A Raleigh Therapist's Blog

Thoughts on counseling, healing, and creating the life you want

On Getting Older, Changing Your State and the Merits of a Personal Theme Song

I’m not quite 4o yet, but I sure am breathing heavily down 40’s neck, warming up her collar and whispering the tidings of my imminent arrival. I’ve done all the requisite machinations of a woman teetering off the edge of her youth and into a robust, and hopefully juicy middle age. I have fewer you know whats to give about how people judge me and what they may think. I’m doing all the things. You know, cutting my hair, learning to roller skate and thinking about getting a tattoo. Then, upon deciding that I am too afraid of needles to approach the tattoo with a 10-foot pole, I have bought myself a tiny, fierce new car. I’ve never been one for an ostentatious ride. I feel conspicuous in it. But, I think it’s everyone’s duty at some point in life to (literally and metaphorically) put down the windows, pump up your jam and roll out like you mean it.

Hopefully, unless we have had to cope with misfortune or trauma, our early years are a hothouse of blooming creativity and extravagant imagination. More often, youth is the place where we collect the experiential odds and ends we need to be really interesting humans further down the line. Forging an existence that has purpose  is a constant, iterative process of intentional engineering. If youth offers anything extraordinarily delicious, it’s a lack of expectation as one is becoming to know who you’re supposed to be. We’re allowed to make it up as we go, giddy with discovery and sensitive to meaningful newness. What I liked most about my twenties was trying on hats–journalist, therapist, swing dancer, poet. I stamped my own individuality all over my life. And, if I have learned anything about happy people in general, particularly the older ones, it’s that they continue to remain awake to the option to create themselves over and over again. Their dreams don’t stop taking up the really good real estate in their own lives. I’m talking psychological beachfront condos, baby!

To that end, I have decided that I need a theme song. You know–an intro and an outro. A slick beat that heralds my desire to be intentional, and kind of bad ass as well. I need something that will effect an immediate state change in me whenever and wherever I desire it–no matter if I’m hearing it through my stereo or in my head. Here’s an example of the hilarious Peter MacNicol gearing himself up to face a difficult situation via his musical spirit animal, Barry White.

This isn’t, of course, anything new. Anyone who loves Tony Robbins or any of the NLP folks will recognize the idea that when you’re stressed or stumped, purposely changing your state by physical movement, affirmations or meditation is a quick, easy way to ritualize a return to the productive zone. That’s the place we call flow, where we can create and thrive. I teach my clients lots of tricks to do this state change stuff, so they can manage it in meetings, traffic or even while they’re doing leisure activities. When you come in, we can try some of the intellectual widgets that have worked for other people and you can also develop a few idiosyncratic ones of your own. History is full of folks who used their own experiences, culled from years of living as themselves, to combat undesirable mental and emotional roadblocks. The incomparable Leonard Cohen, for instance, chants, “Pauper sum ego, nihil habeo” before performing. That’s Latin for, “I am poor, I have nothing.” This incantation is intended to “reduce the weight” he and his fellow musicians feel before heading onto stage. To someone else, that wouldn’t be a useful approach. But, it works for Leonard. It’s essential to figure out how you best do you, and then to do that. Not for nothing, Keith Richards just eats a shepherd’s pie. Because, you know, Keith Richards.

If we can help you notice the state changes you experience in times of stress, anger, hopelessness, anxiety or overwhelm, we are more than a few steps down the road to mindfully creating a blueprint for your own happiness and contentment. If you’re able to be very present in moments that ordinarily would have “just happened” to you, what interesting changes could you invite? There is a process of creativity to assembling a tool box. And I am here to tell you that it is fun, interesting work.

What will you be doing in the next few weeks to improve your chances of conjuring up a life at your highest vibration? Me? I’ll be listening to my new theme song…and feeling good.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a consultation to learn how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com or:

Twitter: HollyCoxLMFT

Pinterest:DrHollyCox

Facebook: Lotus Therapy Center

Google +: Holly Cox

No Comments »

Failure is Feedback

“One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” —Henry Ford

I have to admit something to you. I almost didn’t write a blog on this topic. Here’s the reason why: if you took me seriously on this idea in any area of your life it would put me right out of business. Finally, a tid bit that can be applied to anything you can imagine, because in its simplicity, it is revolutionary.

Over the years I have worked with a number of highly-accomplished clients. These folks are professional athletes, politicians, business owners and entertainers. You would recognize their names if I told them to you, but since I’m an ethical and law-abiding kind of therapist I won’t do that. Seeing as how I won’t spill those goods, I’ll just give you the important part. Would you like to know the difference between these folks and the rest of us mere mortals?  They believe that failure is feedback. 

Many individuals have a faulty interior logic that tells them that if they don’t succeed the first few times, they probably aren’t meant to do that thing. Worse, they may believe that these initial missteps before greatness are evidence that something is amiss in their intelligence or creativity. High-achieving individuals brainstorm about how their failures give them evidence of the way forward. What new twist or turn has been added to the map that you couldn’t see before? What has become clear?

Therapy is helpful because with help, you can quit catastrophizing and break your goals down into small enough pieces that they become possible. What prep work do you need to do in order to make these successes happen? The worst move you can make is to do too much too soon because you are ashamed that what you envision hasn’t already materialized. Let’s discover why failure has happened in the past and use that as a template to make the microadjustments that will get you on the path to achieving all that you are capable of doing.

Why don’t you come on in so that we can talk about it? I would be delighted to co-architect a plan for an exciting new year.

Your Partner in Healing,

Are you looking for compassionate individual, couples or group therapy in Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to learn how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com or:

Twitter: HollyCoxLMFT

Pinterest:DrHollyCox

Facebook: Lotus Therapy Center

Google +: Holly Cox

 

 

No Comments »

A Note of Thanksgiving

Most of the time, the posts I write here are artifacts of something that has happened to me as a therapist. My own emotional landscape is pulled and shaped by the challenges my clients and I have faced together over the week. This blog is strange brew of clinical observation and personal viewpoints.

But this week, I’m not seeing clients. My husband is attending a conference in Vegas, and I tagged along for a week of post-Thanksgiving Day rest and relaxation. The big event of my trip here has been realizing that I never have time to watch as much trashy TV as I would like. Could it be possible to love those “People’s Court” type shows any more than I do? I have been basking in the tawdry glow of fake small claims litigation for at least three days now. At night, I put on a fancy dress and play nickel slots until I panic about losing more than $20 and head back to the buffet. It has been the perfect, perfect vacation. But, it doesn’t really lend itself to blogging. Not this kind of blogging, anyway.

At Thanksgiving, as I was discussing our trip out west, a family member remarked, “Thank God you’re getting away–I don’t know how you do what you all day.” I think therapists hear that particular line of, “Ye Gads, I’d hate your job” commentary more than anyone except, perhaps podiatrists. And maybe dentists. But, I don’t understand that really. I can’t imagine doing anything other than being a therapist. I truly love it.

So, this blog is a thank you note to all the clients who have allowed me to enter their lives and share in their stories. I think the role of listening and bearing witness is a sacred one. I take it seriously. Too often in life, our most compelling stories–the ones that make us the most human–go untold. As a therapist, I get to hear those clients’ stories in the full color a safe therapy space offers. It’s true that I help clients process some pretty terrible things. But, my role offers me the opportunity to be present with people as they change their lives and throw off the shackles of trauma, anxiety and sadness. I get the honor of helping them reauthor stories that are disempowering and choosing new pathways for themselves. It’s like watching the sun rise every day I go into my office. What a magnificent gift! I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to be me for a day.

Thanks again for allowing me to join you in your journey.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to learn how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com or:

Twitter: HollyCoxLMFT

Pinterest:DrHollyCox

Facebook: Lotus Therapy Center

Google +: Holly Cox

 

 

No Comments »

The Importance of Sacred Spaces Plus an Invitation

I love putting together a new office. There is a wonderful sense of newness and urgency about it. It just feels like every great thing that is going to happen in that space will manifest all at once if I can hurry up and get the curtains hung. The new Lotus Therapy Center feels warm and cozy. I’m setting it up so that both you and I can express our awesomeness in there appropriately.

I think everyone should have somewhere–your car, a corner of your closet, a yoga mat and candle out on the fire escape–somewhere, that you can access a few moments of quiet and inspiration. For me, that place is usually my office. There are numerous reasons for this that include but are not limited to: 1) There are no legos to step on anywhere 2) I don’t have to put my coffee at a level somewhere above my head for fear that I will later be drinking after my mountain-climbing pug 3) I decorated it myself and all my best books are there.

Sacred spaces are important for recharging your batteries and equipping yourself to handle new challenges that come your way. You wouldn’t expect your car to continue to run if you don’t put gas in it. But, so many folks navigate the rigors of modern life by pushing through on fumes. Here are a few tips for creating sacred spaces in your life:

1) Wherever you go, there you are: Back in the day when I did in-home and in-school counseling, I carried around a very strongly-scented peppermint aromatherapy lotion from Origins. (It’s called Peace of Mind if you’re interested.) I did this for several reasons. First, studies show that athletes who smell peppermint feel better, perform more strongly and are more cheerful about the entire endeavor. Did you know you could get that kind of boost in a smell? Secondly, it gave a olfactory clue that our therapy sessions, no matter where they were that day, were sacred spaces. So, really all you need is a cue, a quiet place (seriously, your car will do) and a few minutes to set your intention on whatever will help you most.

2) R-E-S-P-E-C-T: I hope you just sang that in your head like I did. If you respect your responsibilities and want to do your best, you have to respect the instrument that will get all that stuff accomplished first–you. You are your own first and last resource for health and better performance. Can you make a corner of your office (you don’t have to tell anybody) a sacred space? My office has a plant my husband gave me many years ago, a special rock I got from a seminar I found inspiring, and a small statue of Kwan Yin. It doesn’t look like anything but a collection of mementos. But to me, it reminds me that if I want to practice compassion towards others, I have to do it for myself.

3) Come Together Right Now: There are those of us who make it our business to create sacred spaces to share. Folks who lead mediation groups, worship leaders of all religions, yoga teachers, massage therapists and a host of others are available to enter into those collaborative spaces with you. I would love to take this opportunity to invite you into mine.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

Are you looking for individual, couples or group therapy in Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to learn how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com. Visit me on the web at www.lotustherapycenter.com or:

Twitter: HollyCoxLMFT

Pinterest:DrHollyCox

Facebook: Lotus Therapy Center

Google +: Holly Cox

No Comments »

Couples Therapy Primer–What NOT to Do

Every now and again I do a quick and dirty what to expect from Marriage counseling. Usually, it’s a what-to-expect kind of column to help newbies get more out of the experience. I like to keep things positive and focus on the best ways to access new skills. However, there  are a few things that can really derail your progress in my therapy room. So this time, I’m going to give you a what-not- to-do column.

1) She likes me, she really likes me:  It’s only human to want your therapist to like you best. Seriously, you’re in there pouring your souls out to a person you’ve hired to make your life better. Who wouldn’t want that person to be you cheerleader #1? But, couples hire therapists to be on the side of the relationship. So, if your therapist is challenging you about some aspect of the way you participate in coupledom it’s not because she hates you. It’s because she sees how you can make this strange beast–the relationship–even better, and she wants to help you hold up your end of the bargain. Give good feedback to your therapist and your partner about how the experience of processing your part of the couples conundrum is feeling for you. If the therapist starts to bring up feelings similar to the ones you feel with your partner, then take that opportunity to get to the bottom of how those emotions come up in you, and how you can work with your partner to address them successfully.

2) The truth, the whole truth, and nothin’ but the truth: Sometimes couples therapy doesn’t happen soon enough, or the problems are grevious enough that the relationship falls apart anyway. But, as a therapist, what really roasts my chestnuts is when folks come in to drop their partners off with me. They make a drive-by pass at couples therapy so they can say they tried it, and ultimately really want to make sure their partner has someone to fall back on when they do what they were planning on doing anyway–leaving. If you know you’re undecided about continuing on in the partnership, let your therapist know so that she can talk with you and your partner honestly about how difficult and heartbreaking that limbo experience must be.

3) Keep it in your pants: Many therapists will keep secrets for clients who are carrying on affairs behind their partners’ backs. I have a strict policy against this. Therapy is a great vehicle for working out issues of infidelity and finding healing for both the person who stepped outside the union and the betrayed partner. However, this can only happen if everyone knows that the infidelity has occurred. If you come to therapy and haven’t yet told your spouse, I will be glad to work with you towards doing that in a sensitive way. However, I will not help you continue to lie to your partner.

4) A bushel and a peck: My couples clients know that I usually take a backwards in approach. Rather than working on the really big issues first (which will be there anyway, I promise) I usually start with figuring out how communication has broken down, and give assignments to work on this. I once heard this described as looking at the tree rather than focusing on the fruit.

5) Do your homework: I give clients homework between sessions to build a bridge between meetings and keep the fires of learning stoked. If you’re cooking, you don’t turn on the stove and then turn it off…and then turn it on…and then turn it off. I assume that if we have stirred up difficult emotions during session, that it is in your best interests to continue to work through these collaboratively outside of session as well. Just coming in once a week for an hour-long conversation is not enough. Believe me,  I am helping you have a shorter, more cost-effective course of therapy this way. I ask clients to email me their homework before session so that I can have a chance to read and reflect upon it before we meet again. This way, I will have a bridge between sessions too, and be ready to hit the ground running with the progress you have made when we’re not together.

So, there you have it–a cheat sheet for getting the most out of your couples counselor. Good luck!

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

www.lotustherapycenter.com

If you would like to take advantage of a FREE 30-minute consultation to see how therapy can improve your life, just drop me a line at holly@lotustherapycenter.com or call (407)-913-4988.

No Comments »

Women and the Happiness Gap

Today I read an interesting story in the NY Times about the growing happiness gap between men and women. There have been a bunch of these out lately, piggybacking on a volume of research that suggests that men and women are not equally happy. In fact, women are decidedly more glum, exhausted and frazzled than our male counterparts. According to the newest stuff out, this gap is already apparent as early as high school. Thus, it is not simply a matter of more housework or childcare duties than our husbands or partners. Though, later on, those sorts of issues do play a big part.

 I am interested in this because I am in the business of helping people be happy. And, we live in times in which people are under relentless pressure to be happy, with little room to actually revel in a sense of well-being once we actually stumble upon it. Because, being happy is often called complacency. And, who wants to appear unmotivated? Women, it appears are unhappy not just because they are juggling more kinds of responsibilities than our grandmothers, but because we’re supposed to look so darn good while doing it. College girls report that they are miserable because while they are busy gettings A’s on their physics exams and dominating the field at Lacrosse, they are supposed to be doing it with 10 layers of MAC makeup and a size 2 rear end. I worry deeply about the young women in my office overwhelmed by pressure to be good enough on so many levels, mostly because the “good enough” bar for women has moved so much and in so many directions the past few decades.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and out of step with your goals, counseling may be of great help to you. Come join me for a women’s group dedicated to improving self-esteem and relationship skills. Call or email me for more details.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

www.lotustherapycenter.com

twitter ID: HollyCoxLMFT

If you would like a FREE 30-MINUTE CONSULTATION to see how I can help you have your best year yet, please call me at 407.913.4988 or email holly@lotustherapycenter.com

2 Comments »

A New Year's Resolution for your Brain

Add this tidbit to the ‘news you can use’ column I know you all have percolating in that grey matter of yours. It may require shifting a bit of the info you’re hanging onto about fantasy football or how to make the perfect pot of beef stew. But, I think you’ll be glad to add this to your roster of go-to factoids.

I often tell both clients and myself that the day to be happy is now. Don’t wait until you’ve won the lottery of lost 50 pounds. Don’t even wait until your relationship is better or you feel more inner peace. As I secretly always thought, this advice is more than philosophical feel-goodism. Turns out the folks in the white coats are discovering concrete evidence that living this way does more than make you feel better–it may physiologically increase your capacity for happiness.

Science is now telling us that we have a sort of biological set point for the levels of happiness we feel. By that I mean that no matter how poor or great your circumstances, we all have a pretty consistent emotional range that we motor through on a daily basis–and it’s different for everyone. Imagine your emotional range as the speedometer on your car. No matter what may be chasing you, that car is only going to do what’s on that dial to do. This explains in part why it’s possible for a guy who wins the lottery to still be sort of ‘ho-hum’ about it and another guy who is suddenly a quadriplegic to demonstrate amazing resiliency. It’s literally genetic and hardwired.

But here’s the clincher to that rather sobering bit of news: you can change it.

That’s right, you can take what mama nature and the circumstances of your early life gave to you and mold it into something different. This is due to a fancy concept called brain plasticity. In the vernacular, that means that your brain can continue to change, and that by extension, you can change the direction in which it changes. In fact, the adult brain continues to make about 5,000 new cells a day. Whoa.

Though the research is still preliminary stuff, scientists are studying the brains of trained meditators to get a glimpse into how they are able to regulate their emotions and develop the parts of their brains responsible for happiness and compassion. And, combining this research with studies on identical twins who were raised in different households (but would have the same genetic capacity for happiness) they have found that a full 40 percent of how happy we are is fully in our control. Buddhist monks who spend hours meditating on love and kindness–literally forcing love and kindness into their brain–shape their brain and therefore their outlook in a very literal way.

This is lovely news, right? I think it is. But, it means that just as we must work out our bodies to get them to a position of optimum health, we must also exercise our minds regularly to promote happiness, kindness, and contentment. Good therapy can serve as a personal trainer for your mental and emotional systems. So why not give yourself the gift of a fit brain this new year? Give me a call and let’s make it happen!

Your Partner in Wellness,

Holly

www.lotustherapycenter.com

For a FREE 30-minute consultation and to see if I might be a good fit for your goals and needs, call (407) 913-4988 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com

1 Comment »

In praise of Thanksgiving

I am the only person I know who has had swine flu.

I knew it was out there, marauding and claming victims left and right, but one tends to have a sort of personal mythology about one’s own immune system. Nonetheless, I found myself grimly slumped over in the doctor’s office not long after my son’s first birthday with a horrific Q-tip on a filament stuck deep into my left nostril to get a sample of snot. I squirmed, and  yes, cried a little, as a too-happy medical cowboy of a Texan doctor proceeded to blithely ask me questions about my weight, height, and family history of high blood pressure. With a chortle, Tex unceremoniously yanked said instrument of hell out, sent it to the lab, and declared me at one with the oinks.

To make a long story short, two months-worth of antibiotics and steroids later, I ended up in the hospital with what the admitting ER physician believed to be a mini stroke or TIA. Fortunately, the cardiologists who later examined me decided that my “TIA” was really a terrifying reaction to the long courses of powerful medications. But, that didn’t happen until after I had spent 24 long hours believing that I was going to have, as the ER doc coined it, “the big one” that might cut short my life as a wife, mother, sister, friend, daughter and therapist. It was the most deeply terrifying, horrific night of my life. There are no further words I can add to editorialize the bleak possibility that you might never see your son graduate from preschool, much less highschool.

The point of my sharing this bit of personal trivia with you is to bring up a discussion about gratitude. It seems almost cinematically appropriate that all this should happen in the few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. In fact, I wonder sometimes about the cosmic timing of stuff like this, and I am assuming that there is not only a reason for it, but something to be gained by the experince. Existential pontificating aside, I am darn lucky to be here. And, I am very grateful to be alive.

Studies (yep, scientific ones) have demonstrated that those who practice daily gratitude, even in the form of keeping a simple journal of stuff that you are thankful for, are healthier. Think about that. I’ll wait. Not just happier, but healthier. Think about that some more.

So, poor schmuckos like you and I can not only give ourselves a case of the smiles by practicing gratitude, we can spend fewer nights with the good people over at ORMC. I, for one think that is a big deal. Clients often tell me that I have a “glass half-full sort of mentality.” And, they’re not wrong about that. I deeply believe that the individuals who do best are those who decide to focus on what is working in their lives and do more of that. That is not to say that it is not helpful or appropriate to do some life archaeology to see how we got off track. But, ultimately, it is the things that we have, do, and notice that are empowering that will get our behinds out of the sling and in a forward-thinking place.

So, as you devor the last of those turkey drumsticks, hoist high a big cheer of thanks. Better yet, not it down for yourself in your blog, notebook, journal, or fancy cellphone. Your health will thank you for it.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

holly@lotustherapycenter.com

www.lotustherapycenter.com

If  you would like a FREE 30-Minute Consultation to determine if I might be a good fit for your needs, please call (407) 913-4988 or email me at holly@lotustherapycenter.com.

No Comments »

Couples Counseling and Your Relationship: Nuts and Bolts

Usually, the first question new couples therapy clients ask me is, “How is this going to work?” I have realized over the years that what clients expect relationship therapy to be like has been colored by TV and book gurus who are one part clinician and 3 parts side show act. This is unfortunate, because it gives folks the idea that a therapist may be all bluster and little substance. Or, worse still, may spend long sessions scolding, finger pointing, and offering grim criticisms that humiliate more than uplift.

In the spirit of informing folks that couples therapy can be a fun, enlightening process, here are a few basics about what you can expect in my counseling room. Every therapist is different, but anyone to whom you entrust your relationship should be able to articulate a clear philosophy of  couples counseling that is different from their individual work. Ask therapists what their training in couples work has been like, and why they are expanding their practice to include relationship and family work.

1) I think I can, I think I can: One of the first things I tell couples who are  contracting with me for couples work is that they can expect a pretty predictable pattern of with engagement during the process. First, there is some immediate relief simply by the act of triangulating another calm, positive person into the anxious escalations the couple has been experiencing. Then, after several sessions, there may be a brief backslide when couples panic about their ability to maintain new and different behaviors. Finally, couples relax into the process, make needed changes, and gradually phase out a need for a therapist to intervene in high-conflict situations.

2) Write it out: I will take notes during my meetings with you so that I can document specific information you have given me, themes we notice, and ideas we have for future sessions. I prefer for couples to bring their own journal to therapy as well, to take notes in their own words about what has been meaningful to them and to record homework assignments. Couples that do this have better success because they create a reminder of the conclusions they have reached in a calm, safe, environment.

3) Be Consistent: Remember that advice your doctor gave you about taking your whole course of antibiotics, even after you feel better? Therapy is much the same. We will work together to triage the most important problems first, and get you and your partner to a place where you can communicate better with one another. This alone will make you both feel better. But, to really take advantage of the counseling, it is important to work on the underlying issues that inform the symptoms that form the initial complaints.

If you have any questions about the process of relationship counseling, please let me know. I would be delighted to answer them.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-minute consultation to see if I might be a fit for your counseling needs, please contact me at 407.913.4988 or holly@nova.edu.

www.lotustherapycenter.com

No Comments »

Anger Management For Adolescents

Is your child rude, difficult to talk to, or sad? We all recognize the most noticeable face of anger; those behavioral problems that manifest as blowups. But, anger can translate not only as an overtly aggressive child, but also as one who withdraws and refuses to communicate. If you feel like there is more going on with your kid than meets the eye, you may be right to be concerned.

Though kids may not appreciate parents’ interference in their affairs, it’s better to confront these cries for help before they escalate. As always, the litmus test for making any decision in your child’s welfare is evaluating if that child will appreciate you for it when he or she is an adult. No teenager will thank you for limiting his or her freedoms now, because that is counter to their developmental level. But no 25-year-old I have ever met inside my therapy room or out has been thankful to parents for allowing them to experience things (drugs, sex, autonomy) they later realize they were not ready to handle. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips for helping your angry teen.

1) Limit the number of violent things they watch/listen to/play: Experts estimate that the average teen has seen thousands of violent deaths depicted in tv, movies, and video games by the time he or she turns 18. We would be foolish to think that this does not desensitize our children to glamorized shows of anger. Think carefully not just about what you are allowing your teen to absorb through his or her media choices, but also about what they can be exposed to when they are at their friends’ houses as well. Keep tabs on who they hang out with, where, and talk to them about how to make good choices when they are not with you.

2) Be a good role model: Kids will do as you do, not as you say. If you routinely lose your temper, become angry and aggressive in traffic, yell at or hit your partner/spouse (or allow him or her to do this to you), and are rude and dismissive towards service people, your child will always model that behavior. They learn how to manage conflict and mediate stressful emotions from you. Consider yourself the architect of the blueprint for how your kids will treat their future employees, spouses, and children. If you need to get help to manage your own levels of stress and acting out, tell your kids that you are doing so, and then really do it. Parents are not to blame for all of their children’s problems. Certainly, some kids come into the world with tendencies that will be expressed in their behaviors. But, parents often have more influence over their children then they realize. Use it wisely.

3) Help your kids feel empowered: Resolving anger isn’t just about decreasing negative behaviors. It’s about increasing self-esteem so that kids feel positive about themselves and have more options in lieu of the bad behaviors. If your child is being bullied at school, be proactive about making it stop. If your child is the bully at school, help him or her get into counseling immediately. Some kids have a more difficult time fitting in at school than others. If your child is one of those kids, help him or her find another outlet like art, dance, sports, or youth groups at your place of worship.

4) Help your kids unplug and be part of the family: In the old days, when kids left school, all further communication with their friends had to go through the family phone. Now, teens are connecting around the clock via private cell phones with texting and social networking sites. The high drama of being a teen with any sort of social life needs to be mediated by the unconditional love and positive regard of being part of a family. Though they don’t know it, kids benefit from time to decompress from constant social interaction with their peers. If you’re not the one talking to your kid about his or her day, putting it all into perspective, and giving advice, someone else (much younger and less wise) will be doing it.

If you have any questions about how you can help your kid get off to a good start this school year and keep the momentum going, please feel free to drop me an email or give me a ring.

Your Partner in Healing,

Holly

If you would like a FREE 30-minute consultation to see if I might be a good fit for your counseling needs, please call me at 407.913.4988 or email holly@nova.edu.

www.lotustherapycenter.com

No Comments »

%d bloggers like this: