News and Updates

How To Deal with A Bully

Once again, your typically studious daughter wakes up saying she does not feel good and refuses to go to school. Her grades have been dropping, and, for that matter, so has her weight. She has not been eating well, she spends her time hiding in her room, and she bursts into tears over everything. Yes, teen girls can be a little complicated, but sometimes it becomes more than that. Sadly, an increasing number of young people are dealing with bullying.

How You Can Help

The most crucial step is to get her to talk about what is going on. If you ask, “Is everything okay,” you will probably get the standard, “I’m fine.” Instead, dig a little deeper without any judgment, disappointment, or accusation. If she realizes you are a safe place to vent, she may be more open to you. Be specific by asking something like, “Is there something going on at school?”

Once you get her to talk, be sure to listen attentively. Let her vent and encourage her to get it out. Let her know she is not alone. Once she has had a chance to release those feelings, there are pieces of advice that may help.

Remind her that the reason for the bullying is to get a reaction, so make sure that is the last thing she will want to give them. Even if she is terrified, keep it inside and walk away. Do not let the bully see it.

Other Tips for Coping

There are other tips you can pass along to your daughter. She should avoid areas where the bullying takes place and block phone numbers and email addresses. Choose a group of loyal friends she can discuss the bullying with and stick close to. There is always power in numbers. As a last resort, if she must respond, do it with humor.

As her parent, consider discreetly telling a teacher at school about your daughter’s situation so they can keep an eye out. Do some research to put together a list of activities that will help build her confidence and open a new social circle.

Make sure your daughter knows beyond a doubt that she is important and loved, and the bully’s opinion is not reality. Make sure she has confidence and a support system. Research all the resources available in your area, and let us work together to stop bullying.

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Is Your Teenage Son Stressed?

It is hard to watch sometimes. When your teenage son was little, your son was anxious about dentists, monsters, or being alone in the dark. Now he is still your little boy, but he is also a young man, and his anxiety is much more complicated. When kids become teenagers, their anxiety becomes more internal. They may get moody and irritable. They explode if you mention anything out of place. Do not worry, he will be okay. It is all a part of growing up, and you can help.

Helping Teens Cope

Teen years are a time of change for your child as they head towards adulthood. They are changing emotionally, physically, and socially. They are worried about how they measure up to the world around them, especially their peers. So how can you help?

  • First, get your son to talk. Talking helps to process all the chaos spinning around in his mind, especially when there is someone listening.

When he talks, he can sort through his feelings about things. When you listen intently, you will be more in tune with any way that you can help. One thing that seems to help is physical activity while you have a conversation. Go for a walk together. The fresh air and gentle rhythm of your steps provide encouragement for the words to come to the surface.

  • Acknowledging his fears and anxiety is essential. What he is anxious about may never happen, but his feelings are still real. Acknowledge his anxiety and let him know you are confident he can manage it. Use warmth and compassion and hope they can use this to develop self-compassion as well.
  • Encourage him to talk positively to himself with little pep talks. Be sure to let him know it is okay to ask for help. Humans are not designed to go through this life alone, and you are always there for them. Reassure him this is something we all go through, and he is not alone. Getting good sleep, eating right, and even meditation will all help guarantee success as well.

If your son continues to have issues for an extended period of time or it begins to interfere with normal life, it may be time to seek the help of professional help from a school counselor or psychologist. The most important tip is to get your teen talking so you can understand the issue, and he can feel like he is understood and that his feelings are important.

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What If My Teenager is a Thief

You got a beautiful necklace for the holidays, but the next time you decide to wear it, the necklace is not in your jewelry box. Then you hear your daughter was wearing one just like it at school, and you find it in her backpack. Your heart drops, you are disappointed, and you feel betrayed and downright angry. First, count to ten. Get past the emotional response and access the logical side of your brain. Most importantly, remember that this is a behavior, not a personality trait. Now you are ready to help them work through the situation.

Tips to Teaching Amends

It is understandable that you would feel hurt and betrayed when your child steals from you but try not to take the behavior personally. Their stealing is not about you or your parenting skills. Unfortunately, your teen has chosen an inappropriate way to solve their problem, and you can help change their thinking.

  • Do not let them think you see them as a horrible person. It bears repeating, remember this is behavior and not a personality trait. If they sense you have a bad opinion of them now, it could cause them to feel hopeless. They will lose hope in their ability ever to change.
  • Instead, shift the situation to the opposite way of thinking. Good people apologize when they make a mistake, not just because they got caught but because they hurt someone they care about. They also make amends for their behavior. Let your teen know you believe they are a good person, and you know they can do this too.
  • Let your daughter know that just because you want something does not mean it is okay to just take it without asking. This is faulty thinking. Ask her what she should do next time. Never let them benefit from stealing or keep what they took. If she still has the necklace, she should be required to return it with an apology, maybe even a written one, so she must think about the situation. Make sure there are consequences.
  • If she does not have the necklace anymore, she will have to work and earn money to replace it. If she does not have a regular job, then she can work around the house for designated points and be grounded until she has earned enough points to buy her restitution.

She needs to know there are consequences, but if you make amends, you can be forgiven and earn back trust. Your teenager is not a thief, she is a growing human who will make mistakes, and with a bit of patience, you can help her learn from those mistakes and grow into being a caring and loving adult.

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Opening Communication with Your Teen

Many parents believe that at some point around the time their kids become teenagers, their kids become foreign creatures who act bizarre, dress strangely, and are impossible to communicate with. It is important for parents to have open communication. It is also important for teens to be able to express themselves and be heard. Communication is one of the most powerful tools teens can have in their arsenal. Here are some tips for getting them armed for the future.

Steps to Teaching Effective Communication

Listening is the first and more important key to good communication. We need to encourage them to talk and then listen with interest when they do. Let them finish their thought without interrupting. It is vital that they know we hear them. Teach them to listen as well. Do not just demand they listen. Explain active listening to them and why it is important for them to use in the future.

Teenagers need specifics. When talking about issues, discuss behavior, not personalities traits. Try to be logical and not judgmental. Let them know what they need to be doing, but also let them know why. Knowing the reason for behavior helps them to reason through behaviors in the future. Also, please take this opportunity to teach them skills for communicating with adults. Sometimes they feel we are a little foreign too. Help them understand we are on the same side and want the same things.

When things get a little heated, take a break. Teach your teenager it is okay for them to ask for a break if they are getting a little overwhelmed. Be patient and allow them to gather their thoughts, catch their breath, and process the conversation. Teach them to do this as well and let them know that when speaking to adults, sometimes we are a little slow and need time to process information as well.

Communication is a vital tool, and teaching your teen how to use it correctly will serve them well in their future endeavors. Learn how to talk to your teen with patience and respect and teach them these communication skills as well. It is important to talk calmly, using logic instead of emotion. It is important to listen effectively without interrupting and letting them know you hear them. It is vital to communicate, a good skill for you, and a good skill to teach your teen for the future.

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4 Crucial Aspects of Celebrating Black History Month

Black History Month is a perennial celebration of the accomplishments of African Americans. This month is significant because it’s the month when we commemorate the history and legacy of black people in the United States. Here are some of the therapeutic things to expect during this Black History Month

1. The History of Black History Month

In 1926, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) pushed to create a month where people could celebrate the achievements of African Americans in the United States. The idea was to educate people on how black people have contributed to this country and made a difference. Many other organizations followed suit and created their own Black History Month celebrations in various cities across America.

2. The Worthy Celebrated Figures

Black History Month allows celebrating the many notable figures before us. We can learn from them because they were not afraid to stand up for what they believed in, even when it sounded unpopular. They made great strides for all people, and we can learn from their actions. Black History Month is a celebration of people who have made great strides in the history of America. Notable figures like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., and many more have impacted the history of our country.

3. Celebrations.

Celebrations for Black Month around the country happen in different ways. There are parties and events where people can learn about black history. Other places may have parades or other celebrations to honor the accomplishments of black people throughout our nation’s history.

4. The Growth of the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Black Lives Matter has become one of the most important movements in our nation’s history. They have helped bring an important voice to this country and have inspired many people across the world to stand up for their opinions. Black Lives Matter feels that all lives matter, but they specifically want us to focus on black people’s issues in America. The movement is still growing and will continue to grow and be celebrated in other countries like Canada, Ireland, and the UK.
conclusion

Black History Month has been crucial to the black community in America. It has helped bring awareness to the accomplishments and struggles of black people and has helped them be proud of who they are. It has also helped black people see the progress made in America.

News and Updates

Celebrating African American History Month – Health and Wellness

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since 1976, the United States has celebrated the generations of African Americans who faced adversity in America. We at the Alpha Connection would be remiss if we did not draw attention to this important heritage month.

Ideas to Learn More about African American History

Alpha Connection would like to urge you to use this month in reflection and in an effort to learn more. Here are some ideas for you and your family:

  • Read amazing literature, perhaps from Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Frederick Douglass, or so many others
  • Study remarkable scientists, such as Alice Ball, Benjamin Banneker, or George Robert Carruthers
  • Investigate key events during the civil rights era, like Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the 1961 Freedom Rides, or Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Birmingham Demonstrations
  • Marvel at inventions by African Americans, such as how Mary Van Brittan Brown coinvented a home security system in the 1960s or how in 1923 Garrett Morgan developed the 3-light traffic signal
  • Identify and research critical periods in African American history, such as the middle passage, abolition, desegregation, or the Harlem Renaissance

Black Health and Wellness

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History picked the theme for 2022 as “Black Health and Wellness.” Perhaps Simone Biles’s bravery at the 2020 Olympics Summer Games influenced this decision. But unfortunately, Simone’s public acknowledgment of stress is typically not done. After her admission and following support from the world at large, other athletes came forward with their own stories of stress. As Simone found comfort in connecting with others, we strive to do the same with our short-term residential therapy program. Alpha Connections may not be a long-term facility or foster care, but we want to help our residents to live happy and healthy lives. As such, we value fitness, including mental, physical, social, and spiritual, as the top core area of well-being that we focus on.

Alpha Connection is naturally drawn to honoring Black History Month because of the many astonishing individuals who faced times of hardship and did not relent because of dire situations. Further, Black History Month is about providing understanding and growing knowledge for Americans. So take some time this month to reflect on and learn about these great achievements.

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Fostering Healthy Relationships

The teenage years can be difficult to navigate – teens are developing social skills with not only their friends, but with other adults and members of the opposite sex. They will have successes and failures, and it’s important that they have a trusted individual that can guide them when it comes to fostering healthy relationships. Below are several tips that can be reinforced to help teens foster healthy relationships.

  1. Respect is key. Speak to others the way you wish to be spoken to, and that includes the tone of voice you use and the words you choose to communicate with. If conversations become too heated, it’s okay to take a step back, compose yourself, and return when your emotions are a little more under control.
  2. Establish boundaries. Know in advance what you are and aren’t willing to do in certain social situations, and stick to your decisions. When you stand up for what you believe in, others can respect you for it and may be inspired to establish their own standards in life.
  3. Practice conversations with a trusted individual. If you need to have a difficult conversation, practice what you are going to say beforehand with someone you know and trust. Knowing what you want to say will help keep your emotions in check and help you keep your thoughts organized and collected.
  4. Keep your social circle open to new individuals. We all like to have a few close friends, but having new acquaintances broadens our experiences and opens us up to new ideas, and exposes us to things we may not get the chance to experience otherwise.
  5. Helping others allows you to help yourself. When you are helping someone in need, it allows you to reflect on things and see things from another person’s perspective. Another’s life experiences may be totally different from your own, and you can each learn from the other.
  6. Try to avoid preconceived notions or prejudices towards others. Outward appearances are just that – you never know what is truly on the inside until you begin a conversation and start to get to know someone.
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Mental Health and Wellness – When Intervention Is Needed

It’s normal for teens and children to have ups and downs when it comes to emotions, but how do you know when it is time to seek outside help? Sometimes it’s difficult to know when intervention may be needed. However, early intervention is key to helping children and teens cope with feelings and emotions.

Emotional Symptoms Under the Surface

Sometimes it may be difficult for young people to open up and communicate their feelings to others. There may be outward signs of trouble coping, such as academic grades declining. Suppose your child is becoming more socially withdrawn – not keeping in touch with friends as they used to, spending more time isolated in their bedroom, or not wanting to go to extracurricular activities or events they normally participate in. In that case, these may be early signs as well.

Anger and opposition is a common emotion and is typically displayed with raised voices in the heat of an argument. Many times, things are said that can be hard to take back and aren’t easily forgotten or forgiven. This can make adult/child relationships difficult to navigate, and sometimes an impartial third party can help in more challenging situations. Whether this person is a school counselor or an outside therapist, a neutral professional can help people learn coping skills and ways to communicate that can help them better manage their emotions when tensions run high in situations that are difficult to manage.

Physical Symptoms Need to be Addressed

Older children and teens may also have physical symptoms in stressful situations, especially if they have been going on for extended periods of time. Decreased appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain or discomfort, headaches, and fatigue may all be physical symptoms of anxiety or depression. School avoidance may also be occurring due to physical symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to have any physical symptoms checked out by a health care provider.

In more severe cases, youth and teens may even voice suicidal ideations or thoughts and feelings of wanting to hurt themselves. If feelings progress to this, immediate intervention is warranted. For this reason, it is so important that when children or teens begin to feel overwhelmed by their emotions or any outward signs can be identified, steps are taken to intervene early. By putting a plan in place to get them the services they need, healthier outcomes can be successfully achieved.

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Home for the Holidays: How to Help Family Members in Recovery During the Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a time of great cheer for many, but for others, it’s also a rather tough time of year. For those going through recovery, for example, there are a host of challenges throughout this time, from family expectations to substance-related temptations and even memories that might stir up inner turmoil. However, if you have a friend or family member who has been through a recovery program and is coming home for the holidays, there are certainly steps you can take to help them.

First and foremost, make sure that you take the time to speak to the person who is coming home. This might feel like an obvious thing to do, but there are many who get so caught up with the idea of ‘helping’ that they don’t actually take the time to consult the person who needs help. So instead, check in with the person who is coming home and ask what you can do to make their life a bit easier. There may be certain things that they have learned in recovery that could be helpful here, and in some cases, they will communicate those techniques or ideas to you.

Beyond that, it’s vital that you take some time to really think about what kind of situations that you’re putting your friend or family member into. Try to avoid putting the individual into situations that might lead to extreme stress, as such stressors can be part of the recipe that leads to relapse. Suppose your friend or family member was in recovery for issues with alcohol, for example. In that case, you might want to make sure that you’re not planning on having a gathering in a bar or that alcohol isn’t the main feature of the evening.

In most cases, though, the best thing you can do for a family member is to give them room to advocate for themselves. Don’t push them to do anything they don’t want to do, and make sure that you’re providing a safe space for them when necessary. Remember, you’re only there to help – otherwise, your friend or family member is taking charge of their own recovery.

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Providing Support During the Holidays

While the holidays are undoubtedly pleasant for many, they can also cause problems for those in recovery. Not only do these celebrations often bring back reminders of times past, but the use of various substances during the holidays can make it hard for someone who has worked to get clean to stay that way. As a friend or family member, then, it is important to know how you can provide support during the holidays.

Don’t Leave Loved Ones Alone During the Holidays

For many, simply having a constant presence can work wonders. So don’t leave your loved one alone during the holidays, whether that means making sure that they have company during important events or simply checking in to have coffee from time to time. Isolation can be a significant issue during recovery, and those who find themselves struggling to connect are also those who might have the most prominent problems staying on the right path as the holidays come and go.

It’s also helpful to make sure that you provide safe alternatives for your friend or family member during his or her recovery. If the person in question is recovering from issues surrounding addiction, for example, you may want to avoid having parties in places that are closely tied to his or her addicted past. Likewise, simply being willing to stay sober during events can allow your friend or family member to feel like they are less alone.

The Importance of Time Management

Finally, make sure that your friend or family member isn’t using the holidays as an excuse to duck out of treatment. While business hours can change wildly during this time of year, make sure that you’re providing support to ensure that they can still get to therapy or attend meetings. Sometimes just being able to give someone a ride can be helpful.

Don’t be afraid to support a friend or family member who is going through recovery. Whether this means being present, providing stability, or just supporting the other person’s journey, you can do a great deal to help ensure that your friend or loved one has a better chance of making it through the holidays unscathed.