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Author: Kelly Montgomery

What Do Child Counselors Do And Why Is It Important

May 18, 2021 • Kelly Montgomery

Many adults, when reflecting on their lives, wish they could return to their childhood. There is not much stress, anxiety, or worry. Playing is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your childhood memories. You are free to live your life to the fullest, as long as your parents have an eye on you.

Yet, not all adults experienced a happy childhood. Some of them may have an existing identity, and existential problems brought about by their upbringing. Childhood is crucial in building self-identity and understanding yourself.

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Evidence shows that early to middle childhood plays a vital role in child development. Children undergo significant physical and cognitive improvements from birth to the age of eight. This stage of early childhood is also crucial for language and socio-emotional growth. 

While from ages 6 to 12, a child will develop foundational skills necessary in building social relationships. Middle childhood is also the period where children learn essential roles for their transition to adolescence. 

Every kid deserves a promising future. Counseling can be beneficial in assisting them in having a stable childhood growth and development. Continue reading to learn more about what a child counselor can do and why their job is essential.

What Is A Child Counselor

A child counselor has a strong background in child psychology and development. They are experts in child therapy and counseling. Child counselors focus on young children, teens, and sometimes, adolescents who have mental problems. They also assist children who experienced trauma due to dysfunctional home setup. 

Child counselors have advanced expertise in guiding the child’s social and emotional growth. They ensure that your children can enjoy a healthy and productive life. Child counselors also assist children in better understanding themselves. As a result, they will be able to develop healthy decision-making skills in the future. Consulting with a child counselor may help in the following:

  • Recognizing and identifying signs and symptoms of mental illness
  • Assessing and determining delay in growth and development
  • Providing therapeutic tools and develop strategies to cope up with their mental problems
  • Addressing traumatic experiences, adjustment issues, and psychological distress

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Being observant of your child’s behavior is also a crucial aspect of their growth and development. For instance, it is important to recognize when they are scared, angry, frustrated, or extremely happy. If you observed a dramatic change in their mood, attitude, and behavior, it is best to consult a child counselor. 

Signs Your Child May Need A Counselor

Some parents will wonder if their child needs counseling and therapy. As previously mentioned, they are beneficial in determining what is wrong with a child’s behavior. They can also develop a plan to address these mental problems. Regardless of the situation, it may be overwhelming for a parent or guardian to decide whether to seek help. Here are some signs that your child needs to see a counselor:

  • Engaging in defiant behaviors
  • Observable difficulties in speech and motor movements
  • Troubles in concentrating and finishing a task
  • Showing signs of hyperactivity
  • A maladaptive shift in habits or interests
  • Worrying excessively and having extreme sadness
  • Exhibiting regressive behaviors such as temper tantrums
  • Deliberately isolating themselves from everyone
  • Frequently discussing self-harm and death
  • Having frequent low grades and performance
  • Significant loss of appetite and/or having extreme loss of weight
  • Having recurrent upsetting dreams or nightmares
  • Leakage of urine
  • Engaging in substance or alcohol abuse
  • Hearing voices or seeing things that are not physically present
  • Repetitively and religiously performing routines such as hand-washing

Paying attention to your child’s behavior is extremely important. Seeing a child therapist will help you understand your child’s attitude and behavior. Visiting a child counselor may provide you insights into your child’s personality and behavior. They can provide methods and techniques to manage your child’s mental problems.

Why Child Counseling Is Important

As previously mentioned, children are susceptible to a variety of mental health issues. Academic and social pressures, as well as a dysfunctional upbringing, may affect them. Children may also experience bullying, poverty, and violence. All of these unsuitable childhood environments and experiences may lead to emotional and mental health problems.

Consequently, child counseling is essential to help children understand themselves. It can help them verbalize their feelings to communicate themselves better. Moreover, they may also develop the ability to understand other people’s feelings. Child counseling can also teach them how to manage their behaviors. This is necessary to improve their social skills to be able to form healthy relationships.

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Moreover, child counseling can increase their self-esteem and confidence. It can help them develop a sense of identity characterized by their uniqueness. Seeking help from a child counselor may also increase their social competencies. It can improve their ability to view situations from another person’s perspective and learn from experiences. 

Some children may also have physical and cognitive impairments. They may show signs of mental, speech, and motor movement delays. Some children may also be hyperactive, have trouble concentrating, and engage in rebellious acts. Standard parenting can not be appropriate for their development and growth in this situation.

In this case, child counseling is also an opportunity to address their functional impairment. A child counselor can help them address the developmental delay. They can assist in providing treatment, including:

  • Speech-language therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Social skills training

A child counselor can assist your child with any difficulty, whether mental, cognitive, or physical. Observing your child’s actions is the first step.

Categories: Family Support

How Your Child May Benefit From Career Counseling

May 17, 2021 • Kelly Montgomery

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For children growing up, building and identifying which career they should pursue in college can be overwhelming. With many career options available and an array of interests to choose from, many children may have trouble figuring out how to begin choosing in the first place.

Luckily, they can now get career counseling. This form of counseling aims to help students and professionals make better-informed decisions about their careers. Career counselors help figure out job and career uncertainty through various tests and even career advice.

Here are some of the interesting benefits your child can get from career counseling:

Help Clarify Career Goals

Right from the start, career counseling works as a form of evaluation. It lets your child be clear with themself about their career plan or how they would like it to be.  The counselor will guide your child in setting short-term and long-term goals. Examples include choosing which school to go to in college, what degree program to pursue, or what postgraduate studies might be appropriate in the future.

A career counselor can tell your child how fluent, convenient, and realistic their goals are based on their present skill sets and available resources. With the help of their expertise and some career test technologies, counselors can help modify, strengthen, and uplift these goals.

Identify Strengths And Weaknesses

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Aside from providing children a set of options in their careers, career counselors may also help children recognize their strengths and weaknesses.

Utilizing effective tests and worksheets that attest to a child’s capabilities is usually a part of career counseling. Knowing your child’s strengths and weaknesses will help qualified career counselors match which jobs your kid might be interested in.

Develop Better Techniques In Career Development

A good career counselor is often effective in providing career advice.

Career counselors are experts in helping their clients devise strategies on how they can achieve their pristine careers. They help establish a long-term view on how your child might want to continue their education beyond college.

Participating in career counseling can also assist your child with managing opportunities and how they can be one step closer to building a strong and reliable career.

Explore All Possible Options

One of the main objectives of career counseling is providing the bigger picture of your child’s future career prospects.

Counselors in the field are willing to help your kids find out which jobs match their current skills and ability. They can also provide a broader perspective about your child’s chosen career since numerous jobs can best suit a specific skill set.

If your children have been long interested in majoring in health sciences, counselors can help them expound on which specific degree will suit them in the long run.

Set Clear Directions Moving Forward

Planning for the future can be rough and uncertain. To aid with the ambiguous and overwhelming feeling of career planning, hearing specific and clear instruction is, most of the time, an effective choice.

Counselors may help you research and take note of. Working with an experienced counselor in terms of career development can help you contact admissions and institutions easier.

Plan And Find Future Jobs

Career counseling does not stop until you get a degree. Even fresh graduates might need the advice of a personal career advisor to help with their job seeking.

Since these professionals are well-versed in the various jobs available and in-demand in the community, they can help your kids find profitable and enjoyable jobs based on their degrees and ability.

Your career counselor may also help you determine what type of networking strategy your child can employ to secure a slot in top companies and be short-listed for job vacancies with enough resources and time.

Understand Career Choices Using Technology And Tools

With the convenience and ease of technology and online tools, career counseling has also taken it up a notch in their service delivery. Qualified counselors are now using various career assessment tools to help clients match and target the best program according to their present skills and interests.

These tools primarily help students know which field they excel in and can potentially be successful in the future.

Guide On College Admission Requirements

Through the help of a career counselor, your child can learn how to write appropriate CVs and more effective cover letters for their college admission. They can also help your kids modify these resources to be more attractive and appropriate to their chosen institutions.

Your child can also learn how to use various resources to plan their future education. Career counselors are also the usual guide in placement assistance in some cases of students.

Get Unbiased And Effective Support

Counselors ensure that aside from giving your child the best advice about their careers, they will also get fair and unbiased support in their career development and personal growth.

Being experts in work-related matters, career counselors can help your child understand the real world along with challenges in the work setting. If your kid is currently enrolled in a course, counseling can help your child see what lies ahead in his job. This includes job opportunities, graduate or postgraduate degrees he or she can pursue after his undergraduate program.

What your child needs most of the time is a counselor who will constantly remind him or her about his goals and dreams.

Conclusion

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College students tend to shift careers, especially when they don’t feel they are a good fit for their program. When students do not feel they have an affinity with their program or the future it holds, many choose to go and explore other areas that might fit them. While changing careers is not bad and is a good sign of personal and career awareness, the expenses and time spent having one can be a hassle.

Career counseling before entering the university can help your child avoid unnecessarily changing their degree program. If your child is experiencing confusion in which career to delve into college, hiring a qualified counselor can be a good start in building better job options for him or her.

Choosing the best counselor to work with your child will play a huge role in his or her development career-wise. In choosing a counselor for your child, make sure that he or she has enough experience in dealing with children. It is important to take note of their credentials. They should be a good fit for your preferences too. Also, make sure that your child can be comfortable talking with them since various career counseling sessions might be necessary.

Categories: Family Support

Frequently Asked Questions About Sand Tray Therapy

March 23, 2021 • Kelly Montgomery

Having irrational worries about a serious illness is natural. However, if it becomes obsessive and disrupts your daily social function, you might be experiencing health anxiety or previously known as hypochondriasis or illness anxiety disorder. This condition can be associated with a person’s excessive exaggeration about the physical symptoms of the disease.

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A person experiencing hypochondriasis might be overly concern about typical body sensations. This misinterpretation of body functions may result from different reasons. Some of the possible causes are extreme stress, anxiety disorders, childhood trauma. It may also be rooted in other mental health issues such as depression. 

There are two categories for people with anxiety: care-seeking and care-avoidant. Care-seeking individuals tend to spend a lot of their time seeking medical advice. They tend to look for several treatments from multiple specialists. The latter avoid medical care because they don’t trust doctors to take their symptoms seriously.

Health anxiety commonly occurs in people in their early or middle adulthood. However, children may also experience obsessive thoughts on their medical condition. Children, in particular, might express their emotions, thoughts, and negative feelings through playing.

Sand tray therapy can be a helpful technique. It is a therapeutic yet creative method to release stress and express negative thoughts. During the sessions, it allows the participants to construct their situation and illustrate their present mood. British pediatrician Margaret Lowenfeld developed this in 1921.

After studying psychodynamic psychology, Lowenfeld decided to utilize sand trays as a form of therapeutic technique. She focused on establishing the therapy and its integration into child psychotherapy in 1928.

Nowadays, there is an application of humanistic strategy in sand tray therapy. This approach focuses on the ability of the patients to find answers or solutions within themselves. Allowing them to realize their problems could facilitate healthy behavioral change freely. If the clients are having difficulties in expressing themselves vocally, they can substitute it for traditional therapy.

Interested to the about sand tray therapy and what are the benefits it can provide your family? We’ve listed some of the frequently asked questions below.

How does sand tray therapy work?

A therapist starts by providing a child with a sandbox. It typically contains toys, figurines, and miniature objects. The child is generally free to play around with the tray as the therapist observes from the sidelines. They study the recurrent symbolism to the overall organization of the items on the sand. As the treatment progresses, the therapist may add or remove toys. They may also introduce new recreational activities.

What is sand tray therapy?

A mix of play and art, sand tray therapy uses world-building exercises. It helps a child process an unpleasant or traumatic experience. The approach focuses on providing a safe space for creative expression instead of psychotherapy, which involves in-depth discussions.

What is the difference between the sand tray and sandplay therapy?

Although both approaches use sand for therapeutic purposes, they have defining differences. In sand tray therapy, a strong client-provider relationship is critical to facilitate treatment. The patient has to open up to the therapist while the provider actively supports their recovery.

On the other hand, sandplay therapists do not interfere with the patient while in their sand world. Sandplay therapy can help individuals who are not as comfortable or capable of verbal expression.

Is sand tray therapy evidence-based?

Yes. Studies show that it is instrumental in helping children who have gone through trauma, abuse, and neglect. Although their experiences may differ, there are common threads in how child victims express themselves through sandplay. Allowing children to create a world that reflects their lived experience enables the therapist to gain insight into their mental state.

Through this, they can support the child’s recovery. Sandplay content usually becomes more organized in subsequent sessions. Results like these suggest progress in the patient’s recovery.

What are the benefits of sand play?

The textile experience of handling and can help a child’s physical development. As they shift items around during sandplay, it improves their muscle control and eye-hand coordination. More importantly, the open-ended nature of sandplay encourages creativity and imagination.

How do you make a sand tray?

Although you can buy a pre-made sand tray, you can also try making your own. You can use plywood sheets as the base and craft boards for the sides. Secure the tray using wood glue and nails before painting the structure. Once the paint has dried, add sand and figurines.

How do I become a certified sand tray therapist?

You would have to complete a minimum of 120 hours of education. The coursework will touch on critical areas in sandplay therapy. It will discuss the theoretical roots of techniques in handling complex trauma. You may also enroll in specific electives to deepen your knowledge.

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How does playing with sand help a child’s development?

Engaging in sensory activities builds neural connections that support a child’s cognitive development. It also gives children the freedom to tap into their imagination and create without limitation. Sand play can also promote social skills. It teaches children to compromise, share resources, and negotiate when playing with a group.

What age is appropriate for play therapy?

Play therapy is appropriate for children aged 3 to 12 years old. Basically, it is for those who have yet to develop strong problem-solving and social skills. Although it is primarily for children, individuals of all ages can benefit from play therapy.

Why would a child need to play therapy?

If a child is experiencing developmental delays, play therapy can uncover the root of the issue. It is necessary to understand that children do not yet have fully developed cognitive capabilities. They are, however, to make sense of the world mainly through play. Through this form of therapy, a provider attempts to look at how a child sees the world. Play therapy can also be for children exhibiting behavioral problems.

What is Jungian sandplay therapy?

Sandplay therapy is a nonverbal therapeutic approach based on the work of Dora Kalff and Carl Jung. The person-in-therapy gets free rein to create an internal and symbolic world in a sand tray. Sandplay can provide a way to express the unconscious mind and help a patient recover from trauma.

Is play therapy evidence-based?

Studies show that playtime helps support a child’s physical and mental development. It can also help those who have gone through a traumatic experience. Play therapy allows children to communicate and resolve their distress the best way they know-how.

How does play therapy help a child?

Play therapy allows a healthcare provider to get to know a child through play. For instance, they may give a child a playhouse to gain insight into the family situation. Based on their analysis, a therapist can provide the necessary support. Through this, they can help the child find the answers to their problems.

How is kinetic sand used in therapy?

Children can manipulate kinetic sand as they wish. It gives them a sense of control over their play environment. Research shows that the freedom to create and take down their creations helps them recognize their agency. Over time, sand play can contribute to their cognitive development. Additionally, kinetic sand is an excellent sensory play option because of its density. It is more moldable than beach sand.

Conclusion

Like any other mental health illness, having health anxiety can also negatively impact your professional and personal lives. Constantly worrying about the wrong diagnosis or even exaggerating your symptoms is mentally exhausting. 

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It is possible to develop health anxiety within the family. Having a family member who excessively worries about your health can lead to a poor understanding of yourself. Sometimes, it may also lead to look for evidence to confirm a serious disease conveniently.

And this could not be more frightening for you. The family must take part in the healing process. Much like any other mental health condition, it is always better with a support system.

Undergoing therapy with your family can be emotionally demanding. If your children cannot verbally communicate with you as their parents, maybe it is time to consider other options.

Through sand tray therapy, the child can express themselves creatively and freely. It can also help recreate scenes that reflect reality. Through this, it is easy to visualize how to eliminate the obstacles possibly.

In sand tray therapy, healing through play and imagination can take place. It can help facilitate the exchange of deeper thoughts.  Then, it can lead to an open discussion of emotions, thoughts, and feelings. The family can connect on shared experiences as well as grow together. 

The stigma on seeking mental health and having a mental health condition significantly affects treatment for most patients. In some cases, psychotherapy and medication are not enough to provide progressive results. Your therapist and psychiatrist can help you choose suitable therapy for your family. 

Categories: Family Support

Frequently Asked Questions About Health Anxiety Forum

February 19, 2021 • Kelly Montgomery

Most people do not like to talk about anxiety. Perhaps that is because they do not want to experience judgment and discrimination from others. Many still believe in mental health stigma, which explains why some mental illness individuals do not feel confident to discuss their psychological struggles.

As you can see, there is always a thin line when dealing with mental health issues. People often criticize others’ ability to connect with themselves and often judge them for not coping. Unfortunately, those become why people with mental health keep their condition from everyone else and do not seek any help. But some people are brave enough to express their feelings and thoughts. These individuals are the ones who push themselves to get better. With that said, let us try and focus on understanding what anxiety is all about and how it affects their lives.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions we can use as a guideline.

Can health anxiety cause physical symptoms? 

Unfortunately, yes. Most people with health anxiety are often unable to function or enjoy life due to persistent and excessive fears and worries. They become preoccupied with minor physical abnormalities or physical sensations that somehow take away their mental focus.

Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety include rapid breathing, increased heart rate, nervousness, fatigue, sweating, restlessness, and troubled concentration.

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 Does anyone suffer from health anxiety? 

Yes. Some people worry excessively about health. Health anxiety is a common condition that affects many people, and it occurs in early or middle adulthood. Usually, it worsens with age as it produces real physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches, and rapid heartbeat. It also shows signs of nervousness, muscle tension, tingling in the hands and feet, chest pressure, etc.

 How is severe health anxiety treated? 

The most reliable treatment for health anxiety is psychotherapy. One particular method is CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT aims to help individuals deal with overwhelming emotional and mental problems in a positive way. It tends to break the issue down into smaller parts to easily get a hold of what they have to do and understand the situation.

Consulting with a therapist can also help you understand the possibility of getting medication to secure your mental health needs.

 How long can health anxiety last? 

Honestly, anxiety is helpful in some ways as it connects you more to a sensitive concern about the changes to your health. However, if that worry lasts at least six months or more, even though you are entirely healthy, the worry you might have can be a sign of something different. If your fears and worry get persistent, excessive, and extreme, it affects your daily life; then there is a huge possibility that it is already a mental health problem.

 Can your mind create physical symptoms? 

Carla Manley, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author, once stated that people with mental illnesses could experience a range of physical symptoms. These are a series of conditions such as insomnia, body pain, muscle tension, headaches, and restlessness feelings.

 Is Googling symptoms a bad idea? 

Self-diagnosing your health symptoms using information from the internet is never a good idea. Aside from incorrect diagnoses, your findings can mask a potentially dangerous disease. So, apart from getting an inaccurate diagnosis, the tendency of getting hooked into putting negative things altogether can become a worse habit. If you are suffering from a psychological health condition, seeking professional help to get a reliable diagnosis and treatment is entirely essential.

 Why can’t I stop Googling my symptoms? 

As much as possible, it would be best if you avoided over-Googling your symptoms. That is because of the two things that could happen. Either you overestimate your mental health symptoms and end up taking the wrong medication or engage in the wrong self-treatment. Yes, public information is helpful. However, not understanding your condition thoroughly can only worsen it.

 How can I stop worrying about my medical results? 

Worrying about your medical result is quite normal. However, it would help if you did not allow your mind to assume the worse scenarios. Be more in control of your thoughts and feelings. It will help if you focus on other things that can make you appreciate life to the fullest. Stick to your daily healthy routines and avoid overcrowding your mind with negative ideas. Keep yourself busy and limit the things you lookup online, especially if it’s about medical symptoms.

 How do you calm down from hypochondria? 

Calming down hypochondria requires self-awareness. You should not shame and blame yourself for everything that is not going your way. Things can happen for a lot of reasons, so you should not have to question your beliefs. If your worries are something you can no longer control, seek immediate help. Talk to a friend about what you feel. Try to learn the best coping strategies that suit your needs.

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 What do you say to someone with health anxiety? 

Health anxiety is a serious state of mind and can affect a person’s daily function. Thus, you must understand the right words to help someone get through with a mental health problem. Always start with the phrase “are you ok?” and “how can I help?” If those positive words warm the individual up, encourage him. Tell him, “I’m always here if you need to talk,” “let’s sort through this together,” and “your fears and worries are valid.”

Always be considerate of others’ feelings. It does not mean they are not suffering inside because they do not often show their emotions. Be careful with your actions and words, as these things cannot be taken back once said and done.

 What triggers hypochondria? 

The usual triggers of hypochondria include major life stress. It can also come from a history of childhood abuse such as physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional. It can also originate from other chronic health conditions or come from an unnecessary belief that something threatens one’s health.

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Is health anxiety a mental illness? 

Health anxiety was previously called Hypochondriasis or much better known as hypochondria. It was classified as a mental health disorder due to its effect on the person’s emotional and mental state. However, DSM or the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders no longer include the condition.

 What is severe health anxiety? 

Health anxiety, or most commonly called Hypochondriasis, is an excessive worry of possibly become seriously ill. That is despite not having or experiencing any physical symptoms.

 Is health anxiety part of OCD? 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Hypochondriasis or health anxiety have many similarities. With all areas of OCD, the underlying anxiety is considered the root of both conditions. However, the real problem is not the aspect of obsession but how individuals relate to the symptoms and respond to them.

 How do I stop worrying about everything? 

For you to be able to stop your mind from worrying too much, you should keep yourself busy. You can write your worries down and reflect on them. Be mindful of accepting that things don’t always go your way and that you need to move on. Make time for yourself and practice mindfulness and meditation.

 

Categories: Family Support

The Unseen Emotional And Mental Health Problems In Teens

October 7, 2020 • Kelly Montgomery

In today’s generation, we now understand that the emotional and mental health is one of the most significant contributing factors to teenagers’ development. It is where teens learn to value their surroundings, other people, as well as themselves. However, due to the fast-paced advancement, our youth seems to get too attached more to life stressors. It is as if they know what they are dealing with every day, but they can’t process the needs of balance and stability. Thus, almost all teens suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression in silence. Unfortunately, not everyone can notice the emotional and mental issues. So let’s talk about what bugs them.

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They Are Never Wrong Anymore

Technological advancement, mainly social media, has a lot to do with teenagers’ indecisive capabilities. We all can agree that it is a tool that allows everyone to speak their minds for what it is worth. However, its impact on teenagers is a little bit out of control. Teens are now using social media platforms to voice out their opinions and prove themselves even if they do not have to. The internet becomes their number one ally that allows them to navigate reasoning for their chosen impolite words and behaviors. Their unstoppable access to the internet makes them think they are invincible. By some means, these teens managed to create a world they believe that convinces them they are never wrong with anything anymore.

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Rules Do Not Apply Somehow

It would a biased statement if we say that teenage rules do not apply nowadays. Perhaps, there are still some teens out there that value restrictions and traditions. These teens may be from a family of well-mannered individuals that taught them the fundamentals of life and social interaction. But sadly, these kids are the minority now. The majority of teenagers are currently audacious, dynamic, and outrageous. Which can make the rules disappear. The youths are now more focused on what other people say rather than what their inner-self is telling them. There is this dogma that once you are unpopular, you are a “nobody.” That is because teens nowadays crave too much approval, likes, and compliments, which is entirely unnecessary for a happy life.

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It Is Hard For Them To Listen

The problem with the general teenage population in today’s era is that everyone wants to be heard, but none of them is willing to listen. Honestly, it impacts many teenagers’ overall development because there is an imbalance of emotional and psychological needs right in the middle. Teens are now open about expression and public opinions. That is great, actually. But once you hand out a totally different view of their beliefs, these children retaliate. They somehow look at the contradicting response as a grip that is attempting to hold them tightly. And they do not like that. The youths of this generation are now self-righteous, corrective, sensitive, and unpredictably unbelievable. They think that the world revolves around them now because they are the “youths.”

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They Believe They Are Strong Enough

With all the stress in life that everyone is facing, teens become more overly confident about everything around them. Well, at some point, it could be a great thing because it allows positivity, and it encourages a solid motivation to move forward. But the problem with that over-confidence is the impact of a failed result. Most teens nowadays believe they are strong enough to handle everything and no longer need anyone’s help. They somehow managed to create a barrier that limits other people from reaching out to them, even if they desperately need assistance. It causes an emotional and mental problem because, at a different side of the story, these children use their self-made barriers to blame people, saying that others do not find the initiative to help them.

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Mental Health Is Neither A Big Deal Nor Not An Issue

The problem with teenagers of today is that they see mental health issues as a big deal for them, while others just do not care at all. The separate opinions lie with certain elements such as upbringing, environment, social connection, community involvement, and family dynamics. For those kids who think that mental health is a significant factor in life, they are those who are sensitive and self-aware. These particular youths are knowledgeable about the cause and effect of mental and emotional trouble. However, not because there are teens who do not take mental health seriously, that does not mean they do not understand it. Some of them are just preoccupied with thinking about anything related to life stressors, while some understand the need to encourage themselves to avoid getting involved with mental illness.

It is not always that people understand what every teen is going through. They might seem to look strong on the outside, but most of them are crying in the inside. That is why it is essentially necessary to seek professional advice.

Categories: Family Support

Stress And Anxiety In Handling An Unhealthy Family Relationship

July 20, 2020 • Kelly Montgomery

Sometimes, it is not easy to become part of an unhealthy relationship within the family. There are these moments that can make you feel mentally and emotionally unstable. There are these times when you have to ensure and prove to yourself that you will give your best no matter what. And that means you are not allowed to fail, especially when everyone is counting on you. But what if your coping mechanisms are more damaging than helpful? What if your way of caring for yourself can cause extreme damage to other people’s emotional and mental states? Would you rather put yourself and your family’s overall health at stake only to get away with your stress and anxiety? Let’s talk about that.

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Unhealthy Relationship

An unhealthy family relationship has something to do with being in a state of stress and anxiety. Sometimes, you get so fed up with your family that you somehow wish you are not part of them. Sometimes you fail to convince yourself that it is okay since that is family. As a result, you make decisions that are not entirely helpful for you and your family relationship. Some of these are the following:

You Always Keep Yourself Busy So You Won’t Have To Spend Time With Your Family

It is like telling yourself that the more you work on other stuff, the more you can avoid dealing with your family’s stressful issues. It is an action that puts you in a safe position at some point. However, its drawbacks when you and your family start to experience the gap of the relationship. Sooner or later, you will come to an end where you can’t find enough reason to care for them anymore, one where even a meaningful conversation won’t change a thing.

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You Isolate Yourself So You Will Not Have To Deal With Your Dysfunctional Family

It could be a great excuse to isolate yourself from the people around you who you thought can be toxic. It gives you time to think about everything that has been going on with your life and relationship. However, isolation is dangerous because it tends to stay permanent. There is a possibility that when you are emotionally and mentally unstable, you will get stuck on it.

You Do Not Trust Any Members Of Your Family Because You Think They Do The Same

An unhealthy relationship between family members often starts when someone doubts. You put a blame card onto someone so she or he can become accountable for negative things that are happening around you. You believe that it is okay to do that because your family also thinks of you that way. There is this mentality that because they do not trust you, you should not trust them either. As a result, you grow apart from each other. Over time, it gets worst as you tend to ignore them.

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You Talk Bad Things About Your Family Behind Their Back

Because you want to keep your sanity, there are moments when you encourage yourself that your family relationship has nothing to do with you. In some cases, you put all the blame on them to keep a clean slate. But to convince others, you need to come up with something that other people will agree with you. That is when you begin to talk about bad things about your family behind their back. Unfortunately, it is common for some individuals who suffer from toxic family’s stress and anxiety.

You Never Reach Out To Your Family Even If You Had The Chance

One of the worst things that can describe an unhealthy family is a lack of communication. However, it contains a lot of factors before one can consider it a cause. Sometimes, due to all the unwanted stress and anxiety, you would instead choose not to reach out to family members. You somehow feel that things will never change even if you exert an effort to fix things between you and your family.

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You Cut Ties With Your Family Permanently Without Explaining Your Reasons

When dealing with a stressful family, you get used to the advice of throwing them out of your life. Perhaps in some instances, you find it simple and easy to do. However, it is not fair that you leave your family out of your life just because they cause you stress and anxiety. Yes, there will be bad times in the relationship, and that is normal. But if you choose to let go of them just because you feel like it, then you are unreasonable. If you entirely want to execute that decision, ensure that you provide a valid reason.

Remember, every individual deals with their family stress differently. These may work to some, but it does not guarantee to be useful for others. So when dealing with your family, always remember to be considerate, compassionate, and understanding all the time.

 

Categories: Family Support

Depression, Anxiety, And Other Emotional Health Issues Of Teens In Quarantine

June 10, 2020 • Kelly Montgomery

Humans are inherently social beings. And the coronavirus pandemic has made it harder for us to fulfill our social needs. Because we need to stay at home to keep ourselves physically healthy, we have pulled away from our friends and loved ones. This quarantine and the uncertainty have taken a toll on our teens’ emotional health, affecting how they act and behave at home. 

Watch out for these emotional health issues that your teen may be facing in quarantine.

Depression

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News about the global effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been plaguing both the internet and the television. Because our teens have access to this information, it can make them overstressed and depressed. Signs of depression include:

  • low mood
  • sleep issues – oversleeping or insomnia
  • lack of interest in doing things that they usually enjoy
  • sudden increase or decrease in weight
  • restlessness

Teenage depression may also lead to suicide ideation. Contrary to the idea that talking about suicide influences your teen to do it, it would be best to speak to them about how they feel when you notice these symptoms.

Katherine Nguyen Williams, Ph.D., further shares, “Studies after studies have shown that asking about suicide does not increase the risk of suicide. Rather, asking about suicide can decrease the risk and potentially saves lives.”

Anxiety

Teens tend to feel emotions more intensely than adults and children. It happens due to the hormonal and physical changes, among others, that their body is going through in puberty. If you, as the parents, feel anxious because of the pandemic, your teen is feeling worse. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:

  • nervousness or restlessness
  • panic
  • trouble concentrating
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • cold sweat
  • hyperventilation

Feeling anxiety is normal, especially in these stressful times. When you notice these signs in your teens, talk to them about it, and offer reassurance. Limiting screen time and finding other activities to focus on can also help them.

Social Isolation

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There is an implementation of quarantine guidelines that aim to keep us physically safe and healthy, but it may also fuel your teen’s loneliness. Because they are out of their usual routine of seeing friends, they may start to withdraw from the family. Social isolation is cutting off contact with other people due to loss of mobility, depression, and other health issues.

It is important to note that social isolation can make your teens lonelier. When you notice that they are withdrawing from family time or locking themselves in their rooms, you may need to talk to them about it. You may also ask them to unplug from social media and encourage them to exercise more often.

Emotional Exhaustion

Constantly feeling no control over life can make your teens emotionally exhausted. Before this pandemic, when teens feel overstressed, they can go out and have fun with their friends. Now that they cannot do this, they are more susceptible to feeling emotionally drained. It may result in insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

When you notice that your teen is unmotivated, absent-minded, having trouble sleeping, and overfatigued, you must help them deal with it. Eating healthy and exercising can release happy hormones in the body.

Aggression And Irritability

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Stress impacts your teen’s patience making them more irritable and aggressive. Being cooped inside the house for a long time also aggravates the stress, affecting their patience. Your usually mellow teen may suddenly become hostile towards you or their sibling for no reason. Although that is unhealthy, you need to address their emotions with understanding.

Your teen’s anger is also affected by the sudden loss of their usual routine and lack of control over their current situation. When they suddenly become enraged, let them calm down first them talk to them about it. You may also need to help them to channel their aggression towards other activities like exercising and journal writing.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with your teen’s emotional health problems is to keep an open mind and heart. They will need you more now than ever because there is so much happening around the world that they cannot fully understand and control. Be ready to listen and talk to your teens and help them be emotionally healthy while in quarantine.

Categories: Family Support

How To Support A Sexually Abused Victim

May 25, 2020 • Kelly Montgomery

The 2019 Stop Abuse Event did not only talk about the realities of sexually abused victims but also provided tips to loved ones who care. Admit it or not, we don’t know how to approach these people. Do we walk on glass with everything we say or do we lend an ear and say nothing at all? With these in mind, here are some of the things that you should know, and a few tips you can apply when consoling them.

Listen To What They Have To Say

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Each victim has their own story. There are times that they might feel a little awkward about what has happened to them. If they are ready to talk, however, then make sure to listen to their story. Let them express their fear, frustration, anger, and sadness in their struggles. At the same time, do not try to butt in when they’re in the middle of their story as they might only feel judged.

Show Empathy, Not Sympathy

Most sexually abused victims prefer receiving empathy as compared to sympathy. They want to feel loved and understood. Some of the phrases that you can utter are the following:

  • “You’re so courageous to be able to talk about this.”
  • “I believe in you.”
  • “You have done nothing wrong to deserve this.”
  • “It will never be your fault.”
  • “You are not alone.”
  • “I am here to listen and help in every way I know how.”
  • “This should not have happened to you.”

Avoid saying statements like “Don’t cry.” or “Cheer up.” Let them process their feelings and show your support by understanding what they’re going through.

Regularly Check Up On Them

Even if they experienced these sexual assaults a long time ago, you should still check them regularly. Although it’s in the past already, it does not mean that it’s entirely gone. Always ask how they are to remind them that there are still a lot of people who care for their wellbeing.

Know Your Resources

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You’re a reliable and consistent supporter, but you must know how to manage these situations. To be able to validate their feelings, you must educate yourself using reliable resources on the internet. 

Categories: Family Support

Ways To Create An Emotionally Supportive Home For Your Kids Amidst The COVID-19 Outbreak

April 24, 2020 • Kelly Montgomery

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It has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us as the pandemic continues to hit numerous countries around the world. It has affected many families, threatened job security, and overwhelmed health care systems. Many feel the stress and anxiety brought by the uncertainties of the pandemic. Parents now have a definitive role in maintaining a safe and supportive home for their children.

Children may deal with their emotions in different ways. With the schools closing, events getting postponed, or being separated from their friends, they are going to need support as they cope with the sudden changes in their lives. They may not directly express their feelings, but they are facing the same stress, and anxiety parents probably feel these days.

It’s important that in times like this, children feel comfortable sharing their emotions and understand that they are not alone. Here are some ways parents can create an emotionally supportive home for their children amidst the ongoing global crisis:

Inform Your Children Thoroughly

Keeping secrets from your children never helps. It is important to inform children by discussing what is COVID-19 pandemic while engaging them in a calm conversation. Answer their questions truthfully and explain the reasons why they are experiencing unexpected shifts.

Avoid using words that may scare them as they have the same worries just like you have. Creating a relaxed atmosphere can motivate them to tell you if ever they’re not feeling well. You can also comfort your kids by informing them about the generally mild health risks to children and young adults.

Melissa Merrick, Ph.D., and Robert Sege, MD, Ph.D., advised to, “Explain why physical distancing, staying at home, not playing outside with their friends, and canceling school are personal sacrifices that they (and we) make for the good of all of us.” You can also initiate to them a sense of responsibility in keeping everyone safe. Remind your kids that we all must think about the people around us, too and that staying at home can help limit the spread of the virus.

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Let Your Children Process Their Feelings

Do not dismiss the emotions of your children. Their issues may feel small to you, but they can be a great deal for your children. While some children may quickly get by with the situation, some may have difficulty dealing with this unique situation. Be supportive of their emotions, help them cope by reminding them that being frustrated is normal. Support them and convey empathy to their problems.

Stick To An Organized Routine At Home

Children can feel the days are passing by if they’re productive throughout the day. You can encourage your family to create a new structured schedule for them to follow daily. Make timetables for their activities so that everyone can monitor them. For example, plan when they should be doing schoolwork, playing, connecting with their friends online, or do chores.

For children aged ten and above, it will be ideal for getting them involved in shaping their day. Ask them about the things they want to prioritize so they can have a sense of ownership of their schedule. Your children can find great relief when there is consistency, predictability, and time management.

Check Where They Are Getting The News

Misinformation on the internet is rampant. When your children take in such news without proper guidance, it may create more panic and induce stress. Check-in with what they hear about the pandemic, and debunk the wrong information they received.

It’s not adequate to give them accurate facts. You must discover what they already grasp and work from there. If you don’t, your children might mix up the misinformation with the truth. Keep a calm demeanor in discussing with your kids the importance of receiving reliable news.

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Make Delightful Distractions

To help your kids balance their emotions, welcome new activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. Distractions give your kids relief from feeling stress and unsettled. Have a family game night, make arts and crafts projects, cook meals and exercise together, or do chores.

Encourage Communication From Other People

Communication plays a huge role in regulating children’s moods. Let them use social media to stay connected virtually. It can make them feel less alone during this crisis.

Children model their behavior from their parents. If they feel that you are panicking, they may also feel worried. They rely on you for a sense of balance and security. As much as you’re probably in a state of panic and shock, too, you must manage your anxiety and stress. Your children need you to be reliable, so stay healthy and remain open with your family’s emotional struggles.

Categories: Family Support

How To Help Your Teen Cope With Her Pregnancy

March 31, 2020 • Kelly Montgomery

The 2017 Teenage Pregnancy Summit further promotes the society’s roles in helping teens cope with their pregnancies. More so, families—as the smallest unit of society—have a definitive role in assisting teenagers as they manage the changes in their lives. As much as the news of your teenage daughter’s pregnancy shattered your heart, it is best to move forward and support her in her trying times.

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Teenage pregnancy can have a profound impact on your daughter’s life. As parents, you have to be strong for yourself and your child. You can help your daughter cope with her pregnancy by making her understand her options, health risks, and the possible difficulties ahead.

Provide Her With Constant Support

As much as it shocked you, your child is experiencing anxiety and fears as well. It is best if you ask her about her feelings, comfort her with your presence, and nourish her with love now more than ever. You can also give her tips regarding the changes in her body, such as morning sickness, and assist her in scheduling prenatal appointments. 

It’s also best to remember that forcing your opinions on your child regarding her pregnancy won’t do any good. It will be better to have an open and understanding communication with each other in discussing her and the baby’s future.

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Discuss With Your Teen Her Options Regarding Her Pregnancy

A pregnant teen does have various options to consider, such as the following:

  • Keeping the baby. In case your daughter decides to keep the baby, you have to discuss with her the responsibilities she will now have. Be realistic and practical so that your teen can visualize the whole picture.
  • Placing the baby up for adoption. If your teen decides to give the baby up for adoption, discuss with her the types of services available. Come with her in consulting with professionals and talk about the emotional impact it entails.

During this time, it’s best not to be judgmental and let your teen make her own decisions. Your role as her parents is to guide, not to dictate.

Encourage Proper Prenatal Care

Teenage pregnancies are considered high risk as their body is just starting to grow and are not yet fully matured. Encourage your teen to inquire about prenatal care, get tested for sexually transmitted infections, eat healthily, and stay physically active.

 

 

Categories: Family Support