Stop Walking on Eggshells:
Working with Resistant, Angry, and Emotionally Volatile Youth
This practical workshop teaches how to work with teenagers who show little interest in sitting in a room and discussing their ‘problems’ with an unfamiliar adult. Many of these clients come only because they are told to, and have many ways to communicate their disinterest in therapy, or even their contempt for the process. Learn how to avoid the traps of becoming too careful or self-conscious with the rejecting teenage client or, alternatively, of trying too hard to make the therapy work.
Dr. Edgette shows how to orchestrate individual and family sessions that genuinely appeal to these kids and offer them dignified, face-saving ways out of their problems. The workshop stresses that holding teenagers accountable for their actions and choices is just as important as providing compassion for their plights, and helps attendees manage impasses and confrontations while keeping the therapeutic relationship intact. It also covers working collaboratively with parents, teachers, and other third parties who may have unrealistic expectations about how therapy can work. Numerous case examples from Dr. Edgette’s practice are used to illustrate how to intervene in ways that avert power struggles and ‘going-nowhere’ conversations that frustrate therapists and bore their young clients.
(this is available as a one or two day workshop)
Helping Kids Who Never Asked for Your Help in the First Place:
Counseling Reluctant, Defiant, Indulged, or Otherwise Challenging Teens
Adolescent clients who don’t want therapy have no bones about showing it. This message being heard, therapists are left to solve the following conundrum: how do you provide services to teenagers who don’t think they need them? And, given that therapy can’t be forced, how can a clinician thread the needle between becoming too careful with a volatile or a rejecting teen and too urgent with a dangerously troubled kid in denial? Surprisingly, in spite of the fact that not coming of one’s own volition changes how therapy will appeal to a person, there are few resources informing clinicians about the adjustments in counseling style, timing, personal manner, and expectation that can make it easier for adolescents become interested in something they never asked for in the first place. This workshop is about working more effectively and comfortably with teenagers and children who are in a room with you only because someone told them they had to be.
The model departs from those stressing therapists’ efforts to quickly establish rapport. Instead, therapist credibility is seen as a more important factor in whether or not the therapy will be successful. This model teaches that only when young clients recognize their therapists as credible figures will they respect them, and only when they respect them will they allow themselves to hear something new. Therapists lose credibility when they try too hard to capture the adolescent’s attention, or allow the outcome to become more important to them than to the client
Participants will learn how to establish themselves as genuine, credible adults whose positive influence stems not primarily from directives but from their person, perspective, patience, frank advice, apparent respect for the teen, or ability to own an unpopular opinion, among other things. The workshop also stresses that holding teens accountable for their actions and choices is just as important as providing compassion for their plights, and teaches participants how to help parents who blindly overindulge their kids or who, when trying to set limits, are intimidated by their implied or real threats to make things a whole lot worse. This workshop uses many case examples and video clips to demonstrate how to tread a delicate balance between the support and confrontation, forthrightness and patience, and humor and resolve needed to make a real impact upon what has, historically, been a challenging client population.
(this is available as a one or two day workshop)
Helping Parents Meet the Challenges of 21st Century Parenting:
A Different Pathway to Helping Our Nation’s Youth
If kids today seem more insensitive, self-absorbed, entitled, and dismissive of adult authority than they used to be, it might be because social and cultural pressures have made it very difficult to truly parent our children. Frenetic lifestyles, endemic over-scheduling, the breakdown of traditional hierarchies, excessive informality in social relations, and the cultural idealization of youth all combine to create a perfect storm swamping parental authority and control. Come explore what therapists and parents must do to connect meaningfully with kids and earn their trust, while regaining adult authority. You’ll learn how to talk to kids in ways they understand and respond to, and how to help them articulate what they want to tell us. You’ll also hone your ability to mediate between warring parents and their children, and empower parents to take back their proper roles without having to resort to authoritarian styles and power plays.
(this is a half day workshop)
Family Therapy with Angry, Emotionally Volatile, and Resistant Adolescents:
Being on Everybody’s Side at the Same Time
This half day workshop focuses on brief, intensive adolescent therapy where most or all of the sessions are conducted with the adolescent and his or her parent(s) together. The emphasis is on teaching how therapists can move freely and credibly among the different parties, alternately joining, challenging, defending, confronting - all within the same session. Problems to be addressed include chronic conflict, disrespect, school failure/apathy, parent inflexibility, and problems with accountability.
(this is available as a half day or one day workshop)
For Parents and Educators
Stop Walking On Eggs Around Your Moody, Angry, or Manipulative Teenager:
Effective Strategies for Firm, Dignified, Compassionate Parenting
Parents with headstrong, moody, angry, or manipulative teenagers often have difficulty managing the extreme emotional reactions they can get from their kids. This especially holds true when they try to hold them accountable for their choices regarding behavior, attitude, and home and school responsibilities. Reactive teenagers frequently then “punish” their parents for their firm parenting by becoming angrier, moodier, giving them the silent treatment, or otherwise making family life more difficult. The parent then begins a pattern of avoiding conflict by soft-pedaling his or her expectations, often followed by a lapse in responsibility on the part of the teenager.
Discover how you can
recover your authority without becoming authoritarian
display empathy toward your teenager when he or she is troubled without allowing it to become an excuse for not following through with responsibilities
establish appropriate limits of behavior and reasonable consequences for noncompliance
encourage better habits without nagging, reminding, or bickering
This community presentation, co-sponsored by The Markham Hospital and Unionville High School, and held in the Markham Theater in Toronto, Canada on November 14, 2007, was sold out weeks in advance. It was attended by 500 parents. Another three hundred were turned away.
Newscast and interview, Dr. Edgette speaking to over 500 parents of the Markham Stouffville Hospital and Unionville High School parenting community outside Toronto, Canada, November 2007
Am I Helping, or Am I Enabling??
Helping versus Enabling the Troubled or Learning-Disabled Adolescent
Teenagers who are compromised by emotional troubles, learning disabilities, or physical disabilities often present extra challenges to parents, educators, and clinicians who try to find that good middle ground between expecting too much and not expecting enough. They wonder about such things as: how hard to push; what are the signs that they’re pushing too much; how to tell whether he really can’t do it or just won’t do it; and what to do when they start feeling resentful or angry. This workshop/talk teaches how parents, educators, and clinicians can be supportive while at the same time hold kids accountable for their choices. It stresses adaptation and flexibility, and cautions adults about the compromising effects of over-accommodating troubled or disabled youngsters.
Children who want their way and expect to be able to have it strain the skills and patience of even the most capable of parents, teachers, counselors, and child care workers. They scream, stamp, sulk, whine, procrastinate, or argue back relentlessly, and seem unresponsive to reason. Adults intervene but become frustrated at their inability to affect any kind of enduring change. This half-day workshop/seminar addresses the difficulties encountered by those caring for young kids (4-12 years) with explosive tempers, sulky manners, and other poor ways of dealing with frustration, as well as those kids with learning, attentional, and other neurophysiological disabilities. It teaches a broad range of practical strategies for preventing, interrupting, and curbing the behavior, and for enhancing personal accountability within the child.
Ideas for Keynote Talks and Interactive Discussion Groups
Stop Walking On Eggshells Around Your Volatile Child or Teenager!
Argumentative and over-reactive kids are very good at getting parents to back off their limit-setting and their requests for responsible, respectable behavior. Hear about some ways that parents can effectively influence and confront their children or teens while holding them more accountable for their choices and attitudes.
Discover Your Parenting Blind Spots! Seven Common Parenting Habits to Avoid For Raising Happy, Secure, Responsible Kids
Many parents devoted to raising happy, secure, responsible children are surprised when their child displays characteristics or behaviors that depart radically from what they were expecting. Here are several common “blind spots” that parents often fall prey to, leaving them to wonder how such nice, intelligent people have on their hands such a “difficult” child.
A Generation Indulged:
Re-instilling Accountability and Social Awareness in America’s Adolescents
Many parents, educators, and social scientists are commenting that teenagers get away with too much these days, and are asked for too little back. Hear about some down-to-earth ways to reverse – and prevent - this trend of self-indulgence in our young people, and re-instill values of responsibility, generosity, compassion, and the appreciation of family and community.
Raising the Bar On Dumbed-Down Family Life:
Expecting More from Your Kids and Getting It
Many parents, expecting resistance or argumentation from their children in response to requests to be a more responsible or involved member of the family, learn to make fewer demands or accept a lesser standard of behavior or participation than they would prefer. Hear some tips on how parents can address this common dilemma, and begin to shape their family life in a more positive and satisfying direction.