Roya Dedeaux is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a focus on parenting and play. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation and a Master’s degree in Counseling from California State University, Long Beach where she now teaches in the Recreation and Leisure Studies department. This experience has led her to both a private practice and career in business training. She believes strongly in the importance and power of play for all ages, and has spent the majority of her personal and professional life inspiring others to become more playful. She has been a featured or keynote speaker at over 60 conferences, speaking about the importance of supporting kids interests and using play with purpose to improve relationships, learning, mental health, and overall well-being. Her debut book, Connect with Courage: practical ways to work through fear and find joy in the places your kids take you will be released in the Spring of 2020.
Roya specializes in using art in her therapy practice, and as her own creative outlet, she creates handmade jewelry out of clay and crochet at Royaboya Handmade. She also loves to play with her two wonderful children, husband, and animals where they live in Southern California.
Connect with Courage
What happens when kids play hours of video games? Why does there seem to be so many more children experiencing anxiety and depression? Why are we hearing so many stories of children feeling pressured by school, friends, and society? What can well-meaning, loving parents do to protect their kids, even when the world seems scary, the content feels dangerous, and they are surrounded by all sides with messages that kids are being lost, becoming addicted, obsessed, or “screen time” junkies? Parents are increasingly worried about their children.
Therapist, teacher, and trainer Roya Dedeaux warmly approaches fearful parents with a radical idea: It’s the parent’s job to work through their fears and support their children’s interests -- not the kids job to stop their play. Connecting with kids through their interests will not only will help their relationships with their parents, but it will increase their self-esteem, decrease their anxiety or depression, and lead to more success later in life.
With a conversational manner, Roya asks parents to examine the barriers between them and supporting their children. Are they logistical, like not enough space or money? Or are they based on emotion - like being afraid they will ruin their lives if they devote too much time to one thing? Roya addresses both the practical aspects and the parts that come wrought with feelings, with helpful questions and worksheets throughout, so that the end result will be an individualized experience, almost like a therapy session the reader can take with them and revisit anytime they find themselves struggling.
Connect with Courage
What inspired you to write this book?
An overwhelming number of clients in my practice who suffer from minor to debilitating levels of anxiety, depression, and low self-worth which gets traced back to supportive parents, or feeling like their interests were considered dumb, dangerous, or not worthwhile.
Why do you say that supporting kids interests will, “change the world?”
How do we solve problems? Through creativity, innovation, divergent thinking, teamwork, communication, and perseverance. We learn all of these qualities through play. In addition, when people are struggling to overcome negative messages about their self-worth, when they are struggling with difficult relationships, when they are operating out of fear -- they have a much harder time connecting to others, using their strengths, or finding value in what they can contribute.
How does playing more help with mental health?
Play helps in so many ways! We use play to help assess and diagnosis atypical behavior. In therapy, we use play to help kids process and have cathartic experiences without needing to articulate their struggles verbally. When we play we experience situations that give us the opportunity for mastery, for teamwork, for building social and emotional resilience, for failing and trying again, for building optimism, for reminding us how to use resources, and for learning how to fail in low-stakes situations. All qualities that are important for our mental health.
What about violence in video games or other risky content?
Studies are showing that people who play video games display no more increased pleasure in violence than those who do not. In my experience, violent images shown on the news are much more likely to impact someone negatively - and I believe the difference between those images are because when we play video games, we literally have the controls in our hands. A sense of control is important in many ways.
What about video game addiction?
People use a lot of vehicles to support underlying unhealthy behavior. Would we say the same thing about a person who reads for hours on end? We need to examine our prejudice against the media we are using. There are certainly people who use video games in an extreme way, in the same way there are people who use exercise, shopping, or eating, for example. The issue is not the vehicle, the issue is what are they escaping from? The issue is untreated depression or anxiety. The issue is not the video game.
The things my kids are doing seem silly, is supporting their play really important?
Yes, yes, a hundred times yes. Even when their interest seems silly, even when they are young - parents are building trust and relationships with every tiny interaction. Parents are essentially banking attachment and security through these seemingly meaningless interactions for when there are big, scary situations later on. When you build a life of supporting and respecting your child, they are more likely to turn to you for support later when it isn’t silly.
What about moderation, balance, and setting limits?
The short answer is that I don’t believe in balance! At least, not in the short term. I advise parents especially to stop looking at balance over the course of a day, week, or even month. Look at other qualities instead - and in ten years go back and see if there is any balance. What is the opposite of moderation? Devotion. Expertise. Commitment. Time to re-frame!
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