Should we stay or should we go? Is the marriage worth saving? Is keeping the marriage intact “for the children” enough reason? The “D” word is not a word that you can simply bandy about during times when you have a lover’s quarrel or when the going gets rough. Getting divorced, after all, will have consequences not just for the couple but also for their children.
Divorce is not a simple dissolution of a financial and physical union, but also the cutting off of emotional and psychological bonds. During this time, you can also think about getting the help of couples counseling in Provo to help you think through the issues in a thorough and more organized manner.
Here are some things you and your spouse should consider before you sign the divorce agreement:
Is the feeling gone? Or are there still emotional bonds between you and your spouse?
Make sure that both you and your spouse have done all you could to salvage the marriage. Do both spouses still feel an emotional connection with each other? Are there remnants of love and affection, in spite of all that has happened to make both of you consider divorce in the first place? Work on how you can save the marriage if there is some love left and some hope remaining for your relationship. That way, you don’t regret it if you finally make the decision.
Can counseling still help?
Provo marriage counseling can still be helpful especially at a time when both spouses are seriously considering divorce. Couples counseling in Utah can help identify where the marriage broke down and the possible ways to built it up (if this is still an option of the two spouses). However, if it still leads to divorce, counseling can make the transitions from couplehood to singlehood smoothly. Counseling can also provide healthy tools to deal with the pain and trauma of divorce by providing the couple or the individual with relaxation techniques, as well as tools to cope with change and grief.
Are you emotionally ready to divorce?
When you are caught up with emotions such as anger, frustration and in the case of infidelity, betrayal, it is hard to make the crucial decision of whether to keep the marriage intact or not. Make sure that you are emotionally stable as you make the decision to divorce. Otherwise, if it is just a response that arises from your emotions, this can lead to more problems and hurt feelings in the future especially if you do decide to rebuild rather than let go. Another thing to ask is if you are confident enough to go at “life” by your lonesome.
What are your reasons for considering divorce?
There are some spouses who view divorce as the last ditch attempt at changing their spouse. They feel that the divorce will be an eye-opener and it will lead the other spouse to see the error of their ways and make that change for the better. If this is your motivation for divorce, according to Utah therapists, be sure that it can only lead to pain and recriminations.
Also, think of whether the reason for the divorce is a problem that can still be resolved by proper communications and counseling.
Are you financially ready for divorce?
Although this may be secondary to other factors, it is also important to look at your resources without the other spouse. Will you be self-sustaining? Have you talked out how the family assets will be divided?
Who will move out of the house and who will stay? How much do you stand to earn each month? Will this be enough to cover your expenses, as well as your share of child support?
How will you prepare the children for divorce and deal with issues in a proactive manner?
Divorce will also affect those who are closest to you, particularly your children. Before you consider divorce, you and your spouse should discuss how best to prepare your children for that announcement. One way you can consider is to seek family counseling in Provo to help the children deal with their own emotions about the matter.
Have you considered the implications of divorce?
Divorce is not the quick fix-it to a problematic marriage. It, in fact, has its own problems and issues. A newly divorced person will have to deal with financial challenges and feelings of loneliness and insecurity. Both of the ex-spouses will also have to grapple with issues of child custody. It is good for both spouses to think deeply about the effects of divorce and manage your expectations about life after it.
The song by Average White Band says it all, “There’s no easy way to say goodbye”. And for the child, this may literally be true. Saying your bye-byes to a child who is hanging on to your leg is heart wrenching to a parent. You may also need to bear with temper tantrums, bouts of seemingly inconsolable crying and clinginess when it comes time for you to say, “Bye for now, love, mom and dad are off to work!”
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Being anxious about seeing mom or dad leave is actually normal for a young child. It is simply part of his development. As a baby slowly learns what “bye-bye” means, he will insist that mom or dad stay by his side. There is a strong sense of connection and attachment between the child and his caregivers – particularly his parents.
It is when the child starts to disproportionately worry about being separated from a loved one or caregiver that separation anxiety becomes a problem. When it turns into separation anxiety disorder, the child may start having trouble with normal activities such as going to school and gaining friends.
The onset of separation anxiety is usually at the baby’s seventh month and extends up to the time the child is in school age. However, if the anxiety persists even after the child is 6 years of age and the child manifests long-drawn-out fear of being abandoned, that can point to separation anxiety disorder. In this case, the mere thought of a parent or caregiver leaving or of being away from the home itself results in one being seriously agitated and emotional. There is the continual fear of a parent or caregiver becoming sick or dying.
For children and young people, this can manifest as an irrational fear of being separated from the people he feels comfortable to. Such is the level of anxiety that it hinders the child from going to school or even going to sleep. Rather than play with peers, the child would rather stay at his parents’ side.
The Roots of Separation Anxiety Disorder
Statistics indicate that there are around 2 to 5% of children that have separation anxiety disorder.
Mostly, separation anxiety disorder is to the presence of anxiety disorder in the family. It is said that the propensity to have separation anxiety disorder depends not just on environmental factors, but also on genetic factors.
What Family Can Do
Family members can work together to provide interventions to help the child. Some tips include:
– Educating family members. Understanding that the child is struggling with the disorder can lead to empathy rather than blame or feelings of guilt. It can also help each family member learn how to support the child so that the child does not feel depressed and isolated or develop a low sense of self. Provo therapists can help provide guidelines and tips on how each family member can act and react.
– Be patient. When the child is having bouts of separation anxiety, you can try to reassure him that he was able to weather the last separation he had. Avoid getting impatient or upset about the child’s fears and apprehensions.
– Make goodbyes easier. You can already identify the times of the day when the child needs to be separated from parents/giver. Often, a child finds it easier to separate from one parent than the other. This should be the parent that handles the transitions or goodbyes. Goodbyes can also be easier if the child is informed about how he can contact the parent or caregiver.
– Schedule fun activities for the child when he is separated. Keep the child occupied during the times of separation by setting up enjoyable activities.
Treating Separation Anxiety Disorder
Aside from seeking family counseling in Utah, concerned parents can seek the help and cooperation of other family members and school faculty. The objective is to provide the child with an environment that is less stressful for him. Getting family counseling in Provo will help each family member be aware of the situation and how they can deal with it. Parents will get helpful tools in getting the whole family together as they strive to help their child/sibling with separation anxiety disorder.
It is also recommended that the child get individual Utah counseling. Oftentimes, the child feels that the anxiety or the compulsion to worry about separation is somehow his fault and that something is wrong with them. With the guidance of an experienced Utah counselor, the child can learn to be aware of these feelings and how to negate them.
They say that when a guy asks his wife the question, “What is wrong?” and the wife answers, “Nothing.”, it means that the guy is in big trouble. What’s worse is if the wife does not say anything at all. Instead, he gets the cold shoulder. The other partner acts as if he doesn’t exist.
The Silent Treatment
The silent treatment is one of the weapons in the passive-aggressive arsenal. It is letting the other party know that you are angry or that something is wrong, without telling you why. The silent treatment can be seen as some form of emotional abuse. The person giving the silent treatment withholds something very basic – human interaction.
It is usually used for the following purpose:
– To get attention. “You messed up, and I’m letting you know.”
– To punish. “I’m not talking to you because you’re late for our date.”
– To get one’s way. “I will pretend you’re not in the room for as long as you don’t agree with what I say.”
– To teach a lesson. “I’m giving you the silent treatment so that next time, you will behave as you should.”
The problem with the silent treatment is that no communication is made, thus, the issues that caused the fight in the first place is not resolved properly. Stonewalling communication creates a situation where the spouses withdraw and distance themselves from each other. It results in feelings of anger, resentment and frustration – in a time when both spouses are most in need of each other’s support and love.
More than words. The silent treatment is more often than not, not too silent. It is often accompanied by negative body language – glares, some rolling of the eyes, and crying.
The silent treatment vs. the time out. Please don’t confuse the two – they are very much different. You can take a “time out” to cool down when an argument or a fight gets too heated. You can get out of an argument when you know that the anger will make the conversation degenerate into exchanging of insults that will be hard to take back after the fight. Taking a time out will give both you and your partner time to calm down so that you can communicate more effectively and resolve the issues involved. This is not the same thing with the silent treatment. The effort is not towards effective communication.
Breaking the habit
If you’re the one giving the silent treatment, it is high time to consider breaking this bad habit. Ask yourself, “Is it really working?” Try to delve deeply into the way you feel and make the effort to communicate this with your partner. You may need the help of Provo marriage counseling to enable you to be more forthcoming and expressive about the way you feel.
Responding to the “Cold War”
– Respond with maturity. If your spouse is giving you the silent treatment, resist the temptation to do the same. Attempt to talk it out with your spouse by letting him or her know that you’re ready and willing to listen and know what is wrong. During this time, continue to provide acts of love and affection, but make it clear that you will not accept this attitude.
– Seek to understand. The doling out of the silent treatment stems from feelings of anger, fear or resentment. Try to reach out to your partner and come to an understanding of the reason for their behavior.
– Ask if he or she needs a time out period. If your spouse is still unwilling to break the silent treatment, ask if he or she needs more time. Again, assure him or her that you’re there to listen when he or she is ready to talk.
– Get help. While things have not yet flared up, it is good to discuss the possibility of getting Utah marriage counseling. This can help you identify negative behaviors that hinder instead of promote communication and understanding between you and your spouse. An effective Provo counseling session can help equip you and your spouse with effective tools for communicating without having to resort to the silent treatment.
When the silent treatment is a pervasive behavior and if your spouse is unwilling to go for Utah counseling, , you can still go for counseling to help you cope with the tension and stress your situation may bring to you. Counseling will be good for your own mental health.
A good and experienced Utah marriage counselor will be able to provide a “safe place” for you to process your feelings and to help prevent your partner from inflicting more emotional injury to you. Going for counseling will also send a message that you are serious about the situation and the need for it to change for the better.
Do you have a child that has a problem with inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness? Of course, these three attributes are natural in a child in “normal doses”. However, at the extreme and when the symptoms are seen for an extended period of time, this can point to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.
For a child to be diagnosed with ADHD, he or she must show the symptoms in greater degree for an extended period of time (half a year or longer). Some of the symptoms include:
– Difficulty in focusing on a single task so that he is rarely able to finish the task without prodding or constant supervision
– Difficulty in sitting still
– Difficulty in obeying instructions
– Talks constantly or is in constant motion
– Easily forgetting things and quickly switching from one task or activity to another
– Easily bored
– Easily distracted
– Given to daydreaming
– Moves slowly
– Tendency to be very impetuous, impatient and impulsive
– Acts without thinking about consequences
– Tends to forget things, especially things needed to complete a certain task (homework, pencils, etc.)
A Parent’s Role
If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, there is no need to fret. A child with ADHD can still reach his or her full potential with your loving support and guidance. It may be a challenge and will require some hard work, but with the help of family counseling in Utah, you can start making steps towards helping your child overcome the challenges posed before him or her.
Here are some ways that can help:
– Overcome negative feelings. You can consider going for Utah counseling to help deal with any frustration, guilt or anger that may exist, especially before the ADHD is diagnosed and parents and teachers are unsure about the reasons behind the child’s behavior. The whole family may have already been adversely affected so family counseling in Provo can help thresh out these negative feelings and help each family member come to terms with and positively handle the situation.
– Equip yourself with knowledge. Educate yourself about ADHD so that you can better know how to relate to your child. A Utah counselor can equip you with positive attitudes and skills to help you effectively connect with your child and provide him with the guidance he needs
– Develop rules and a rewards and punishment system. Establish simple and easy-to-follow rules, with consequences clearly spelled out. Be sure to consistently implement these rules. Remember to also use positive reinforcement such as privileges and activities. You can make use of charts to provide a reminder so your child can see how well he has been doing.
– Get organized. Minimize the distractions your child has to contend with.
o Keep everything in its place. Have containers for toys, school things and personal belongings. Keep his desk and work station clear.
o Develop a routine and stick to it. This means having a consistent schedule – from the time your child wakes up to the time it’s time for him to go to bed. If there are to be changes, these need to be noted on the schedule as far in advance as possible. Have consistent yet simple rituals for everyday activities such as eating, taking a bath and doing homework.
– Know your child. Discover what your child does best, what activities he enjoys. By finding out what your child’s interests and abilities, you can “catch” your child doing well so that you can have the opportunity to provide honest praise and positive feedback. It is also important to remember that a child with ADHD wants to accomplish tasks, wants to be able to listen and follow instructions, but he simply is unable to. He needs love and support, patience and compassion. Learn to recognize your child’s uniqueness and positive attributes. This will help you see your child’s potential and ability to grow, mature and succeed.
– Divide tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. If one task taxes your child’s attention, you can divide the tasks into smaller ones that your child can handle.
– Encourage movement, rather than restrict it. A child with ADHD needs to move! So provide him with an outlet for his energy, instead of forcing him to “sit still”. Indulge in a sport that he enjoys – this sport should be something that keeps him in motion. Avoid sports that have long lag times.
– Supervise your child’s diet. What your child eats can greatly affect his symptoms. Junk food and sweets can worsen the hyperactivity so be sure to stay away from these.
– Manage your own stress. Ask your Provo counselor for stress-management tips. The situation can be demanding and physically taxing. You may have feelings of frustration, anger and subsequent guilt. You may even need to come into terms with the fact that your child has ADHD. When you are able to deal with your own stress, you can avoid blow-ups and can calmly respond to your child.
Parenting a child with ADHD can be a challenge but it can actually be rewarding as you see your child develop and grow to his full potential.
You have waited with joyful anticipation for the coming of your little one. You excitedly embarked on projects to welcome the baby. The nursery is all decorated and filled with the necessary equipment. You have bought the baby a complete wardrobe (and then some). And when that moment came, when you first saw your baby, you experienced such delight at finally holding him.
And then… comes the 3 a.m. feedings, the non-stop crying jags, the need to juggle your schedule around the baby. The sleepless nights, lack of sex and overall fatigue takes a toll on you and your spouse. Your relationship feels strained. You can say goodbye to spontaneous dates, to quiet evenings by the fire, to sleeping in. Yes, a baby is a gift and a blessing, but you must also prepare for the challenges of being a parent and a spouse.
The mother may feel resentful that they take the role of the primary caretaker and feel that the husband has more freedom and more opportunities to rest and relax. This resentment may also be exacerbated by the feeling that as primary caretaker, they assume more “difficult” roles with the baby – breastfeeding, bathing, changing the diapers while the father gets to simply enjoy and play with the baby.
Meanwhile, the father can feel left out of the excitement and this can also lead to feelings of resentment. Commonly, it is the mother who gets the supports from loved ones and friends. The busyness of taking care of baby’s needs may also result in a feeling of disconnection between the husband and wife. If the wife is the primary caregiver, the husband may also feel guilty about feelings of jealousy that crop up as a result of the wife spending more time with the baby.
So, how do you manage your relationship and maintain your connection with your spouse even as you take care of your baby?
– Establish your bond before the birth. If your marriage is already rocky prior to the baby’s birth, it would be good to consider getting Utah marriage counseling. You see, if there are problems with the marriage even before the arrival of the baby, the stress of caring for the baby may add another strain and your marriage bond may start to unravel. Provo counseling can help strengthen your marriage and prepare it for this challenge.
– Establish a relationship that is couple-centered, not baby-centered. Arranging your relationship around your children will only set you up for a never-ending round of meeting their needs while ignoring you and your spouse’s needs. Remember, the best gift you can give to your children is for you to love your spouse.
– Don’t be Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. In caring for your baby, have realistic expectations about what you or your spouse can and should do. Your house does not have to be immaculate and you don’t have to eat off the kitchen floor. Having unrealistic expectations about your housekeeping skills coupled with caring for the baby may just be too much. The same goes with being a parent to your child. Compulsive parenting (or that desire to do things or parent in a certain way, to be the “supermom” or “superdad”) will cause strain on your relationship with your spouse.
– Strive for balance. Of course, the demands of a crying baby will be more urgent that you find little time to take care of yourself and your spouse. However, strive for balance by hiring a sitter or asking mom to watch the baby while you go out for a quick date with your spouse. Make sure you also get enough rest – catch a nap while your baby is sleeping, cuddle with your spouse during this time of quiet.
– Get what help you can. If loved ones and friends offer a helping hand, gratefully accept. You don’t have to go at it alone. If you also struggle with negative feelings about the baby, you can also consider going to Utah therapists for help in coping with the stress you may be feeling.
– Keep communicating. Provo marriage counseling can help equip you with positive communications skills so that you can openly discuss your own reactions and feelings about the baby, the changing needs of the family and discuss your changing set of expectations. Be open about your fears about being a parent, how chores can be divided between you and your spouse, what you need and expect from him or her at this time. Make sure to set aside time to touch base every day.
One good reminder about the roller coaster ride of parenting is the mantra, “This, too, shall pass.” Our little helpless bundles of joy will eventually grow up to become independent adults. Thus, it is important to remember to also strengthen your bond as a couple, even at a time when you seem to have your hands full with the baby. To get more help with this, you can also go for couples counseling in Utah.
Every kid is a “rad” kid. By rad, we mean special and precious. From the first time that a parent sees his or her child, a special attachment is formed, a bond of love. This bond is important as it also defines how a child builds bonds and relationships with the rest of the world. However, there are some instances when a child is unable to form these bonds – the child may have RAD or reactive attachment disorder.
Attachment disorder: An Overview
An attachment disorder is marked by an inability to form meaningful and lasting relationships or even express affection towards others. It may be rooted in events during a person’s early childhood. This may include:
– Being a child of an unwanted pregnancy
– Experiencing chronic pain resulting from medical problems
– Neglect from a caregiver (when a parent is chronically depressed, the child is moved from one caregiver to another, when a child’s cries and needs are ignored)
– Being a victim of child abuse
As a result, a child with attachment disorder exhibits a lack of trust on others. There is also a need to be in control since the child learns that there is no one to depend on but him. The child may also have issues with anger and demonstrations of affection.
Admittedly, it is hard to parent or take care of a child with attachment disorder when your efforts are met with indifference or resistance. But with love, patience and some family counseling in Provo, you are able to manage this condition. And the earlier you start with your efforts, the better. Dealing with a child with attachment disorder will prevent more serious problems in the future.
Here are some tips to help you parent a child with attachment disorder:
– Be patient, calm and firm with your child. This indicates to the child that you can be trusted and that he is safe in the care of his parents. This is particularly true when the child starts misbehaving. Be calm and matter of fact to demonstrate that emotions and feelings can be managed and controlled.
– Be realistic. Managing (and overcoming) the problems brought about by an attachment disorder will take time and much patience. Thus, it is helpful that you have realistic expectations. You can’t rush the journey towards wholeness for your child and the rest of the family.
– Build a family environment that feels safe, relaxed and joyful.
– Manage your stress. Parenting a child with attachment disorder is especially challenging. That is why you need to learn how to manage and cope with stress. This can be done by getting enough rest, feeding yourself with the right kinds of food and taking some time away to recharge and unwind.
– Lean on family and friends for support. Don’t go through the ordeal alone. There are family members and friends who can help you build the ideal family environment for your child.
– Get professional help, when necessary. You may need to go into Utah family therapy to help all the family members to know what to do to provide your child with the care and love he needs.
– Set up rules, expectations and boundaries. A child with attachment disorder has issues about feelings of safety. This can be done by providing clear and reasonable expectations for the child to fulfill. These rules of behavior help to make a child feel more secure and safe since he, too, also knows what to expect. It is important to note that you must be consistent in your dealings with the child to help him feel more in control.
The bottom line is that the child needs to feel that he is accepted and loved. Over time and with consistency and patience, the child can learn to develop trust, as well as accept love and physical expressions and demonstrations of it.
Family Therapy for treatment of attachment disorder
For more help, you can turn to individual therapy and family therapy in Provo. This will not just help the individual but also the other family members who need to cope with the situation as well as come to an understanding of the disorder and how they can properly respond.
The wicked stepmother… We have the fairy tales to thank for stories where stepmothers (and stepsisters) are viewed in a negative light. But with the increased number of divorces and single parents who marry again, 6 out of 10 remarriages usually have children from previous marriages or relationships. Also, according to Pew Research Center, in 2011, there are 13% of adults who are stepparents in a blended family.
Marriage (or the blending of two individuals) is hard enough to manage. Imagine the situation if you try to blend two families with various members having different personalities. It’s only a matter of time before there will be clashes between a stepparent and child and between stepsiblings. There may be feelings of disappointment or frustration when the “new” family does not seem to gel the way one wants it to. It may be challenging, but living (and loving) together in harmony as one happy family can be done.
When You Say “I do” the second time around
When you are planning on marrying someone who has children from a previous relationship, you must remember that you are marrying into a family. You are not just binding yourself to your future spouse, but to his or her children as well. In the same way, if you have children from a previous relationship, your future spouse is also “marrying” your children. You must seriously consider whether getting married is the option that you, as a couple, are willing to take. The difficult fact is that when a couple decides to get married, it is by their own choice. The children may not feel that they are given a choice in the matter.
If you have been previously married and divorced, children (and you yourself) may have emotional baggage about the previous marriage. Your children may still be mourning the loss of that family and may be wary of having a “new daddy” in place when all they want is their daddy. Stepping into a situation like this takes patience and love. Forming a blended family successfully will also take time.
You will need to set up the foundations even before the marriage. You will also need to develop a good relationship with the children, especially if these children are in their teens. It will also be a challenge to expect these children to accept you and your authority as a parental figure.
Here are some issues that need to be addressed in a blended family:
– Decisions that will have an impact on the whole family – where to live, how each one is to relate with the others and so on.
– Jealousy (especially if there are children resulting from the “new” relationship)
– Feelings of not belonging
– Grief due to the loss of the previous family relationship
– Confusion, especially over the new identity as a family
– Resistance to the stepparent or stepsiblings. “Why should I listen to you? You’re not my mother?” This can be a possible response and must be addressed in a positive manner.
– Relationships with members of the extended family. How do you deal with ex-wives or ex-husbands, as well as a “new” set of grandparents, uncles and aunts and cousins?
– Implementing rules and discipline in the home.
How Family Therapy Can Help
Prior to marriage, it will be helpful to seek family counseling in Utah. This is a great way to start right and begin the journey through the maze of conflicting and negative emotions into building a home where everyone feels he belongs and is loved.
Couples’ pre-marriage counseling will help the future husband and wife to:
– Discuss expectations with regards to important matters such as disciplining children, handling money, religion, celebrating holidays and other issues that relate with the family.
– Discuss feelings regarding the previous failed marriage. Each individual can get help to dispose of emotional baggage that he or she may have been carrying as a result of a previous marriage.
– Help you build a plan for the blended family. You can discuss how you will structure the blended family in such a way that every member feels that he or she is part of it.
Here are some tips as you plan for your blended family, even before your marriage:
– Don’t make too many changes all at once. The children may still be adjusting to the loss of the previous family structure. If you are recently divorced, it is wise to wait for a year or two before you remarry.
– Exercise patience and not force your way in. It will take time to build trust and acceptance. Stepsiblings will not instantly love each other. Stepchildren may not immediate see you as someone with the authority over them. Give the children time to ease into the new family.
– Have realistic expectations. From the start, accept the fact that the “new” family will not fit the traditional pattern with traditional roles. Also, don’t immediately conclude that fights amongst stepsiblings are due to the blended family.
– Find ways for the blended family to enjoy each other’s company. Take as many opportunities for all members to experience “life” together. For instance, invite your fiancé’s children to spend the night in your house or go on a camping trip together.
– Be united as a couple. The issues that face a blended family may drive the spouses apart. It is important to remain committed to nurturing and strengthening your relationship. Make sure that you spend quality time together so that you stay united as you face the challenges in your blended family. This is particularly important if your children try to issue an ultimatum that you choose between them and your fiancé.
– Provide stepchildren with their own space. When building your new home together, give each stepchild his own space, even when new siblings have to share a room. Give each child the freedom to decorate his or her own space.
– Encourage open communication. Foster open communications where you are just there to listen to what your child feels about the prospective blended family.
– Include them in the wedding ceremony. There are unity ceremonies which you can include in the wedding ceremony to make your children feel part of the union. For instance, in a sand ceremony, children from previous relationship can have an integral part in the program, where the officiating minister explains how each member has something to bring into the relationship.
– Set limits and rules that members are expected to follow. Although children, especially teens, may chafe at boundaries set for them, limits and boundaries are actually a positive signal for the children. It shows that you love and care enough for them to want to spend time and attention in their development and discipline. However, you must also be realistic in that you can’t expect to be the enforcer of the rules as the stepparent. Let your spouse do the enforcing during the first few months when you come together as a blended family.
– Get the help of a family therapist. An experienced Utah family therapist will help, especially during the initial years of the blended family. If you are looking for a licensed marriage and family therapist in Provo, Utah, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Triston Morgan. Dr. Morgan is an experienced therapist who is licensed to practice in the state of Utah. He has been instrumental in helping individuals, couples and families go through the challenges they face and emerge as stronger, better persons.
As a child transitions into adulthood, there may be tough times ahead. And as a parent, it is worrisome and troubling to see your cute and cuddly cherub who did not get enough kisses from you turn into a moody and sullen individual that can’t seem to stand being near you. Worse, if your child suddenly exhibits signs of being troubled – getting into fights, substance abuse issues, eating disorders and sexually acting out. Your teen may also exhibit symptoms of depression. There are cases when the root causes manifest themselves by the teen’s playing the truant in school, have discipline problems and a rebellious attitude and display inappropriate anger.
You as a parent feel as if your sweet child has changed overnight. The teenage years are also fraught with landmines since your influence as a parent may have diminished and your child is starting to turn towards peers and other sources of influence other than the family environment. How do you deal with this transition? How do you love your child during this challenging time in his life? How do you provide your teen with guidance, even as he tries to discover his boundaries and sorts out the confusion and pressures that accompany this new phase of his life?
Yes, raising teens has its own difficulties and if handled wrongly, you may cause more damage to your relationship as parent and child rather than strengthen it. There is often conflict between parent and child as the teen tries to be more independent and make more decisions on his own.
Here are some ways you can start understanding and parenting your troubled teen:
– Connect and communicate with your teen. Spend quality time to bond with your child and do the things he enjoys. If your child is into sports, buy tickets and watch the games together. If she is into fashion, take her out shopping. Spend time together on family outings and camping trips. One practical way to connect with your child is to establish regular mealtimes where all family members share the meals together. Without being too intrusive, let your child understand that you are there when he wants to talk.
– Remember the teen you love and not focus on the attitudes and behaviors that you don’t. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you love your teen, even during times when you are arguing fiercely and when he is acting out. Remember your teen’s positive qualities and sincerely praise him for it every chance you get.
– Get into your Teen’s shoes. Try to see things from your teenager’s perspective. This is what family therapists call “reframing”. Trying to see things the way your teen sees it will provide you with valuable insights as to why he is acting the way he does. You will have a deeper understanding of the fact that there is usually pain at the root of the troubled behavior.
– Don’t play the blame game. Don’t blame yourself for what your teen is going through. The fact that your teen is troubled is not solely due to your parenting. Blaming yourself will just paralyze you into not acting as you should.
– Be patient. You may be at the point where you are exasperated with your child, and with yourself. Don’t. Showing impatience about your child’s attitudes and behavior will not help.
– Don’t be afraid to get help. You may need to call in some reinforcements to help you understand your teen and build a stronger relationship with them. You must be on the lookout for signs that your teen is troubled and then reach out to your child by going for family therapist in Utah. This can be an important step in learning how to communicate and bond with your child. If you notice that there are signs of alcoholism or drug use, don’t be afraid to go for substance abuse counseling.
– Be on the lookout for signs of a troubled teen. Here are some warning signs you should look into:
- Being particularly insistent about privacy. This is more than your average teenage desire to have privacy, especially from the prying eyes of parents and siblings. A troubled teen may be defensive when asked where he’s been or what he has been doing.
- Being irritable and prone to bursts of anger. Troubled teens may be more sensitive and usually flare up at the smallest reasons.
- Having discipline problems at home. This may be due to constantly violated curfews and rules, missed household chores or your teen being caught lying.
- Things and money that mysteriously go missing. Teens that are into drug and alcohol abuse will need money to buy their substance of choice. He may try to take out expensive items from home and sell it. Or, he may also try to steal some money from you.
- Change in group of friends. Your child may start hanging out with a new set of friends, often friends that you as a parent would consider as “the wrong crowd”. He may refuse to introduce his “new” friends to you and will not talk about them.
- Changes in behavior. Aside from sullenness and moodiness, your teen may just use your home just as a place to sleep and eat. They may spend more time eating and sleeping than they would just being with the rest of the family.
If you are looking for an experienced therapist in Provo, Utah, be sure to look Dr. Triston Morgan up. He provides a non-confrontational atmosphere for teens and their families. He holds a Ph. D in family and Utah marriage therapy and holds a license to practice the same in the state of Utah. He has extensive experience in dealing with teens in various settings such as wilderness therapy programs, therapeutic boarding school and in-office therapy.
Perhaps you feel that your marriage could use some help. You have broached it with your spouse – but he or she does not feel the need and refuses to go. This is one problem that has stopped many people from going to marriage counseling.
Why the Reluctance?
When you first suggest it, your partner may drag his or her heels about getting help from a marriage or family therapist. There are actually some reasons for the reluctance or resistance. These may include:
– Their fear of sharing personal and intimate details with a stranger.
– They are satisfied with the status quo and feel that such efforts will just rock the boat.
– They are happy with the way they are and don’t want to make any changes.
– They are happy with their position in the relationship (the level of power they currently hold) and fear that this may change if they undergo counseling.
– They feel that the problem is with the other spouse.
– They fear that counseling sessions will be all about outlining their shortcomings. Perhaps, afraid you may gang up with the therapist and lecture them or emotionally browbeat them.
– They feel that your budget can’t accommodate it. The question really is, can you afford NOT to go to couple’s therapy? Marriage therapy or counseling programs are often provided by training centers or by religious organizations at a fraction of the price.
Don’t wait for your partner
When you know that it is time to seek help for your marriage, you can go for marriage therapy even by yourself. Of course, it would be better if both partners participate. However, it is better to work with just one person rather than ignore the danger signs and not go at all.
Going for marriage counseling by yourself can help:
– Have a deeper understanding of your spouse
– Know how to communicate with your spouse
– Learn and understand “what makes your spouse tick” and how to influence him or her constructively and positively
– Learn what you can change about yourself
– Understand how to deal with conflict and at the same time provide a positive environment for your children
The great thing about growing while undergoing therapy is that it can encourage your spouse to join you in the marriage therapy sessions. When your spouse sees the positive impact of counseling on you, he or she may want to see “what it’s like” and how it has helped you.
How to encourage your spouse to also want to join in
Here are some ways to persuade your spouse to attend couples counseling sessions with you.
– Share. Discuss with your spouse the reasons why you want to go into couples counseling. There may be instances where you feel your conflicts can be better resolved with the help of an unbiased third party who has the necessary training. Share that getting couples counseling will help you gain a deeper and better understanding of each other. You can also outline the issues you can thresh out during counseling, including problems with substance abuse, sexual disconnections, handling money and other stressors.
– Listen. Ask and listen to your spouse as he or she discusses his or her unwillingness to go for marriage counseling. Listen to his or her reservations and feelings about the matter. Don’t start an argument or criticize him or her about his or her feelings. You can convey your disappointment but at the same time confirm that you respect his or her decision.
– Make the appointment. After you have done all to convince your spouse and he or she is still unwilling, set the appointment with your choice of marriage therapists. Inform your spouse about the appointment (the time and date) and invite him or her to join you.
– Get help from your therapist. Ask the therapist to help you get your spouse involved and what further steps you can take.
While you encourage your spouse to go with you to see the marriage counselor, do so lovingly and graciously. When your spouse sees you taking the steps and sees the positive changes in you, he or she will, hopefully, want to join in.
Finding a Therapist Where You Are
It is helpful to find a therapist near you. If you are residing in Provo, Utah, there are a number of reputable and highly trained marriage and family therapists to help you. One of them is Triston Morgan. With years of experience under his belt, he is also certified to provide PREPARE/ENRICH courses for engaged couples. As a practicing therapist who provides Utah marriage and family counseling, he has helped families, couples and teens. He is also a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.