Mr. Harris' Blog

Welcome... I hope this blog can be useful, particularly to parents and the community, as another way to stay connected to what's going on around McNair. Find out more about McNair school counseling by clicking around the blog or reading my program brochure. Students can use my "Mr. Harris Please Help" form to let me know they need to chat. Please browse around and contact me ( if you just cannot find what you're looking for! It's my pleasure to serve McNair and the community.

Child just needs more help?

Here are a couple options for therapy at no charge:
- Family Solutions for Kids offers a great variety of services to meet the needs of children and their families including therapy and psychiatric services (brochure).
- Community Psychological Service (at UMSL) offers therapy for children & families for a variety of concerns. Psychological evaluation is also offered.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where's the Limit?

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last year thinking about discipline.  My daughter, our only child, turned two in September and we have had to do what every parent has to do around this age; figure out something that works!  Don’t get me wrong, she brings us so much joy.  She also brings a whirlwind of passion that sometimes begs the question (from her), “Just how far can I go this time?”  The answer to that question is essential for parents, caregivers, and teachers to answer for our children.  It’s natural for kids to push the limits and when they do encounter the out-of-bounds line, and maybe a short-lived fussing session later, they feel…  SAFE!  For kids who have been taught clear(er) expectations, or in other words, they generally have a good feel for the written and unwritten rules, emotional health is well within reach.  Not to mention the sanity of us parents!  So with that in mind the only thing left to do is figure out where and how.  Where are the out of bounds lines in our family?  How will the child know when they are approaching?  The question of “where” is one of continual exploration for the child and for us.  Many of the boundaries are easily established like not leaving home without permission or the necessity of going to school.  Other boundaries are set as they are realized like needing to eat one more bite of veggies before you get dessert or deciding whether it’s warm enough to go out without a jacket.  The question of “how” is almost more important than the “where”.  The reason for this is because the “how” is where the parent-child relationship is maintained in the whole process.  So what is the “how”?  It’s whatever set of discipline techniques you choose to consistently employ.  These are the signals to the child that you’re approaching the boundary and you better get back Sparky!   One that I really recommend and think is simple to learn is “1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12” by Thomas Phelan.  Another one that a parent recommended to me and I’m pretty impressed with so far is “Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach” by Howard Glasser.