Parenting And Family Therapy Category

5 Tips For Parenting Adolescents: Part 5

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC


In part four of the series, we discussed ways to balance between short and long term goals in our parenting. In this last section we will examine the issue of our children’s development towards autonomy and ways we can effectively nurture this process.


5. Foster autonomy


• In the teen years it becomes more readily apparent that your kids are not going to be under your roof forever. Some of you are excited about this, and some are broken up about it. But either way, it has been what you have been actually working towards all along: to see your kids grow up.


• Autonomy is a big part of maturity. Autonomy means to be self governing, self directed. Not in the childish sense of – I want my way! But the maturity to make decisions about what is best based on sound principles. Autonomy goes best when paired with responsibility and wisdom.


• But, here’s the rub for most parents. I want my child to mature and become autonomous, but ...

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5 Tips For Parenting Adolescents: Part 4

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC


In part three of the series, we took on the difficult challenge of letting go of control. In this section, the topic is managing our short and long-term goals and how keeping these two in balance affects our approach in parenting.


4. Hold Onto Both Short and Long Term Goals


• We all have them: short-term goals, usually being what I want to accomplish right now or today or this week, and long-term goals, usually what I want to accomplish over the next few months or years. Some of these goals we are consciously aware of, and others lie in the back of our minds and surface periodically or when provoked into consciousness by obstacles to their fulfillment. But, whether or not we are aware of them, I believe we are generally purposeful people who are directed by our heart goals. However, sometimes our short-term goals run counter to our long-term ones, and we may not be mindful of how our efforts to address our short-term interests are interfering with our ...

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5 Tips For Parenting Adolescents: Part 3

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC


In part two we examined how to deal with negativity in one’s adolescent. Part three is about the parent’s need for control and how to make productive adjustments.
1. Give up Control
• Not many people would label themselves as ‘controlling’. Certainly not when they can put such acceptable and positive terms to it. “I would do anything to help my son”, “I’m just trying to make sure they don’t get into trouble”, “They never would do their homework or their chores if I didn’t remind them”. “They are so lazy”. “My daughter just won’t let up until I let her stay up late, have the newest this or that, etc.”
• Control is not always what you think. Sometimes it is the traditional kind, meaning I believe I am helping you by getting you to do or think what I think you should do or think. Sometimes the form of control is so insidious that it looks like the o...

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5 Tips on Parenting Adolescents: Part 2

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC


In part 1, we looked at the influence of stress on our parenting and some ways to relieve and manage it. Here is tip number 2.

2. Examine how you handle negativity


• Here’s a shocking statement: adolescents can be negative sometimes. And dramatic. Or they could demonstrate this by going the other way and withdrawing. And when this happens, what do you usually do? Do you turn negative yourself, getting on their case about their negativity? How does that usually turn out?! Or do you throw up your hands internally and withdraw or avoid them? Most of us have a hard time being around negative people. They drag us down over time, and they resist being cheered up or redirected. So, what are some healthier options?


• First, go back to point one and address your self care and your stress level, so that you can be more present for the person you would like to help and invest in. After all, working with anyone just so you can feel better is a recipe f...

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5 Tips For Parenting Adolescents: Part 1

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC


Life inherently contains many stressful situations. When you have kids, you multiply the number of stressful situations by a lot, and when they reach adolescence, the number usually goes through the roof. Besides, parenting can be more even challenging if you actually want to do well at it! Meaning you are probably trying hard at it (you are reading an article on parenting after all). You are to be commended. In light of the Olympics, there should be a medal for parenting these days. (In actuality, there is the medal of children who become honorable, virtuous adults). I’d like to offer five broad stroke perspectives that I believe are relevant and helpful for maneuvering through the jungle that is raising adolescents successfully. And successful does not mean just to “survive” it, although it may often feel like that. I know you long for it to be more than just that, and I believe it can be. I’ve broken down the five points into a five...

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I am Stressed About Being Stressed

Is stress causing your child to feel overwhelmed? Check out this review of Susan Kaiser Greenland’s The Mindful Child.

What is Mindfulness: Mindfulness can be described as paying attention to the moment. When I stop to take a break and become aware of my self, my thoughts, my feelings, and my surroundings, I am being mindful. Wikipedia describes mindfulness as a meditative practice that has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions. It is when we purposely bring awareness to our experience.

Mindfulness can help your family to not get too caught up in the past or future. It switches our attention to what’s happening in the present helping to reduce emotional reactions such as tantrums or panic. Learning mindfulness can help you or your child gain peacefulness and control as opposed to feeling stressed out.

Review of The Mindful Child: This book offers practical and applicable skills for parents to teach mindfulness to their children. It begins...

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5 Things to Think about When Considering Divorce

5 Things to Think about When Considering Divorce
By Nancy Fagan, www.Dyvorce.com

Considering leaving your spouse? You need a solid exit plan. Pre-divorce-planning involves carefully planning out often-overlooked aspects of your life before you announce you’re leaving. In 85 percent of divorces, it is the wife who initiates the divorce. Whether man or woman, if you are in this situation, starting a plan of action now is absolutely necessary. Just because your wife/husband wants everything, including the children, it does not necessarily mean that’s what has to happen. Learn how to get a fair settlement by playing smart and doing certain things that will help your situation tremendously.

Divorce planning is needed for both men and women. With that said, if you’re a woman, preparing in advance is even more important. In fact, most women are in a worse place financially after it’s all said and done. With this said, you don’t have to become a statistic. You have ...

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The 5 C's to Resolving Parent-Teen Conflict

Ahh... The good old summer time; the time of summer vacations, summer movies, summer camps, summer jobs, and for some kids, the dreaded summer school! Indeed, for most kids and teens, summer is filled with staying up late and sleeping in even later. For parents, however, summertime can be a time when conflict with one's teen is magnified.

Ever had a teen that not only sleeps all day and eats you out of house and home, but in today's technologically driven world, seems to have grown an extra appendage...a cell phone. Teens these days can't seem to put it down. It’s with them when they awaken and when they go to sleep; it’s with them at the breakfast table and the dinner table; it’s even with them when they go to the restroom. Yes, today's teens seem to believe that putting their cell phone down for just one minute would be akin to chopping of an appendage such as their hand, or foot. Does the following vignette sound familiar to you?

Parent: "Hello (insert name of te...

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Teaching Emotional Intelligence

Parents teach their children emotional intelligence by being attuned to a child’s needs and feelings. Feeling seen and understood, children develop a sense of themselves as worthy, valuable individuals. They learn to accept and handle their feelings as well as to be sensitive to others’ emotions.

How do we as parents help children develop these emotional skills? First we shift our perception, slow down from our adult busy-ness, set aside our parental desires about how our children might be, and step out of an orientation to our own needs and judgments in a situation, so that we can see our children for themselves and focus on understanding what they need and how they feel beneath their behavior.

The mere act of accurately and compassionately labeling an emotion is tremendously powerful- it grounds the child, helps him feel emotionally held and contained, conveys the acceptability, understandability and therefore manageability of feelings, and preserves his integrated sens...

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Mindfulness for Kids

Mindfulness is usually reserved for adults, but it does not have to be. Children of all ages experience stress and tension physically, the inability to focus or concentrate, as well as distressing emotions (i.e anxiety, anger, sadness). The great thing about children is that they can adapt easily to mindfulness as well.

You may be asking, what is mindfulness? How can I get my child to sit still long enough to practice? The best way to conceptualize mindfulness is the ability to be present and to be in the here and the now. It is a way of observing, describing, and fully engaging in the moment. Now, how can we get our children to fully engage in the moment? Here are some techniques:

1. Be mindful of the breath: Observing the breath is the simplest way to start mindfulness. For example, if I tell you to not think of the color red, you are definitely going to think of the color red. So if you help the child think about breathing, it will be easier for them to focus on their breath. If y...

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