Claire has provided my husband and me with invaluable parenting advice over the years on a range of issues including tantrums, potty training, sibling rivalry, and bedtime challenges. Her concrete, realistic, and compassionate suggestions have empowered us to be happier and more confident parents. She is there to help whenever we encounter a new stage or problem that feels overwhelming -- which I've come to refer to as a "Claire moment." Thank you, Claire!
-Julia Zuckerman, mom of kids ages 7, 5, and 3
Claire Lerner, LICSW, is a nationally recognized early childhood expert with over 30 years experience in infant mental health, parent guidance and family support. Claire is devoted to helping parents nurture their young child's overall healthy development through a range of services, including: parent consultation, parent workshops, school observations, home visits, and consultation in pediatric practices and early care and education settings.
Claire's Approach: My approach is collaborative: parents are the experts on their children; I have expertise in early childhood development. Together we do the detective work of decoding children’s behavior to understand the root cause—what is driving the child’s actions--by putting together the pieces of the puzzle: how a child’s stage of development, temperament and experiences in her family and the world shape her behavior. With this insight, I am able to help parents think through what their children need from the caring adults in their world to develop strong coping and problem-solving skills in order to manage the challenges they face as they grow, such as how to:
- express feelings in acceptable ways
- cooperate with rules and limits
- be adaptable and flexible
- feel confident to muscle through challenges
- form positive relationships with peers
- function well in group settings (i.e., childcare or school)
Often part of the “detective” work involves observing children in a natural environment—at school/childcare or home—which has become a central feature of my practice. Seeing children in my office—an artificial, protected setting with minimal stimulation and none of the real-life stressors children face in the real world—has limited benefit. When I visit home or school, I am able to tune in to how children (depending on their age) react to transitions, interact with caregivers and peers, andrespond to rules and limits. I can gain insight into what the dynamics are that lead to adaptive, positive behaviors and those that increase challenges for children. This enables me to provide more targeted guidance to parents on how to help their children thrive. This includes tuning in to parents—to the feelings that get elicited in their everyday interactions with their children, what makes them tick, to help them gain insight into reactions that help their child calm, cope and become good problem-solvers, and which increase challenging behaviors.