Teens

7 Ways To Help Your Kids | Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

By: Janie Lacy

How can anyone explain tragedies like the relatively recent killings in Parkland, Florida to kids? There are a few things that parents can do to address any questions or any fears that may come up in children after being exposed to news reports or conversations from classmates.

Kids & Tragedies 1) Be Flexible

It is important that you realize there is no exact right or wrong way to answer any difficult questions about any of these tragedies. What matters the most is that children know that they can talk to you about their feelings and ask questions (i.e. that it is safe to talk about it).

2) Ask Open-Ended Questions

You want to ask kids open-ended questions such as, “what happened in school today? What did you see today? How do you feel about that conversation? This may help facilitate them expressing their feelings.

3) Maintain Routines

Encourage your child to go to school if they want to stay home. When they are at school with other children and teachers, this can be the best place for them to confront any anxieties. If your child is really upset and wants the day off with you, that is ok too. Just make sure any changes in routine don’t become permanent.

4) Be Reassuring

Use language to distance the child from the tragedy and reassure them that they will be safe at school. You can say things like, “that happened far away and I will do everything I can to keep you safe.”

5) Use Developmentally Appropriate Language

Children as young as 2 can be aware that something is happening, but the amount of information they need still changes age by age. It is not […]

What To Do If Your Teen Is Self-Harming

What To Do If Your Teen Is Self-Harming

You just found out your teen is self-harming. Your heart drops to the pit of your stomach. You feel shocked, confused, and utterly lost. What now?

You are not alone. About 17% of teenagers have engaged in self-harm at least once according to the American Psychological Association.  Often times, self-harm occurs as a way to cope with distressing feelings or situations. Teens who self-harm are not intending to die but are desiring relief. It may seem counterintuitive to be harming oneself as a way to get relief but it is true. Many teens lack the knowledge or skills to effectively cope in healthy ways. Therefore, they turn to self-harm as a way to distract and overwhelm their internal pain with external pain.

Self-harm is common among teens but in particular those in middle-school age groups. There are different forms of self-harm from skin cutting, burning, to head banging or hitting as stated by Mental Health America. Teens may pursue this unhealthy coping as a way to deal with anxiety, bullying issues, or intense feelings of sadness. Self-harming is an incredibly shaming behavior as a result teens self-harm in less visible places such as their upper thigh, arms, or wrists and hide their visibility.

As a parent all you want to do is protect and stop this self-destructive behavior. Here are few steps on how to help your teen after your discovery.

Engage with love not fear tactics

It is important to engage your teen after discovering this unhealthy behavior. 

Back-to-School Anxiety 

Back-to-School Anxiety | Orlando Anxiety Counseling

You have everything ready and set for your teen’s first few weeks back-to-school. Clothes shopping is done, new school supplies are bought, and lunches are prepped for the week. Everything is planned and perfect. Until you realize your teen’s back-to-school anxiety starts creeping in. The next thing you know, you are trying to calm down your hyperventilating child while coaxing him or her to attend school.

back-to-school anxiety, fear, children, teens, parenting, school, panic attack

Anxiety disorders are one of the leading psychiatric disorders during childhood, according to the Child Institute Children’s Mental Health Report. No parent expects back-to-school anxiety to kick in so quickly or to even occur at all. But, many teens become easily overwhelmed by increasing school work or peer relational issues. Here are 5 tips to help your teen with back-to-school anxiety.

Tip #1: Routine

Teens live in chaos when they are left to their own devices. Therefore, it is important to create or help formulate with your teen a weekly school routine. Routine gives them a sense of order and order will help them calm down when anxiety kicks in.

Tip #2 Discipline

Teens are procrastinators, many if not all are at some point. They might spend the entire day playing but then spend the last few hours of the night cramming.  If a teen only has a few hours before school begins to finish a project or study for an exam then, of course, their fear will sky rocket. Consistent cramming will only lead to high anxiety. As a result, set limits with your teen to help them create discipline and to decrease anxiety.

Tip # 3 Play 

On the other […]

5 Ways to Better Self-Care | Orlando Individual Therapy

5 Ways to Better Self-Care | Orlando Individual Therapy

I have often heard that we are our own worst critics. I’ve also heard that we talk to ourselves worse than we would talk to own worst enemy! Maybe it’s time to show yourself a little bit more love and respect. Here are five simple things you can do to improve your self-care, to enable a healthier you.

happy young woman relaxing at home, self-care

  1. Get more sleep! Yes, late nights can be very productive but your body and mind need sleep to recover and rejuvenate. You’ll be glad that you did and getting a full night’s sleep will lead to an even more productive tomorrow.
  2. Meditate. Take the time to meditate at least once daily. Clearing your mind can work wonders in your day. It doesn’t matter if you do it before you start your day or at the end of the day. It is a natural way to relieve stress and give yourself a much needed time out.
  3. Laugh. They say laughter is the best medicine. Take some time to laugh! Maybe watch a tv show that you find funny. You can also laugh at yourself. Instead of feeling bad about that mistake you made earlier in the day, try to think of it in a bigger picture and how it looks in the great scheme of events. It’s okay to laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
  4. Get (or do) a hobby! Working on your hobby has many benefits. It’s a good way to release stress. While doing a hobby you would be able to relax and find some enjoyment. […]

Fatherless Epidemic | Orlando Marriage and Family Counseling

Fatherless Epidemic | Orlando Marriage and Family Counseling

With Father’s Day approaching I was struck by just how “father” figures are under appreciated in our society. Think about it, do most of us actually recognize all that a father truly embodies to a child? I took this question to the source and I asked my son. I received a plethora of answers ranging from “a love giant”, “superhero” to “booboo kisser” and “my bike rider helper”. These titles may seem childish and somewhat inconsequential at a superficial glance, but with a deeper look these qualities truly are the core of what a father “should be” to a child: a care giver, provider, supporter, teacher, friend, protector.  Unfortunately, there are many children, both young and grown up, who are missing this key figure in their life.

ID-10063601Yes, a mother can, and often will, take on many of these core roles, but research has shown children still need a strong “father” figure in their life. For many the good news is this “father” figure does not have to be the biological father. Realistically, many children who are still in the care of their biological father, are receiving more harm or neglect than good.  Being present, physically is not enough on its own. Many times men who are “not required” to love the child, can take extra steps to be amazing “father” role models.

A recent article on Today.com highlights how imperative non-biological “father” figures can be in this fatherless epidemic.  As the article states caring step-fathers and even boyfriends can be a huge asset to children. Additionally, uncles, brothers, friends, neighbors, fellow church members, etc. can be […]

AP Classes Causing Teen Anxiety? | Orlando Teen Anxiety Counseling

Are AP Classes Causing Your Teen Anxiety? | Orlando Teen Anxiety Counseling

Some of my favorite clients to work with are my “AP kids.” These are the teens that are taking advanced placement classes in high school, have a drive to get into a good college, have a passion to be successful, and always set their standards high. I love working with these types of people because they are willing to put in the work that therapy often requires. They strive to be the best and that includes in their mental health. So, what is their downfall? Just that. That perfection mentality makes it very difficult to find satisfaction in themselves for who they are. See Performance Based Identity Blog. What is the most common issue I see with these types of teens? ANXIETY.

Because AP classes require much more work, focus and dedication than standard or even honors classes, teens tend to feel overwhelmed, pressured and anxious. I have had clients sit on my couch and bawl hysterically over their AP class. I’ve had others have self-harming thoughts and behaviors because they could no longer handle or cope with the pressure. While AP classes are prestigious and impressive on a transcript; if not handled correctly, AP classes could be the demise of your child. Here are some tips to help your teen get through these difficult classes.

teen anxiety test

  1. Implement time management and organization. One of the biggest struggles that many AP kids feel is If not handled correctly from the beginning of the school year, AP classes can begin to drown your teen due to poor organization. Have your child come […]

Can Divorce Be Healthy For Kids? | Orlando Divorce Recovery

Can Divorce Be Healthy For Kids? | Orlando Divorce Recovery

Divorce is not an easy process to go through but children fare better if parents can limit conflict associated with the divorce or at least minimize the child’s exposure to it. Children who live in the custody of at least one well-functioning parent do better than those who are living in high stress high turmoil environments with both parents. The ideal situation for a child is to have two healthy parents working together in a shared custody agreement. As a divorced parent of an 8 year old I have seen firsthand that it is possible to raise a child who is happy and well adapted in spite of a divorce. Regardless of how her father and I felt about each other we made a decision to work together and put her needs at the forefront of our decisions. It has not been easy to keep peace and take the high road because there is a reason we are divorced but I’m glad we have treated each other with respect for her sake. I’ve had to bite my tongue and smile at times but I decided to be motivated by her and not my own pain, anger, disappointment, etc. You get the picture. At first I was concerned about her going back and forth between two homes but she needs both of us and we both meet a different need in her life. The back and forth has not been as much of a disturbance as I had feared. What is important to her is that she has time with both her parents and the divorce although difficult has actually given both of us […]

How to Find Your Worth in Your Self & Not in Others

How to Find Your Worth in Your Self and Not in Others 

Many people struggle daily to build and maintain a positive self-esteem. Some struggle more than others because they have not yet developed a true sense of self. It is impossible to have self-esteem without a sense of self. How can you feel good about yourself if you don’t really even know who you are? When developing your sense of self, one of the key factors is to find your self-worth in yourself and not in others. Most of us are guiltier of this than we would like to admit. For example, if a girl is dating a guy who is verbally and emotionally abusive and tells her things like she is fat, worthless and disgusting, then she tends to believe this about her self and lose her sense of worth. She adapts his belief of her, which in turn affects her self-esteem.

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So, how do you find your self worth in yourself rather than others?

1. Set boundaries: Before getting into any relationship or friendship, be very aware of the kind of people you want to let into your life. You do not deserve to be belittled; therefore, you need to make that your own belief, so that it is easy to stick to your boundary. Start vague like: “I will not allow people that do not value me into my intimate life.” And become more specific as you become more confident in your ability to set and stick to boundaries.

2. Embrace your qualities and your flaws. No one is perfect. Everyone has flaws. The sooner you realize that it’s okay to […]

10 Habits of Emotionally Healthy Families

10 Habits of Emotionally Healthy Families

As a young woman, I knew instinctively that I had some ground to cover if I wanted to one day live out my dream of being a part of a harmonious, happy family. My family gave me a great schooling in what not to do, but that left me very lacking and unsure about exactly what to do to one day have an emotionally healthy family of my own. Most of us have heard the statistics that over 50% of American families end up in divorce, and sadly that trend is not decreasing. So, it stands to reason that I have not been alone in my quest to understand how a healthy family functions.

When a person comes from a foundation of dysfunction, it can be easy to become so fixated on the dysfunction that one forgets to lift their head up and believe that there may be something better. Those of us who come from a place of longing for the safety and security of an emotionally healthy family because we’ve never known it, may want to know that it is possible to take concrete steps today. After over 10 years in various aspects of ministry and as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I want to share with you what I have observed about the habits of those couples who succeed in creating a lifelong, healthy, loving, and emotionally healthy family.

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Join a Faith Community Together

Let’s face it. Family life is tough. Men and women have multiple roles and juggling acts to carry on their own. We live in an age where support systems for families are no […]

5 Questions To Choose The Best Orlando Therapist

5 Ways To Choose The Best Orlando Therapist | Life Counseling Solutions 

Did you know that most consumers of therapy don’t take the time to learn about what they need to know about partnering with the best counselor or therapist who can help them be successful in meeting their therapeutic goals?

Firstly, YOU are the consumer so ask questions and “shop” around to find the best fit for you.  It is also best to highly consider referrals from family and friends who have had experience working with a particular counselor or therapist.

ORLANDOBESTTHERAPISTLife Counseling Solutions like many counseling centers offer a complimentary phone consultation or face-to -face meeting. You want to take advantage of this opportunity to briefly explain your problem(s) and ask the counselor or therapist to share how they would approach the problem. If possible, try to chat with at least three different counselors or therapists.   Here are a few questions that you can ask in that initial conversation:

  • How many couples or individuals with similar issues do you work with per week?
    • For example, the more couples that a couple’s therapist works with per week, the more experience she or he has working with couples. Therefore, if you are seeking counseling for your relationship, then you want a therapist who primarily works with couples.
  • Do you work with a couple together or in separate sessions?
    • Life Counseling Solutions believes that it is imperative to see couples together. The therapist can miss the dynamic of how the couple relates when they are seen separately. While there may be a good reason to have one or two individual sessions with each person in the relationship, this should be more the exception […]