Stillwater News Press

Community News Network

December 26, 2013

How to tame an out-of-control kid

Edith, a retired Capitol Hill staffer from Washington, was at the end of her rope last year over the mayhem her 5-year-old great-grandson Wayne was causing at preschool. "I was on speed dial" at the school, says Edith, who is raising two of her great-grandchildren. "He was hitting kids, destroying the classroom, tearing the ABCs off the wall, just terrorizing the building."

The principal begged her to seek help, and Edith soon enrolled Wayne — and herself — in an emerging psychological treatment for out-of-control preschoolers called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). The program has been slowly making its way into clinics across the country after years of randomized trials that have won it recognition as one of the most effective treatments for young children prone to frequent and destructive meltdowns.

Unlike traditional play therapy, in which a therapist plays with the child while the parent stays in a waiting room, PCIT takes aim at both child and parent (or chief caregiver) and at the day-to-day mechanics of their relationship. Its premise is simple: that the best way to help children with titanic tempers is to coach parenting in real time.

Parents who enroll in PCIT get their own personal trainer: a social worker or psychologist who dispenses guidance through a wireless earpiece. In a typical session, the therapist retreats behind a one-way mirror and instructs parents — sometimes even feeding them lines to say — as they play with and learn to discipline their children. The live feedback catches ineffective parenting habits in their tracks and helps parents hew to PCIT's somewhat rigid script, which combines effusive praise and attention for good behavior with a clear system of warnings and timeouts for bad.

"It gave me a sense of 'someone's got my back,' " says Edith, who entered PCIT with Wayne at a mental health clinic in August 2012. (Like other parents quoted in this article, Edith asked that only her first name be used.)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Stocks
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'
Must Read