Category: News and Updates

News and Updates

Top 6 Indicators Counseling Will Be Beneficial for Your Child

You may wonder if your child needs counseling due to personality changes. These alterations can appear suddenly or after a severe event. These changes, regardless of the cause, can help you decide if your child needs counseling. Read on for six indicators your child may need counseling.

Combative Behavior

Behavior issues within and outside the house are a common sign that your child needs counseling. Your child may quarrel, protest, and get defensive at the tiniest request or conversation. If these responses occur regularly, pay attention. Your youngster may be begging for aid without realizing it.

Stay in touch with teachers and other parents at school and other activities. Let them know you’re worried and to let you know if your youngster is acting out.

Unexpected Changes in Interests

Changes in your child’s daily hobbies and behaviors can also indicate that they need counseling. Changes in eating, sleeping, and interests are usually the most noticeable and indicative. If these changes persist after two weeks, consult your child’s doctor. If emotional stressors are the source, they may be able to guide you.

Anxiety and Depression

The most obvious symptom that your child needs treatment is excessive stress and despair. While concern and grief can be acceptable, especially through life transitions and changes, when these emotions become excessive and begin to absorb your child and their thoughts, that is when you should take a closer look.

Regressions in Behavior

A new sibling, divorce, or other big life events in the home might cause regressions. However, when regressions seem unrelated, investigate. Common regressions that suggest your child needs counseling include:

  • Bedwetting
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Clinginess and separation anxiety
  • Language regression

Frequent Loneliness

If your child withdraws socially, this may indicate an emotional issue. When depressed or anxious, children often isolate themselves. When this continues to happen on a regular basis, and starts to take away from their interpersonal relationships, that is when it comes time to think that it may be more than just a sad day. This is especially true if shyness and introverted inclinations are not prevalent personality features for your child.

Unsure of child social isolation? Disturbed children socially separate in these ways:

  • Eating lunch alone
  • Avoiding social events
  • Lack of motivation to leave the house

Discussing Self-harm

Finally, if your child expresses thoughts of self-harm, seek help immediately. This can appear softly as hopelessness and loneliness. Sometimes suicidal thoughts and cutting are more obvious.

Suicidal thoughts and cutting may seem excessive for younger children, yet self-harm can be communicated in many ways. Young children self-harm by hitting themselves, bashing their heads, and scratching. Note any self-harming behaviors and get your child aid.

Get Your Child The Help They Deserve

Getting treatment for your child should not be an emotionally draining and lengthy effort. Alpha Connections offers many youth counseling programs. Alpha Connections goes above and beyond by giving mental health treatments tailored to each kid in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The sooner you pinpoint the symptoms your child needs counseling, the quicker you can get them the care that they need. With the indicators given above, you can be sure that you will know what to look out for when it comes to your child’s mental health and emotional well being.

News and Updates

How Can Residential Treatment Centers Help Adolescents

An adolescent must stay on-site at a residential treatment institution for at least 30 days. Nevertheless, we frequently advise 90 days to be the most productive. That is a significant amount of time spent away from home, but if the reward is there, it is worthwhile. There is still debate over whether residential treatment institutions are effective or not.

What Services Do Most Residential Facilities Offer?

You’ll see that the programs have advanced significantly over time. They have adopted a comprehensive approach, covering a wide range of topics. This involves education, behavior management, group and individual counseling, as well as getting to the root of each child’s overall issues while they are residing at the facility.

A highly skilled and certified personnel is in charge of assisting children in these programs in their development. As users advance through the program’s tiers, they can receive rewards at different levels. A procedure is also in place to withdraw rights as necessary. These children are able to transform their life for the better thanks to the program’s general structure.

Before Enrolling Your Child, Learn More About the Program

However, not all residential treatment facilities use this kind of effective strategy. It may be considerably more difficult to show success from the program if any of these crucial elements are missing. Parents must invest significant time in learning what a residential treatment facility has to offer. In this manner, they are able to gauge whether their time and financial commitment to sending their child to the program were worthwhile.

The Importance of Environment

An effective residential treatment center’s operation depends greatly on socialization. This doesn’t necessarily imply that your child is having as much fun as they would in a summer camp, though. They are able to form relationships with their counselors, instructors, and peers through thoughtfully organized classes and activities.

Residential Treatment May be More Effective than Outpatient

According to statistics, residential treatment programs are more successful than outpatient ones. An excellent method to start bringing about positive changes for the child is frequently by removing them from outside influences. Additionally, it might provide parents some time to reflect and process their own feelings. The entire family is impacted on various levels when a child needs treatment for difficulties.

What Makes Residential Treatment Effective?

While a child is receiving therapy at a residential facility, each of these components comes together and develops over time. The entire curriculum provides a framework within which a child can adapt and develop. From the moment they wake up until they turn down the lights, the treatment is a daily part of their routine.

It’s time for a fresh start, regardless of the damaging behavior your child has been a part of in the past. After finishing the program, they may experience a remarkable transformation. Naturally, you must keep in mind that what they will get relies on how they view it. Some kids benefit from the therapy and put out a lot of effort to change.

Others, though, will resist the help for a significant portion of the process. For this reason, there shouldn’t be a predetermined amount of time that they must spend at the facility. You should promise to keep them till they complete the program satisfactorily. However, even the most challenging kids can start to appreciate the advantages of a well-designed residential treatment program.

Transitioning Away from the Treatment Program

A good institution won’t just let you drop off your child and then pick them up after the treatment is believed to be finished. Instead, they will assist that child and the rest of the family in adjusting to being away from home and then returning. When your child visits the facility, the aim is to enable everyone to be on the same page.

Make sure you are prepared to abide by the regulations governing communication via phone, mail, and visiting. Go the distance and let your kid finish the course. Letting them leave before finishing the program won’t be doing them any favors. In order for you to be fully prepared for the adjustment when your child returns, family counseling may be required.

News and Updates

Strengthening Relationship with Children

A child’s relationship with their parent or other primary caregiver is the most significant one in their life. A strong parent-child bond helps kids learn about the world they live in. Children turn to their parents as they develop and change to find out if they are loved, safe, and secure. They will construct their upcoming connections on this foundation as well.

By being there with your child, spending quality time with them, and fostering an environment where they feel free to explore, you may develop a strong parent-child relationship. There is no magic formula or certain way to build a successful relationship, and you’ll probably encounter challenges along the way. Your child will ultimately flourish if you continue to focus on your relationship.

The following are positive parenting strategies that might help you and your child develop a closer bond:

Display Your Love

Every stage of our lives requires human contact and genuine affection for healthy emotional and neurological development. It’s crucial that you give your child tender, loving touches (like hugs) multiple times during the day. Every opportunity to connect with your child should be embraced. Give them a friendly grin, make eye contact, and warm greetings to promote open communication.

Saying “I love you”

Even if it is frequently suggested that we love our kids, make sure to express it to them on a daily basis, regardless of their age. It can be a wonderful time to reassure your child that you love them no matter what they do or how difficult they are behaving. The relationship you establish with your child over the long run might be greatly impacted by a simple “I love you.”

Set Structures, Guidelines, and Penalties

As they mature and learn about the world, children require structure and direction. Make sure your kids are aware of your expectations for them by talking to them about it. Age-appropriate penalties should be in place and applied consistently when rules are breached.

Pay Attention and Feel What They Are Saying

Listening establishes a connection. Recognize your child’s emotions, demonstrate your understanding of them, and reassure them that you are available to assist them in any way they require. Consider situations from your child’s point of view. You can start to establish respect between you and your child by paying attention to them and showing empathy.

Play with Others

The development of a youngster depends so much on play. Children use it as a tool to learn language, express their feelings, encourage creativity, and gain social skills. It is a pleasant approach for you to improve your bond with your child as well. What you play is irrelevant. The most important thing is to just have fun with your child and make a commitment to doing so.

Stay Focused and Available

Even only 10 uninterrupted minutes a day can make a significant difference in your child’s ability to develop strong communication skills. Put away your technological devices, turn off the TV, and spend some quality time with your partner. Despite all the distractions and strains in your life, your child needs to know that you think they are a priority.

Dining Together

Family meals provide an excellent opportunity for interaction and bonding with your children. To simply enjoy each other’s company, encourage everyone to put their phones or other electronic gadgets away. You should use mealtime to teach your kids the value of a good, balanced diet because it has an impact on their entire mental health.

Create Rituals Between Parents and Children

Try to make a point of spending one-on-one time with each child if you have more than one. Spending quality one-on-one time with your child can improve the parent-child relationship, boost their self-esteem, and help them feel special and appreciated. To generate that one-on-one time, some parents plan special “date evenings” with their kids. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, a trip to the playground, or just a movie at home, it’s crucial to celebrate each child uniquely.

Need More Assistance?

To assist and direct parents in creating a strong parent-child relationship, Alpha Connections provides a number of programs to parents and adolescents throughout the High Desert. Please get in touch with us to find out more about our program offerings.

News and Updates

Getting Your Teen to Volunteer

Community service is a great way to teach responsibility. Developing a sense of gratitude and empathy for the less fortunate will go a long way in enriching their lives. It may be a challenge convincing them something is good for them, but it is important to instill this value as something they can appreciate and be passionate about.

Developing Their Helping Hand

Start by finding a cause where your teen may show an interest. Consider their abilities, the time commitment needed, and the attitude of the organization. Maybe they are interested in animals, children, sports, health, or senior citizens. Motivate them by explaining the purpose behind the volunteering.

Let them make their choices about who or what they are helping. No one likes to be forced to do something. They need to feel like they are trusted and can be independent. The more trust you put in them, the more responsible they will become to earn it. Do your best to empathize and be understanding with them. This will make them more open to compromise.

Teenagers are not always the best at listening to their parents, but they do see your actions. Walk your talk. If they see you with a passion for helping, they will be inspired to follow your example. Do your best to make it fun and interesting. Try to incorporate games into your learning activities. This works especially well if they are working with kids from poor communities. It can create a bond between your volunteer teens and the kids they are helping.

Be Sure to Offer Positive Feedback

If you want to keep their motivation strong, be sure to let them know they are appreciated. They want to feel noticed and know their efforts are recognized. That will inspire them to work harder. When you tell someone you appreciate what they do, they tend to work even harder.

Give your teen this purpose and let them do the work. Tell them to know you appreciate their efforts and see the hard work and improvement. Watch them grow up, work hard, and reap the benefits of their efforts. Your teen will grow up to be socially aware, confident, competent, and useful members of their society. Hopefully, they can help make a difference and can move on to inspire other young people. It is all worth the effort to help our youth succeed in life.

News and Updates

Fighting With Your Teen

You tell your daughter she cannot borrow the car to drive to the mall until she finishes cleaning her room. She says it is her room, and she will keep it how she wants. From there, the conversation gets ugly with name-calling, yelling, and slamming doors. Now you are receiving the silent treatment from a sullen teenager while you walk on eggshells to keep the peace.

What Happens Now?

Raising teenagers can be a challenge. Your priorities and those of your teenager are completely different. She is worried about being invited to the prom or keeping up with the latest fashion trend. You are worried about getting the power bill paid and making sure she gets a good education. Having one of these arguments is rough, but learning to deal with the aftermath can help.

Your daughter may want a little time to cool off and process. Give her the space she needs to work through her feelings, and do not push her to “be okay” with you right away. There will be tension in the room, but hopefully, you will be able to tolerate it while you both process the argument. Maybe it is you that is causing the tension after building resentment by what your daughter said. Are you frustrated with yourself because you gave in? Are you sad because she hit too close to home? Be sure to examine your feelings to know you are not causing the tension. Do not worry. The tension is temporary and will eventually diffuse itself.

Apologize if you said something hurtful. Take responsibility for it and let your daughter know that you realize your imperfections. Do not apologize for setting boundaries or rules to follow. If she is giving you the silent treatment, just talk to her as you would any other day. If she does not respond, just go about your business.

Use your disagreement as an opportunity to show your daughter by example the best way to manage anger and tension. Let her know you love her even when she is mad at you. Check your feelings, and be sure not to hold a grudge. Most things said in the heat of anger are not worth hanging on to.

Your feelings during this cooling-off period are essential, and so are your daughter’s feelings. Do not discount either. Instead, say something like, “I know you are feeling angry after our fight just like I am. I hope when we are both feeling better, we can talk about it and then move on.” If your daughter feels respected and has the space to process her feelings, the tension will dissipate before you know it.

News and Updates

Do You Smell Alcohol on Her Breath?

She must have seen the commercials on television about the pitfalls of teens drinking. But she came home from a friend’s house acting a little wobbly, and you could smell alcohol on her breath. She is too old to spank, so how do you react to this dangerous behavior?

Find Out Why

There could be a variety of reasons why your daughter decided to drink. She was at a party, and that is what all her friends were doing. She was afraid to turn down a drink because her friends would call her names or turn their back on her. If it has become a habit, the problems may go deeper. She may be dealing with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or stress. It is important to find out the underlying issue.

You can help her by staying calm. Listen to why she is drinking and let her know you understand that she faces pressure and challenges in her life. If she realizes that she can talk to you openly about her feelings, you will be more likely to get the information you need to help. Try to explain the dangers of teen drinking without the lecturing tone of voice. It can make you more depressed or lead to permanently damaged memory. Getting drunk can lead to bad decisions or even legal problems.

Communicate and Learn

Let your daughter know that you want to keep honest communication open, but they do need to learn the consequences of their unwise decision. Do not punish them by humiliating them in any way, or you will ruin that line of communication. Ask her what she feels her punishment should be. You might be surprised by what she produces.

Have your daughter do a research paper on underage drinking. This will help her to learn about the consequences of these actions. It may also be a wonderful way for the family to come together and brainstorm ways to deal with situations in their lives when alcohol might be present, like a slumber party or get-together. This could be a helpful exercise for the whole family.

Catching your teenage daughter drinking can be a serious situation, but with calm patience and effective communication, it is a problem through which you can work. You may even find it brings the family closer.

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.

News and Updates

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.

News and Updates

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.

News and Updates

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.