Disabilities. I began my career there as a Therapist, and was later named the Clinical Director of the program.

Because I can never seem to stop working, I started a private practice as well. In my practice, I focus on individual counseling with children and adolescents, as well as family therapy. I have also been known to run some social skills groups and teach parenting classes in my spare time.

Spare time? What’s that?

Today I maintain a very small practice, as I enjoy having the time to focus on my two little ones. For me, it’s the best of both worlds.

I do a fair amount of play therapy in my practice, but I also work with many adolescents who need help with anxiety, depression, and social skills. Parenting education and therapy plays a vital role in helping the parents of children and adolescents who are struggling in school, in the community, and at home.

What is your overall philosophy on/approach to parenting? 

All you need is love.

Ok, maybe I simplified that just a bit. But the sentiment rings true.

There are a lot of parenting manuals, theories, and approaches out there today. Everyone, it seems, has the answer. But the truth is that you know your child better than anyone. You know your family dynamics better than anyone. You might learn a few strategies or find a theory that speaks to you within the pages of a book, but even a very well written book can’t raise your child for you.

Parenting is a lot of trial and error. You have to find what works for your child and your family.

Each child is a unique little individual. Although they play together beautifully (most of the time, anyway), my daughter and son are completely different when it comes to personality. This is a wonderful thing! But I do need to treat them as the individuals that they are. Not everything that works for my daughter will work for my son. That’s an important part of parenting that often gets overlooked.

There are a few things that do work pretty much across the board, though:

  • Teach your child to self soothe so that she can back to sleep independently. But be there for her until she masters this difficult skill, and when she regresses. It happens. 
  • Kids crave structure. Give it to them. 
  • Kids need boundaries. Set a good example. 
  • Limits are a good thing. 
  • Everything in moderation. TV and apple juice are not the enemy. 
  • Kids need downtime, and they need to learn how to decompress during that downtime. Help them learn to do this. 
  • Choose your battles. When was the last time you saw an 18 year old with a pacifier in his mouth or a lovey in his hand? 
  • Praise and patience will get you everywhere. 
  • Always accept an invitation to play. 
  • All children need love, empathy, and kindness. Every. Single. Day. 

You see? All you need is love. It’s simple, really.

Katie has a lot of great stuff to share! So much, in fact, that I decided to continue this post on Wednesday. Please come back and read the rest of my interview with her. And thank you so much, Katie, for participating in my Summer Series!

To be continued...

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