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drdatkisson, socook
Debra is a child psychiatrist; Sharon is a family therapist. Both work together with parents and families.
Interests: We work with parents and families on issues related to family functioning, parenting, and relationships. We believe healthy family functioning is vital to healthy development in children and teens.
Recent Activity
Teens are very skilled at using technology and electronics. I have heard a number of them say that being able to use technology is essential for success at school and work. And I believe that they are right. Technology provides many positives; as parents, we also have to be aware of the negatives. Positive aspects of technology include the ability to research information quickly, which helps with learning and school assignments. Communication using texting occurs with many teens - the upside of this is that they can develop relationships with peers and also can update parents about daily schedule changes.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2014 at Parenting with All the Pieces
School will be out soon. How do we help our teens prepare for summer? First - help your teen "wrap up" the final details of school. Final exams, projects, etc. should all be given full attention. Next discuss with your teen if he has any goals for the summer - what he would like to be able to say he has done before going back to school. And help hi think of activities that would help him learn and would also benefit others. Volunteering for agencies is an excellent way for teens to develop more skills while being worthwhile contributors... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2014 at Parenting with All the Pieces
RESPECT is a concept which is so important to teach our teens, especially in a time and place where respect no longer seems very important. An old-fashioned value which in our politically correct world takes a back-seat to spin factors, respect nevertheless is a value upon our country was built. via Continue reading
Reblogged Mar 28, 2014 at Parenting with All the Pieces
How does bullying start? Sherri wrote in her last blog that bullying is present in our society in many places. She gives examples where adults are bullying other adults as well as children. And her observations certainly make a lot of sense. People learn bullying by example. What often comes before bullying besides the example set? I think criticism is the precursor of bullying. Adults - and teens - will criticism someone harshly and then wait to see how they respond. People who are intimidated by harsh criticism can become a target for bullying. And once the bullying has occurred,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2014 at Parenting with All the Pieces
We live in a bullying society. Not absolutely everyone or everything but we all experience this in our daily lives either directly or indirectly. Do you ever watch David Letterman or his spin offs. There is bullying. Parents bully their children. Principals bully their teachers. Coaches, enough said. Certainly politicians. Talk show hosts. Bosses. The list is long. I am very concerned about the bullying of children but I have come to believe that until or unless we address how we, as a society, treat our fellow humans we cannot stop school children from their bullying. Look around on a... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
In a few weeks your teens will be out of school and ready to celebrate the holidays. The reality is that many of our teens are "checking out" now from school due to holiday excitement. How do we help them stay focused and also enjoy this time of year? Help your teens by talking to them about a schedule for the next few weeks while they finish school assignments and study for mid-term exams. Make sure they have something fun to look forward to each week - which will help them do the school-related tasks they need to do. One... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
We have talked about this before - but school is about to be out once again for summertime! Are you ready? Are your teens ready? How do you get prepared for the end of school? Help your teen organize himself for final exams and the completion of final projects. As we know, mentally checking out of school before school is actually over can have painful consequences academically. Another important project at this time is to review any plans you have made about summer schedules, work, camp, and other expectations such as community service for summer. Be certain to celebrate with... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
Sherri wrote a blog about what's wrong with our teen not long ago. She wrote about the trauma that our teens have been exposed to in their lives: 9/11, economic stressors, no guarantee of a job even with higher education. All of these extreme stressors have had an impact on our teens and young adults and how they view their future - and how they view the world now. The world no longer seems like a safe and secure place and there are no guarantees of working hard will help shape your future. Or is it? As parents our primary... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
Spring break starts next week for many students; for others, their break will be the following week. Your teen has been excited about this break and is just ready to be out of school for a while. What activities do your teens engage in during Spring Break? Sleeping late in the morning is usually at the top of the list. Teens also wish to spend time with their friends - often just hanging out at a friend's home. Some families travel during this time. Spring break should be a time for fun and relaxation. Your teen needs a break after... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
We are ending the first weekend in March. Even in areas of the country where the weather is cold, people have started thinking about spring. Teens are especially excited because spring means that summer is just around the corner. Spring signifies growth and change. All of us are looking forward to warmer weather after winter. Many of us welcome the change of spring. Your teen has pressures at this time of year, however. What are some of the challenges of spring for teens? The last nine weeks of school are characterized by spring break, projects to complete, final exams. For... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
I find many families are in the throes of looking at colleges. Either their teen is a high school junior or a senior or they are choosing from the places where they have been accepted. Either way; this is a big decision to be made by the teenagers. Sort of scary isn't it. Too often I talk with college students that didn't make it at their first college. At times the choice of college was what the parents wanted. This is what I think parents need to tell their kids about college choices: This is the amount of money we... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
Today I listened to most of or all of a NPR show on the Millennia generation. I have looked at this before but was impressed about the new take on the issues prevalent with this generation. I have tended to see the theory that this is a very narcissistic generation and the future looked very bleak. This report talked about the trauma they have experienced in their life time with 9-11 and Columbine. They have known 2 wars and an economic collapse. We may need a new template to look at how they see the future and their part in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
Like it or not, our teens are watching our behaviors. Boys look to their fathers to teach them how to behave in many areas of their lives. Girls look to their fathers to learn what are positive attributes in a man. And both boys and girls look at their parent's interactions to learn about relationships. So how do we become positive role models for our teens? I say "Let them catch us being good." We should think about our interactions and words being viewed, and we should behave in a way that we want our teens to behave. We should... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
There are times in our life when things are going poorly. This could be a financial issue, work related, marital stress, a health issue, or a host of many other things. In our role of parenting this requires special handling. Usually, our children do not need to know the details of our struggle. They may see us crying, or hear parents fighting. It is reasonable to let them know that even moms and dads have difficult days at times. You might relate it to a struggle they have had with a peer or sibling. You should reassure them that they... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
I see many teens in my practice. I find that usually I have to spend part of my time with each one boosting their self-worth. Even though they may appear to be arrogant or self-absorbed; they are frequently not as confident under the surface. I find one simple solution is to provide them with lots and lots of positives. Positive comments need to be authentic and specific. We probably need to be doing this with everyone in our lives we find important to us but especially with our children. There are other things that make a difference. Pay attention to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
When a marriage cannot be repaired there are times when divorce in imminent. Whether we are looking at small children or teenagers divorce is stressful for the kids. First of all, kids of whatever age need to know what will happen to them. Where will I live, when will I see each parent. What about holidays and my birthday. How will I get money for college? This is not selfish on the part of the children but simply practical. Children do not need to know that reason for the divorce. Parents should never, never use kids as a sounding board.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
Since I work with teenagers and their families we are frequently looking at issues related to trust. Parents need to be able to trust their teenagers and this is likely an ongoing process. It is also not a straight line. There are peaks and valleys. As the parents we need to not get to the place where we say "I will never trust you again" or the often used "I cannot trust you until you are 30". When there is a violation of trust we need to put in place a "plan" to rebuild that trust. That means you may... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
Like it or not, all of serve as a role model for our teens. By our behavior, we exhibit ways of coping with difficult issues as well as model how to live life. We are either a positive example or a negative example. All of us have bad days. Have you ever thought that teaching your teen how to deal with a bad day may actually be helping him with his own struggles? Being a positive role model does not mean that you always look happy as a way to teach your teen. Being a positive role model does mean,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
RESPECT is a concept which is so important to teach our teens, especially in a time and place where respect no longer seems very important. An old-fashioned value which in our politically correct world takes a back-seat to spin factors, respect nevertheless is a value upon our country was built. What do I mean? Respect for others means listening politely when they express ideas with which you do not agree. Respect describes a code of conduct where you value other people's right to think differently, to worship differently, and to live differently from the way in which you conduct yourself.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
It is not uncommon to hear parents talk to me about feeling disappointed about something their teenager has done. This can be about grades, a decision they have made or many other things. Sometimes the "thing" is really big and sometimes it just feels really big. Either way it is something that needs to be discussed. We often have to remind ourselves about adolescence. Teenagers don't usually do something just to disappoint parents. However, it may feel like that at times. The decision making process is just not finished yet and they make decisions that are not thought out well.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
I see a number of teenagers and their families. I think trust becomes a very big issue. Of course there is the usual of being able to trust your kid. But trust is bigger than that. I think the relationship that needs to be developed is one where each can trust the other's reactions. Teenagers need to know that their parents will not "go ballistic" when they mess up. They need to understand that their parents have their back. Not, no matter what, but that when they are wronged they are there for them without taking over and when they... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
Anger and critical thinking - how can those possibly coexist? You cannot have good critical thinking and problem-solving skills when you are angry. And this is the very reason you must work with your teen to help him or her with learning to manage his anger. Being emotionally overwhelmed whether one is anger or anxious stops the ability to think through a problem and find a solution. So how do you help your teen with this? The first thing to do is to model for your teen how you handle being angry. If your teen sees you handle anger in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
Sometimes I am inclined to post about thoughts that get triggered by events in my office. This week I have seen more than one family presenting with a teenager who has anger management issues at home. This can be a significant issues in families but it is more complicated in cases like these where one parent (or in some cases both parents) also have an anger management issues at home. I feel I have no credibility with a teenager when I discuss managing their feeling of anger better when there is a parent that does not. When you go to... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
I must confess I have taken a little unscheduled break from blogging. I guess I just got into the hubbub of the holidays and neglected this blog. I am back to the real world now. So how did your adolescents survive the holidays? We recently took down the holiday decoration in my house. I always have mixed feeling; hating to see them gone and being grateful that life gets back to normal. I think that is true for all of us just in our lives and finding the end to the holidays. Our kids are getting back to school and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 7, 2013 at Parenting with All the Pieces
Two days before Christmas - and your teens are out of school for holiday break and most likely showing some enthusiasm about having time off and being able to do "what I want." The upcoming week will be one in which families all across our country will be spending some time together. How will you spend your time with your teen? Sherri and I have talked about establishing Christmas traditions if you do not have any. Establishing a Christmas tradition can be an easy simple thing to do - provided you keep doing the activity each year. Someone asked me... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2012 at Parenting with All the Pieces