Carl Grody, LISW - Child, adolescent, and family counseling -- (614) 477-5565
Grody Family Counseling is a strength-based, solution-oriented practice.  We don't see you, your family, or your children as problems to fix; we see you as people who overcome hurdles in ways that you don't even realize.
Our job is to help you recognize your skills and strengths that get lost in the chaos of family, parenting, relationship, behavioral, and/or mental-health issues.  Sure, we'll work on what's causing the issue(s), but we won't label you, your family, or your children as problems.  We help you figure out where you are, what you want, and how to get there.
Call today for an appointment to see if Grody Family Counseling is the right counseling fit for you.
Carl's Latest Blogs
Curses! What To Do When Your Child Starts To Cuss
Parents often complain that their children morphed overnight into drunken sailors – not because they found a parrot and a bottle of booze in their kids’ rooms, but because the kids started cursing.
For many parents, this is more vexing than funny. They think it makes them look like bad parents. They think it’s the first misstep on a slippery road of behavioral issues. They’re afraid someone will drop an F-bomb in front of Grandma, and then all hell will break loose.
Sorry. I should’ve said, “heck.”
Cursing is a reality of the world around us. Kids hear it on TV, with their friends, at school, from relatives, and even just walking down the street. It’s impossible to keep kids from hearing these colorful, um, adjectives. So how can you make sure your kids don’t become masters of invectives? Here are a few tips:
– Don’t overreact. If you make a big deal out of cussing, your children know what button to push when they want to annoy you, get your attention, or both. Simply say something like, “It’s not ok to do that. I expect better from you.” That sets a firm boundary without feeding the behavior.
– Notice when your children aren’t cussing and praise them for it. It’s important to notice when your child is doing the right thing. Use phrases like, “I noticed you haven’t cussed for awhile. That makes me proud.” If you’d like to reinforce that, add something like, “That made me so happy that I’d like to play a game with you.” Reward the behavior you like, and you’ll see more of it.
– Some parents use a “cussing jar.” (Say a cuss word, drop a coin in the jar.) If that works for you, go ahead and use it. But if it doesn’t work, it’s probably because it gives attention to the cussing, which makes it more likely to increase.
– Be a good role model. Often, kids are just repeating words they learned at home. (Think of Ralphie in “A Christmas Story.”) If you’ve cursed in front of your children, don’t be too hard on yourself; most parents have (including me). But if you want your children to be more conscious of what they’re saying, you should be, too. And if you slip up? Don’t make a big deal out of it. Just apologize, thereby being a role model for what the kids should do when they make a mistake.
– Age makes a difference. Teens are more likely to curse, especially if they think it’s cool (doubly so if they know it bothers you). The same tips from earlier apply, but it’s even more important not to overreact. Remember, teens are looking for ways to rebel against you.
– Decide if cussing is something you want to ignore. Some parents don’t pick this battle, saving attention for issues that matter more to them. The attention principle applies: behaviors that you ignore should eventually reduce or vanish, especially if you’re praising the behaviors that you like. Other parents choose to make a stand against cursing, hoping to prevent their kids from rebelling with more extreme behaviors by setting a consistent boundary about cussing. There’s no right or wrong; the key is to be consistent and predictable.
– Whichever happens, don’t take it personally. Often, we think we’ve failed when our kids cuss, especially in public. Be gentle with yourself. If your kid drops a verbal bomb in public, look around the room and ask yourself, “How many parents here never had that happen?” You’ll realize that you’re in a very large club of parents.
Divorced Parents:
The Way It Should Be
It takes a lot to surprise me as a therapist.
Clients have told me that they’d like to give their adopted children back. Children have told me how they help cover up their parent’s addictions. Once, a school psychologist even insisted that a well-behaved child should go to a special behavioral school because the psychologist didn’t like a former diagnosis in the child’s school files.
But this session . . .
“We’re divorced, and we’d like to make sure that we’re doing the right things as parents of our kids,” the father said. “That’s why we came to see you.”
Okay, that one surprised me.
Here’s how it normally goes when divorced parents come in for family therapy:
“He abused me.”
“She’s a controlling harpy.”
“He checked out the babysitter.”
“She’s poisoning the children against me.”
“Why does he have to drink in front of the kids?”
“Who’s that stranger trying to act like a father to my children?”
“The problem is him!”
“The problem is her!”
Those are the things I expect. In fact, my family therapy mentor, Dr. Gil Greene of The Ohio State University, likes to say that family therapists will always have job security as long as there’s divorce. But the couple in my office continued to surprise me.
“I agree,” the mother said. “He’s a good father, but we struggle sometimes with knowing if we’re doing any damage to the kids. We hope that you can help guide us through that.”
So nobody wants to call anybody a name? Nobody wants to threaten anyone? Nobody wants to use the children as a way to attack the other parent? What was I supposed to do with this . . . this . . . cooperation? It was all I could do to keep from breaking into a therapeutic happy dance.
This couple should be the norm, not the exception, but that’s just not easy to do. People who break up often can’t stand each other. They often feel varying degrees of hate for the other parent, and it’s hard to see good qualities in someone that you actively loathe.
Of course, kids suffer in these situations. They feel torn between their parents. They feel like the breakup is their fault. They feel anger that they don’t really understand but that they have no trouble expressing. And if Mom or Dad happens to start dating someone else, well, heaven help them all.
So I smiled at the couple, thanked the therapy gods for sending me two people who wanted to put the children first, and thanked them for coming in.
“I’m guessing you’re co-parenting better than you think you are,” I said, “just because you’re so determined to do the right things by your kids. Tell me about the things that you’re doing that seem to be working . . .”
I didn’t see that couple for long. They were indeed doing a lot of things well, and my job was just to help them tweak a few things along with helping them develop confidence in themselves as parents. After a couple of sessions, they really didn’t need to keep seeing me. I could fill their time slot with another set of parents looking for help.
“Their dad’s an alcoholic loser who never worked a day in his life,” the mom said at the start of my first session with the new family. “I hope the court never lets him see the kids again.”
Ah. That’s what I’m used to hearing. Time to get to work . . .
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