Since retiring from her private practice, leading New Jersey-based child psychologist, clinician, and author Dr. Beth Grosshans continues to educate parents, educators, and researchers on her innovative principle of Imbalanced Family Power (IFP). Methodically described in her 2010 book Beyond Time Out: From Chaos to Calm, Dr. Beth Grosshans explains how IFP stems from inappropriate boundaries between parent and child.
The struggles that often plague families with imbalanced power dynamics usually involve the setting and following of boundaries. While the boundaries themselves may differ with the child’s age, the underlying issue is the same. Due to inconsistently or poorly defined boundaries, the child doesn’t view the parent as an authority. This can be an anxiety-inducing situation for children, who feel safer when reliable, firm boundaries are in place. Parents can follow a few guidelines to set and maintain appropriate boundaries with their children.
Don’t Seek Validation - Many parents are afraid to set boundaries out of fear of upsetting their child. Effective parents set limits to protect the child’s safety and well-being, not to gain their child’s approval.
Be Consistent - When setting a boundary, it is normal for a child to push back and argue to get their own way. Rather than negotiating, parents should present their children with the option of following the limit or dealing with the consequences.
Allow Discomfort - Children may feel frustrated or disappointed when their parents set limits, and this can make some parents loosen their boundaries out of guilt or worry. While setting limits can be a difficult process, it is necessary to help children regulate their own behaviors and make better choices in the long term.
Possessing an extensive background in New Jersey as a clinical psychologist, Beth Grosshans, PhD, has assisted numerous children, couples, and families. Dr. Beth Grosshans is known for her experience in defining positive parent-child relationships and is author of Beyond Time-Out: From Chaos to Calm.
One fundamental issue addressed by the book is imbalance of family power (IFP), which occurs when kids are given too much power within a family dynamic. As a result, parents of children under age 10 may have a sense of being held prisoner to their progenies’ unruly, often demanding, behavior and whims.
Hallmarks of IFP include moms and dads over-talking and over-parenting, with fruitless negotiations ending in a situation where they give in to their children. The roots of this lie in the concept of "democratic parenting." Having begun in the 1960s, the methodology is based on a belief that parents asserting authority would have negative impacts on child development. This swung the pendulum toward situations where intact feelings, self-esteem, and unconditional love were the desired attributes of the parent-child relationship.
As Dr. Grosshans puts it, acting respectfully toward children is not wrong, but there is a proper time and place to assert parental authority. Children respond in positive ways when they are guided in a rhythm that is reliable, respectful, and productive, and sets out achievable goals.
Dr. Beth Grosshans is a retired clinical child psychologist who has worked with clients in Princeton and Flemington, New Jersey, and currently writes and speaks publicly on child development. Outside of her career, Dr. Beth Grosshans supports nonprofit organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
In February 2017, Planned Parenthood introduced a new multi-phase program designed to augment its HIV prevention and awareness initiatives. The organization received $900,000 in funding from Gilead Sciences, Inc., which it will use to develop HIV prevention training programs, such as those related to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), throughout its centers nationwide. PrEP is a preventative drug regimen aimed at stopping transmission of HIV infections.
This is the first time Planned Parenthood has received corporate funding of this type. The organization will conduct the initiative through a joint effort with the Black AIDS Institute, an awareness group that focuses on curbing the spread of HIV and AIDS in primarily black communities through awareness and education.
A retired New Jersey-based clinical psychologist, Dr. Beth Grosshans has more than 25 years of experience helping children and families. In addition to her professional work, Dr. Beth Grosshans has been a supporter of Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit provider of women’s health services.
One of Planned Parenthood’s initiatives is its Clergy Advisory Board (CAB), a group that advocates for women’s reproductive issues from a faith perspective. Formed in 1994, CAB is composed of leaders of multiple religions from across the United States.
CAB works with Planned Parenthood at state and national levels to support women’s health education and ensure the protection of rights. CAB members actively publish op-ed pieces, essays, blogs, and articles that put forth their beliefs on key issues.
CAB maintains official stances on several issues pertinent to women’s reproductive rights and health, including widespread availability of birth control and funding for family planning services. Additionally, CAB promotes access to sex education with the goal of helping young people make informed decisions regarding sexual behavior.
Another of CAB’s efforts is counteracting the practices of “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) funded by other organizations. CAB members believe that many CPCs give pregnant women partial or misleading information about their health and their rights. CAB provides guidance to these women without judgment or deceptive intent.
A retired private practice psychologist in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Beth Grosshans possesses over 25 years of experience working with children. Further, Beth Grosshans is the author of the parenting book Beyond Time-Out: From Chaos to Calm, which examines power dynamics in families and offers parents guidance in reestablishing control.
Beyond Time-Out instructs parents to evaluate their own behavior and recognize how it contributes to their children’s unruly attitudes and out-of-control conduct. According to the book, problems with children arise due to an imbalance of family (IFP) power, and the book identifies four kinds of parenting styles that cause IFP to manifest.
The second part of Beyond Time-Out presents a five-step program called The Ladder, which guides parents in modifying their parenting style and reclaiming power in their home. Parents can apply the program to both home and public situations and to such behavioral concerns as tantrums, anxiety meltdowns, delays in potty training, and bedtime disagreements.
Beyond Time-Out has received largely positive reviews on Amazon.com and the Barnes & Noble website. Originally published in 2008, a second edition was released in 2010.
Dedicating more than two decades to the field of child psychology, Dr. Beth Grosshans is the author of Beyond Time-Out: From Chaos to Calm, which was published by Sterling in 2010. Dr. Beth Grosshans provides advice on how to regain control and authority over children and addresses how a history of time-outs has contributed to undisciplined children.
A dated form of punishment, time-outs are not effective on all children because of varying temperaments. The following illustrates other reasons why time-outs are not an ideal choice as a punishment.
1. Unless parents can ensure they can consistently follow through with time-out measures, the punishment becomes ineffective. A parent’s mood impacts this significantly. On happier days, time-out warnings may be given in excess, while other days a parent may only give a signal warning before enforcing the punishment. Inconsistency can result in a child testing limits and not responding.
2. Simply sending a child to time-out rather than figuring out the source of an issue does not rectify a problem. A parent should make time to explore why a child is misbehaving and give him or her options for dealing with anger, such as taking a breather. This demonstrates care for a child who may be seeking attention.
3. When used in excess, time-outs can discourage development. A child is naturally curious, and at times this curiosity leads to engaging in acts that are deemed as misbehaving. However, parents should find other means to handle these habits, so they are not punishing growth, learning, and exploration.
Experienced Psychologist Beth Grosshans Lectures on Child Development