Pediatric Behavioral Health

About Dr. Damon-Minow

Dr. Damon-MinowDr. Jill Damon-Minow is a licensed psychologist and Health Service Provider who specializes in neuropsychological/neurodevelopmental evaluations and individual and family psychotherapy. Dr. Damon-Minow received her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco, CA. She completed her internship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and her two year post-doctoral fellowship was completed at UMass Memorial Medical Center. Dr. Damon-Minow was an Assistant Professor of Neurology at UMass Medical Center for several years before joining the practice at Pediatric Behavioral Health. 

Areas of Practice

Dr. Damon-Minow provides services for children, families, and adults in the following areas:

  • Neuropsychological Evaluations
  • Neurodevelopmental and Autism Spectrum Disorder Evaluations
  • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Evaluations
  • Individual and Family Therapy
  • Parent Training/Behavior Management 

Dr. Damon-Minow's Helpful Tip

Understanding Problem Behaviors

Problem behaviors, including defiance and temper tantrums, are some of the most challenging issues that parents deal with in their children. Dealing with such difficult behaviors is extremely frustrating as a parent, and can lead to negative relationships between family members. Although it often appears that when a child is acting defiantly or engaging in a tantrum that the child is being willfully difficult, in many cases the child actually lacks the skills for engaging in appropriate behaviors and is unable to respond differently. For example, many children who demonstrate significant negative behaviors are delayed in their development of flexible thinking skills and the ability to tolerate frustration, which are critical to the ability to behave appropriately. It is important for parents and other adults involved in the lives of such children to recognize these skill deficits, so that they are able to respond to problem behaviors with empathy and skill-building, as opposed to anger and punitive measures.

Some specific tips:

  • Recognize the signs: Try to recognize if/when your child is having trouble thinking flexibly and is struggling to tolerate his/her level of frustration. Signs might include a raised voice, clenched fists, etc.
  • Validate: When you see that your child is struggling, verbally validate his/her feelings (e.g. “I see you’re feeling frustrated”).
  • Problem solve: Instead of responding inflexibly to your child (e.g. “Do what I say right now!), try to figure out and solve the problem together (e.g. “You want to still play with your Legos, and I want you to get dressed for school. How can we figure out a way to deal with this problem?”). This type of response not only reduces the likelihood of your child’s behaviors escalating to even more difficult ones, but helps to teach him/her the critical flexible thinking and problem solving skills that are lacking.
  • Be empathic: Most children want to do well, and it can be very upsetting for them when they are unable to do so, and the ones they love the most (e.g. parents, siblings) are angry and aggravated with them. As difficult as it can be, try to respond with empathy and support instead of anger.
  • Praise: Liberally praise your child for appropriate behaviors, especially when you see him/her thinking flexibly and tolerating frustration.
  • Get help: It can be very difficult to manage a child with significant problem behaviors, and a professional may be able to provide you with support and guidance in order to do this effectively.

An excellent resource on this issue for interested parents is “The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children” by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.