Hi, my name is Dr. Linda Olson. I have been a practicing clinical psychologist, Imago Relationship and Dialectical Behavior Therapist for over three decades and am also the proud mother of three sons and an adorable grandson.
As the eldest of six children, I grew up in a home witnessing my parents often yelling and sometimes becoming violent towards each other. This is known as Childhood Domestic Violence (CDV). CDV has a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem and ability to trust others. Many children who grow up witnessing CDV have difficulty regulating emotions and relating to others.
Like many children who grow up with CDV, I often felt anxious, misunderstood and lost.
My younger sisters Ann and Mary also suffered the negative impact of growing up experiencing CDV trauma. Years later, Ann was killed by an ex-boyfriend and Mary died homeless, after getting into abusive relationships.
As a clinical psychologist, CDV survivor and in memory of my two younger sisters, I created Calmkins™, a parenting tool based on the Enneagram personality system, to help children manage emotions effectively and to teach parents how to encourage their children to develop their strengths and gifts.
For more than thirty years, I have successfully used “weighted items” (“stuffed animals,” also known as “plush toys”) to help children learn to self- regulate their emotions and build better interpersonal skills. The results have transformed the lives of many children.
Giving children a friendly, weighted companion provides comfort. In psychology, we call this a “transitional object.” Research shows that children who grow up using transitional objects or weighted animals have less anxiety and stress than children who did not.
In addition, for years, I have used the Enneagram personality assessment with adults as a useful tool for self-growth and understanding others.
Having seen the remarkable results my patients have achieved over the years, using these tools, I am convinced that combining the use of weighted animals with the Enneagram personality system can be very beneficial for children, too – and, if used carefully, as a key to understanding rather than “labeling” children, can help parents understand and support their children even more effectively.
My lifelong goal has been to create a parenting tool to help parents build on their children’s strengths and support them in communicating more effectively with one another. Now, through Calmkins, I believe that parents will now be able to achieve these important goals more effectively than ever!