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Adolescent and Child Psychologist Edmonton

ABC Psychological Services


Are You Raising a Gifted Child?

Posted on October 22, 2015 at 3:08 PM Comments comments (2092)

Each baby born is a unique canvas with a beautiful life to paint ahead. Each present their own strengths and weaknesses. Some need a bit of assistance to meet milestones and thrive, while others overachieve in the most surprising areas. If your child is unusually alert, even as an infant, and has an excellent memory, then he or she may be what is known as a “gifted child.” 

These two traits alone do not define gifted children, but these rapid learners exhibit skills that have adults both astonished and thrilled on a daily basis. Though being highly intelligent certainly has its perks, the world of a gifted child is often seen as too small, leading to frustration when the mind is not nurtured. If you believe that your child is gifted, you may benefit from visiting your local psychologist in Edmonton. 

Signs You May Be Raising a Gifted Child
Since every child is different, no two children are going to behave the same or present the same strengths and weaknesses. Children who are gifted might display a mere handful or all of the characteristics that psychologists have outlined. Most gifted children are rapid learners. They absorb information easily and display an unusually large vocabulary for their small age and are often writing in preschool. 

They find problem solving enjoyable, especially when they involve numbers or puzzles. Gifted children are very insightful and love to engage in conversation that involves modern social issues or politics. They are extremely curious about the world that they are living in. You might notice that your gifted child is a daydreamer and has a very vivid imagination. He or she may even have a few imaginary friends. This is a normal characteristic displayed by gifted children. Of course, this is not a complete list of traits; a psychologist in Edmonton can provide a more thorough assessment.

The World is Too Small, and Failure is Not an Option
Most children who are gifted are also highly emotional. This streams from a developing mind that is frustrated with the size of their world and the inability to figure it all out just yet. They are also very prone to anger or becoming overwhelmed when they do not succeed at a task. 

Gifted children are highly energetic. They need but a little sleep to function well and are commonly known as “chatterboxes.” Your gifted child probably asked 500 questions a day — this is nurturing the mind. Children who are gifted need consistency and emotional support to learn to cope with the parts of their mind that may work against them. 

Being gifted is a dynamic that is represented by all ethnicities, cultures and income levels. Your child’s gifted abilities can be nurtured into talent if the fact that he or she is gifted is caught early. If you believe that your child is gifted, visit our services page or contact a psychologist in Edmonton at ABC Psychological Services today.       

Healthy Food Choices for Your Child

Posted on May 8, 2015 at 3:06 PM Comments comments (383)

You are what you eat.  Truer words have probably never been spoken.  It may be hard to believe, but our diet and our preferences of certain food are all developed in our childhood.  With obesity rates at an all-time high and ADHD and other behaviours all linked to diet, it is never too early to introduce healthy food choices into your child’s diet.  Here are some tips to help get you started.
Limit Sugar
Sugar is being linked to more and more health risks for children and has even been linked to learning disabilities.  In Edmonton and other major city centers, sugar is quite readily available and is hidden in many foods.  If you begin to read the labels on any child snack, you may be shocked to see how much sugar is packed into your child’s favourite snack.
So how do you limit your child’s sugar intake?  Become more aware of the ingredients in the items you are purchasing from the grocery store.  Read the ingredient list and look for words such as high fructose corn syrup or golden syrup. These are both other names for sugar. Begin cutting back on any type of processed foods and try replacing these with more of a whole food alternative.  For instance, try replacing cookies with perhaps an apple or any other type of fruit. 
One of the quickest ways to reduce your child’s sugar intake is to replace sugary drinks, including juice, with more water, or by diluting the juice with water. Juices and other common drinks are full of sugar, and one glass can have three times the daily recommended amount for children. Remember, moderation is key.  Do allow sweets, but limit their amount and frequency.
Limit Salt
Just like sugar, there are guidelines around limiting salt.  Salt can lead to a plethora of health problems and is something that needs to be controlled.  To help regulate your child’s sodium intake, try cutting out or limiting processed and packaged foods.  Canned soups and frozen dinners such as pizza can be loaded with sodium.  Fast food is also high in salt and should be limited as well. 
To replace these dietary choices, opt instead for fresh or frozen vegetables rather than canned or cook at home instead of eating out.  Finally, cut back on salty snacks such as chips, pretzels and nuts.  These tips should help get your child into the recommended guidelines for sodium intake for their age.
By reducing both salt and sugar in your child’s diet, you can help your child make healthier food choices.  These healthy food choices can lead to more energy in your child, sharper minds and less moodiness.  A reduction of sugar and salt can allow your child to enjoy a lifelong relationship with healthy food choices and an opportunity to grow and develop into a healthy adolescents and adults. If you are seeing developmental or psychological issues in your child, be sure to contact us today.


Misbehaviors You Should Not Overlook

Posted on February 2, 2015 at 4:46 PM Comments comments (472)
Every child has “episodes,” periods that make parents want to tear out their hair in frustration. When your child acts out, refuses to listen or throws a temper tantrum, it can be embarrassing and infuriating. It is all you can do to remind yourself that it is normal and they will come out of it.
That being said, there are certain behaviors that you should not ignore. These could be signs of more serious issues, or could be a gateway to bigger problems.
Interruption during Conversation
When you are talking to your child or to someone else and your child interrupts you, it can be tempting to let them go. After all, they have not yet developed adult self-control and may just be excited or feel the need to clarify what you are saying. Allowing them to butt into conversations does not teach them to be considerate of others.
Make sure your child has clear boundaries. Educate them on consideration and social graces. Teach them to wait their turn to speak in a conversation.
Of course you want to watch out for kids fighting. When they are hitting, kicking or otherwise engaging in aggressive actions that could hurt others, this is inappropriate behavior. You should also watch out for smaller signs of aggression. Pinching, poking and shoving can quickly escalate into worse conflicts and bullying problems.
If your child is showing signs of physical aggression towards other kids, step in immediately. Ask them how they would like it if another child did the same thing to them? Educate them that hurting others is wrong and inappropriate. Teach them better ways to handle the situation; again, establish clear boundaries.
Defiance is a major problem among children. While it is natural for kids to push boundaries, this does not mean it is your place to give in. If you have to tell a child something several times before they obey, they get the message that ignoring you is okay. If they are constantly arguing or challenging you or others and get away with it, they learn that this is how to get their way.
When your child is being defiant, you should step in immediately. If they ignore you or argue when you give a command, walk over to them turn them around, and make them look you in the face as you tell them what you want. Then make them acknowledge you and comply, imposing a consequence for their actions if they do not.
These are just a few situations where poor behavior patterns can lead to larger problems. If your child is acting out and you are at your wits’ end, talking to a professional can help. If you need a child psychologist in Edmonton, give us a call today.


Be Nicer to Your Kids

Posted on December 17, 2014 at 10:26 AM Comments comments (601)

Parenthood is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. The first time you look at a new life that you created, your entire world changes.
Parents are only human and they have bad days. The problem is that when your bad day bleeds over to verbal cruelty to your kids, you can negatively affect their health and wellness. Taking time to be nicer to your children can help with many developmental and behavioral problems. Here are some things you should avoid when talking to your kids.
When you address behavioral issues with your kids, avoid words such as “never,” “always,” or “ever.” Asking your child why they always behave a certain way or why they never do what you ask will only put these absolutes in their head.
This can subconsciously encourage the very behavior you are trying to bring to light. Keep things in the moment. Discuss what your child has done now, not what they always do.
Creating Problems
When your child repeatedly does something wrong, you can be tempted to throw your hands up in the air and say, “What is your problem?” or “What is wrong with you?” This is something you should avoid. Just because your child is doing the same thing over and over, does not necessarily mean they have a problem. It could just mean they are kids.
In many situations, children act out in situations where they feel comfortable and safe. Asking what their problem is could potentially create problems where before there were none.
Calling Names
This is potentially the worst thing you can do when your child acts out. Yes, you are enraged and frustrated that your child just will not behave. Insults may spring unbidden to your tongue. It is important to bite them back.
From the moment they can communicate we teach our kids that name calling is bad. Why would we do it to our kids?
When you call your child a jerk, a brat or worse, they may begin to see themselves that way. This will lead to further behavioral problems and can create issues with self-esteem and self-image.
What to Do
As difficult as it sounds, patience is key. When your child pushes you over the edge, take a moment to breathe. Consider the fact that you are not dealing with another grown-up. Try to see the situation from the child’s point of view, and address the behavior accordingly.
If you find that you simply cannot effectively address the issues, a qualified child psychologist in Edmonton may be able to help. Many therapists offer comprehensive Autism, ADHD and behavioral therapy services, and can educate you on how to better handle such problems in your child.
If you think you and your child could benefit from therapy, please give us a call today. We are eager to help.


When to Call a Child Psychologist

Posted on December 15, 2014 at 11:58 AM Comments comments (978)
Children can be a mystery wrapped up in an enigma. Trying to figure out why they are behaving the way they do is a challenge, even for experienced parents.
When children have problems outside of normal childhood acting out, a therapist can be of great help. The real trick is the ability to spot when your child’s behavior is a normal expression of growing up, and when they could benefit from outside aid.
Signs of Development Issues
There are certain signs that indicate the need for professional help. If your child experiences sudden and severe changes in behavior or mood, this can be a first sign. Other things to look for include, but are not limited to:
·      Violent acting out, excessive anger, aggression, bedwetting, mood swings  or other sudden and severe changes in behavior
·      Delayed development in the areas of toilet training, speech, or severe attention issues
·      Significant changes in grades when children who normally do well in school suddenly have issues
·      Isolation or withdrawal from social situations
·      Bullying or difficulty coping with bullies
·      Sleep problems—frequent oversleeping or insomnia
·      Increased physical discomfort such as headaches or stomach aches despite being cleared by a doctor
Developmental Milestones
Even very young children who have not yet begun school may need to see a professional if they miss or have difficulty with important and normal milestones. This includes things like potty training, language development including talking or reading, walking, or difficulty separating abstract from literal concepts.
Keep an open line of communication with the other important figures in your child’s life. Teachers can be an important resource in spotting unusual behaviors in children; so are caregivers and your pediatrician. They may be able to spot physical symptoms you may not immediately notice.
You are not failing as a parent by turning to these resources. Teachers and doctors see many children every day. These professionals have benchmarks for spotting abnormal behavior to which you do not have access. With regular communication, you can spot signs of problems with your child even sooner. This will lead to better and proper treatment.
The Right Therapist
When you have decided to seek help for your child, finding the right therapist is important. You want to find a nearby child psychologist who can specialize in the problems your child is experiencing. Edmonton has expert psychologists who offer comprehensive services for children with many developmental, learning disability and behavioral problems.
If you think your child may benefit from professional mental health care services, give us a call. We are here to help!