Parenting in Lexington, Richmond & Frankfort KY

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Parenting Help 101!!

Parenting is the hardest job that you will ever do!! Most parents, at one time or another, could use some assistance in dealing with temper tantrums, oppositional behavior, discipline techniques, sibling relationships, and sometimes parenting between two homes.

Most parents confront the same behaviors. Repeating things over and over, arguing, nagging and whining, manipulating and fussing. It is normal to feel frustrated with our children and even with our parenting failures at times. Parents do not fail due to lack of love for their children. Most parents want successful, happy, well-adjusted kids. We want kids who are well behaved, self-motivated, and independent. Most parents want the same thing!  We want to enjoy our children.

Parents need a plan

Problems with parenting come for inconsistencies. Parents give warnings but don’t follow through. They say what they don’t mean. They punish in anger. They attend to negative rather than positive, they criticize too much, and there isn’t a plan. Parents often will parent passively. They give in, they don’t want to confront or “rock the boat,” they want to avoid the negative interactions with their child. Or parents will act with anger. They have no plan, anger is a surprise to the children and sometimes the parent. Anger can lead to children getting hurt.  Misbehavior is a normal part of learning. Reacting correctly and consistently to misbehavior can reduce it. Reacting incorrectly or not at all can increase misbehavior. One of the most repeated things that I hear from parents in my practice is “I’ve tried everything and it doesn’t work.” Most often, parents don’t give their strategies time to work. It takes time to change behaviors that have been learned and reinforced.

Effective Discipline

Effective discipline is NOT punishment. Effective discipline is reasonable and consistent consequences for behavior. Those consequences can be either positive or negative, depending on the behavior. For example, if a child gets their teeth brushed when asked, they can receive a verbal praise “I really like how you brushed your teeth when I asked.” Or if a child makes a mess in the living room they are asked to clean it up before they get to do anything else fun.

Effective discipline is administered in a calm, matter of fact way. It is NOT delivered when the parent is angry, or yelling. If a parent yells or loses control, the child learns that the parent is not in control of themselves, therefore the child does not learn that self-control is important. The child will often lose any beneficial meaning from the 

Consequences should be immediate, proportional and logical. Effective discipline is consistent between caregivers, situations and environments. Consistency between caregivers is extremely important, because if one parent administers timeout and the other does not, the child will become confused, or will begin testing limits in order to see when consequence will be used, if any, leading to more acting out behaviors.

Make sure expectations are clear, consistent, and expressed ahead of time, so children know what to expect. Effective discipline is reinforced by adults modeling the desired behaviors, and demonstrating good self-control themselves. Children learn what they see and hear. Parents are also allowed to apologize when they mess up! Kids needs to learn that we all make mistakes and we can apologize and try to not do it again.

Keep it Simple!! Lecturing young children doesn’t work. Your child is NOT a little adult, they do not have the developmental capacity to be lectured then follow through. After a few words, you lose their attention. Keep your directives simple. Give directives that tell them exactly what you want from them, for example “please hold my hand in the parking lot” rather than “don’t run off.”


  1. Focus on your child’s strengths making them feel special, important, and wanted. Every day, give them compliments and hugs and tell them you love them.
  2. Uninterrupted one-on-one time. Great results may be seen with time spent with your child that is uninterrupted. Turn off the phone and the television so that it won’t disrupt time with your child. Even small amounts of time make a big difference.
  3. Help your child develop problem-solving and decision-making skills. Let them get their own drink and snacks by putting them in reachable places so they can learn some independence skills. Talk about solutions to problems. If you don’t know the answer to one of their questions, tell them: “I don’t know. Let’s find out together.”
  4. Stay positive with your child. Don’t compare them to others. Every child is different with their own strengths and personality. Focus on what they can do and provide challenges and opportunities that are appropriate for their level of development. Your child’s sense of value is directly related to how you treat them and respond to their accomplishments.
  5. Provide opportunities for your child to help and praise them frequently. Use a sticker chart or draw happy faces on the calendar when your child has wonderful behavior or learns something new. Treat them to something special when they have accumulated enough stickers, this can be simple things like letting them pick the movie for movie night, choosing what is for dinner, taking a walk around the block, helping cook dinner, getting the special seat at the dinner table.
  6. Use labeled praise. Use a label to describe what it is your child is doing that you like. For example “I really like how you are playing gently with your toys” or “I like how you are using an indoor voice right now.” This helps a child understand what you are looking for and they will strive to do that behavior more often. By doing this you can also cut down on the negative directives thatyou give your child. For example: “I like how you are holding my hand and staying close in the parking lot. Instead of “don’t run off.”

There is hope!

There are many parenting resources out there. This can be confusing and overwhelming and can lead to inconsistencies in parenting. There are many times that parents can use a counselor or a child specialist to discuss challenges together and come up with a plan that will work as well as differentiate between a behavioral issue that can be solved by parenting changes or a mental health condition that needs further assessment and treatment. A therapist or counselor is often a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a Psychologist, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), or a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPCC). When kids are young Parent Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT) can sometimes be the focus of therapy and improve your relationship with your child. PCIT is an evidence based therapeutic approach that has proven positive outcomes in childhood behaviors. Behaviors can develop throughout childhood, therapists can help simplify the process of parenting, discuss specific behavioral challenges, work on creating behavior plans for the home, and implementing behavioral expectations and consequences that will help your child understand, grow, and learn so that they can be successful!

Resources for parents

1-2-3 Magic,  Dr. Thomas Phelan
The Explosive Child,  Dr. Ross W. Greene

Books for kids

How Do I Love You?  PK Hallinan
I Know Who I Am: PK Hallinan 
How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath
New Client Info
Lexington, KY

Darby Creek Location
501 Darby Creek Road
Suite 11
Lexington KY, 40509
Phone: 859-338-0466
Fax: 859-294-0802

Recent Posts
By Paul Dalton 05 Feb, 2016
So you live in Kentucky and only a few more weeks until spring. Everyone should be happy and feel better about that, right? I think most of us get a sense of relief and hope, and that cognitive energy to bust out of the winter season and get moving. For some, the spring can be a rough time. Depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and relationship issues prevent the spring season from being all that it could be. Following are some reasons that these and other conditions may worsen in the spring, a few resources for you, and some concrete strategies you can implement to help yourself. 

So why do people struggle some in the spring when it should be all flowers and sunshine? 

1. Sleep
Many times the spring season causes a change in our circadian rhythm . The sun wakes you up in the am, it is difficult to keep a routine, and restlessness all contribute to the sleep problem. Our eating in the winter and spring can affect how much we sleep. Caffeine, napping, undereating, and how much we are moving, all contribute to how much we sleep. Spring likely has an effect on melatonin in the body, which aids in sleep. 

Strategies that help are EXERCISE and EATING RIGHT! If you keep moving with the help of  a tool like a Fitbit or utilize regular exercise of 45 minutes or more 4-5 times per week, you are far less likely to have sleep problems. Exercise helps you sleep. Exercise helps you eat better. Eating and sleeping adequately can reduce your stress and fight any symptoms you may have. Eating healthy keeps your mind, body, and spirit in a positive place. When your body is well, your mind has a great chance of being well too. Sounds too simple? Give it a try!

The sleep foundation can help here :  Sleep Foundation Healthy Sleep Tips
Eating Right For Spring
Here is a good link to read on symptoms getting worse in the spring: Spring Makes Symptoms Worse

2. Spring Fever is Real
Our office has existed for over 15 years now. I can tell you that March to May is our busiest time of the year, always. Bipolar disorder, marital infidelity, depression, and anxiety are the main reasons people call us in the spring. The real causes of spring fever include longer days that produce more sunshine and increased energy, changes in hormone production, sleep cycles, nutrition and diet changes, body needs, and possibly, a lack of self care. When we bust of out winter here in Kentucky we sometimes forget that it takes a little time to get our minds and bodies in shape for yard work, spring cleaning, and for many, an increased workload all the way around. Here are some links to let you know spring fever is real. 

Spring Fever
WEB MD-You Give Me Spring Fever
Wiki Spring Fever
Spring Time Bad for Depression

3. Expectations Are High

Sometimes in spring we have been thinking about all the things we should of, could of, would of done if we had lived in San Diego or Florida during our winter days. The reality of being human can set in when we find out that spring has sprung, it is time to get moving, and we don't have the energy or drive to complete our list of high expectations. Many people are disappointed in themselves and these outcomes. Don't worry about it. 

Strategies you can use include setting small attainable goals you can feel good about. Work on your list a little at a time. Make goals that regular people can reach with time built in for you to EXERCISE AND SLEEP. Do a mix of things that you enjoy and are healthy for you while completing your responsibilities. If you deny yourself from pleasure too long, that strategy is likely to backfire. Have a good balanced approach. Use a checklist that has 3 sections. One section is for today. One section is for the week. Reserve one part of the list for things your are really wanting to do. Put a vacation or planned fun activities on a calendar. Look up things you might want to do during that time online. Planning, thinking and dreaming are fine. They keep us hopeful. 

Tiny Buddha Expectations and Disappointment
Expectations at The Silent Blog
Three Ways Expectations Can Hurt You

4. Allergies

If you live in Kentucky, you know about allergies. Kentucky is known to be one of the worst states when it comes to spring and fall allergies.  Louisville is ranked as one of the worst cities in the entire country to live in due to allergies.   Many times people are unaware they are being affected. Sometimes the symptoms are less obvious than a runny nose, cough, and cold like symptoms. Many times people are lethargic, grouchy, have headaches, and have cognitive deficits. The allergic affect we have in Kentucky can quickly turn into a sinus infection, bronchitis, ear infections, and other maladies that make us mentally and physically drained. That flower below can cause us some issues! 

Get to a doctor. Take a seasonal allergy medication. Some are mild, like Allegra (please get your physician's approval before taking allergy medications) and can be taken everyday. Prescription nose sprays may help, but may also have some cognitive or mood altering side effects. Be careful, but don't suffer! Get help from an allergist if you need it. 

Allergy Resources
Pollen Map
How to Beat Spring Allergies by WEB MD
By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

Welcome to our website!

Therapy is a great choice. It works, and I hope you make a commitment today to start. Most people find the idea of attending therapy with a therapist or counselor far more scary than the actual process itself. Here is a link that describes how the process works at our locations.

Our therapists are located in Lexington, Frankfort and Richmond, KY. See individual profiles of our therapy providers here . I hire our professionals personally and attempt to provide you with someone that will care about your outcome and treat you well. These are experts at counseling and therapy and provide services you will want to tell others about.

Our clinicians care, and you will know they are different in that respect. Providing therapy in Central Kentucky is much more than a job to our therapists. It is a profession, and a way of life.

Please let us help you today!   Contact us here   or at 859.338.0466 now.


Paul D. Dalton, MS, LPCC, CADC

More Posts
What is therapy?

Therapy is more long-term than counseling and focuses on a broader range of issues. The underlying principle is that a person's patterns of thinking and unconscious awareness affect the way that person interacts with the world. The goal is to uncover those patterns and become aware of their effect and then learn new, healthier ways to think and interact.
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