Teens/Adolescents

Information about Depression and Your T(w)een

Statistics

Did you know that only 30% of Teens and Tweens who are depressed are actually getting treatment?

Did you also know that Teen Depression continues to rise every single year?

Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,041 attempts by young people grades 9-12.  

AND 4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs! 

With depression on the rise that means the Teen Suicide rate is on the rise. 

Many teens do not get treatment until  they become actively suicidal.  This means they are making comments to someone about their thoughts and plans to kill themselves, or they have already made an unsuccessful attempt to suicide aka take their own life before their parents seek treatment.

How Do we Stop This Trend?

Become more knowledgeable about depression in our teens and tweens and create less Stigma around getting treatment!!!!

Start Here

Complete this survey (it's very quick) to help me understand what you need more information about.

From your answers, I will gather information to create more education for YOU.  


I will be able to provide future workshops to present in our community and resources to better help you and your Teens/Tweens.  

You can also LEAVE A COMMENT and ask any questions you may have about Depression.  


ALSO…

There are only 3 Spots open in my Teen Girls Group.  Click Here to sign your teen up!

 AND IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY

Click Here to receive my free email series on Connecting with Your Teen.  

 Thanks for your help!

Talk to you soon, 

Dayna


It's National Play Therapy Week

All across TN, play therapists gathered today to celebrate National Play Therapy Week!!!

All across TN, play therapists gathered today to celebrate National Play Therapy Week!!!

That's a Wrap!!!

If you've been following me on FB, you know it's National Play Therapy Week.  This week is about educating others about Play Therapy and sharing fun activities with you.  

 Here I shared just a little bit about what Play Therapy is.  

 Click Here to see a video where I share my theme for the week.  

 Here I shared ideas of things to do indoors because in my neck of the woods, it's been RAINY and now COLD again!

 I love my job and I absolutely LOVE working with kids and adolescents!  I truly believe in the power of Play Therapy and have seen how it can transform children.  

 Today I got to wrap up the week with a wonderfully FUN group of women who share in this passion as well.  And we got to play with some playdoh too!  


 Here's a picture of my Playroom.

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Find Some Time to Play This Weekend!!!

We are getting ready for Pizza Night with a Movie!

Have a great weekend!

Dayna

My Kids Don’t Clean Up!

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Are You Raising Slobs?

I love when my house is clean and tidy.  It keeps me from feeling stressed and allows me to sit down without thinking about what I should be doing instead.

But, my family is not so concerned about how the house looks.  

It’s a constant warfare trying to get my kids to clean up their messes or pick up trash instead of step over it.  

So, for 2019, I’ve made it their personal goals to learn not to be a slob.  

Yep, this year will be the year they will learn to be more responsible and helpful.  

But guess what, they will not learn it overnight.  And, it’s going to take a lot of effort on my part.  Gasp…

However, it’s very important to me that when they are adults, their spouses do not question their slobbish tendencies.  Because guess what? That directly reflects on their parents. Yep! Guess whose responsibility it is to teach your kids how to keep things tidy and clean?  Yours!

The earlier you start the better!

But you also have to stay on top of it.  You cannot be lazy about this or they will be lazy.  Most kids are not naturally organized and tidy, unless you’ve  been working with them since they were able to clean up their first mess.  

So in the art of training, I have some tips for you.  

There is no right way to do this.  Pick what works for you and your family.  

There is a wrong way...not doing anything and just doing it all yourself.  

Here are a few things I’m going to start doing right now:

#1 They are responsible for clearing the table after supper.

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#2 The kids will alternate  washing dishes after supper while I supervise (for a little while) to ensure they are learning the correct way to do dishes.  

#3 I’m putting up signs throughout the house to remind them to :

  1. Empty the trash before it’s overflowing!

  2. Wash their dishes when they bring them to the sink!

  3. Wipe the toilet seat if they sprinkle it!

#4 I used to do this one and somehow stopped: instill a 10 minute tidy up daily before bedtime.  

#5 I also used to do this and quit (insert eyeroll): what gets left out, goes in a trash bag.  They can a) earn it back in 24 hours or b) it gets donated.

Here are some other tips from Focus on the Family.  I especially liked #1 and #6. I may import those into my plan too!  

And here are some ideas for keeping up with chores that I’ve pinned over the years!

Happy Training!!!

Dayna

P.S.

Do you also struggle with a family of slobs?  Let me know in the comments the 1 thing you want to teach your kids about tidyness.    


Avoidance Causes You To Miss Out!

Do you ever avoid situations or people because it’s too stressful or painful to be in that experience? Avoidance is a natural human defense mechanism, but sometimes it can be detrimental to our own growth and happiness.  

Today, I was walking through our freshly cut hay-field to get a message to my husband and father-in-law.  While talking to a family friend who was present, I said “I love the smell of fresh cut hay, but it does not love me.”  I knew for even the maybe 5 minutes I was standing there, I was going to have some discomfort. As I walked away, I noticed itching in my legs.  Then while driving away, I could feel a little discomfort in my breathing.

You see, I am a very allergic person.  But I live in the country where I am exposed to all things I am allergic too.  Now, I could move (but I’m pretty sure I’d have to leave my husband behind), but staying here is more beneficial to me than avoiding.  

 

Not to mention how BEAUTIFUL it is where I live!  

So what is an allergic country girl to do?

Be Aware…

If you know situations cause you discomfort (maybe it’s not an allergy but more depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, panic), be aware of those triggers.  I am aware of what triggers my allergies and am prepared for the consequences of being around them.

Find the Win…

For me, I was able to see God’s beauty in this hayfield.  I took a beautiful picture of it. Being outdoors is so inspiring and calming to me.  It’s worth it to have the experience!

Have a Plan…

So let’s say you are going to be around family that triggers your depression or anxiety…  If it’s not an unhealthy relationship, and you want a connection with that person, then have a plan of how you will combat the negative reactions your body will likely experience.  

  • Know your limits and have a plan of escape.  

When I am around certain people from my past who tend to cause difficulty for me, I make sure I visit them instead of them visiting me.  This way I can leave when I’m ready instead of having them in my home wishing they would leave already and not wanting to ask them to leave.  

If your reaction is anxiety or panic, make sure you have a go-to method for calming your body and mind.  

Sometimes avoidance is good when it’s too overwhelming for you to manage.  But just remember, avoidance can become a very unhealthy way to cope, and you will miss out on some great life experiences and connections.  

Need some assistance in creating your plan?

Click Here to Download a Free Worksheet!

Then, comment below and share with me how avoidance affects your life!  

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Dayna Sykes

Licensed Child & Teen Therapist

Gordonsville Counseling & Play Therapy

 

P.S.  If you have a teen girl who struggles with avoidance and you’ve tried everything to help her break out of this, then Empowering Teen Girls Group may be just what she needs to build her confidence, boost her ability to cope with difficult situations, and learn to connect with others in the process.  

P.P.S  Do you tend to walk on eggshells around your teen and avoid her throughout the day?   Every effort you make causes her to lash out and become angry. Sign up for my free email course, “Learn to Connect Better with Your Teen”, and get 5 days of action steps you can take to better support and connect with your teen.  Just Click Here!

 

3 Reasons Your Teenage Daughter Should Join Group

Still not sure if group is right for your teenage daughter?  That's ok...  It's a big decision and a commitment.    Group offers so many advantages for growth.

1. It offers a place of positive support from peers who are going through the same stages your teen is experiencing.

They struggle with body image---bad attitudes about life---feel alone---won't talk to you---shy away from their friends---struggle at school---have a low self-esteem---struggle to set boundaries with others---make bad decisions--------------------I could go on...

2. They won't feel alone anymore in their problems.

Your teen may get involved and talk openly, or they may learn from hearing others' stories in the group, but one thing I do know is that they will not feel alone in their struggles.

3. They will learn to be confident in themselves.

Through the experience of group, they will learn how to take better care of themselves mentally and physically, which leads to lots of other healthy behaviors.

I hear teens and parents say:

"My daughter talks to me now!"

"I feel confident and inspired!"

"I was able to say no."

"She is happier and smiles more."

Join me in helping your teen find a healthier way to deal with life by enrolling in Empowering Teen Girls Group.

Are you ready to help her move forward?

Click here to find out how to enroll your daughter in group.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Dayna

P.S.

If you are holding back, what questions do you have?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

Open Enrollment for Empowering Teen Girls Group-Only 2 Spots Available!!!

I am opening enrollment for my Empowering Teen Girls Group, and there are only 2 Spots Available...So Hurry!!!

 

What group members have to say about group...

"Group give me inspiration."

"Group is encouraging."

"Group helps me stay grounded."

Help your teen navigate the ups and downs of growing up by enrolling her in Empowering Teen Girls Group today!

For more information about this group, click here, or email me at daynasykes@daynasykeslpc.com.

 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Dayna

How do we teach our kids patience?

Image result for patience is a virtue Checking out at the Dollar Store today, I noticed that a movie recently released was already on DVD for sale.  I commented how quickly this came out and the cashier and I had a quick discussion about "the good ole days" when movies took FOREVER to be released.  Then if you waited to see them on DVD, you had to wait until it was in stock at the local video store.  Of course this sparked a conversation about how kids these days have it made.

They NEVER have to WAIT!!!!!!!

They can have instant access to just about anything they want to do or see.  They have instant access to peers and you through text messaging and social media.  They can stream content anywhere they want and don't have to wait through commercials.

I love this life too, but let's face it, it has some downfalls.

Have you noticed how easily kids are bored and how little patience they have?

I mean, they cannot even wait a minute for your conversation to end.  They want immediate responses to everything.  If you don't respond to a text right away, they start texting you multiple texts:

Image result for when someone doesn't text you back memes

Image result for when someone doesn't text you back memes

Did you know that patience is not a natural human ability?  It is something we have to practice to get better at.  Do not feel pressured to fall into the new expectations of immediately gratifying your kids' every desire.  Teach them patience!  Their boss will thank you one day!!!

Enjoy the process!

Dayna

 

Some Examples of My Own Coping Skills

I teach parents that their example is the most important in their child or teen's life.  So with that said, I find it important to set an example for you as well.  How can I teach you to take care of yourself, if I don't take care of myself.  Right? I compare this to going to the doctor and the doctor lecturing you about being overweight, but yet they are overweight themselves and visually  not taking care of themselves.  Or the family member who lectures you about smoking when they chew tobacco or drink heavily.  It's so important to be an example of what you are teaching, and I try to do this in my own work.

Watch the video below to learn different ways I take care of myself and what I use to cope in life!  (This is also a good example of going with the flow and not being a perfectionist.)

https://youtu.be/99Io2iM8SQo

Have a great weekend!

Dayna

 

 

What Coping Skills Are and What They Are Not

Today we talked about Coping Skills in my Empowering Teen Girls Group and I wanted to share with you some ideas about what Coping Skills are and what they are NOT. You can watch the video here.

 

I think people get confused when someone asks them about Coping Skills.

I am  going to talk a minute about what coping skills are and what they are not.

 

Image result for eye rolling emojiBecause I often get this eye roll or people just shut down and say "It doesn't work".  This happens across the board.  Children-Teens-Adults alike.

So what are coping skills?

These are skills you use to help yourself be in control.  They can be calming like a bubble bath- a walk- or soft music.  Or they can be uplifting like your favorite song to sing to loudly in the car (one of my favorite things to do after a long hard day) or being creative with paint or drawing-hanging out with friends and socializing.

Coping skills should be Healthy Activities you enjoy that you can kind of lose yourself in the moment.

What coping skills are not---

They are not a one time fix all solution.  They are not a magic pill to take away all your problems.  They won't do anything to take away your problem!  You still will have to deal with whatever is causing your stress at some point, but coping skills help you manage your emotions and actions around that stress.

I hope this makes sense and helps you understand the importance of having  coping skills.  I will jump back on here next week to give you an example of how I use coping skills to manage stress in my own life.  Because guess what, I need them too!

 

If you want more information about coping skills, you can visit my website by clicking on the link in this post.  Have a great day!

What is Group?

I've been working hard to get the word out about my Empowering Teen Girls Group that starts April 12th.  Throughout this process, I am understanding that unless your teen has had some sort of experience that has led to intensive treatment, you and your teen may  not know what group is.

Parents who have teen who have experienced group have stated to me "my teen was in group when they were hospitalized and loved it".  Or "group really helped _____ when she was at an inpatient facility".  Group is often used in mental health inpatient facilities as a means to intensify the therapeutic process while undergoing observation and individual therapy.  But, group is not always meant to be intensive.

Group should also be used to meet needs in the community.  It can be a great supplement to meet individual needs of multiple people in the community.  Group is used to help multiple individuals address the same problem while feeling less alone in their efforts.  For instance, many parents may be feeling alone in their struggles with their teen or unsure of how to handle changes or to know what is normal versus what is a problem.  Group would be a place they could find support and encourage each other in their efforts.

The purpose of group is to be a supplement or alternative to individual therapy.  Group can be used with individual therapy as a place to practice skills or as a place to process life experiences.  It can also be used on its own (without individual therapy) as a place of support and connection to others who are experiencing similar things.  It can be a place to find empathy and understanding from peers who are going through similar phases in life.

The purpose of Empowering Teen Girls is to provide a safe place for your teen to connect with other teen girls who understand each other's problems.  A place where they can hear how other girls are dealing with and handling struggles while being guided to make healthy decisions to face these struggle.  A place where girls can learn together to take control of their lives and their emotions.  Girls will be able to see that they have been through similar circumstances and learn new healthy ways to cope with their circumstances.

Group is a place to gain inspiration from peers and to connect and empower each other to be strong and courageous against the many temptations they face.  It will be a place for them to bring the good and bad---discuss how they feel about it---and leave with a healthy solution or encouragement.

If your teen has seen a counselor or multiple counselors and you felt there was no progress, group may be a better alternative.  Or if your teen feels uncomfortable seeing a counselor, group may be the place where they can learn to share by listening and connecting with other teens.  Your teen may already be seeing an individual counselor, and group can be a way for them to practice and reinforce skills they are learning.

Group is not a place that unsafe behaviors will be discussed.  It is not a place to come and meet up with friends.  It is not a place to gossip. It is not a place where unhealthy decisions will be glorified or tolerated (drugs/alcohol, self-harm, sexual behavior, aggression, suicidal thoughts).

Group is a structured environment where you should feel safe and encouraged to be open and be you.

If you have questions about group or would like to schedule an intake for your teen to join group, contact me at daynasykes@daynasykeslpc.com or fill out the form on this page.

 

Have a Blessed Day!

Dayna

 

Your Teen Wants You To Know This

Do you wish you could be on the inside listening in on your teen's thoughts?  Well, I've gotten a free pass into some of their thoughts that they wish they could share with you. Watch this video where I share with you inside information I got directly from your teen.

[embed]https://www.instagram.com/p/BgYtEcsFea-/?hl=en[/embed]

I had the privilege of setting up shop at the Smith County Career Day, and I asked teens to "Drop a Post It" answering 1 of these 2 Questions:

  1. If you could tell your parents anything, what would it be?
  2. If you could change 1 thing in your life, what would you change?

Here is what they said!

[embed]https://www.facebook.com/daynasykeslpc/videos/1561730507277361/?t=2[/embed]

"I wish my parents knew how I feel."

"I wish my parents knew what I'm going through."

"I wish my parents understood the temptations I face."

"I wish my parents knew I (smoke/am depressed/love them/am trying)."

"I wish my parents knew about the bad things that have happened to me".

"I wish my parents knew how your behavior and actions affect me."

"I wish I could change how my parents treat others."

"I wish I could change how I treat others."

"I need to be nicer to people."

"I need to learn how to communicate with my parents."

When you think your teen wants nothing to do with you or shuts you out, know that this is normal.  And know that they really do need you to find a way in.  They want you to know them and understand what they are experiencing.  A reminder for you- Think back to when you were a teen.  What was that like for you?  Now I am not telling you to go share those experiences with your teen, but when you are trying to connect, keep in mind what it was like for you to connect with your own parents.  Have some empathy and understanding.  Don't quit on them!  They need us all!

Blessings,

Dayna

P.S. Empowering Teen Girls Group (ages 13+) starts April 12th!!!  I'm super psyched to get this group started!  If you would like information, Click Here.

Top 5 Ways to Motivate Your Teen

Top 5 Incentives for Motivating Your Teen

After years of working with teens and parents, I'm hearing the same story repeat itself within each family...

"How do I motivate my teen?"

"Help!  "I can't get my teen to do anything."

"My teen won't help around the house."

"My teen refuses to study or apply herself at school."

"My teen never follows through!"

You feel like you have no control and you are constantly offering empty threats or endless encouragement that doesn't seem to work.

That's why I've decided to create this Top 5 List of Incentives That Will Motivate Your Teen.  Things that we often forget about.  

First let me start out by explaining what an Incentive is...

An incentive is something you add to increase motivation.  And let's be honest, we all need incentives.  An incentive is not a "bribe", which I hear parents frequently complain that they don't want to feel they have to bribe their teens to do anything.  And an incentive Does Not have to cost you money!

Let's  be real!  For us, an incentive to clean the kitchen every night is that we get up in the morning and have a fresh counter to work on.  Our incentive for cleaning the toilet is that we don't have to worry when we have unexpected guests come in and use our bathrooms.  An incentive for getting up and going to work everyday is that we take home a paycheck.

Teens need incentives too, and they are going to be different from me and you because let's face it, they are not adults so they don't think the same way.

So without further delay, here are my Top 5 Incentives for Motivating Your Teen:

1. Device Privileges

Does your teen get unlimited usage on their/your device?  Why?  Who pays for this service? You do right?!  Limit your teens device usage based on the amount of motivation they have to accomplish assigned tasks.  If they are not doing homework, why do they get free reign to text their friends or surf social media?  Besides, this is often what they are spending time doing vs. doing the tasks you have assigned.  Did they refuse to clean the kitchen?  Well then you refuse to supply their network to their friends.

2. Remove Netflix

How much time is your teen spending binge watching their favorite tv series or movie?  I'd say that removing this distraction would certainly free up some time to let's say do some studying or vacuum the living room.  Right?

3. Friend Time

Teens love to hang out with other teens.  Whether it be in the community or setting up camp in each other's homes binge-watching Netflix while eating up all the food in your house.  Let me remind you that this is a PRIVILEGE, not a necessity.  Limit your teens time with friends when they are not following through with your expectations.

4. Car Privileges

This one is a big one!  Guess what-?!  You do not have to provide your teen with a vehicle, gas money, or a ride if they are not doing their fair share around the house or if they are slacking off at school.  Set an expectation they have to meet in order to receive this privilege.

5. Alone Time

While some alone time is healthy for a teen and privacy is important, this is also one of those privileges you earn.  If your teen is not following through, then their attempts to ignore the family and hideout in their rooms should be stopped.  If the family is pitching in on Saturday to clean up the yard, your teen should not get a free pass to hang out in their room and text friends.  There are lots of ways to solve this solution, and if you need some creative help, let me know.

Is there something more specific you are struggling with?  Comment below and let me know what it is.  I am always looking for ways to create content specific to you.

So there you have it!

P.S. Click Here to receive a free mindfulness activity to help your teen cope with overwhelming emotions.

 

Mindfulness Activity: 5-4-3-2-1

What is mindfulness?

Sometimes we get overwhelmed with unpleasant feelings..  Mindfulness is a way to recenter our mind and body and quickly relax tension that we may be experiencing from these unpleasant feelings.  Mindfulness is a way to recognize and cope with overwhelming feelings  so you can focus on the present.    

 

Mindfulness is not….

Mindfulness is not a magic solution.  It will not remove your stress or cause you to feel completely and utterly relaxed for all time.  But if practiced often, it will help you manage your stress and unpleasant experiences so you are not overwhelmed by them.  

Try this activity

This mindfulness technique teaches you to hone in on your senses and forces you to really focus on each sense.  You may find yourself noticing things you’ve never paid attention to before.  Think about how often you drive home and don’t even realize your surroundings or that you passed a certain marker on your way until you are already home.  Mindfulness helps you soak in your surroundings and be present with them.  

For this exercise you will need to be in a comfortable position.  Spend several minutes 2-3 on each step, some may require more focus and more practice.  

 

5 Things You See:

Get comfortable and begin observing your surroundings.  Try to focus on 5 things in the room around you.  Make a mental note of what you can see.  You may notice a mark on the floor you’ve never seen or vibrant colors you haven’t realized were there.  

 

4 Things You Hear:  

Focus on what you can hear.  Really listen to the noises around you.  Try to block every other thought out of your mind and just really focus on sounds.  Can you hear the hum of the heat/air unit?  Is there a distant sound of cars passing?  Maybe you can hear a clock ticking in a room closeby.  

3 Things You Feel:

For this step, I want you to notice sensations against your body.  What can you feel?  Work from your toes up if you need to.  Can you feel the pressure of your feet on the floor?  Do you feel the seat against your body?  Can you feel air against your skin?  Maybe you notice unpleasant sensations like a tag scratching your neck.  Just sit and feel for a couple minutes.  

2 Things You Smell:

This sense will take a little more focus as you differentiate smells in the room or area you are in.  What can you smell?  If you can only smell 1 thing, don’t give up.  Keep your focus and really channel your nose to pick up smells.  

1 Thing You Taste:

For the last step, you will be focusing on your taste buds.  Just focus on what you taste at the moment.  It may be pleasant or unpleasant.  Maybe you are tasting the remnants of your previous meal or drink.  You may taste stale breath.  Focus and taste the sensation.

 

Once you have moved through each step, think about the senses you noticed and what got your attention the most.  You may have noticed things you have never realized were present.  Maybe you began to smell or taste something you hadn’t noticed 15 minutes ago.  When we really take time to focus on things, we can be enlightened.  Now pay attention to how you feel.  Are you more relaxed?  Is your mind clearer?  Once you have completed this exercise, you can either decide to engage in another activity or go right back to what you were doing before.  If you become stressed and agitated, take another break and try this exercise again.  

 

Mindfulness takes practice, so use this activity often to build good coping habits.  Mindfulness can be done anywhere but I recommend practicing it while you shower  and when you are lying in bed.  These are times our minds often wander onto stressful thoughts and we can become tense and frustrated very quickly.  

Let go of the stress, and enjoy the present.

Dayna

P.S.  To receive my free list of Top 5 Coping Skills Your Teen Can Use Now, Click Here.

 

 

3 WAYS TO GET YOUR TEEN TO TALK TO YOU

 So many times I hear parents say to me “She won’t talk to me!”  or “He stays in his room on his phone.”  The frustration in your tone is heard.  I can feel the pain you are sharing with me.  I want you to know that teens not talking to parents is a normal stage in development, but it doesn’t have to be this way all the time.

“She won’t talk to me….”

Do you wish your teen would tell you what is on her mind?  Do you wish your son would come to you when he has a problem?

I’m going to show you 3 ways to get your teen to talk to you!  Yes!!!  You heard me right….TALK to YOU.  And the best part about it is that they are pretty simple things to do.

So are You ready to do this?

Here it is:

  1. Listen to them

Listen to your Teen!  I’m going to share with you what your parents, grandparents, mentors, and teachers have always told you that stands true with your teens.  You listen with your ears, not your mouth.  Wow!  Aren’t those words of wisdom?  Listen to your teens.  And when you listen—HEAR them!

So what does not listening look like?  Let me give you some case examples:

“That’s the stupidest idea you’ve ever had!  Why would you do that???”

“I don’t care what your excuse is, your curfew is 10:00!!!  No excuses!”

“You did what???”

“I trusted you and…..”

Or….”when I was your age….”

“Why would you want to …..”

Sound familiar?  When your teen decides to come to you with a problem, and you immediately shut them down with a lecture, discipline, or shaming their choices; I guarantee you they WILL shut down.

“Listen with your ears, not your mouth!”

Don’t interrupt them with these parent moments!  Don’t ruin a wonderful opportunity of talking with your teen because you impulsively must have a parent moment.  You both know you are the parent!  Just push pause on “parent mode” for a few minutes and hear them out and don’t interrupt them.  You have plenty of time to parent after the conversation ends.

  1. Trust them.

    trust your teen

    Trust your teen

You have worked for years on teaching this child right from wrong.  They know when they make mistakes.  They know when they are going to be punished.  They know when you are going to be disappointed in them.  Knowing all of this and still coming to you is the ultimate respect in a parent/child relationship.  When your teen feels comfortable saying “Mom, I really messed up.  Can we talk?”  then you know you can trust your child with just about anything.  I know some of you are saying— “like that would ever happen!”  I see your eyes rolling far back in your head!  But it does happen!  There are families who have open communication with their teen.

You can too!

If your teen avoids you when they make mistakes, ask yourself why?  I know the 1st response is probably “Because they know they are in trouble!”  But I bet if I asked your teen, it would be “They don’t listen. (1)” or “They don’t understand.” (Boy I hear that one A LOT!)  LOL!

“Be honest with yourself.  Would teenage you want to talk to you?”

Be honest with yourself.  If you look back on your reactions toward your teen when they do something dumb AGAIN, would you come talk to you?  Do you yell at them?  Do you berate them and belittle them?  Do you point out how stupid they are?  How often do you go to people who treat you like that?  Think about that one for a little while, and then come back and read on…

  1. Stop Assuming

Talk through a problem with them.  Stop assuming they need you to tell them how to handle things. Don’t tell them how to fix it unless they point blank ask you for advice.  Listening and trusting them shows you have confidence in them.  Stop assuming they need you to fix all their problems or that they even want that.

Questions to Ask you Teen:

How do you feel about what Abby did?

What do you think you should do about …?

What kind of consequence do you think a late curfew deserves?

How do you feel about your friends drinking?

By asking open ended questions, you are inviting them to talk to you and teaching them that growing into an adult means making good decisions and you are giving them confidence in knowing they CAN make good decisions rather than assuming they Won’t Do the Right Thing. You are letting them share what they think and how they feel about situations.  You are learning that your teen has a good head on their shoulders and can choose the right path.

“Listen…Trust…Stop Assuming”

Most teenagers are going to be fair in their responses.  Now I know there are a few out there that would take advantage of this, but I’ve seen parents look totally shocked when we’ve had these open discussions in sessions and their teen Adults Up!  They assume they know what they would say, but they quickly have to pick their chin up off the floor when this Teen rocks their decision-making skills.

So that’s it!  Listen, Trust, and Stop Assuming. Pretty simple!  If you don’t make it hard.  Your relationship with your teen does not always have to be filled with drama, yelling, fighting, tears, and feelings of doubt.  You can Talk!  You can have a good relationship!  It really does happen for a lot of families.

If you do these 3 things, it allows your teen to trust you and to develop respect for you as their parent.  They will know that no matter what, my mom or dad is going to respect me and love me.

Now go and put this into action!  Then come back here and leave a comment and let me know how it went.  If you struggle, that’s OK.  I’m here to help!  Maybe you feel like your relationship is too far gone and you feel like there is too much damage done.  Damage can be fixed!  At no point in parenting is it too late.  Change can happen at any stage and age.  This doesn't mean change is going to be easy, but the longer you let it go the harder it will become.

Need more specific examples of scripts to use when communicating with your teen?

Comment below with your biggest challenge in communicating with your teen.

P.S. Teen Girls Group will be starting November 9th!  If you would like more information, click here.

MUSIC IS THERAPY

Sometimes a song can come on the radio and I can feel it through my soul. It reaches every fiber of my being. Music can speak to you. It can empower you-give you strength-confidence-even closure.

The lyrics of a song can feel alive and breathing. Music has been around since creation. It’s a natural source of relaxation and calm. It’s a way to express our feelings. Songwriters pour out their lives on paper and add music to it that reaches our souls.

Here are a few songs I’ve found helpful in therapy:

1. Alessia Cara “Scars to Your Beautiful” https://youtu.be/MWASeaYuHZo

2. Kelsea Ballerini “Secondhand Smoke” https://youtu.be/fa2ni7GYRiA

3. Kesha “Praying” https://youtu.be/JqvviR15bmE

What songs do you use for therapy?

NEW RESOURCE ADDED FOR TEEN MOODINESS

Do you sometimes feel like your teen’s mood is unbearable?  You’ve probably heard them say “I can’t help it”…or maybe you’ve thought “she is out of control!” Did you know that we have the ability to control our thoughts?  Our feelings?  And how we react?  Therefore controlling our Moodiness!

Below is a NEW RESOURCE for you to use with your teen to help GAIN CONTROL of your teen’s moodiness!!

Our brain is a very complex organ in our body that controls everything we do.

We can remap how we approach things by making changes to how we think.

In this worksheet, I provide you with instructions on how to walk through your thoughts, feelings, and actions/reactions so your teen can GAIN CONTROL of their mood.  I also provide an example for you!

This tool is developed for teens but can be used by anyone struggling with moodiness.

Download it now  or find it anytime on my Self Help page.

If you need help with your teen, call me at 615-683-1111 for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

BELLY BREATHING

One of the most common tools I teach teens and adult clients is belly breathing.  It is one of the most successful tools when treating anxiety and fear.  This trick can calm you down quickly and can be used ANYWHERE, which is what I love about it.

Belly breathing is also known as deep breathing.

Before you practice this technique, I want you to imagine your belly is a balloon….

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OK—Got it?

When air is blown into a balloon, it inflates.  So as you breathe air in, your belly will inflate like a balloon.

When you release your breath, your belly should deflate as a balloon would when slowly losing air.

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Step 1: Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.

Step 2: Clear your thoughts

Step 3: Take a slow deep breath in through your nose, slowly counting to 7, while focusing on your belly rising.

Step 4: Hold that breath for 2-3 seconds.

Step 5: Slowly release your breath, counting to 7, while your belly releases air.

Step 6: Repeat for 1 minute.

The trick to this technique is that you are breathing through your belly—Not— your chest.

Practice this Belly Breathing daily to build your stamina and increase the number of seconds you are inhaling and exhaling.  Work your way up to increments of 5, 10, 15 minutes of deep breathing.

A relaxed body cannot be an anxious body…

More on how to teach deep breathing to your child in the next post…