Unlocking Parental Intelligence and Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior [Interview][Transcript]

Dr_Laurie_Hollman_Parental-IntelligenceGuest: Dr. Laurie Hollman
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant-parent, child, adolescent, and adult psychotherapy. She has been on the faculties of New York University and the Society for Psychoanalytic Study and Research, among others. She has written extensively on parenting for various publications, including the Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, The International Journal of Infant Observation, The Inner World of the Mother, Newsday’s Parents & Children Magazine, Long Island Parent. Her new book is Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior.

Segment overview: Dr. Laurie Hollman, PhD, a parenting expert, talks about her new book, “Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior.”

Health Professional Radio – Unlocking Parental Intelligence

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. Our guest in studio is Dr. Laurie Hollman, a Psychoanalyst with a specialized training in everything from infant, parent, child, all the way up to adult psycho-therapy. She’s been on the faculties of New York University and Society of Psychoanalytic Training and Research and she’s here today to discuss with us her brand new book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Dr. Hollman.

Dr. Laurie Hollman Thank you. Thank you for having me.

N: Thank you for joining us today. Psychoanalyst specializing in, well you’ve got training in infant, parent, child, adolescent so basically you’re proficient in, well with 30 years of experience in just about every type of psychotherapy with every age group.

H: Yeah, that was my training. I started at, usually you start out with adults but then as the years progressed I had separate training in each of the areas of development.

N: Now are we talking about the intelligence of the parent or are we talking about gathering information? You’ve developed this theory of parental intelligence, is it a theory? Let’s talk about it.

H: Yeah, well the main definition is really in the sub-tittle which is Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior. The idea is that behavior is an action that sends a message to parents when you don’t have, when the child doesn’t have the words for it because they’re young or because the words don’t suffice, they don’t feel listened to so they act out and that action is actually a message and if you hear it that way, then your job as a parent is to decipher that message.

N: Now deciphering that message, are we talking about combining body language with sounds or identifying patterns? How deep does your book, Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior, how deep does it delve into actually learning how to pay attention like that?

H: Yes, well it’s all the things you said and what you’re doing is there are five steps and in the process of those steps you are learning what’s going on in your child’s mind.

N: Okay, so…

H: The child was wrong, … or some of them will explain. But the…to say what’s the matter not quickly, it’s kind of pattern intuitive, because parents are taught if you see something a misbehavior you must react immediately, you must give consequences to that behavior but you’re doing that before you really even understand what it is about. So parental intelligence lets you take the information you already have about your child and harness it together with these five steps as your tools, so to speak to let you find the meaning behind the behavior. Once you understand the behavior, well then you know what to do. So quite often there’ll be behavior and the example I’ll give you later is a 6 year old hitting his identical twin brother who’s sick and there’s an underlying message behind the hitting so by the end of the five steps, the hitting vanishes and you’re dealing with the real problem that underlies it.

N: We’ve seen and heard of parenting books this, that, the other for years and years. What inspired you to write another book on parenting? Did you see that there were was so much misinformation?

H: It’s really a whole new outlook. When parents comes to me and they say “My child’s bad” now I’m using that word purposely “And he did such and such and we’re bad parents.” And they blame themselves and they feel very guilty. I really give them a whole new outlook, a whole new approach that they can use from infancy through adulthood as parents, that’s what makes it different. I’m not focusing on one stage of development, I’m focusing on a broad approach to parenting itself. So I tell them right off the bat that, let’s take the word bad and erase it, let’s delete it and let’s look at your child as distressed not bad and then it changes their whole, I see them relax and I say “You’re not bad parents. You just don’t know what to do because you don’t understand what’s going on and together we’re gonna work as a team and we’re going to understand what goes on and we’re gonna learn from your child and we’re gonna learn from all that you already know and we’re going to put this together and we’re gonna find a solution to this problem.” And that outlook can be used at every single stage from infancy all the way up, so it gives you an approach that really helps you enjoy your children. I have two sons and I didn’t coin the term when I was the young parent but I used this method just because it was natural for me and my kids believe it or not were really never punished. We were really a talking family and I’m still close to them and they are in their 30s and it’s just a whole different approach. Most of the parenting books focus on a stage of development which is very important…and they do tend to give parents a feeling that they’re being blamed for something that they don’t know and I’m trying to give them an uplifting approach. I tell them “You know a lot, you know a tremendous amount. I’m just gonna show you how to use it. Who knows your child better than you do? No one. You do, you look at them 24/7”.

N: And listening to your talk about your inspiration for the book, it shed some light on your particular use of the word unlocking. You’re talking about things that you already know, is that correct?

H: Precisely.

N: Okay, great because looking at that word unlocking, it suggests that you’re something already there coming at it from a different direction. Let’s talk about what you know naturally, you said it was natural for you to begin implementing this and it’s natural I guess for all of us but I guess the information and the input that we get from outside sources about parenting when none of us know anything about parenting ever when we start having kids. It’s just no way to know a brand new outlook on it, most important, yeah. Great.

H: Yeah, exactly. In fact my youngest son was very intrigued with this book, is as I worked on it and he thought that this book should be in high schools just for the reason that you said, you become a parent and you’re kind of blank slate, unless you’ve had a lot of experience taking care of children, you really don’t know what to expect and he thought that this book should be read when you’re like a junior, senior in high school in health classes to help prepare kids for the future when they become parents.

N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. And we’ve been in studio talking with Dr. Laurie Hollman, Psychoanalyst with specialized clinical training in infant, parent, child, adolescent and adult psychotherapy and she’s been on the faculties of New York University and the Society for Psychoanalytic Study and Research among others and she’s also the Author of a brand new book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior. And she’s been in studio with us talking about her brand new book and about how to unlock what we already know in order to be much, much better parents. It’s been great having you here with us Doctor.

H: Thank you so much for having me.

N: Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.

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