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What Are the Signs of Depression in Teens?

3.31.17

Quite often, parents misunderstand their adolescents’ symptoms of depression with “just being in a bad mood,” or “personality issues,” or “the time of the month issues,” etc. Yes, we all have those kinds of days. However, when an adolescent is depressed, those symptoms don’t dwindle with time. This is actually a mistake many parents make. Sometimes, they may think it is “just a stage” and wait it out. However, it can only get worse. As you consider the following symptoms, keep in mind that they vary in severity. Depressive symptoms in adolescents: Loss of interest and enjoyment in their favorite activities or other activities. Prefer to be alone rather than with family or kids their age. Have difficulty concentrating at school or other se

Depression and Anxiety in Teens – Questions to Think About

3.31.17

The high numbers regarding anxiety and depression in teens are alarming. Experts keep trying to figure out why the numbers continue to rise. Research confirms what many mental health providers have known for years about this amazing, yet troubled population. When you think about your adolescent, consider the following questions: Are your teens learning healthy coping skills to deal with stressors, anxiety, and depression? Who are their role models and are they learning healthy coping skills from them? When they experience emotional pain, have your kids learned how to deal with it? Do they have the appropriate support from you and professionals if needed? Do you know if your adolescent is involved in self-harming behaviors? If so, is h

Do’s and Don’ts to Help your Anxious Child

3.21.17

When children are anxious, parents also get anxious because they want to fix their child’s anxiety. As humans we have an amazing mind whose job is to help us solve problems, and we naturally also want to rescue, fix and resolve our children’s pain and struggles. Unfortunately trying to rescue our children from their emotional struggles can often backfire. Below is a list of the most essential Do’s and Don’ts to help you become a more efficient parent to your anxious child: Do’s: Do validate and acknowledge their feelings. Remember that your children’s perception is their reality. Even when you know their fears are unfounded, they need to know you are there for them, you are listening to them and that you care about them. Do meet them halfw

6 Ways to Help Your Worried Child

4.11.16

View original article published in Psych Central here. When Emma was 7 years old, she seemed to be catching a bug every Monday morning. She’d complain of stomachaches and didn’t want to go to school. Initially, Mom kept her home from school, believing Emma was sick. Usually, about an hour later, Mom would find Emma giggling and happily playing with her 4-year-old sister. She appeared to have been healed miraculously. Mom often wondered if Emma had been truthful and threatened to take her to school. Emma’s stomachaches would immediately return. This situation happened often enough to lead Mom to consult a professional. Mom discovered that Emma’s challenge was not integrity or a stomach problem. Emma was experiencing too many worries. Emma’

Talking To Your Child About OCD

10.15.15

Sometimes parents hesitate telling their children that they have OCD. Their reasons may vary, but the most common reasons are the following: They worry about the stigma that surrounds OCD, and the possible negative effects on their child. They don’t want their child to be labeled, treated, or looked at differently. They wish to avoid hurt feelings for their child. They worry their child may feel broken or that something is wrong with them. They don’t want their child’s confidence to suffer. On the other hand, consider why talking about it may be a better option: When children don’t understand what is happening to them, they figure out their own solution. The danger is that their solution may not be correct. When you talk about OCD for w

What is the Prescription for Raising Entitled Kids?

12.22.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] A 10-year-old girl stomped out of the bathroom when her mom told her she would need to clean the mess she had made after her shower. She told her mom, ”You’re the mom. It’s your job!” A 6-year-old boy went to the grocery store with his mom. He noticed a treat he wanted. His mom explained that they had other treats at home and that she wasn’t going to buy it. He answered, “Well, if you don’t want to buy it, then just give me the money and I’ll buy it.” A 16-year-old girl was angry at her parents for not letting her take the family car with her friends to another state for the weekend. She told them, “If you really loved me, you would let me go!” Does this sound familiar? The pressure y

Teaching Kids To Be Grateful Every Day

11.19.14

[View original article published in Parenting.answers.com  here] Why is it important that children learn to be grateful? How can you help them? Here are 3 ideas that will work. Children and Gratitude Research has shown that those who are grateful have better long-term health. They are happier and more pleasant to be around. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor and author of The How of Happiness says, “People who are consistently grateful are happier, more energetic, more hopeful, and experience more frequent positive emotions. They also tend to be more helpful and empathetic, more spiritual and religious, more forgiving, and less materialistic than others who are less grateful.” When children feel gratitude, they will be happy with

Helping Kids Overcome Their OCD Fears – Some DOs and DON’Ts

10.13.14

Any parent who witnesses their children’s excruciating fear will instinctively react to protect, help, and comfort them.  That is the expected and the right thing to do.  However, when children experience fear due to OCD and anxiety, parents can learn the right skills. They can intervene in a positive way to help their children overcome their challenges and avoid overprotecting them. Grug Crood from the film The Croods comes to mind.  Grug was an overprotective father and his favorite words were: “Never not be afraid!”  His number one goal was to keep his family free from danger.  Of course that advice proved to be ineffective.  His belief was that other families had been destroyed because they had not been afraid enough!  It turned out tha

Helping Kids Succeed in School Despite OCD

8.21.14

[View original article published in Psych Central here] Roger’s parents were nervous about the new school year. They remembered how Roger’s OCD had surfaced. His fear of possibly choking on lunch food had kept him away for weeks. This problem subsided, but Roger’s OCD had morphed into contamination fears. His parents were on edge and wanted to be ready. Parents whose children struggle with OCD wish for them to succeed academically, but when OCD gets in the way, they feel lost and helpless. They may not be sure if the school needs to be aware of the issue. Parents may fear that telling the teacher will single their child out and exacerbate the situation. Deciding when to talk to school staff. There are various types of OCD and severity will

Parenting “Supplies” That Last Forever!

8.14.14

[View original article published in Parenting.answers.com  here] Whether excited or unsure as to how the year will turn out, parents also need back-to-school “supplies.” This list will help every parent stay on the right track. Every year as summer winds down, most parents and children are ready for the new school year to start. Some parents may also be apprehensive if there were struggles and challenges with their children the year before. Whether excited or unsure as to how the year will turn out, parents also need back-to-school “supplies.” This list will help every parent stay on the right track. 1. MIRROR – Reflective listening and Validation. When children are happy, parents acknowledge their childre

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