Now that kids are out of school and families are spending more time as a unit, it’s a good time to talk about children’s place in the family, and therefore the world. It’s a big topic to cover, so we’ve broken it down into sub-sections. 

Family Dynamics:

Children are deeply impacted by family dynamics. Kids exist within the family system. Parents determine the flow of the system, and kids often fall into roles within it. Of course there are many external factors that impact and change the system, such as personality and culture to name a few.

In order to better understand yourself, it can be enlightening to think about the family system(s) you grew up in: 

If you are a parent, it can also be enlightening to consider how these questions might apply to your own child.

Impressionability of Children:

Children have a unique ability to absorb the world around them, like little sponges. This adaptability is called brain plasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change and grow easier when young. This also means that childrens’ experiences play a large part in shaping their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. Children co-regulate with caregivers, meaning that they learn how to self-soothe and regulate by interacting with and watching their parental figures. As children grow, they continue to observe adults and learn by their modeling. This is why our job as caregivers, educators, and community are so important for the next generation.

This can also create pressure for caregivers to be “on” all the time as the best parent you can be. We have to translate our messages into developmentally appropriate language, manage our children’s emotions, and teach them important lessons all day. But remember that children are more intuitive than we often give them credit for. It might be easier to model regulation and happiness if you feel it authentically. When you take a stand for your needs, give a sincere apology, celebrate your ancestry, or take a moment to be excited about the figure you see in the clouds, they are learning from you then too. 

Birth Order: 

While the research is mixed, people tend to resonate with birth order theory.

Birth order theory suggests that our place in the family plays an important role in shaping each individual’s personality for several reasons. Parents’ expectations and parenting styles evolve with each child, shaping their individual experiences. Plus, sibling dynamics play a significant role in personality development, as we learn from and compete with our brothers and sisters. Birth order can also influence our perception of responsibility, attention-seeking behaviors, and overall self-identity. So, what are the tendencies of each role? 

Of course many other factors, such as culture, sex/gender,  and family structure can also affect these roles. For example, some cultures may treat firstborn sons as the oldest no matter their birth order. Blended families may adjust their roles based on ages of children and structure of custody schedules. 

Understanding birth order dynamics can help us better navigate our relationships and understand ourselves. Remember, birth order is just one piece of the puzzle that shapes who we are. Awareness of the patterns we may fall into also gives us power to choose how we’d like to structure our families. We’re all unique individuals with our own stories to tell. So, let’s celebrate our differences and appreciate the incredible diversity within our families!

4 Types of Attachment Styles

Many of us are aware that attachment, or the emotional bonds we form in early childhood, affect our relationships throughout our lives.  It’s fascinating how our attachment styles play such a significant role in how we connect with others. What is less understood are the different attachment styles and how they can impact our most important relationships. Here’s an overview of  the four primary attachment styles! Which one(s) do you identify with?

1.Secure Attachment: 

Those with a secure attachment style feel comfortable with emotional intimacy, trust, and support. They had caregivers who consistently responded to their needs, providing a secure base for exploration. As adults, they tend to have healthier relationships, feeling secure in both giving and receiving love.

2.Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment: 

Individuals with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style often crave closeness but fear abandonment. They may have experienced inconsistent caregiving, leading to anxiety about their worthiness of love. As adults, they may seek constant reassurance and worry about being rejected or abandoned.

3.Avoidant-Dismissive Attachment: 

Those with an avoidant-dismissive attachment style may have had caregivers who were emotionally distant or unresponsive. As a result, they learned to suppress their emotions and became self-reliant. They may struggle with intimacy and find it challenging to fully trust others.

4.Fearful-Avoidant Attachment: 

Individuals with a fearful-avoidant attachment style often have experienced trauma or unpredictable caregiving. They may desire close relationships but fear emotional pain or rejection. This can lead to a push-pull dynamic, as they simultaneously crave and fear intimacy.

Studies suggest that 50% of the population is secure, 20% is anxious, 25% is avoidant and 5% is fearful. While attachment styles shape us, therapy can help us use the strengths in each style, such as seeking connection for Anxious-Preoccupied and self-sufficiency for Avoidant-Dismissive. Therapy and self-work  can also help move you to Earned Secure, which is becoming securely attached as an adult, and then being able to provide that attachment style to the next generation. 

At KCC, we work with our clients to identify their attachment styles, understand and accept them for what they are,  and heal by forming secure attachment to the self to help move from reactive (of childhood attachment experiences) to present in our relationships with others. If you’d like to explore your own attachment style, you can schedule a consultation via our website homepage or by emailing

Nature and Nurture

The age-old question of nature versus nurture still mystifies us all, but is nonetheless a fascinating topic to chew on. Humans are incredibly adaptable, but ask any parent and they’ll tell you that their children have had some inherent traits since they came into the world. Nature and nurture work hand in hand to shape each and every one of us into the unique individuals we are. It’s like a dance between our innate tendencies and the experiences that mold us. Our DNA, and our essence of spirit, are the foundation upon which external influences work. This foundation remains at our core, but is also molded by our parents, siblings, culture,  experiences, and so much more. When we talk about nurture, parents and their parenting styles tend to be the focus on a child’s outcome. So, what are the most common parenting styles? In psychology, there are four main types:

  1. Authoritarian: Firm and demanding, these parents value obedience and rules. Though it can promote discipline, it may also hinder creativity and independence. While structure is crucial, it’s essential to balance discipline with open communication and understanding.
  2. Permissive: These parents are nurturing and lenient, giving their children freedom but with few boundaries. While their kids enjoy freedom, they may struggle with self-discipline and accountability. Finding the middle ground between support and structure fosters a healthy sense of responsibility.
  3. Authoritative: Striking a balance, these parents provide warmth, guidance, and boundaries. These parents set clear boundaries while fostering independence and open communication, leading to confident and self-reliant children. 
  4. Uninvolved: These parents provide minimal supervision, leaving children to navigate life independently. This can result in a lack of support and stability, and can negatively impact a child’s social and emotional development. Remember, involvement and active support are vital for a child’s long-term well-being!

Remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting! Different cultures, religions, even geographic locations may value different styles. Each child is unique, requiring tailored love, understanding, and guidance. By embracing both  nature and nurture, we can create nurturing environments that foster growth, resilience, and joy.


Did you know that sometimes the key to understanding ourselves lies within the intricate branches of our family tree? 

Genograms are powerful visual tools that are used to map out family relationships, patterns, and dynamics across generations. They provide a unique understanding of who we are and where we come from. 

Genograms help identify recurring themes, inherited traits, and unresolved issues that may have shaped our lives. By exploring our family history, we gain insights into how our ancestors’ experiences, mental health, beliefs, and behaviors have influenced our present reality. 

Genograms empower the individual to  see the strengths in those who came before us, while breaking free from negative cycles and generational patterns, allowing them to create healthier, more fulfilling lives. When we understand the context in which we were raised and the stories that have shaped us, we gain a deeper appreciation for our own journey. We can heal wounds, build stronger relationships, and embrace our unique identity. 

Genograms are an invaluable tool in therapy that guides us on a profound journey of self-discovery and healing. Let’s honor our past, embrace our present, and create a brighter future by exploring the rich tapestry of our family history.

If you’d like to unlock the power of genograms and embark on a transformative path of self-understanding and healing, reach out to

Play Therapy:

Have you wondered what play therapy is, exactly? It’s a great way for kids to open up about their needs and feelings in a pressure free environment. Play therapy allows the child to be a child yet still show those big feelings, even when they don’t necessarily have the words for what they’re experiencing. They come into the session, see all the toys, and gravitate towards whatever speaks to them and their personality. Through play, they can model their emotions and demonstrate their needs. For example, a child is playing with kinetic sand and something goes wrong and they get very frustrated and start being aggressive with the sand. The play therapist then looks into this scenario and inquires further about what’s going on in order to see what’s driving those emotions. Child therapists are trained to see these things not just for what they are, but what they represent about what’s going on inside the child. Sometimes the child’s actions demonstrate a need for better communication, or closer relationships – the list goes on and on. 

Katherine is KCC’s newest child & play therapist and she is now accepting clients. Native to DC, Katherine became a therapist to be the person she needed the most when she was growing up. Her mom was diagnosed with MS at a young age, and she didn’t know how to navigate that, but she did have play as an outlet. From arts and crafts, to imaginative play, Katherine was able to expand her world and maintain connection to her youth amid early-age adultification.

Here are a few words from Katherine:

“Kids deserve a place where they feel like they’re not going to be judged or reprimanded. In play therapy, I treat children with unconditional positive regard – I like to think, ‘it’s your world I’m just visiting it’. My biggest piece of advice to parents is to trust the process, and more importantly to trust your children – they know more than you think and just need the space to articulate it. A lot of parents tend to think that therapy is a quick fix, but it’s important to realize that your child is developing at a rapid rate and there’s a lot going on under the surface. You may come in for one thing and see others. It’s important to be patient and give children room for expression.”

Katherine has a few openings left, so don’t hesitate to schedule a session for your child!

Addressing Trauma in Children

While we don’t like to think of children experiencing trauma, it happens often; some studies suggest for up to 50% of children. The pandemic was traumatic in some form for most children. Other life events, such as divorce, exposure to violence, and fearful experiences can be traumatic for children. Trauma can leave marks on young hearts, which we can still feel as adults, affecting emotional and physical well-being. But, children possess an incredible ability to heal when they are given a safe and nurturing environment, unconditional love, and the right tools to express and process their emotions. Caregiver response is the most important factor in healing. Here are some helpful ways to respond to trauma: 

➡️ Listen, Empathize, and Validate

Children need a safe space to express their emotions freely. By actively listening, empathizing, and validating their experiences, we empower them to find their voice and feel seen and heard. It’s important to remind them that their feelings are valid and deserving of our attention and support. Be prepared for acting out and regression. In fact, those symptoms can be the catalyst for realizing that a child is experiencing PTSD. 

➡️ Create a Sanctuary of Safety and Trust 

A nurturing environment plays a vital role in healing. As parents, caregivers, and educators, we can create a sanctuary of safety and trust where children feel protected, loved, and respected. By establishing consistent routines, setting clear boundaries, and providing predictable and stable environments, we can offer the stability they crave. Immediately following a traumatic event, be a consistent presence, which sends the message that they are now safe.

➡️ Seek Professional Support 

Sometimes, healing requires the guidance of a compassionate professional. Therapists can help children navigate the complex terrain of trauma, offering therapeutic interventions tailored to their unique needs. They can also support you with how to respond in the best way for your child. If you suspect your child has experienced trauma, reaching out to a qualified therapist can be a pivotal step on the path to healing.   

Positive Reinforcement:

Positive reinforcement can create a loving and supportive environment for children. By focusing on their strengths and encouraging positive behaviors, we can help them blossom into confident, compassionate individuals. 

Here are a few tips on using positive reinforcement effectively:

1.Praise and celebrate achievements: 

Whether it’s a small step or a big milestone, acknowledge and celebrate your child’s accomplishments. A simple “Well done!” or a high-five can go a long way in boosting their self-esteem and motivation. 

2.Show genuine interest: 

Take the time to engage in your child’s activities and interests. Ask questions, listen actively, and provide constructive feedback. Your attention and support will create a sense of validation and encourage them to explore their passions. 

3.Create a reward system: 

Establishing a reward system can be a fun way to motivate and reinforce positive behaviors. It can be as simple as earning stickers for completing tasks or setting up a small treat for achieving specific goals. Remember, rewards should be meaningful and aligned with their interests. 

4.Encourage problem-solving: 

Instead of solving every problem for your child, empower them to find solutions on their own. Guide them through the process, ask open-ended questions, and provide gentle support. This fosters independence, resilience, and critical thinking skills.

5.Practice consistency and patience: 

Positive reinforcement takes time and consistency. Be patient with your child as they navigate new behaviors and learning experiences. Consistent praise and encouragement will help solidify positive habits over time. 

Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Embrace the journey of understanding your child’s individual needs and tailor your positive reinforcement strategies accordingly.

Family Therapy:

Sometimes, play therapy is appropriate for children to do on their own. Other times, even when the adults don’t see it, the family needs to be involved in therapy together to talk, problem solve, connect, heal and move forward. This is when Family Therapy is best. The signal that family therapy can help may start with an event or a child’s symptom. 

However, there is a term in family therapy called “identified patient”, or “scapegoat” in which one member carries the symptoms when the entire family system could use help. Family therapy can help alleviate those symptoms when the family is available to reflect on changes the whole system can make together. Family therapy also encourages healthy communication patterns and problem-solving skills within the family. By involving everyone in the process, it strengthens the family unit, deepens connections, and cultivates a sense of belonging and security for our little ones.

Many people are realizing that individual and couples therapy is helpful for growth and not just crisis, and family therapy is the same. A family therapist can help adjust the structure of your family, shift family dynamics for the better, and create a nurturing environment for all members to openly discuss deeper topics together, creating a stronger understanding for one another’s experiences. Family therapy is about learning, growing, and embracing change as a collective unit. It allows us to celebrate each family member’s unique strengths, fostering an atmosphere of love, acceptance, and mutual respect. The change you make in your family can have lasting effects for generations to come.