Category: Healthy Relationships

how to tell if your child needs counseling

Signs Your Child Needs Counseling and What to Do

Doing your best as a parent isn’t easy. The baby you love can wear you down after crying longer than expected. Your toddler’s behavior can make you laugh one minute and shout the next. Your teenager’s outbursts, silence or misjudgments can trigger anger and embarrassment that are hard to deal with. When do you wait things out, and when do you get help?  How do you tell if your child needs counseling?

Noticing what might be triggering the behavior can help. Think about how long you’ve felt concerned. See if the issues you’re noticing are persisting over more than two weeks.

Keeping a few notes in a journal can help. This can be a useful reference if you choose to search for resources to get the support you need.

Does My Child Need Counseling?

Some Helpful Signs for Parents

Here are some signs to look for, if you’re wondering:  How do I know if my child needs counseling?

Signs an elementary or younger child needs counseling:

  • A return of separation anxiety
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Appetite
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delayed gratification

Why Delayed Gratification Is Good, Especially Now

Instant gratification has become a big part of our daily lives.  Why delay gratification? To have something we saw yesterday arrive at our door today makes us happy.  We love to stream our favorite shows on demand. If we want to hear from someone, we can email, text or message instantly. No one wants to put off for tomorrow what they can enjoy today. 

So, what happens when we can’t get what we want fast? It’s natural to feel angry, frustrated or resentful. But some seem to quickly move past the upset.

It depends on our knowledge of delayed gratification.

What is Delayed Gratification?

Delayed gratification is the ability to endure something difficult gracefully, to later achieve something worthwhile. In a culture that practically forbids discomfort, it’s a valuable skill. It helps us calmly work toward something important, develop excellence, or reach a personal goal, for example.

Delayed gratification allows us to persist calmly through tough situations.

  • It helps us put enough effort into relationships to make them strong, healthy and safe.
  • We can control
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social media influence on teens

How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers? A Parent’s Guide To Influencers

Teenage years are an important time for teens to form new relationships. Some of these relationships include social media influencers.

Teens want to fit in and feel accepted among friends. Influencers are often part of this fitting in process. Yet teenage children still want their parents’ support and love.

Caring parents want happy kids, so they buy stuff to meet their child’s wants and needs. But sometimes parents don’t want to pay for things that seem inessential, overpriced, or against values they live by. They may not see the hidden player in this tug-of-war: the social media influencer.

Peer Pressure, Anxiety, and the Impact of Social Media

The amount of peer pressure teens experience has exploded with social media. Influencers can have huge impact on what teens want to look like, do and what they talk about with each other. Teens rely on notifications on their phones to feel connected with friends. That’s how they stay updated. Because updates can be so frequent, kids listening for them may get no break from the pressure to … Come Read the Rest

EMDR treat trauma reconnect self

If You Struggle With Stress, Lifting Blocking Beliefs May Help

Many of us deal with tremendous stress every day. Too much stress can damage our sense of wellbeing. We may struggle with a relationship, a job, an illness, or powerlessness about violence and problems in the news. But if we feel too overwhelmed our mental health can suffer.  

Stress hormones flood through the body when we feel unsafe, or when we see others in pain even if they’re far away. The signals to fight, flee, or go numb have physiological effects on our bodies even if we’re not directly involved in whatever is happening. We’re still “experiencing” part of that.

How do we cope? Many people seek relief by overworking, eating too much, drinking too much, disappearing for hours behind a screen, or feeling detached and helpless. Memories of feeling useless or small may underscore a sense of being stuck. So we cope as best as we can. What else can we do?

Do you notice coping skills that make you feel bad about yourself, or that are doing more harm than good?  That’s … Come Read the Rest

Learn about EMDR

11 Common Questions about Healing Trauma with EMDR

You can probably think of a time when you were truly terrified. If you can recall it calmly now that’s a good sign you’ve healed from the experience. You feel secure, knowing the bad experience is in the past.

Ideally, our brain and body work together to restore calm after danger so we feel safe again. We may even gain more confidence, too.

Sometimes, however, the nervous system reacts in ways that block the resolution process. For some people, a terrifying episode instills an ongoing sense of danger, even after the threat has passed. These people may seem highly reactive, or often anxious. It’s as if the nervous system continues to function on high alert.

An ongoing struggle to restore a sense of safety and calm may be a sign of trauma. If you keep having trouble coping with intrusive memories, negative or scary thoughts, or self-doubt, trauma may be a factor in your life. That’s when working with a therapist trained in EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing — can really help.

Here … Come Read the Rest

teenage emotions

How to Help Older Children and Teens Manage Emotions

When children are little, parents have lots of control over their activities and choices. Parents can directly impact what happens when children act out or become upset. All this changes with teenage emotions.

A parent’s direct control diminishes as young children become teens, whether we like it or not. Responding well to your child’s changing needs is one of the biggest challenges of parenthood.

In dealing with teenage emotions, parenting involves giving your child space to figure some things out through coaching and guiding instead of hands-on intervention.  During adolescence, teens naturally seek an increasing amount of autonomy and learn what works and what doesn’t through experience and natural consequences.

But at the same time, parents are still vital to their emotional and physical well-being.  It can be a tricky stage to navigate! Understanding your child’s world by asking questions becomes more important. Questions help you learn what they want and what they’ve already tried.

Back-To-School Emotional Stress

The back-to-school transition can be an especially important time to think through how you’ll handle strong … Come Read the Rest

Emotional Children

How to Help Young Children Manage Emotions Without Leaving Emotional Scars

One of the biggest — and toughest — jobs parents have is helping children manage strong emotions.  When our child is acting out or has an emotional outburst, it can make us as parents feel anxious, helpless, and sometimes angry.  Typically, those feelings are remnants from how we were raised. Parenting emotional children may sometimes feel overwhelming. 

Recognizing our own responses in the moment is so critical to effective parenting. But this is often easier said than done! 

Understanding a bit about how children develop emotional awareness can help parents understand their child’s behavior better. This knowledge can help us avoid making negative judgments and allow healthier ways to help children manage their emotions.

Young Children Express Feelings Through Behavior

Children handle emotions and express distress differently, depending on age.

Younger children use behavior, not words, to express emotions. Signs of stress in younger children include:

  • Being clingy
  • Crying
  • Whining
  • Screeching
  • Hitting
  • Running

As they progress through elementary school, middle and high school, children may learn better impulse control. They may be less obvious … Come Read the Rest

Anorexia and how to respond

Anorexia: What You Need to Know About the Deadliest Mental Health Disorder

Anorexia has the highest death rate of any mental disorder says the NIH. That’s why I want more people to know about eating disorders, and how to respond to those who are struggling.

Eating disorders are among the most difficult mental health conditions to understand and treat. Because they are so often misunderstood, eating disorders can go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for a long time. Delay is a concern, because the earlier someone gets treatment, the better.  

More of us can help those impacted by eating disorders. We can start by learning how anorexia shapes the way someone may think and act. Family and friends can make a huge difference by learning how to reach out to those who are suffering. Clearer understanding and recognition are keys to helping people with anorexia find the support they need.

A Definition of Anorexia

Anorexia literally translates as “loss of appetite.” Unfortunately, this literal meaning gives us a rather poor idea of what a person with anorexia is going through. 

Digging deeper, we find anorexia comes from … Come Read the Rest

how to rekindle intimacy

How to Rekindle a Marriage or Relationship: Part 2

How can you rekindle a marriage or relationship? When you think, “there’s no emotional connection,” it really hurts. It’s only human to spring into action. There’s an urge to “fix it” and attack the issue at its source. This is especially true when something important is at stake, like our closest relationship.

But when partners think the way to bring closeness back is to fix their partner’s flaws, things can quickly go from bad to worse. Patterns like blaming are common in relationships. But they make it harder to rekindle love and affection.  Restoring romance and intimacy starts with recognizing and stopping negative patterns (Part 1).

Fortunately, the science behind relationships, love, and attachment has come a long way.  We can build more positive patterns into relationships to deal with problems in healthier ways.

Researchers like Dr. Sue Johnson, Dr. Brené Brown and Drs. John and Julie Gottman have learned from decades of data in their work with couples and individuals.

They identified different patterns and qualities that rekindle relationships and keep them … Come Read the Rest

How to Bring Intimacy Back Into A Relationship: Part 1

Couples want to know what to do when the spark fades in their marriage or committed partnership. How can a couple that is struggling bring intimacy back into a relationship?

Couples find themselves having little or no sex for many reasons. Some of the most common reasons romance disappears are:

  • A loss of emotional intimacy
  • A pursue-withdraw dynamic has developed
  • Few patterns exist to build openness, trust, and safety

Despite these challenges, couples can bring the spark back in their marriage. They can rekindle the spark by finding ways to be more emotionally present to themselves and each other.

There’s No Magic Needed to Bring Intimacy Back

Good sexual chemistry may seem like something magical. This is the feeling people often think of when they want to bring intimacy back. Early in a relationship, couples seem able to look past each other’s flaws easily. They are living examples of the saying, “Love is blind.”

Even the idea of “falling in love” implies a force of attraction that is out of our control. It’s as … Come Read the Rest