Parenting

Parenting an adolescent is challenging. While your child is striving for more independence (and it is important to offer them some), the need to enforce clear and reasonable expectations is crucial to shaping behaviors.
The school year is back in full swing and many students we work with are feeling overwhelmed. Parents want nothing more than to help their children, but often, this isn’t the message their kids hear. What you say and how you say it can make all the difference in how your child feels and acts, so how do you communicate your concerns to them without it turning into an argument?
Labor Day: A long weekend of barbeques, trips to the beach, retail sales and vacation. Also, the last weekend of summer and the last hoorah before school and fall schedules begin–YIKES! Labor Day tends to evoke two very different emotions in people–excitement over the former and dread over the latter. For many, summer consists of 2 months of relaxation, lighter workloads, no school and traveling. Transitioning from this lifestyle back to reality (5 day workweeks, school/homework, and a heavier workload) can send anyone into a frenzy!
As a DBT therapist, one of my primary goals when working with clients is to help supply effective skills and coping mechanisms to help them manage their emotions when things may be difficult. While reviewing these skills, I often find that these children, adolescents and young adults have had very little opportunity to build and/or practice coping mechanisms on their own since they were little.
The countdown is on…less than a month until buses descend upon many cities and towns scooping up hundreds of children, ready to take them off to their summer home–sleepaway camp. For up to 7 weeks, kids ages 6-15 are whisked away to a cell-phone free, parentless fantasy land full of sports, arts, the outdoors, color war and many other activities they otherwise would not partake in.
We all grow up with certain expectations: I am going to have this job; I’m going to marry this person; I’m going to have this many kids, etc. It’s normal to dream or wish for certain things in our future. Sometimes, we achieve what we set out to do and sometimes, we have to change course. At what point must we take a step back and relinquish control of this idea of the “perfect life?” At what point must we work toward  acceptance of “what is?”
With many of my clients transitioning from middle school to high school this past year, there has been a common theme with parents scrambling to put rules and guidelines in place. As a result, their teenagers are protesting: "I’m in high school! Why do I have MORE rules? That doesn’t make sense!"
Teens today are savvy–so many know about mental health, and yet, very few are aware of how unhealthy habits impact their mood and their ability to regulate their emotions. Although many teens may look (and act) like young adults, their brains are still developing. These habits may be "normal" for adults, but due to the sensitive nature of the teenage brain, they are very likely interfering with their mood and their overall mental health.
I, like a vast majority of you, am on Facebook. I mainly use Facebook as a tool to keep in touch with those from the past. More recently, however, I’ve been using it to get information. I belong to groups specific to my needs where others can post questions, suggestions and information that might be helpful. Belonging to said groups had generally been a positive experience. That is, until it wasn’t.
Sound familiar? Your child with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) fidgets and squirms his way through school and homework, but seems laser-focused and motionless sitting in front of the TV watching an action thriller. When a parent or a teacher sees a child who can sit perfectly still in one condition and yet in another they're all over the place, the first thing they say is, “well, they could sit still if they wanted to.”