Positive tools for thriving families.

Grieving the Loss of a Child: Explaining the Loss to Kids

Posted by Dr. Maker on July 30th, 2019

Grieving the pregnancy loss of a child is complicated, especially for siblings. A 4-year-old girl is participating in circle time in preschool. As her turn comes to share her weekend news, she innocently says, “We went to visit my dead brother in the graveyard. He died when he was born. I put flowers for him to smell.” There is silence—and then the teacher simply moves on to the next child. When the girl’s mother comes to pick her up from… Read More


Equine Assisted Therapy: A Unique and Effective Intervention

Posted by Dr. Maker on April 8th, 2019

There is increasing recognition and integration of Equine Assisted Therapy in the traditional mental health field. Growing evidence supports the effectiveness of treatment with horses in a therapeutic environment. Studies have resulted in a body of literature supporting the therapeutic value of the human-animal interaction. Equine Assisted Therapy can help adults and children with depression, anxiety, ADHD, conduct disorders, addiction, trauma, eating disorders, spectrum and health difficulties, dissociative disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other mental health difficulties. What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy? Equine Assisted Therapy is a form of experiential therapy that includes horses and… Read More


Inside Edition invites Dr. Maker to comment on pranks on kids.

Posted by Dr. Maker on April 5th, 2019

https://www.insideedition.com/media/videos/did-cole-and-sav-take-april-fools-prank-too-far-51923 Young kids need stability, predictability, and safety in order to thrive. Trust and secure attachment are critical foundations of healthy child development, and should be a primary focus of parenting. This video invites us to reflect on the impact of certain pranks on young children’s emotional well being, and how distressing pranks may be debilitating to kids’ development and sense of well being.


USA Today Interviews Dr. Maker on School Shooting Drills

Posted by Dr. Maker on March 24th, 2019

“Teachers at an Indiana elementary school were left bruised, bleeding and frightened after being shot “execution style” with plastic pellets during an active-shooter training exercise in January”, according to the Indiana State Teachers Association. According to USA Today, “lockdown drills have been around for decades, but as fear of school shootings has intensified, they have become more widespread and elaborate. According to a 2016 Government Accountability Office survey, almost all of the nation’s public schools participated in lockdown drills the previous… Read More


Divorce and Anxiety in Children and Teens

Posted by Dr. Maker on March 8th, 2019

Divorce can be a significant life stressor for children and teens that can trigger anxiety in multiple ways. Children are resilient and the research indicates that most children of divorce fare well. Nevertheless, even healthy, typical divorces can lend themselves to heightened anxiety because of the a major life transition. Moving homes, changing schools, shuttling back and forth between two homes, changes in routines, and even rotations in caretakers can be very stressful for children and teenagers. The increased stress… Read More


Teen Suicide: Awareness, Risks, and Prevention

Posted by Dr. Maker on November 24th, 2018

We express our deepest sympathies to the families who recently lost their teenagers to suicides in San Diego. There have been 3 suicides and 1 attempt in the last one month in high schools within a 5 mile radius. The community is shocked and grieving with the families, and parents, clinicians, and educators are working hard to map the steps to teen suicide awareness, risks, and prevention. The public and private high schools the 4 students attended are academically competitive, high achieving, and… Read More


The Perils of Perfectionism In Kids and Teens

Posted by Dr. Maker on September 30th, 2018

Perfectionism in Kids and Teens: Dr. Naecker provides expert research and tips on healthy achievement. In today’s busy world, children and teens are chronically juggling the demands of academics, sports, friendships, social media, family, and extra-curricular activities. The expectation and need to excel in multiple domains can be enormously taxing for children and adolescents, lending themselves to exhaustion, burn-out, depression, and anxiety. For some children and teenagers, these demands can be even more overwhelming when the desire for perfectionism plays… Read More


Screen Time: The Impact on Kids and Parenting

Posted by Dr. Maker on August 19th, 2018

Parents often worry about the amount of time their child is spending on electronics and how it is affecting their social skills, motivation, attention, emotional regulation, and neurological functioning. Given the easy access to multiple modes of media (TV, ipads, computers, phones, etc.), electronics have become the “go to” in quiet moments. Screen time has also become the primary source of information and entertainment for children. Hence, these concerns are valid, particularly in light of the American Pediatric Association’s estimate that… Read More


May Is Mental Health Month… With One More School Shooting

Posted by Dr. Maker on May 20th, 2018

Source of graph: Wikipedia, 2018 Preventing Violence and Helping Children Cope with Trauma It is with great sorrow that we share our condolences with the families and community of Santa Fe High School. No one can doubt that school shootings are now an epidemic in the U.S., with an average of one school shooting every week this year. In looking at the list of 2018 school shootings, one realizes that these shootings are across a range of States, and each perpetrator seems to… Read More

  • Exceptional, impressive, thoroughly 'kid friendly' from beginning to end, "Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children" should be a part of every community library Parenting Studies collections. For families with young children who are having to deal with divorce, "Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children" will prove to be an invaluable and instructive aid.

    Editor in Chief - Midwest Book Review

  • Those of us parenting, working with, or caring for children experiencing divorce will welcome Family Changes as a unique, positive, and creative resource for helping children understand and cope with this complicated transition. The comprehensive note to adults effectively explains how children work through painful questions and feelings. The touching story—with the endearing Zoey and her attempt to understand a very grown up topic—ends with extremely helpful follow up questions that will be highly valued by parents, child advocates, therapists, and others who wish to better serve children during this difficult time. I highly recommend this book to parents and professionals.

    Sacha Coupet, Ph.D., J.D. Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor of Family Law, Loyola University, Chicago, IL

  • Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children is an outstanding book that is gentle, positive, and validating for both children and adults. With an excellent and informative parent guide about the value of talking to children about their feelings, a highly sensitive and engaging story with exquisite illustrations, and an effective list of questions that children typically ask, this book is essential reading for divorcing families, and for therapists and advocates working with children of divorce.

    Sandra A. Graham-Bermann, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Michigan

  • Family Changes is an inspiring and exceptional book on divorce. It explains divorce in a developmentally appropriate and comforting language that validates children's complex feelings about divorce. Dr. Maker's expertise and years of experience working with children who are coping with the grief and confusion that often accompany divorce shine through in every page. I highly recommend this book to divorcing parents, schools, libraries, and professionals working with children of divorce.

    Martha Crowe, M.A. Child Development, Institute for Public Health, San Diego State University, CA

  • Dr. Maker has brought us this excellent child-centric educational book about how to navigate the changes of a family undergoing divorce. Dr. Maker takes us through this experience from the child's point of view and shares the gift of positive transformation that can occur during this life-changing time. The illustrations are sublime and the topic is handled so gently and ingeniously. Of course, it is written by a child psychologist with the gift of creativity. It's a book that every child therapist, library, school, and families going through a divorce should have on their shelves.

    Krista Royabal, M.D., Psychiatrist, Executive Medical Director, True Life Center for Wellbeing, CA

  • Based on the typical emotional turbulence a child feels from separation or divorce, Family Changes receives high recommendation as the first title that adults should turn to in the effort to explain, explore, and support a child's feelings in the matter, concluding with a list of 'process questions' which adults can use to further enhance the story line's overall approach.

    CA Bookwatch/Donovan’s Literary Services/Recommended Reading

  • The story touches on several key issues that children worry about - will their parents still love them, will they have two homes now, did they somehow cause the divorce, etc. The book also opens with a straightforward Note to Adults and ends with a list of questions that adults can discuss with children. Often books that do a good job of explaining divorce and separation are so focused on the child's point-of-view, that they don't offer any advice for the parents, caregivers, and teachers that are trying to help the child makes sense of it all. Family Changes avoids that problem and gives good guidelines for adults. I would recommend this book to parents and other family members, educators, and counselors.

    NetGalley Reviews/The Fairview Review - Librarian

  • This story is filled with little moments that reflect the nature of children perfectly. If you need to explain what it means to be divorced or separated to your child then this is one of the best ways to do that. The book is filled with relatable emotions and questions that a lot of children will have if their family is going through a separation. Dr. Maker’s years of experience are evident in the story as she masterfully addresses many common concerns for children experiencing a divorce in their family.

    The Littlest Bookshelf