Register Now
Member Login
Mobile Friendly

State of Florida Department of Children and Families Approves

The rules and regulations for approved parenting classes has been modified in the state of Florda and all providers must strickly follow and apply for approval to offer these classes for the state. has been approved by the state of Florda an one of only a few online programs to help educate Florida famililes going through divorce.  The approval is valid for 3 years, at which point a re-approval process will take place.  For more information on our Florida Parent Stabiliation Program, Click here.

Parenting Challenges in the Twenty-First Century-Understanding Technology

One of the biggest challenges parents face these days is how to address the issue of technology and how much (or little) their children use.  Ipads, phones, computers, watches, game consoles and much more all give access to the internet, games and information.  What should parents to do both understand the technology as well as protect their children?  I think the first step is to get educated.  Parents need to understand the ways their kids are using technology and the effects it may be having on their emotional and physical state.  Most parents don't realize the impact websites like Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook have on their children.  Kids as young as 7 are creating Instagram accounts and as more young people have access to cellphones we will continue to see a variety of problems exist with usage.  Learn more about these technologies as well as a great information on how to improve parenting skills by taking one of our online programs, or simply call our office at 949-715-2694

Why Consistent Parenting Is So Important

One of the most important skills a parent can learn and establish is consistency. Children generally do best in environments where they know what to expect. This means that setting rules, guidelines and schedules that are age appropriate and the same from one time to the next, can help the child to feel safer and more confident in the family life around him. For example, every morning we get up at 7 a.m., get dressed, eat breakfast and then go out to start our day. After school we come home, have a snack, complete homework and then have free time until dinner. After dinner we bathe, read a book and go to bed by 8:30 p.m. Without structure, many families create unnecessary chaos. An example I have heard about often is “my kids get up and watch TV or play video games and then we are always rushing to get to school.” Parents who enforce schedules aren’t necessarily being strict but instead are using good parenting skills to keep the household running smoothly.

Sometimes extenuating circumstances can derail an otherwise organized environment. A parent might be sick, stressed, have long workdays or be going through divorce and this structure goes by the wayside. For a short time, this can be fine, but over the long term, inconsistent parenting can be harmful. When a child doesn’t know how a parent will respond to a particular event, then the child’s level of anxiety heightens, as he doesn’t know what to expect. Is he going to be punished for skipping class to go surfing like last time or will his parent be understanding and forget about it like she did the time before? Inconsistent parenting can lead to low self-esteem, insecurity, increased anxiety and an overall lack of trust for the parent.

If you are going through a divorce and are having a difficult time staying on the same page with your ex-spouse about how to raise your kids, here are some reasons why you should try to work it out:

1. Security – consistency gives the child the sense that they can rely on their parents.

2. Less tantrums and bad behavior – when children know what to expect and that “no” means “no!” and not “maybe”, they are less likely to push their parents for an alternate outcome.

3. Stress reduction – when children can’t predict what will happen next, it creates anxiety, fear and confusion.

4. Responsibility – children growing up in consistent households develop a sense of ownership for their behavior and it boosts self-confidence. They know what is expected of them and what happens if they act otherwise.

It is understandable that both parents might not always agree on rules and consequences and sometimes through the divorce process, one parent might become more lax so the kids favor him or her. You may not be able to control your ex-spouses household, but you can control yours. In the long run you will find yourself with a more peaceful, organized home life and the children will ultimately feel more safe and stable while in your domain.

Orange County Courts Receive Anger Management and Parenting Class Brochures

Civil, criminal and family courts are bombarded with cases related to anger management and parenting issues.  The courts are overburned by familes who have limited resourses for getting help and finding quality programs.  The AJ Novick Group, Inc. has been a valuable resource in Orange County for both parenting and anger management classes since 2003 and 2006, respectively.  While the O.C. Probation Department often refers people to these programs, many defendants aren't on probation either informally or formally and struggle to locate programs that are structured, with licensed and/or trained providers with consistent instruction.  

Over the last few weeks, we have contacted the court system at large here in Orange County to provide them with our brochures for these two programs.  The response has been extremely favorable, with several judges contacting our office for more information about our classes and what we do.  Both programs provide a structured curruculum and cover a new, unique skill each week.  Class length can range from as short as 10 sessions and last as long as 52 sessions, depending on what is need or required.  Some anger and parenting students attend weekly group classes, while other participate in one/one counseling directly with Dr. Novick in conjunction with attending the group classes.

All classes are offered at our Laguna Beach based office.  If you would like to download information on either our parenting or anger classes, simply click the links below.

Good Parenting Includes Setting Boundaries From Early On

How many times have you been a birthday party with your child and noticed another child act rudely to other partygoers or even to the host? I can say that I’ve worked in my son’s classrooms for years and there’s always the same handful of kids that talk back to the teacher, roll their eyes when asked to do something, and have even defaced a desk or the public bathroom during the school day. There may be all sorts of explanations for the behavior, but the one that comes to the forefront is that these children come from families in which the parents haven’t worked on setting boundaries. From early on, kids need limits to feel safe and to learn how to behave properly with friends, at school, and when out in public. Setting boundaries gives them the security of knowing what is expected of them.

Why are setting boundaries so important? When children are brought up in an environment without boundaries, they tend to have more social issues and problems in life. Research shows that they are more likely to be followers who make bad choices. It starts with coloring on the walls of the bathroom with markers because their friends are doing it, and can progress to drinking and drugs with a little peer pressure in high school. Some parents are reluctant to discipline because they grew up in strict households or they want to be “friends” with their kids, however, setting boundaries is a gift because it gives them the security of knowing what is expected of them in various situations.

Loving and compassionate parents understand that setting limits with appropriate consequences is an important life lesson. The punishments or restrictions for bad behavior should be age appropriate and reflect the level of the act. For example, if a child hits his sister once, a night of no electronics or television is reasonable. However, if it happens again, then a week might be memorable enough to make the child think twice about ever doing it again. And, it’s also imperative to stay consistent when administering restrictions so your kids know you mean what you say. If your child goes out and misses curfew and you sometimes ignore the lapse in judgment, it will teach them not to take your words very seriously.

So, how do you go about setting limits? To start, plan ahead. Think about when the kids start to lose it or cross the line. Consider what your response will be and then act confidently in your decision to set certain boundaries. If you are weak because you’ve had a bad day and are too exhausted to administer the punishment, or aren’t sure if it’s the right thing to do after all, the inconsistency will cause more issues in the long run. Explain in clear language, and a calm, firm tone what the repercussions of the behavior are. If the child is young, try to get down to their level by sitting or kneeling so you are at their eye-level. A yelling, red-faced giant will only be interpreted as scary and diminish your connection with the child.

When all is said and done, setting boundaries will teach your kids to accept responsibility for their own behavior and the difference between right and wrong. It improves overall self-esteem as they gain confidence in how to make good choices and will contribute to their ultimate success in relationships, school and work environments.