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Tag Archives: Self Harm

Family Communication is the Key

I’d like to write today about my first meeting with families, and how communication plays a vital role. The process generally goes something like this: After discussing the reason they have sought out help, we discuss how the family currently functions. We talk about the parents’ relationship with their children and with one another. We talk about how the kids relate to their siblings and how they relate to their parents. I then ask the parents something along the lines of “Tell me a little bit about your relationship with *Johnny*.” Some parents are confused by this question.  Most parents answer with something like “Things go well when *Johnny* is in a good mood, but when he is in a bad mood, we all have to watch out.” There can be further details about the relationship and sometimes they will highlight all the fun activities that they enjoy doing with their child. All of this information is very helpful as I begin to understand the family’s struggles. What it does not always address is how communication is happening within the family.

I find that the families I work with frequently neither possess nor know how to acquire ways to communicate effectively with one another. Many of the families describe that they feel manipulated by the communication with their children. This pattern is one of the most difficult changes we ask families to make. We look to break the cycles of years of built-up patterns of communications.

There are lots of ways to work on changing these patterns. Finding the method that works for you and your family is key. Over the past weekend, I had the good fortune of attending the One Change Group’s Real Change workshop. This two day workshop focused on changing communication patterns as well as teaching additional communication and parenting skills. The two day workshop was filled with a mixture of moms, dads, children, single parents, families, and professionals. We shared our stories and asked lots of questions all in the hope of changing our patterns of communication.

In order to change the patterns, the pain of the way things are going has to be greater than the fear of changing. As with everything in life, changing communication patterns is difficult work and takes practice. We have to be forgiving of ourselves that we will get it right one hundred percent of the time. We also have to become aware of our patterns as a means to break them.

To change these patterns there are some simple changes that can make a huge impact on communication.

  1. Check yourself – During conversations that are highly emotional everyone involved needs to try and be aware of their emotional state.  When we get highly emotional our brain shuts down and we can not be rational.  So it is OK in those moments to take a timeout.  The key to effectively using a timeout is to schedule a time when everyone is going to come back together in the next twenty-four hours to finish discussing the topic.
  2. You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak – What you and your child have to say is equally as important. Make sure that you listen and repeat back what you hear your child saying, and ask them to do the same before having them respond to the topic of the conversation.
  3. Share the love – we hear the negative far louder than the positive. In fact, for every negative comment we hear it takes forty positive ones to cancel it out. It is easy to point out all the things that others are not doing, but keep in mind that we all need positive reinforcement. This is true for ourselves and others.  We need to continually give ourselves positive reinforcement as well.

Start with changing these pieces of your communication at home and you will see the ripple effect. These skills can be used in every aspect of your life, work, home, school, friendships and beyond. My suggestion is to try one skill for thirty days and see how it goes. If you are looking for more information about parenting skills and increasing the communication in your home, Prepare To Bloom may be able to help. Check us out at PrepareToBloom.com or call us at (925) 526-5685.

 

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New Research About Teen “Sexting”

The National Campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy recently published the results from a survey they commissioned in conjunction with Cosmo Girl. The survey asked teens and young adults about their use of technology to send sexually explicit pictures and messages to one another. The survey included the responses of 1,280 teens and young adults ranging in age from 13-26.

In the findings, they reported that “A significant number of teens have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves.” They go on to report that “75% of teens and 71% of young adults say sending sexually suggestive content “can have serious negative consequences.”

Given these startling statistics, it is increasingly important that parents discuss “sexting” openly with their kids. 

  1. Talk openly – Although this is a difficult topic, it is important that your kids are aware that when sending pictures or sexually explicit messages the images are not truly private.
  2. Know their friends – Just as with all other friends, it is important that parents know who their kids are connecting with and communicating with online.
  3. Think long term, even when your kids can’t – Parents often have the ability to think of the long term repercussions of their actions.
  4. Stay up on technology – In order to be able to know what your kids are posting and sending out, you must be able to understand all of their technology.  Whether its Facebook, chatting, or “texting” make sure you are as savvy as your child.
  5. Communicate your expectations – by setting some expectations for what is appropriate online your kids will understand what is allowed.
If your child is misusing technology or posting explicit pictures of themselves or others, and this is disrupting their lives, we may be able to help. Whether you or your family are looking for therapists or treatment programs, Prepare To Bloom, LLC is just a phone call away. Please contact us at (650) 888-4575 or visit us on the web at www.PrepareToBloom.com.
 
 

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What we do at Prepare To Bloom, LLC

Prepare To Bloom, LLC

Prepare to Bloom was formed in 2011 by Shayna Abraham, M.A., who has over a decade of experience in the therapeutic and educational consulting industry. She is well known for her work with another reputable consulting firm based in California. Shayna brings a unique set of skills, knowledge, experience, and expertise to her new company. Shayna has worked with hundreds of families and successfully assisted in the placement of clients in academic and therapeutic settings.

What is a Therapeutic and Educational Consultant?
A therapeutic consultant, sometimes called a therapeutic placement consultant, is someone who assesses a family’s needs and helps to create a plan for intervention. Adolescents and young adults who work with therapeutic consultants may be struggling with anxiety, depression, disrespect to authority, identity issues, academic failure, substance abuse, anger or aggression, poor choice of friends, oppositional defiance disorder, eating disorders, and/or learning disorders.

Consultants create individualized plans for adolescents and young adults. Sometimes the client needs an out-of-home placement in a program that is designed to meet their precise needs. In other situations, local treatment professionals may be recommended for the client and/or family. In all cases, however, the consultant coordinates with all of the appropriate professionals, schools, and/or programs.
How do you choose the right consultant?
Choosing a consultant is similar to choosing a therapist. It is a very personal process as you will be sharing some private information with the consultant.
Comfort – First and foremost, you need to feel comfortable speaking openly with your consultant. Don’t be afraid to ask your consultant pointed and straight forward questions during your interview process.
Background and Training – Consider the consultant’s background and training. It is important that the consultant participates in ongoing training. This training should include ongoing visits to the programs and professionals that s/he recommends.
Specialty – Consider the consultant’s specialty. Make sure that the consultant has experience working with your family’s set of concerns.
Customer Service – Consider the consultant’s customer service – Customer service is essential in a field that is built around individualized counseling and relationship building. Find a consultant who is readily available and is willing to meet on an unlimited basis.

Click the image above to view our brochure

For additional information about Therapeutic and Educational Consulting and Prepare To Bloom, LLC please call us at (650)888-4575 or check us out online at PrepareToBloom.com.
 
 

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A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Cutting

Cutting is a form of self injury where small cuts are made typically on the body arms and/or legs.  Cutting is a way for teens to release emotional pain.  The practice of cutting has been happening in secret for ages, but more recently has come to light as it has been shown in movies, TV shows and online.  Teens and tweens, who are often unaware of other ways to release intense emotions, turn to the internet for answers and come across information on cutting.  They are also learning from peers.  The majority of my clients report knowing someone who cuts.

The topic of cutting was recently discussed on the Today Show and it was highlighted that teens who are feeling immense “pressure to be perfect” are turning to cutting as an answer.  The segment reported that “a Seventeen magazine poll shows that 15% of teens physically hurt themselves on purpose.”  They are highlighting that this is a common problem and parents need to understand the signs and symptoms of these self destructive behaviors.

What to look for:

  • Changes in attitude, friends, interest in activities and day to day behaviors.  Teens who are not handling the day to day stress of their lives are vulnerable to releasing their emotions through cutting.
  • Need to always be covered up.  If you see that your child is wearing long sleeves, long pants and this does not match with the season, this may be reason to be concerned.
  • Unexplainable cuts or scratches.  Often teens will use whatever they can get their hands on to cut so cuts may be superficial.  Question your child on how they got the scratches or cuts and trust your intuition.
  • Negative self talk.  If your teen is constantly talking about themselves in a negative way with you or others.
There are treatment options for self harming ,and parents need to address self injury head on in a compassionate manner.  Parents need to try and calm their fears, and listen to what your teen is telling you.  Remember that teens can’t always express their feelings and their actions often need to be looked at as communication that things are not going well.  Whether you’re looking for a therapist or a treatment program or would like more information about therapeutic and educational consulting, Prepare To Bloom, LLC can help. Please give us a call at 650-888-4575 or visit PrepareToBloom.com for more information.
 

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