Tag: Teenagers

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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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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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Discussing Mental Health with Teens

Though mental health awareness has gotten a big push in the media over the course of the last few years, it’s still a topic that many parents find hard to bring up with their growing children. If you have a teen at home, though, you should be setting an example for how to discuss mental health issues. Doing so will not only inform the attitudes that your teen takes into their adult years, but it will also give them a chance to know that you’re there if they are struggling.

Normalize Talking about Mental Health

The first and perhaps most important thing to do is to normalize the concept of struggling with one’s mental health. Though you may not have any particular struggles that you can point to, it’s vital that you let your teen know that many people do struggle with their mental health and that doing so is not a mark of weakness or a sign of bad character. Instead, it’s merely another health issue that needs proper care.

This discussion can and should be a dialog. While you may be giving your teen information, you should be prepared to listen to their questions and let your teen direct at least part of the conversation. If you are unsure of any answers to their inquiries, make sure to consult trusted online resources or to make an appointment with a mental health professional so that you can gather the correct information.

Create a System to Communicate Mental Struggles

It’s also a good idea to create a system for letting your teen talk to you about their own struggles. While they might not feel comfortable revealing everything, creating a system that allows your teen to express their general feelings will allow for more communication and might enable them to better track their mood. With a good system in place, you can notice trends and determine if any kind of intervention is necessary.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your teen about mental health issues. Doing so not only helps to keep them safe now, but will have an impact as they grow up. With the proper discussions now, you can prepare your teen for a healthier life in the future.

Close-up portrait of a sad young man lying on the bench in the p
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Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide is something that touches us all. From those who have had suicidal ideation to those who have lost friends or family members, it’s hard not to see ways in which the phenomenon has become a significant part of modern life. That’s why it is so important to take the time to talk about Suicide Prevention Month and the steps that can be taken to protect those who are the most vulnerable, not just now, but year-round.

Take Steps to Understand Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Month is designed to shine a spotlight not just on the ongoing suicide epidemic, but on the resources and methods that can help prevent it from taking lives. From workshops and books to counseling and residential treatment programs, these resources are invaluable for saving lives. But, unfortunately, many of those who are at their lowest and feel like they have nowhere left to turn simply might not be aware of the resources that are available to them.

It’s vital that even those who have not had their lives impacted by a suicide or suicide attempt take the time to understand what can be done to help those who feel like they have nowhere to which they can turn. Knowing the numbers to call or resources to tap can help many get the help they need. Rather than trying to villainize those who take their own lives or to somehow insist that individuals can power through suicidal ideation on their own, realizing that suicide is a societal issue that requires a societal approach really is the way forward that can make the most change for the most significant number of people.

Whether you have struggled with suicidal thoughts or you simply want to ensure that you know what to do if someone in your life is considering committing suicide, the programs spotlighted this month and the outreach performed can give you the knowledge that you need to offer an alternative. Sometimes simply knowing that there is help out there can be the necessary first step in helping an individual in crisis find a way to stay safe during a trying time.

Family Psychotherapy. African American Couple Listening To Counselor's Advices During Therapy Session
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Discussing Intervention with a Teen

As a parent or guardian, it can be difficult to determine exactly how to start the conversation about treatment options with a teen. Not only do you broach a subject that’s difficult at best, but you may be looking at a situation that will generate a significant amount of pushback from the person who needs help the most. Learning how to start the conversation is often the best way to gain the confidence you need to move forward.

The Steps to Effective Interventions

It’s important to start by doing your research. There are necessarily going to be questions about what intervention looks like, how long your teen might need to be in a program, and other related factors. The more you know, the more you will be able to answer honestly. With that said, you also need to admit that you don’t have all of the answers so that you can honestly tell your teen what you know and what you do not.

From there, you need to think about the conversation itself. You’re doing this out of a concern for your teen, after all, and the conversation needs to center around him or her. A dialog is best, of course, but it’s not always a guarantee in these situations. Instead, you need to be able to calmly and honestly set out your concerns and your reasoning for choosing this particular intervention for the teen in your life. Centering things on your care for him or her may not make the conversation easier, but it may help you to avoid a more heated confrontation.

Finally, you’ll want to do what you can to get buy-in from the teen if possible. While it’s not a given in every situation, teens that go into intervention with the right mindset will usually have an easier time accepting the necessity of any program. If you can talk to your teen out of a place of love and concern while making sure to answer any of his or her questions as honestly as you can, you may be able to take the next steps as a team rather than in an adversarial relationship.

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Recovery as an Ongoing Process

One of the most important steps that an individual can take to recover from addiction or trauma is to go through the process of recovery. While it’s incredibly important for individuals to seek out the services that they need in order to better deal with the issues in their lives, it’s also important for their friends and family members to understand that recovery is a process that doesn’t necessarily end just because an individual leaves a residential treatment facility.

Treatment is One Step of the Healing Process

When an individual leaves treatment, he or she will be in a unique position. For what might be the first time in his or her life, he or she will likely have the tools necessary to take control of what’s going on around him or her and to steer his or her life in a positive direction. This does not, however, mean that the individual in recovery has magically been ‘cured.’ Instead, he or she almost certainly realizes that he or she is on a lifelong journey to healing and recovery.

It is vital that friends and family members realize that leaving treatment doesn’t necessarily mean that the healing process is over. One’s expectations should be set to promote further change and growth rather than to simply act as if a problem has been solved. Remember, making it through treatment is an important step in recovery, but it’s also the first step that really returns agency to the lives of those who have made it through such a process.

Finding the Tools to Promote Long-Term Success

It’s also important to remember that while recovery is an ongoing process, that process really does need to start with a good treatment program. Giving individuals the tools that they need to succeed in the real world is a vital part of preventing relapses into problem behaviors and an even more important tool for learning how to get back on track when problems occur. Without a proper recovery program, it’s difficult for many to understand that there are no quick fixes for what ails them and few chances to speed up a process that can take a lifetime.

Whether you’re in recovery yourself or helping a friend or family member through the process, it’s important to remember that recovery takes time, effort, and dedication. With the right help, though, it is a realistic goal.

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National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time when eyes turn towards an incredibly important topic in order to not only shed light on a number of ongoing issues, but to bring to light the work that’s being done to help aid children and families alike who have suffered from this kind of abuse. While Child Abuse is certainly something that remains in the popular consciousness year-round, taking the time to shine a spotlight on it can only help those who have been victims of abuse.

Understanding the Realities of Child Abuse

Child abuse is, sadly, a topic that covers more ground than most might imagine. Not only must one come to terms with the terror that’s often part and parcel of physical abuse, but there’s also a need to understand the role that other types of abuse play in causing harm. A major part of this month’s focus on child abuse is the attempt to get past the myths of child abuse and to pull the very real issues experienced by many families into the public eye.

Ensuring that the cycle of abuse can eventually be broken

It’s likewise important to remember that Child Abuse Prevention Month is about more than just education. In many ways, it’s about making sure that resources are advertised and made available for those who are either currently dealing with abuse or who are otherwise still grappling with problems caused by abuse that happened in the past. Making these resources available is a part of ensuring that the cycle of abuse can eventually be broken.

Alpha Connection is Here to Prevent, Educate, and Offer Aid

While the goal of National Child Abuse Prevention month is to prevent, educate, and offer aid during the month of April, the same resources are largely available throughout the year. Only by ensuring that all of these fantastic resources are put to use throughout the year can real progress be made in the fight against child abuse.

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The Value of a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program

The right environment can be a make or break part of treatment for anyone. When it comes to adolescents, though, the environment is even more important. Though there are certainly many places that an adolescent can recover, many do recommend group homes. Though the experiences in a Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program may vary, there’s no doubt that these programs show their value in specific ways.

Creating the Right Treatment Environment

First and foremost, Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program allow adolescents who are undergoing treatments some sense of normalcy. While the environment may not be what they were used to at home – and indeed, in many cases, should not be – the STRTP environment does provide the least restrictive possible environment for them. There is something to be said for getting to about one’s life in a setting that feels more like the real world, especially when undergoing any type of rehabilitation.

STRTP also help to provide adolescents with a sense of structure that can help them in the transition out of treatment. Though there are still rules in place and a kind of metaphorical scaffolding built around these homes that helps with recovery, it is a step towards returning to the real world. Those who are in group homes are given a chance to cope and grow in an environment that, while still therapeutic, may not provide the same kind of safety nets as a clinical facility.

Being able to gradually step back into their day-to-day lives

Short Term Residential Therapeutic Program are a fantastic tool for those young people who are in treatment. Though no two Short Term Residential Therapeutic Programs are the same, they all do well to further the mission of recovery. Whether those inside need the nurturing that can only come from a home-like environment or they need the safety that comes with being able to gradually step back into their day-to-day lives, these STRTP serve an important role in the recovery process.