Blog post written by: Ericka Thomas, LPCA who works with children and teens at our Apex and Pittsboro Locations!
Below you will see how to help kids by understanding how our own emotional well-being impacts them!
How a parent’s emotional well-being impacts the parent-child relationship....
Raising children is a significant task that is both rewarding and challenging. A lot more parents are considering therapy for their child or teen because they believe the child needs additional support. While therapy is certainly a great opportunity for a child to learn new skills, parents can benefit from truly understanding how much their own behavior and emotional well-being can impact both their child/children’s development but also their relationship with their child/children. We are always modeling how we express our feelings! Even when we think that they are not watching….they are.
Somethings to keep in mind as your child goes through the therapeutic process:
Lastly, what you do or don’t do now, will have an impact on your children. Have an open mind and ask for help.
Do you know how difficult it is for us adults to convey our emotions (feelings) in a semi-appropriate manner? Now imagine that you are a little kid or even a young teen who is trying to translate feelings into words and actions. Throw in hormonal changes that are "normal" as we continue to develop and grow and you have one hot mess. This is even more prominent when we come from a place where our parents are divorced, separated or in the process of either. School is getting even more challenging and let's not forget the good old-fashioned peer pressure and bullying, sports events, studying, sexual identity & gender questions and any one of a million other factors that impact our ability to express our feelings in an appropriate manner!
No wonder, our kids don't know how to express themselves. But have no fear, Super-dupper therapist mom is here (I know, that was slightly over-the-top, but you get the drift). We can help support healthy feeling expression when our little ones are developing. Let's start with the little ones:
A VERY VERY VERY important thing to keep in mind when working on this is that we CANNOT begin practicing this when our kid is having a meltdown! All you do is set yourself up for failure. We begin practicing when things are going good and we go from there. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks in the future.
Ready to get support with your child? Give us a call at 919-412-5685. We are here to help you. Most major insurances are accepted!
I find that one of the hardest things for me to do with my kids is to be mindful. That is why I ask them the same question repeatedly- I wasn’t paying attention when they answered. In my own defense, I have to be mindful and completely tuned into those that seek my help professionally on an almost daily basis, so when I get home, I become easily distracted. You can relate to that right?
Mindfulness is “paying attention to the present moment on purpose, without judgment.” You can do this with any activity, at any time. For instance, when washing the dishes, don’t think about your to-do list. “Just pay attention to the sensory experience” of doing the dishes. When playing with your child, focus on the experience of being with them. I promise (well, not literally) that you will have a completely different experience and feel like a better parent and person for that.
I often suggest that my clients try some form of breathing exercise much like the link provided: breathing exercise . These can be done once in the morning and once during the day, along with this body scan as you lie down to sleep. Try setting your alarm 5 minutes earlier so that you can start out your day in a good way!
To learn more about the importance of self-care, book your appointment today. We are here to support you!
As much as we love the idea of taking care of our kiddos (feeding them, cleaning up after them and acting as the mediator) the school year (for many) is beginning. This symbolizes an increase in stress. The chaos of working (whether you are paid to or not) and taking care of the on-going daily chores, trying to figure out everyone’s schedules for after-school and sports activities, not to mention the stress of NOT understanding your kids homework. Like, I have a Master’s Degree and can’t figure out what half of the math homework is even talking about! Have no fear, therapist mama is here! Below, I have some tips of the trade that I have gathered over the many years of being a stressed out, hair-pulling mama (yes, therapists are allowed to pull our hair too). So let’s get started:
1. Practice self-care in intervals.
For instance, take 15 minutes for yourself, twice a day. This does not mean, doing the laundry, cleaning the floors or anything else. This means taking 15 minutes to feel the breeze on your skin, the sun warming you, or just enjoy those really neat cricket noises that always symbolize (for me) that autumn is coming.
2. Ask for – imperfect – help.
Sometimes self-care means accepting imperfect help from someone you trust, who might feed them junk food, or let them watch too much TV, or simply do things differently than you do. That is okay. Just breathe and enjoy the time that the “imperfect” help is giving you!
3. Say yes.
Just like it’s often healthy to say “NO” to some people, it can also be very self-nurturing to say “YES” to someone else. Offer to proofread your friend’s resume, give someone a ride or make a meal for a family who needs it. It is good Karma. This is creating a deliberate distraction to connect you with other people and remind you of the good you do in the world outside your home. Plus, it helps you reconnect with the other parts of yourself, you know, the ones that we forget exist when we become a mom!
Want to learn your parenting style, check it out our link below for more information
STAY TUNED FOR MORE TIPS FROM THE THERAPIST MAMA!
Did you know that low self-esteem is often related to depression, poor academic achievement, and negative body image, influencing how a girl sees the world around her? It influences how a person perceives her environment and how she reacts to that environment. Self-esteem is especially precarious when we are hitting those critical years of pre-puberty and puberty.
Here are some signs that your daughter may be struggling with self-esteem issues.
1. WALKING WITH THEIR HEAD DOWN- One of the most observable signs of low self-esteem is when a young person walks everywhere with their head pointed downwards and their chin stuck to the top of their chest. This is physical expression of shame and embarrassment. Tweens/teens who with low self -esteem often feel like they want to hide and get through public situations unnoticed.
2. NO EYE CONTACT- Tweens/teens who feel that they are not worth much find it very hard to make eye contact with others when communicating. They avoid making a connection because they assume others have the same negative view of them as they do.
3. BAD-MOUTHING THEMSELVES- The language tweens and teens use will often convey what it is they believe, this is especially true of how they speak about themselves. Teenagers who commonly refer to themselves as hopeless or worthless are expressing a belief about who they are. Phrases like “l am useless”, “I always get it wrong”, “I could never do that” or “the world would be better off without me” are examples of someone expressing negative beliefs about who they are.
4. LOOKING FOR THE BAD IN OTHERS- Teenagers who feel bad about themselves will often seek to be negative about others. This is usually a defense mechanism. Often teens will be most critical of others who exhibit similar qualities that they don’t like about themselves. Other times it is a simple matter of making themselves feel or look better by making others look worse.
Flower Power is an 8 session group counseling module for girls between the ages of 8-12 years old. The goal is to strengthen self-esteem and self-perception, promote awareness about how certain environments can affect self-esteem and promote resiliency in a real-time, down-to-earth manner that girls appreciate.
The Flower Power program uses goal-setting and progress monitoring while building a strong community of caring, support and encouragement. It supports the learning process and encourages girls to handle pressures and anxiety in a more effective manner.
Let’s help our girls see the beauty in themselves by calling today to join the group. Not sure if a group is the right choice? No problem, we also offer individual sessions as well. Call us at (919) 412-5685 for more information.
Fighting Fair- How to handle those ever-endearing sibling fights
Have you ever looked at your kids and wondered where they came from? They must have come from alien parents because I know that I didn’t teach them to talk to each other that way! While sibling rivalry can be a very “normal” thing, it can be extremely frustrating for us adults. The whole “he is looking at me”, “stop touching me” fights while endearing to some parents, can become flat-out annoying to deal with on an everyday basis, while in car rides and any other time your darling kids are fighting for attention. My poor kids got the “short-end of the stick” when they were born to a therapist mommy. Of course, I am a professional, I have all types of training and education right? Yeah, but let me tell you how all of that training goes right out the door the minute I opened my mouth with my kids. I am the proud mommy of two boys who have a three years difference in age and an even more expansive difference in personality.
So what does the therapist mommy do? I researched techniques and spoke to other moms who were going through the same thing, much like you are probably doing right now! I found a few techniques that looked good on paper…then when I actually tried them…complete failure. Well, didn’t that make me feel good! Here I was a professional woman (probably just like you) and I couldn’t figure out how to keep myself from strangling my kids (figuratively speaking, of course). So I keep on trying and here is what I found to work for me.
When my kids started the ever-loving debate over who started what, I simply set them both down on separate chairs or separate ends of the sofa and made them figure out who did what and apologize for it. If one was accusing the other, I did not get involved. They had to work through it (in a civilized way)…together. They were “grouped” together until they figured it out. This worked well because they learned accountability for themselves and within the sibling relationship-learning how to protect and respond to each other’s needs. They also learned that there were no favorites and they could not “split” me.
While no parent is perfect, especially this one here, we have to learn to seek out support when we need it. What works for one family may or may not work for another. That is why family and individual counseling cannot be a “cookie-cutter” service. One of the best things that I did, as a young mother, was to find people in my life that could steer me in the right direction, support me and validate me when I thought that I was the worst parent ever.
If you believe that you could use extra support, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Peak Professional Group, LLC is committed to providing innovative services to our parents in a way that you know you are being heard and understood. Call us today for a FREE 15 minute telephone consultation. (919) 335-3105.
As a mental health counselor and mother of two teenage boys, I have heard it all…literally..
I hear way too many personal things about my kids, their friends, girlfriends (or lack of) and at times, have thought about secretly murdering the extremely annoying cows and sheep in Mine Craft (just kidding). I almost feel bad for my kids, I mean, they have a mother who is always looking deeper into what they say, how they say it and what they do!
On a serious note, many of my parents ask me about parenting teenagers: What are the right amount of boundaries? How do I talk to my teen about sex, drugs and peer pressure without getting the notorious rolling of the eyes and ” I’m fine, MOM” comments? What about their future? How do I, as a parent, talk to them about their futures?
If there is one thing that I have learned this is it: Teens want to talk about themselves. Human beings love to be the center of attention. If given the right environment and a trustworthy recipient, teens enjoy discussing their lives. As an addendum, teens like talking about what THEY like. Talking about their family arguments or school problems does not interest them. Their friends, their dreams and goals, their feelings, and their frustrations are the favorite topics for discussion. Find ways to understand what it is that they like (listen to their music- or Google it!- Honestly some of the music is realllllllyyyyyy interesting). On a side note- now I sound like my mother….rrrrrrr.
Learn their “lingo” but know that if you actually start to use it, they will likely laugh in your face, call you old or just roll their eyes. We learn their “lingo” so that we don’t look like confused “old farts” when they DO actually talk to us. Ask them what “new” words actually mean. For example, BAE means BEFORE ANYONE ELSE and if often used to describe a potential girlfriend. To be honest, I learned about this word from my 14 year old but was so excited when I got to use the word with one of my teenage clients. I actually felt kinda “cool”, well maybe that IS taking it a bit far but I was able to engage her in a conversation and that is the point, right? Listen to mainstream radio stations or Pandora to get an idea of who is who in the music world, meet their friends and always, always set the tone for good communication skills between you and your teen. It is NOT easy to do this but it is worth the “battle”. Let them fly solo just a little bit and like a mother hen, always be there to gather them back up.
For your FREE guide to Parenting Teens, click the link below: If you feel like you still need more help with these difficult tween and teen issues, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you!
Samantha Mahon, M.S.,NCC,LPC
Samantha is a proactive and practical parenting expert. She is a Board Certified Counselor and she uses her knowledge of psychotherapy combined with her own personal and professional experiences to bring you the real-life options as parents.