House Calls Herald 06 – Spring 2010

Boy Looking upHow to Stop Making Your Kid Lie to You
By Billy Kaplan, LCSW
HCC President and Clinical Director

Parents so often ask me how to get their child to stop lying. They tell me he/ she lies all the time. When I ask them how they know their child is lying, they tell me they already knew the truth of an incident; that they just wanted the kid to admit it.

These parents don’t like my short answer to their question: “Stop making your kid lie.” Now my full answer, of course, is more complex than that. But essentially, when parents already know what happened, I believe forcing their child to admit “the truth” in a sense forces them to lie. No one wants to admit something when they fear the consequence for what they did. It’s like having a finger waved in your face – no one likes it, and the only reasonable response is to defend against it.

So, to decrease lying in children, I begin with encouraging parents not to even ask the question, “Did you do it?” The only answer to that question, from a child’s perspective, is “No.” In turn, the lie frustrates parents, creating a lose- lose situation for both parent and child. The child feels forced to lie, which he/ she knows is bad, and the parent is left feeling disappointed and annoyed.

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Water, the Brain, And You
By Wendy Kovacs, LMFT
HCC Senior Clinician

I was in a training recently, and as we were working through the therapeutic exercises I was surprised to discover how thirsty I was! The other participants seemed to be having a similar reaction, so we asked the instructor why working our brain made us so thirsty. It turns out that up to 75% of our bodies are made up of water. Even as little as a 2% drop in this level can affect a person’s ability to think, perform, and stay healthy.

When the body does not get enough water it perceives this as a threat to survival, and flips into survival mode. Every system in the body depends on water to function so when the body is short on water, all systems are impacted. First, the kidneys slow down, forcing the liver to work harder, which reduces its ability to metabolize fat and turn food into energy. This creates a feeling of lethargy, slowness, and trouble getting started on tasks. Then, without the water they need to expand and contract, the muscles slow down, leading to increased tension and pain in the muscles and joints. This feeling of rigidity is the body’s attempt to conserve water for other, primary functions. Heart rate then increases because the heart is trying to pump thick, dehydrated blood around the body, and respiration increases. Lung dehydration (which is caused by shallow, rapid breathing) is specifically listed as a major factor contributing to many respiratory diseases, including asthma. Finally, the endocrine system slows down. Instead of flowing freely as it ought to, spinal fluid become thick and sticky, so the body’s ability to be aware of sensations from around the body is reduced.

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From Chaos to Quality: Reflections of a Parent of a Child with Attachment Difficulties
By the Parent of an HCC client

We look for a label, a name or some way to know that we are still sane. These children, their parents, this couple, that family, can no longer maintain. They are all in trouble but they don’t know why.

I would know… Because this is my life. This is and was me, me as a mother, a girlfriend, and a wife. This is my mother, my father; and this is me, their daughter. I am that child. I am this woman. I have learned to survive, but more importantly, I have learned to heal.

These are my children, seven in all. We are a newly blended family. While I did not create this stress alone, I do have a role and they need my help.

This is my husband; his father, and his mother too. He was that child too, but, most importantly, he is the man that is standing here now as we sort this whole thing out.

This is not just a story or a collection of words and phrases. It is a truth that has spanned a lifetime, several in fact. Generations of shame and self-indulgent behaviors all enmeshed, intertwined between years of mixed messages, mixed emotions and indescribable hurts.

It happened to me, it happened to them; it happened to him, it happened to her.

This is and was my family.

This is our collage of memories from a love that had no borders. We are a cast of survivors who, up until a year ago, did not know what we were surviving or how we were going to pull through. We are a different family today, and we will continue to grow thanks to our faith, and to an amazing therapist who makes “House Calls.”

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After the Reunion

Norma Kathman and her husband never kept it a secret that their son Ryan was adopted. In fact, Norma closely chronicled Ryan’s life just in case he ever chose to reconnect with his birth mother.

At the time Ryan began searching for her, his birth mother Moira Mangiameli was also searching for him. The two had even performed side-by-side as actors on stage, not knowing that they were related. This summer Ryan and Moira reconnected. All three join Dick Gordon to discuss how they’re juggling conflicting emotions in their new relationship.

Click here to listen to the podcast from “The Story”