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The Bounce-Back Kid: 3 steps to a happy and resilient child

When you ask any parent off the street what they want for their kids, my guess is that at least 9 out of 10 would say they want their kids to be happy. But the way that I dissect that wish in my mind does not equate to kids who are protected from everything, never suffer, and never go through hardships. In fact, a kid who can bounce back from challenges might be the happiest kind of kid. Wouldn’t you agree? 

What’s a Bounce-Back Kid? 

After 9/11, the American Psychological Association (APA) created an initiative to bring public awareness to the concept of resilience. APA (2003) defines resilience as “the human ability to adapt in the face of tragedy, trauma, adversity, hardship, and ongoing significant life stressors.” There is a common misperception that resilience is dichotomous— a have or have not— but it’s just not true. Some kids may have the bounce-back of a rubbery bounce-y ball while others’ bounce may be more like that of a tennis ball, but either way, these are kids that demonstrate a pretty high degree of resilience.

Raising a Kid with Bounce

It is true that some kids are just born with a bit more bounce than others. For example, intelligence, which does have some genetic loading, seems to act as a a buffer. Research has also identified several other predictors of resilience, too, that a parent can surely help support.  

Sees the bright side:

A bounce-back kid of the highest degree typically copes using humor. That’s right. Belly laughs aren’t just fun, they’re practical. People who are able to see the bright side of things seem to be able to un-do some of the negativity they might feel after a stressful event. They also happen to be better at gaining support from others. How can a parent support this? Don’t take yourself too seriously. That is, be willing to laugh at yourself. Being able to see the bright side can also translate into gratitude which has gained lots of attention in the last decade as a mood booster. 

Sense of competence:

One of my favorite concepts to teach others about is Carol Dweck’s growth mindset. As a society, we seem to have become uncomfortable with struggle. A growth mindset not only teaches the bright side to struggle, but embraces challenges as a learning opportunity. A bounce-back kid isn’t deterred when the going gets tough. The bounce-back kid is determined because she believes in herself. How can a parent support this? A caregiver who can step aside while a child figures something out, providing support when needed, but not interfering when their child demonstrates developmentally-appropriate struggling, sends an important message. This caregiver communicates to their child, “I believe in you and see you as capable” and this is a lesson that children take to heart.

Social strengths:

A bounce-back kid is a kid who knows that at least one parent cares about her. The warmth of a parent and a health attachment are tied to all kinds of goodness that will result in better emotional regulation and friendship-making skills in a child. How can a parent support this? We know that parents who have social support are more sensitive to their kids and cope better with irritable kids. Yet, parents can be so self-sacrificing. Seek support for yourself. This will absolutely have a positive impact on your parenting and it’s also good modeling to show your children that you’re willing to ask others for support. Secondly, set up times for your child to practice their social skills. If you have a child who struggles socially, set up really low pressure play dates that are sure to set up your child for success— ones that involve a structured activity perhaps and ones with another child who you know is patient and kind. 

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

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8 Steps to Reaching a Goal

It’s the New Year! A clean slate. Many of us approach the New Year with BIG DREAMS. We might even set goals. But if you are anything like me, you may have had the experience of running out of steam, losing motivation, getting discouraged and even giving up. I decided to do some research with the hopes of creating better outcomes for 2019. I learned that creating habits is the best way to support reaching a goal. The trick is how do we create habits that support the goals we want to achieve?

Here’s 8 Steps To Developing A New Habit: 

Get Clear. Identify want you want to achieve, make sure the goal is realistic for you. If you’re not a morning person, it’s probably not a good idea to set a goal to work out 30 minutes at the gym every morning. 

Start Small.  Achieving just one small goal multiplies your potential to succeed by increasing your motivation. You are more likely to achieve a small goal. When you meet your goal you will start to feel better. As the quality of you life improves, this will motivate you to do it more. 

Identify the Why. By clearly outlining the ways the new habit will improve the quality of your life or contribute to the well being of your family or  community, you will generate passion and motivation. Identify
reasons that inspire you. 

Pair the New Habit with a Daily Habit You Already Have. Daily habits that you might pair your new habit with might include brushing your teeth, getting the kids up, or making your coffee. Pairing up your new habit with something that is already established in your routine makes it more likely to stick. 

Decide on A Reward. The reward doesn’t have to necessarily be big, maybe just throwing your hands up in the air and saying “YES” could be enough. Make the reward fun. Positive reinforcement does work. 

Pick a Tracking Mechanism. Print out a monthly calendar or download an app. Keep your tracking choice simple and doable. Make it visible where you will see it regularly. 

Create A Cue. Cues help us remember to perform our new habit. A sticky note reminder or laying out clothes or other supplies needed to complete the activity are examples of cues that will prevent avoidance and support motivation. 

Identify an Accountability Partner. Finding someone to join in or to connect with around your new habit can be very helpful. 

For those of you who might be interested in a deeper level of support, please join us for the next Nurtured Mothering Series starting January 21 where we will support one another to create and meet our intentions in 2019.

For more information on Goal Setting and Creating Habits check out:

Habits 101 Workbook by Brian Johnson

Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in inspiring children, young adults and families to live in health and joy and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminars, wellness classes, occupational therapy, and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support in turning your goals into reality, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written By: Navneet Lahti, Wellness Director and Child & Family Therapist, at Intuition Wellness Center


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7 Better Ways to Bolster Your Child’s Self-Esteem

I’ve seen it time and time again. A desperate parent tells me that they don’t understand why their child is struggling with low self-esteem. This is despite the fact that they are able to name many wonderful things about their child and are constantly showering their child with praise.

Here’s the trouble: praising a child regularly and in non-specific ways simply does not lead to children who are more secure and self-assured. In actuality, a child who is often praised may become dependent on others’ evaluations of them as evidence of their value. In some cases, they may feel like a complete imposter— as if others are misjudging their ability.

7 Better Ways to Bolster Your Child’s Self-Esteem:

  1. Be sincere with praise. When you do praise, hand it out sparingly and honestly and focus on effort (think process, not product). This will give it more meaning in the child’s eyes.
  2. Assign household tasks and chores. By doing so, the message you give is “we trust you to do important tasks and you have a crucial role in the functioning of the family.”
  3. Allow for child-directed time. If screens are turned off and a child is given free time with regularity, the child will naturally work on gaining or proving mastery over a challenging situation.
  4. Include them in family decisions. Ask them for their opinion when it’s age-appropriate, such as which of the two dinner options they suggest or which curtains they prefer for the living room. They’ll appreciate that their opinion is valued.
  5. Avoid comparing to others. Drawing comparisons between your child and their peers, siblings and anyone for that matter is a delicate matter that sets them up to feel as though they are valued only when better than others. It’s better to teach them to use themselves as the baseline comparison.
  6. Be constructive. If your child does something you don’t like, avoid focusing on the negative and, instead, simply tell them what you would like them to do instead next time.
  7. Encourage interests. Seeking out opportunities to cultivate your child’s talents and interests demonstrates to them that their uniqueness is important and allows for them to further develop competencies.

At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. If you think you need some extra support, call us. We offer parent groups and other supportive services. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written By: Brandy Baker, PsyD

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Taekwondo Wellness Therapy Group Announcement

We have exciting news about a new Taekwondo Wellness therapy group for kids ages 7 and up that will be starting on May 24, 2016 at Intuition Wellness Center. We are currently accepting referrals for kids, teens, and adults who may benefit from an alternative approach to overcoming emotional, behavioral, and social challenges. The cost will be $35 per 60 minute group session. We are a provider for BCBS insurance and group therapy services may be billable. Please note that this can be an adjunct to current counseling services or a standalone service for clients.
Please call 520-333-3320 to register or visit us online to learn more about Taekwondo Wellness therapy groups and other services we provide. Here are two flyers, one for kids TKD and the other for teens and adults TKD. Please feel free to email ( or call (520-333-3320) if you have any questions about Taekwondo Wellness therapy groups. Below is a bit more info about Taekwondo Wellness.

Taekwondo Wellness Difference

What sets Taekwondo Wellness apart from your typical Taekwondo school? We incorporate three distinct services into our classes that are aimed at helping youth, adults and their families improve their mental health and family and peer dynamics. The first key component is psycho-education, which teaches psychological hygiene, coping skills, and social skills. The second key component is parent coaching that helps families improve their communication and interactions with their kids and others. Mindfulness meditation is the third key component, which is incorporated into each session to take advantages of its many benefits such as improved attention span, pain relief, and decreases in anxiety to name a few.

Taekwondo Wellness Core Curriculum

  • Clinical Interview & Treatment Plan: Participants will each be evaluated by one of our clinicians who will help identify mental health needs and treatment plan.
  • Taekwondo Philosophy: Students will learn about the core Taekwondo principles and how yin jang concepts of Taoism can be applied to our daily lives to reach a state of harmony.
  • Poomsae: Students will learn and practice a set pattern of defensive and offensive techniques as a means of improving power, speed, and balance while striving for self refinement.
  • One Step & Self Defense: Students will learn to apply Taekwondo blocking and striking techniques to real-life situations building self-esteem and sense of security.
  • Olympic Style Sparring: Intermediate rank students will learn sparring rules, skills, and strategies of Taekwondo sparring while developing good sportsmanship, coordination, balance, self control, and self-reliance.
  • Board Breaking: Students will learn to focus their minds and overcome fear to achieve feats of strength and build confidence.
  • Physical Fitness: Through rigorous exercises using interval training students will see improvements in their endurance and strength as well as managing their weight.
  • Flexibility Training: Students will practice stretching regularly for improved range of motion not only for higher kicks but for its physical and stress relieving benefits as well.
  • Psycho-education & Mental Training: Students will learn about self talk, goal setting, and energy, stress and anger management in addition to other psychological issues and risk factors.
  • Parent Coaching: Parents observing class will get parenting tips and learn how to manage or redirect unwanted child or adolescent behavior.
  • Meditation: Students will learn and practice mindfulness meditation for its physical and psychological benefits, including stress, pain, and mood management.
  • Body Awareness: Students will became aware of their bodily sensations and the difference between tension and relaxation, as well as, a better understanding of how stress can be stored in the body.
  • Fun: Last, but not least, is fun! Students will laugh, smile, and have lots of fun while practicing Taekwondo. Humor has been shown to have physical benefits such as boosting our immune systems and energy and diminishing pain, in addition to improving mood and relieving stress.

Written by Yoendry Torres, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

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The Best Gifts You Can Give Your Child

A quick Google search for “Christmas Gift for Child” and up pop websites advertising things such as Minecraft Lego sets that the distributor suggests can be combined with other sets to create a Minecraft world, Hot Wheel’s race tracks complete with 2 quick kick loops, Disney’s Frozen plastic dolls featuring a “multi-colored bodice,” black and silver ride-on cars described as “sleek” that are capable of achieving speeds of 12mph, and a slew of other fancifully packaged options that will, undoubtedly, grace the tree skirts and stockings of many American children this Christmas season. If Amazon’s website sees as much traffic this year as they did on Cyber Monday of 2013, sales will reach an average of 426 items purchased per second. The marketing masterminds behind kid’s toys and games will surely rake in billions again this year and many of us will do our part in supporting American economy this holiday season. But the best gifts in life really are free…

Dr. Baker’s Top Tips for Instilling a Healthy Sense of Self-Worth in Your Child:

  1. Be a Good Role Model. When speaking about yourself in front of your child, avoid self-deprecating statements. Instead, speak openly about what gives you purpose and your strengths. When you make a mistake or wish to improve on a skill, speak about what was learned from your experience, how your current knowledge will impact future choices and what you propose doing to improve on your skills.
  2. Recognize and Embrace Natural Talents. Given enough opportunities for shining moments, a child’s overall self-confidence can only go up. If you notice that your child is especially talented at science, for example, enroll her in a science camp or club where her talents will blossom and be appreciated by others. Especially for a child who has developed an unbalanced sense of herself as incapable, this will tip the scales back and help her recognize herself as a multi-faceted person with strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Set Him Up for Success. Remind yourself what expectations are realistic for your child, which may not be the same as what other kids his age are doing. While your neighbor’s 4-year-old may be capable of sitting still and keeping quiet while her mother makes a 10-minute phone call, many kids at this age may not be. Prepare your child for things that you know may be tricky for him, avoid situations where failure is inevitable and brainstorm ideas in advance as to what will help him persevere through difficult parts of his day that are just unavoidable.
  4. Give Her Responsibilities. By asking your child to contribute to the household in manageable and realistic ways, you send a message that she has valuable contributions to make and that you trust in her ability to   participate in meaningful ways. Choose tasks that she is already drawn to and has demonstrated an ability to complete successfully. Don’t worry about perfection and refrain from intervening too much to reinforce the message of trust.
At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in integrated behavioral health services and wellness programs for children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. We offer parent education seminarswellness classes and other supportive services. If you think you would like some extra support, call us. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.

Written by: Brandy Baker, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist

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