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Parenting and Home Life with Psychologist Dr. Jane Chan: Part I

In light of the constantly changing circumstances the year 2020 has thrown our way, Lyons wants to start dialogue with our clients to stay connected to our communities. This week we had the opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Jane Chan.  Dr. Chan is a licensed New York State psychologist with over 25 years of field experience. We discussed how her profession has been impacted by COVID-19, as well as general conversation relating to parents, life, and their changing roles in the household.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do and how you started in the field?

I work with families, children, and couples.  With parents we work on general skills and training. I empower parents to interact with their children in positive ways in order for them to grow up with self-confidence and a good sense of self. The goal is to assist parents in raising competent, independent and confident children. Working with parents directly is the most beneficial. Sitting for 45 minutes once a week for a young child in talk or play therapy environments is not as effective as working with parents.

When working directly with parents, they are able to practice the skills throughout the week in every day life with the child. Young children are not accustomed to talking to adults about feelings, motivations, and intentions. They are especially not accustomed to being insightful about how their behaviors impact others and themselves. Furthermore, having a young child as the “identified patient” can be disconcerting or frightening.

Speaking of young children, how are you seeing them process and adjust to their worlds shrinking along with all of ours? Most kids have now been out of school for a long time. They have not interacted with their peers and are spending more time with their parents and siblings than ever before.  Life has changed for them, too.

I think as adults with school age children we need to help them to perceive their world in an age-appropriate manner. Children are not small sized adults. Moreover, they don’t have the emotional development, nor the psychological resiliency that adults do.

Parents need to limit the amount of exposure that they allow children to have to television news. For instance, the daily reports on the pandemic that our politicians give should not be in the background droning into our children’s ears. Children may get frightened because they don’t have the ability to process what is going on. Most adults can’t make sense of this pandemic, therefore how can we expect children to?

Read Part II with Dr. Jane Chan.

Dr. Jane Chan is a licensed New York State psychologist. She received her education at Barnard College, BA; Harvard University, MA; and Columbia University, Ph.D. She can be reached at jchanphd@gmail.com

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