Dr. Lenore Melmeyer knows difficulties can arise when a child’s temperament clashes with other family members. She wants to provide parents with practical strategies to handle those kinds of situations.
Starting this month, Laughlin Children’s Center will offer a six-session discussion group led by Melmeyer, one of Laughlin’s licensed psychologists, who will help parents work through issues of temperament.
Melmeyer described temperament as a person’s genetic potential for interacting with the environment in a certain way.
“The parents need to help the child adjust themselves to the demands and the expectations to the larger world that might clash to this temperament.”
Melmeyer, a developmental psychologist who does counseling and clinical work, has been interested in temperament since she was a teenager. She offered two workshops on the topic in the fall and, based on the great response, is offering them again.
She said working with a temperament child can be overwhelming. That's where the parent discussion group helps.
The first session on Jan. 24 will focus on communication and problem solving. Additional monthly topics to be covered include structured behavior change; routines, such as morning, mealtimes and bedtimes; discipline and environmental management; and “goodness of fit.”
Melmeyer said all topics are flexible and the discussion group will conform based on the specific needs of parents and caregivers.
"This isn’t just for me to have a preconceived idea and present to the group and be done with it. Parents will have input into how the group goes, what we talk about, how long we meet," she said. “This group is intended to meet the needs of the people who sign up.”
When: The group will meet from 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month, with the first meeting starting on Thursday, Jan. 24.
Where: The group will convene in the Board Room of Laughlin Children’s Center, 424 Frederick Ave., Sewickley.
What: Each session will include a brief presentation on a relevant topic, followed by an hour of directed discussion between participants and the psychologist. Case studies and exercises will be used in order to provide parents with practical management strategies.
Participants will also get a better understanding of the nine temperament traits: persistence, adaptability, negative mood, activity level, sensitivity, irregularity (refers to a person’s biological rhythms) first reaction (an approach) intensity, and distractibility.
Cost: $20 per session, with financial aid available.
Group size is limited in order to ensure ample time for individualized attention. Interested participants should contact Laughlin Children’s Center at 412-741-4087 today to reserve a spot and guarantee your participation.