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November 3, 2021

[EP. 302] Luchini: 3 Amazing ways to Support Your Kids Returning to In person schools

In this episode, Kim and I discuss how she supports black and transracial youth and their families in managing the world o grief, loss, and racial trauma in her practice. While talking about how we can support our kids with returning back to in-person school. 

Kim Wheeler Poitevin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in childhood grief and loss. She also treats children experiencing racial disparity and discrimination in private white institutions. Kim is the owner of Amel Counseling and Consulting, a private therapy practice located and Ask Amel, a parent coaching firm in Philadelphia, Pa.

Insights from this episode

  • How to Identify that your child is experiencing microaggressions or racial trauma

  • Ways to Boost your child’s self-esteem

  • Tips to get your child’s school to listen to your suggestions

  • Affects that race and culture has on your child’s assessment results

  • Ways to Support Your Child in Returning to School In-Person

Quotes from the show:

“They may be neurodivergent, have ADHD, executive functioning, they may even have some intellectual disabilities, but that doesn't mean that they don't have emotions and feelings. It doesn't mean that they can't see and experience differences and it doesn't mean that they can't pick up on internal biases and implicit biases. -Kim Poiteven

“I surely am not okay with kids being at or people saying that by their grace, we are allowed here. We have rights and we have rights to feel and our kids 100% have rights to feel and they should have the right to say, "Hey, I want something that looks like me."- Kim Poiteven

Stay Connected:

Kim Poiteven

Website: ameltherapy.com

Facebook: Ameltherapy

Instagram: @ameltherapy


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Are you tired of not getting your child’s school to listen to your suggestions in meetings? I have a solution. Schedule a free 30 minutes session and together we will create a plan that will your child succeed in life while supporting you and the entire family. You have questions and I have answers. Let’s talk!

To hear more about cultural competency check out these episodes “ Fall: The importance of Speech Therapy In Our Kid’s World and “ Our Song: Affective Curriculums That Help Our Kids Make Progress” and to hear more about supporting our kids in white spaces check out “Save the Children: Raising Black In Kids In White Spaces


Genie 00:07

Welcome to The Parenting Cipher, where each episode will give you the tools and resources to help your child thrive in school and in life. Please rate and review this podcast. I'd love to hear your feedback and also, hit that subscribe button so you don't miss any upcoming episode.

Genie 00:34

Hello, everyone. Today, the Cipher is blessed with Ms. Kim from Amel Counseling, who specializes in grief loss and therapy for kids and teens of color. And I would love for her to introduce herself to everyone because she is such a treasure.

Kim 00:48

Hey y'all! I'm Kim Wheeler Poitevien. I am a licensed clinical social worker and I'm based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I own a practice as Genie said, I am now counseling consulting based in Philadelphia. We are a group practice of three other clinicians with me, and we only see children, teens and adults. And my specialties are grief loss, racial trauma, working with kids of color and also trans racial adoptees.

Genie 01:18

Oh, I like that one. I like the transracial because we had a conversation with the writers of Raising Black Kids and White Spaces, and they are transracial adoptees and they were talking about the conversation between when you are not African or African American, but you are white or another race raised an African American child. So that right there and to know that you specialize in that, that's a big deal because the awareness that goes with that.

Kim 01:42

Yes, 100%.

Genie 01:45

So, me and Kim were talking like post-COVID trauma. And we were talking about the importance of what she does to the black community, especially around helping children and teens navigate the world when they're dealing with racism as well as the microaggressions and with that being said, when a child is dealing with those things, when they come see you, what do you see and how do you actually kind of help them?

Kim 02:16

Well, when a kid typically comes to me, parents may have a sense that there may be some racial component to what's going on but a lot of times, what kids will identify is that there's a lot of anxiety and a lot of perfectionism, especially when we have kids that maybe in predominantly white spaces, that they are one of few or they're the only and so they have this pressure that they need to perform. There may be some micro regressions they've experienced from their teachers or from administrators or other adult coaches that they internalize.

Kim 02:49

And then oftentimes what we tend to see our kids that at that point have been performing very well and they just kind of start to fall apart. They describe it as they wear a mask and that the mask isn't working anymore and so instead of them really identifying the racial stuff, they'll keep that to themselves. But they'll just say they just don't feel like they fit in or they just don't feel like they can keep it up anymore or we see with younger kids that they may say, I don't like my skin or I wish I looked different or things would be better if I looked different.

Kim 03:21

That's typically what I'll see, especially when kids are experiencing some racial disparity and some racial trauma or discrimination, like in school settings or in extracurricular settings.

Genie 03:31

So when they come to you and they are in that state where they say, I don't like my skin color for the younger children, how do you work with them to get them to start to embrace their differences?

Kim 03:43

Well, one of the things I think is really helpful is I look how I look.

Genie 03:48


Kim 03:50

I'm black y'all. I wear my hair natural when they come into my office space. Everything is just diversed so I'm not very heavy-handed about race and blah, blah, blah and all that. It's pretty much like it is what it is. I am who I am, right? So we really just start to talk about them liking themselves, which is the more important thing and finding characters outside in the world that they really identify with and then looking at that and then saying, okay, well, what about those characteristics do you like and where can you find them in yourself?

Kim 04:24

So we do a lot of self-esteem work. I also ensure that their schools...Because I work pretty closely with schools as well as parents feel comfortable with it. I'm having very honest conversations about representation and diversity and what work are the schools actually doing and making kids feel comfortable and acclimated to school. A lot of times what teachers and administration will see is kids that maybe have some school withdrawal, refusal, they may not be keeping up or that they are having some social anxiety, maybe some separation anxiety and this is the thing that they're looking at, whereas I am pretty direct in saying, Well, how are peer relations? How are they interacting with where do they sit? Who do they eat with? Who do they play with? This is the thing that's been communicated to me. This kiddo feels like they don't feel like they belong. Where any other kids or any other kids that look like them. Do you have toys? Do you have books that look like them? Reading a story about everybody looking the same and it's okay.

Kim 05:24

It's different when a kid was saying, yeah, it's okay that they're all different but I don't want to be different. And so when adults start to get, "They're going to be uncomfortable and I don't really care." But they understand that their discomfort, it's the exact same thing that this kid is feeling so I don't go with the colorblind approach. I think that that's completely unrealistic. I don't go with the whole thing of like, everybody use different colors, and that's great. That's a given. The issue is that they know that it's better to be white and we have to sit with that and we have to be uncomfortable and say, "Why is that so?" And then we had that conversation with schools and we had that conversation with parents about what are they exposing their kids to?

Genie 06:02

Do you find...We talked about social anxiety. We talked about withdrawal, and in the Cipher, we're dealing with children who have various diagnosis. Do you find that when you go to the school, sometimes the child may have a diagnosis that they haven't actually been addressed and the social anxiety and the withdrawal instead of them actually looking at it as though it's something that saying something is going on with this child. When they have an actual diagnosis, is it more so, well, we're not even going to look at that they may be feeling this way because they have this diagnosis and their behavior problem.

Kim 06:36

Yeah. And I think that if we're speaking frank, I mean, that's basically like we're looking at it through a very Eurocentric white lens that we can pathologize a lot of things and yeah, kids may have a specific diagnosis. They may be on the spectrum. They may be neurodivergent, they may have ADHD, they may have some executive functioning, they may even have some intellectual disabilities, but that doesn't mean that they don't have emotions and that doesn't mean they don't have feelings and it doesn't mean that they can't see and experience differences and it doesn't mean that they can't pick up on internal biases and implicit biases. They can do all those things because they are human beings. Race is a social construct that is created for a particular reason, and whether people feel comfortable acknowledging it or not, people benefit from that, and they benefit when they lean to whiteness and so when our expectations are our kids are supposed to present a particular way, they're supposed to look a particular way. They're not supposed to rock the boat. We figure out why we're expecting that.

Kim 07:32

And as parents, we figure out why it is that we want our kids to be ideal and be model students, because I'm going to tell you, there are plenty of other kids that their parents are okay with them not being a model student because they have particular diagnoses. And their expectation is that schools should be accommodating because of this, right? Whereas we are like, this is just another thing laid on top of our kids along with their actual identity and this is easy for me to say, because I'm not down there all the time. But the reality is that we have to say, "Yes, my kid has a diagnosis." We need to address that but social factors also affect the efficacy of certain scales and assessments. If we are not taking into account culture and background and experiences, then our assessments are going to be flawed. A lot of times, parents can kind of be very resistant of having their kids having particular labels, because the reality is that there are quite a few assessments in there. In my field, can be pretty racist, and it can have things from a very narrow view, whereas we're not taking into context that maybe a kid that we say is hyperactive, maybe they aren't.

Kim 08:43

Maybe they're anxious, maybe they're in a very uncomfortable situation. And this is the way that's happening and if we look at it and say, Well, how would your particular kid experience things if they were in a situation where they were the only? If your kid was in a situation where every time that they walk into a room, kids come to them and crowd around them and touch their skin and their hair but they feel comfortable.

Kim 09:06

How would your kids feel is that they came in and somebody was highlighting the fact that their clothes look different or their hair looks different or the way they talk is different. And those are the things that sometimes it's helpful for parents to start to say but we've been kind of conditioned in a way to kind of hedge that, too because this is where I come in and I have no problem. I have no problem saying, "Okay, well, that's great." Well, how would you feel if you were five years old and there were no other kids that looked like you and nobody really to connect with? Would you not cling to your mom a little bit longer on drop-off? What would you do for another kid that maybe didn't feel like they fit in? How are you facilitating that? They're not going to pathologize something that's normal.

Genie 09:52

Right. And that's a shift into conscious parenting is that I think two seasons ago, after that first season, I started to realize that I was following that pathology of black parenting where I need you because I have two boys. I want you to be safe. I need you not to be too loud. I need you not to question so much. It was like all malls, we had got to the point where it wasn't COVID but my son is neurodivergent so he was asking questions like, how come you don't have black books in the classroom? For my generation, we never would have said that. We would have just accept it. We're going to sit here and read books about Strawberry Shortcake and Kim and just be happy. And it took everything in me to leave him alone. I really had to start taking a look at myself and why I was doing what I was doing. And one of the things that you said about our kids is, acknowledging how they feel, which leads into the whole ideology that we have that as a black person, as a black man, as a black female, you have to be strong, which is the opposite of actually showing emotion. If you show emotion, that is considered almost a weakness.

Kim 11:05

You're right. And we know that we can intellectually say it's not a weakness. What it is, it's vulnerability and it has to be when you are in unsafe situations that it can be used against you. Which is why a lot of times, if a kid may benefit from actually having a good work up and actually getting a diagnosis, parents can be hesitant to that as well, because where it's vulnerable to expose all that and to bear it, it can be helpful because they can get the resources they need. The other hand, is that like you said before, everything that they do is going to be based-off of that diagnosis. And it's going to be unfair and this is the lens that is going to be cast upon them and this is betrayal and this is going to be the excuses for possible mistreatment, possible discrimination is because of these things but we are not in a position to be like, I'm just happy to be here anymore.

Genie 11:57

Right? I'm surely not.

Kim 11:59

And I surely am not okay with kids being at or people saying that by their grace, we are allowed here. We have rights and we have rights to feel and our kids 100% have rights to feel and they should have the right to say, "Hey, I want something that looks like me."

Genie 12:16

And it's important and the other part is when you have a diagnosis, I remember when I initially got one. I got one out of a state of emergency. That's why I call it. So my daughter was in a private school and things were not clocking. She was in a position where she was one of many like, when I say one of many, I mean, one of like, you don't see anyone else.

Kim 12:36


Genie 12:38

And they didn't offer a free seat. They were like, we don't understand. She's very bright, and I have been asking questions, but I didn't know what to ask. She had ADHD and she had dysgraphia. They were like, we can't offer her a seat. Her world crumbled so in that position, I realized me not asking and me allowing people to basically brush me aside, it caused the situation so I was really key into getting my other boys tested and what I learned in my entire journey, and I'm still on the journey. I have 14 and ten year old is this. It's not the diagnosis that you need to fear. What you need to fear is learning how to navigate it in such a way that empowers yourself and your child.

Genie 13:18

The diagnosis is like the benchmark. It says, these are the things that showing up for your child and these are the supports that they need. However, the most important thing a parent can do when their child is diagnosed is to figure out how it peace them academically so that you can always go back there to empower yourself and your child. As a black person, you never want to be placed in a position where you are allowing them to turn your child into a behavior problem. And that leads to my other question, why I like him so much is that I was talking to a speech therapist and they were talking about cultural competency, and I was like, "Oh, that makes sense!"

Genie 13:54

I just talked about a minute ago, she was like, you want to make sure that someone is culturally competent because how they look at your child and how they're able to empathize and understand what's going on with them is going to be different. And even if the person working in your child is not cultural competent and Kim is going to share what that is. But you'll be able to be empowered to ask the questions. Like Kim said, how are they feeling if they were one of many? You don't have to know all of these things, but you just need to know a little bit as well as put yourself and honestly put yourself in your child's shoes and say, okay, well, yeah, I know my child has ADHD, and they can move around a lot.

Genie 14:35

However, he's not doing well in his class. Are you giving him support for that? Well, what kind of support are you giving them? It doesn't have to be a disempowering thing but you have to be aware that once you have that diagnosis, even if your child doesn't have a diagnosis, you still have to be well versed in speaking up in advocating for your child. And you have to turn your child into a person. I find that when I deal with, I'm supposed to say it because most of everyone I deal with in education is white.

Genie 15:03

When I deal with white people, there's a disconnect in humanizing my son, it's a true disconnect with even when they decide, "Okay, this is going to be the goal." The goal is going to be he's going to read for peer. So I have to humanize my son. I say to them, "Well, he is highly aware that he's not a breeze. He's highly aware that he has articulation problems, he's shy, he doesn't have any friends and he's getting bullied. How do you think that's going to play out for him?"

Kim 15:30

Believe the person first instead of diagnosis. Sometimes it can be easier, I guess, as a clinician, to kind of look at the diagnosis because there are steps to follow. And these are the protocols that you follow. I just don't think that it's effective. I think that you still have to keep that in mind and a holistic approach is effective. But what you're saying about the need for being culturally competent. I also take it a step further. If we're looking at cultural competent, we should be the bare minimum, right?

Kim 16:03

But we also need to be anti-racist. We have to be anti-classist. We have to be accepting and understanding of diversity, of differences and just be like, "Okay, I can tolerate this." It's like, no, I'm not pulling a bunch of that. We have to be real about it but you also have to realize that they're not going to be professionals that are going to align with that, and that is not to be accepted, right? It can be expected, but it is not to be accepted and that you may need to live with. You will be your child's best advocate and you lead just as Genie said, with them being a person because especially if your kid has a very unique diagnosis or a very unique constellation of abilities, they will get very excited about a case and they'll see a case. I suppose this is a child, this is a person because people tend to forget that. And I've spent many years of my life. I've been doing this for 20 years, but I've been in many team meetings with many adopters, and I have doctors as friends, and it always has to come back to.

Kim 17:15

And maybe it's me being a social worker, but it always comes back to this is a person, and this is their experience, regardless of the diagnosis, that every person is worthy of dignity and respect. Everybody is deserving of being healthy and whole and having enjoyment and joy, which is like my thing on my website is like, help your child, find joy again, because everybody is deserving of it, and each person's joy is going to look different. Each person's thriving is going to look different and that diagnosis or those diagnoses, they can impact a lot of aspects and a lot of systems of your kid's life but they don't hit all of them. And they don't need to cover all of them, right?

Kim 17:53

But the places that they do affect, we need to address that, right? But we're also not going to take away their humanity and it's a lot easier for people to take away humanity to get something done or to fit into a box and to get I want this test done or this is what the intervention you should do or why are you not doing X, Y and Z? And there's a lot of shame because we're not following through. This formally pattern doesn't work in the real world. It doesn't work for anybody, right? It works for a limited amount of people in a specific setting, right?

Genie 18:28


Kim 18:28

These things are not transferable. So you will be your kid's biggest advocate if you feel that someone is brushing you off or they're not taking something seriously or they are going by a knee-jerk reaction because they've seen families like yours before, you can call them on that. You can say, I'm sorry, what did you mean by that? Because there's always going to be somebody higher than them. There's always going to be.

Genie 18:49

Oh, good. Thank you. 

Kim 18:51

Once you deal with that, I am a therapist, and I worked in very large institutions and hospitals, and I will tell you that I'll take my kids in for a special appointment and they'll say, oh, my God, but you're so good about communicating or you're a good family. What does that mean?

Genie 19:09

What does that mean?

Kim 19:10

What does that mean, right? What are the assumptions, right?

Genie 19:13


Kim 19:14

And so it's okay to just either you can call them as you want to, or you can say, I'll follow that away for when you pop off, we will know. It's better for you to kind of know, but know that it can be expected, but it's not to be accepted. You can probably -

Genie 19:30

Right. Because we're in a pandemic. I asked him. I was like, what are three things that parents can do to support their children with going back to school during a pandemic because my boys were like, I'll take that virtual option. I'm like, oh, that's not on the menu, sir and my son went his room and had a meltdown.

Kim 19:48


Genie 19:48

And after that, I realized every day, I had to just remind him, remember, we're going back to school in person, and he's like, "I know." And then he went back and he had a seamless for him. My other son, he's still resistant and with COVID, the mental, the separation from being social, with other kids, being virtual, it's been a lot for our kids and with all the different rules, regulations, and all the things that we're worried about as parents. I mean, I thought it was interesting this place we had three things to help our kids with the transition.

Kim 20:21

So I think the first thing is as parents, kind of get in touch with whatever it is coming up for you. So if there's hesitation and then there's fear, then if we're not aware of that, we're kind of pushing that to the side, we inadvertently are going to kind of project that onto our kids. They're going to have enough feelings of their own, right? And this isn't to say that you kind of, like, push your stuff down and push it to the side. It's literally to get in touch with what it is that you are really freaking out about yourself, right?

Kim 20:49

What are your worries? And make a list of those worries and see if there are ways that those concerns are going to be addressed at school. What are the ways that you're going to communicate that to them? I'm afraid they're not going to wear their mask. I'm afraid that they're not going to be safe in a class. I'm afraid that this IEP is a math. I'm afraid that like, what's the social, all those things. These are the things that we kind of need to get in touch with.

Kim 21:13

"I'm really anxious about my kids going back to school. I'm really nervous. I'm really afraid." Okay. So what is it that you're afraid of? And then that would be what I would say is focus on that. First one, you. That way, when your kids do have some stuff that pops up, you can be present enough to kind of handle what their concerns are versus having your own stuff kind of spill over to it or feeling helpless and hopeless. The second tip would be to trust that your kids are going to be able to in some kind of way, let you know what's going on.

Kim 21:40

And if not, then there's at least one trusted staff member there that can kind of give you the ins about what's going on. Send me a note home, tell me how they did. I mean, when I worked in the school, I was parents trusted person. So trust the fact that they're going to come in and make it a space where it's okay for them to tell you what's going on. Some kids are really hesitant about telling their parents because it is where their parents are going to come in and make a huge thing about it, and that's really embarrassing so we have to kind of reassure them that. Alright listen, I'm not going to make a big deal about this. If there's an issue and it's a safety thing, we're going to take care of it but I'm not going to embarrass you. Others, they don't bother because parents are like, "Oh, it's fine. You'll be okay." And they minimize it. So make a space where kids can actually talk to you about what's going on and letting you know what goes on and make sure that they know that you're going to take what they're saying seriously.

Kim 22:35

It could be that they're complaining about. Oh, I don't like my lunch or I don't like what I really eat and instead of it being okay, well, you have to get over that because this is how it is, validate the feelings. Validate, yeah. This is kind of, like uncomfortable. You're in school all day. You have a mask on, you can't be around kids like you do and on top of that, it's some gross food. What can we do about that? Right? Because they're just like us, right? They're just, like, on top of all this, and then I have this dang hot dog, right? And then the third tip would be to make sure that you are still doing fun things for your kids. Please make sure that we are very set on routines and on schedules and on homework and all this other stuff and it's us. It's our anxiety. It's our pressure. We want our kids to perform well. But the reality is that they are still kids and so they're also in a very stressful situation with all these new rules with adults around them who are highly stressed out with protocols changing that we need to have something that they can do that they know. They know play.

Kim 23:39

That is one of the best things that we can do for kids is play. And kids as they age, their play is different, but it's still play. Your 13-year-old still plays. Your five-year-old needs to play, and it's not structured stuff like, structured play is not play y'all. It's not. It's not play. So your kid in soccer is not playing anymore. That is not considered play. They need unstructured play every single day. They need to be able to color, they need to be able to build something. They need to be able to model something. They usually draw whatever they want to draw, that the art teacher didn't tell them to or whatever class. You all need to get out of their business about what they are making and how it looks and they need to play. Those are my three things. Check yourself, have an open communication with your child and validate their feelings and thirdly is to let these kids play.

Genie 24:42

I'm laughing because when you say unstructured play, I was like, oh, you are so right. As well as my son has been on this whole campaign of mom needs to play in her life, and I'm going to find a video game to play and I'm not resistant. But I know who I am as a person, and I tend to be really addictive. I have, like, a pseudo and that's why I stopped playing video games with everybody. I play some games back in the day. Final Fantasy was my thing. That was the last game I played as an adult. I had a full-time job and I'll be up at 2:00 - 4:00 in the morning playing Final Fantasy because I need to get to the next check mark. I haven't played video games since then but when we're talking about that play part, he's 14. That's their play. We tend to be really hard on video games but think about taking some time. Ladies, gentlemen, of course, you may get the game taken, but it's a memory that you're building for the little second.

Kim 25:38

Yeah, I think that moderation is this weird word because nobody understands it. You look at the function behind behavior, right? I don't look at the behavior is the issue so the function, why are we playing video games until 02:00 in the morning? What are you avoiding? What do you ask about? What are you processing, right?

Genie 26:00

That would be what I would look at, right? I teach kids about escape versus break, right?

Kim 26:06

What is the need for escape? Escape is spending all this time on screens or whatever versus I need a break because they're like, I can't trust myself to go back. I'm like, because you're not taking a break, you're escaping, right? So we have these things built-in regularly. We're not going to have this need to escape because we kind of like, release that steam consistently so that we're not kind of crashing and then trying to escape, right? I always say that it ain't the game. We're using the game for something else, right?

Kim 26:36

And so we say I can't because I can't trust myself or I have no willpower. I have no control. I always say, look at other things in your life that you absolutely do have the willpower for and when are you able to just stop them easily? Well, because you're not using them to escape. You're not using them to sell, right? But if we add more things to our repertoire of helping us to regulate, we won't really need to be on video games until 02:00 in the morning. So I say, Genie, find another cool playing game.

Genie 27:05

I'm going to find a game because you're right. When you said that Escape versus Break, I was like, yeah, because I really hated my job. I can't express it. I can't express enough how I hated that job, but it has been such a joy. And me and Kim talked before. We wanted to talk about this, and it's about telehealth versus virtual school because some practitioners have sustained, and they plan on keeping telehealth and some parents are adverse to it because we're like, oh, they did virtual, and they hated it but there's a difference.

Kim 27:43

No, there's a huge difference. So we're coming up to...I closed my office, probably March 16th of 2020. So this is now September 19 of 2021, and I am still virtual. My practice is not [inaudible 27:59]. I've actually seen more kids, and I've had kids that I saw in person that transitioned with me to virtual. Parents have a huge concern and even other adults and even other fellow therapists are like, how are you actually doing therapy to kids online? And I am like yeah, because I'm amazing. It has to be used to be creative.

Kim 28:22

Kids are fine with me because it's not school. You don't have to sit at the computer screen and just answer questions and be sit still. Like, we set things up the same way that we would in an office so you have to find a therapist who feels comfortable with not running the show, the one that's okay with things being pretty non-directive and one that's okay with meeting kids where they are. Like, I got kids running around a house and with scavenger hunts, I got kids who are just creating stuff jumping around their room, they're following things. They're carrying me somewhere. We're doing sessions if they're walking outside, we're doing sessions, like on the deck or on a porch where you're meeting is where they are. The bonus to doing the virtual sessions is that now I have had the kids kind of create safe spaces in their own homes. So their rooms are now these safe spaces. They create their own little tent or their own little quiet space. We've created spaces that they feel comfortable, and that's one of the most important things.

Kim 29:22

Also, like, I adjust my time for kids to basically, if I can do my typical 50 minutes session, I will. But you can drop it down to half an hour. You can say if your kid seems to be struggling a little bit, you can ask the therapist, would you be able to maybe drop the duration of the session down to half an hour because you kind of want to meet the kid where they are. You also can make sure that the therapist is understanding that the kids are just not in it, or they're, like, overloaded per screen or maybe they need to do it at a different day or time. Maybe a kid's already just been really tired and you need to kind of adjust that. So being sure that you have a therapist who's flexible or willing to be accommodating and understanding how kids work developmentally is huge. And also that somebody who's going to be excited and willing to try new things. I have quite a few colleagues that probably struggle with the transition because what they feel like what they do doesn't necessarily translate virtually but the reality is that a lot of the stuff that we do translate pretty well. I have a Nintendo switch next to me. I have one at my home office, and I have one in my actual office that I'm in now, and we play things like Animal Crossing and Minecraft together and those are the ways that we can physically be together. I mean, we'll virtually be together, and this is a creative way of doing it. Minecraft is like virtual Legos, like, is that not one of the best things to play with a kid and your role-playing and you're playing around with it? It's amazing.

Kim 30:51

So when we kind of take all of these things that they enjoy now, we don't put a label on it like, oh, this is a strip list. They just are mindless and they do these things. No, it's play. I look at video games the same way that I look at a ball and a jump rope. It is a tool, and it is something that they use. And this is kind of where we meet kids. So, yeah, all that to say, virtual can work and 100% can work. For some kids, it's not going to work and that's okay. And I see a very small handful of kids in my office in person but at the height of the pandemic, even with my most anxious kids, even with my kids, that, oh, my gosh, they have ADHD and they have executive functioning stuff. They all saw me consistently. They had no issues of logging on and seeing Ms. Kim. Ms. Kim wasn't asking 20 questions. Ms. Kim was sharing YouTube videos. We doing gameplays, walkthroughs. I'm helping kids with homework because we're going through and we're doing the stuff ritually, and we're figuring out different problems.

Kim 31:53

You just have to find a therapist who is able to meet your kids where they are, and is adaptable. And some therapists, even in person, will be very rigid and say, this is the way that I do therapy. And if the kids don't like it, then this isn't a kid from me, and that's perfectly fine. I, on the other hand, I'm like, what other things can I do? What other strategies can I do? What other techniques do I need to learn that translate well, virtually because this is where my kids are and this is where I'm meeting them.

Genie 32:21

That being said, Ms. Kim, how can people find you and reach out to you?

Kim 32:26

So if you're in a Philadelphia area or actually, if you're in Pennsylvania and you're open for virtual therapy, my practice is ameltherapy.com. I've expanded and I've hired on three other amazing clinicians who work with kids and teens, so you can schedule a session with either me or my other three therapists and we do virtual. So we are doing virtual groups right now. I'm running a group for transracial adoptees - that's in person, but I also will be running one virtually if there is interest. I also have a child anxiety group. Worry Warriors that's going to be running for kids aged 7 - 10. I also have a team group that one of my clinicians is running that's specifically for girls of color for ages 14 to 17 that's coming up. And I also provide parent coaching on my other website, but there's a link for my therapy site for that so I offer packages for parent coaching, and I'm also going to be running a six-week parenting group towards the end of the fall for any parents who are interested in conscious parenting.

Genie 33:32

Okay, look at that. After this guys, y'all know I've talked to Kim, but of course, it's the Parenting Cipher, and I always ask everyone what's your favorite song that gives you hype and Kim say, Luchini by Camp Lo. Why is that your favorite song?

Kim 33:49

I don't know. I have a strong belief that I'm like, Pharrell. I see colors, and I listen to music, but I see these amazing colors, and it hits me in my soul. I don't know why, but, like, every time I hear the hook, hits me right here. Now, do I understand anything they're saying in the rest of their album? No, I don't but that song is fire.

Genie 34:09

That's pretty song. I mess up all types of words. I make up my own words, but it's the hook, the beat, it'll get you. Sometimes it'll get you. When you get old and you hear the lyrics. You're like, Oh! They're so good, though. Like, whenever I hear Bonita Applebum, I only remember the hook and I was like, this sounds so good. So I was telling my son, my 13-year-old son, I was like, yeah, then it played and was like, Bonita Applebum, I got to put you on. He was like, 36, 37. I was like, oh, wait, no.

Kim 34:46

It's good. I mean, the other song I really like is electric relaxation.

Genie 34:51

Yeah. I had a guest last season. She was like, girl, I like that electric relaxation.

Kim 34:56

I was trying to keep it to my PG, but, yeah, that one.

Genie 35:00

Thank you so much for being a guest of The Cipher.

Kim 35:03

Thank you!

Genie 35:04

And giving us these tips about this pandemic girl.

Kim 35:07

Absolutely. I would say to everybody, just kind of trust yourself. Trust the process and you all know a lot more than you think you do. You're definitely an expert of your child and especially expert of their humanity. So go into your meetings. Keep that foremost in your mind and you'll be okay.

Genie 35:33

Thank you so much for listening. If this content is delivering value to you, please subscribe and go to wherever you listen to your podcast and give us a five-star review. That helps us build this community and that's what we're all about. Building this community as big as we can to deliver as much value as we can. The Parenting Cipher Podcast is produced by the Podcast Laundry Production Company and the executive producer myself, Genie Dawkins, until next time. Remember to be patient with yourself and your child.

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