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.
As the late and celebrated Whitney Houston sang, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” Out of one’s love and respect for himself arises other attitudes about love, life and friendship. If you love and like yourself, you expect others to treat you well. If you have a poor sense of self, you tend to treat yourself poorly and accept poor treatment as “something you deserve”.
Based on statistics from the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), 25% of psychological disorders are inevitably founded on low self-esteem. That means those who suffer from depression, those with suicidal tendencies, trauma victims (victims of bullying, sexual abuse, physical abuse and so on), teen pregnancy and eating disorders have unhealthy self-images. Possessing low self-esteem can start from childhood and continue well into adulthood.
Teens are especially vulnerable to developing low self-esteem, especially at a time when they feel the need to be accepted and to belong to a group of his peers.
Self-Esteem and its Development
Self-esteem deals with one’s view of himself, how he sees his personal value or worth, how he loves and respects himself. It is thinking, “I am who I am and I like it!” Having a healthy sense of self is an important foundation towards a strong adulthood.
A child or even an adult can develop an unhealthy sense of self as a result of:
– Being bullied
– Having overly critical, perfectionist, and harsh parents who fail to affirm him
– Being teased for one’s appearance, gender, race, behavior or social standing
– Having a disability (either mental or physical)
– Failure to receive praise and positive reinforcement for his achievements
– Being ignored as a child
Low Self-Esteem and How It Manifests
Low self-esteem is sometimes developed due to negative experiences that get in the way of the process of developing a healthy sense of self. As a result, one feels ashamed, lonely and even angry (with himself and others). One always feels doubtful and critical of his actions and there is a feeling of fear, disquiet and isolation.
Those with a low self-esteem:
– Have trouble accepting compliments
– Defensive, even with the slightest criticism
– Always second guessing one’s self
– Fear of taking on something new and challenging
– Tendency to abuse substances, food, alcohol and drugs
– Unhealthy concern about other’s opinions of him
– Being overly pessimistic and depressed
– Being clingy and needy
– Neglecting one’s health
– Being a perfectionist
– Has a constant need for praise and acceptance
– Tendency towards self-pity
– Compensating by being an overachiever and workaholic
Some disorders and negative behaviors linked to having a low self-esteem include:
– Having an eating disorder (including bulimia and anorexia)
– Major depression
– Being a victim of abuse
Low Self-Esteem and Other Issues
Seeing one’s self as inferior to others can mean a lot of things. When you don’t like yourself, you cannot and do not expect others to like you. When you view yourself as someone who is not worth being loved or liked, there is a tendency to make poor choices and to accept abuse as one’s lot in life. This can start a vicious cycle of abuse – from others, as well as from yourself.
Learning to love yourself
Stepping towards a healthy self-image will take patience, hard work and perhaps, some family counseling in Utah. This can be done by becoming aware of negative self-images and learning positive attributes about one’s self. By focusing rather on what is good and positive about you rather than on your weaknesses and failures, you can begin to love yourself the way you should.
The scars inflicted in childhood or by a particularly traumatic experience will take some doing to heal, but with the help of an experienced Utah counselor, one can emerge from the bonds of low self-esteem. Provo counseling can help an individual grow and learn to lead a happy, self-affirming life.
Awareness. Treatment for low self-esteem starts by having an awareness of one’s negative attitudes towards one’s self. Family counseling in Provo will start by challenging the negative assumptions underlying a poor self-esteem. It starts by disputing statements such as “I will never amount to anything.”, “I don’t have any abilities or qualities to be proud of.”, “I just don’t seem to have any direction for life.” By having an awareness that these are but assumptions, you can start resolving your problem with self-esteem.
Setting boundaries. Often, a person with low self-esteem is victimized by unhealthy relationships. An experienced Provo counselor can help a person identify hurtful relationships, relationships that knock down one’s self-esteem. Then, they will start discussing how one can learn to be more assertive and set boundaries to lessen the impact of these negative relationships.
Empowerment. With counseling and guidance, the counselor and counselee will start setting goals for growth and self-discovery. This may be personal or career-related goals. This may also be goals towards breaking free from vicious cycles and negative attitudes and behaviors.
Learning to love and like yourself may be a difficult journey, but with continued support, one can slowly gain confidence and assertiveness, enough for you to say, “I love me!”.
How you parent reflects your unique personality. Your parenting style is formed by many factors and is based on an overall pattern of your actions, reactions and interactions between you and your child. Diana Baumrind and her fellow researchers have outlined various parenting styles based on the characteristics that particular style fosters in a child. A parenting style may encourage openness, self-sufficiency, self-discipline, achievement, friendliness or maturity.
Your parenting style will be characterized by four dimensions: communication styles, nurture and warmth, discipline style and expectations of maturity and control. Based on these, how you parent will predominantly fall under one of the four:
– Authoritarian. “Because I said so” is the theme of this style. Under this parenting style, a parent provides the rules and expects the child to follow without question; otherwise, a child can face punishment. Discussions and feedback on rules are frowned upon. The parent is not responsive to questions about the rules. According to Utah therapists, an authoritarian parenting style can produce rebellious and resentful children.
– Authoritative Parenting. This style is similar to the first, with high standards set, but the child is motivated towards self-discipline and maturity through love and warmth, rather than by punishment. The child is allowed to reason and the parent may consider the child’s point of view but standards are still expected to be followed. This style of parenting is a mix of firmness with nurture and care. When the child also fails to follow the rules, the parent tends to be more lenient and forgiving rather than punishing. The disciplinary methods firm yet gentle guidance for the child, with an encouragement to be self-reliant and responsible for his decisions. With an authoritative parent, there are limits and expectations while the children are able to learn about the natural consequences of any mistakes they make.
– Permissive Parenting. “Do what you want.” This style of parenting allows the child the run on things. Parents don’t demand much from the child with regards to self-discipline and maturity and make no efforts towards confronting the wrong things a child does. Parents are more friends rather than disciplinarian. This style of parenting exhibits warmth and acceptance, but very little control. Children are allowed more freedom to decide what they want to do and what rules they want to follow.
– Uninvolved parenting. “I’m busy, don’t bother me.” This is marked by low communication, low responsiveness and low demands from the parent to the child. The parent is too busy with other things that he is not involved with the child’s life.
It is important to note that as parenting styles differ according to your personality, how your child reacts to your parenting style will also be based on his own personality.
It is obvious from the descriptions of the different parenting style that the authoritative style of parenting provides the healthiest balance between expectations and nurture, self-control and warmth. With an authoritative parenting style, there is a balance between developing a sense of responsibility and with respecting a child’s rights and privileges.
Where an authoritarian parenting style breeds resentment, dependence on a higher authority and a lack of spontaneity in the child, an authoritative parenting style encourages a child to still retain his sense of independence. On the other hand, where a permissive parenting style breeds children that have self-control and immaturity issues, an authoritative parenting style provides structure by which a child can develop self-discipline and a desire to work towards meeting expectations.
Authoritative parenting also allows for open dialogue about expectations and rules. This fosters independence in the child while providing controls and limitations on how he acts and interacts with others.
Getting Help as a Parent
Even knowing that an authoritative parenting style works the best, we may still find it difficult to develop that parenting style. Parents will do well to find outside help, such as family counseling in Utah. Some tips you can keep in mind to help you develop an authoritative parenting style includes:
– Knowing your child and his temperament. This understanding will help you attune your parenting with his unique personality.
– Set clear expectations and limits.
– Communicate with your child. Take time to listen to what he thinks about issues, especially when it comes to rules covering his behavior. Be sure to explain the importance and impact of the rules and system of consequences you want established in your home. Provo therapists can help you develop your communication skills.
– In the face of resistance, be sure to let your child know that you respect their opinions. However, you will need to be consistent and firm in your decisions and expectations.
– Get help. Maybe existing issues in your family will need to be dealt with. It is best to consider going for family counseling in Provo.
With some effort and Utah counseling, you can work towards being a loving, yet firm parent and help your child grow and thrive as responsible adults who make a positive contribution to society and the world in general.
Princess Diana, the well-loved Princess of Wales gives a helpful insight into the mind of those who indulge in cutting and self-injury: “You have so much pain inside yourself that you try and hurt yourself on the outside because you want help.” Princess Diana admitted in a 1995 BBC interview that she had cutting and self-injuring tendencies.
And Princess Diana is not alone. An estimated one percent of adults and teens in the country have, at one point or another, shown some type of self-abusive tendencies. This includes practices such as:
– Fracturing the bones
– Burning or piercing of the skin
– Banging the hear or pulling out hair
– Cutting symbols or words onto the skin
– Preventing the healing process to be fully complete
When these tendencies are allowed to persist without treatment, this behavior will worsen over the years. There may be a need to go for Utah counseling.
A self-injurer may look “normal” at the outside and is usually female. She is more likely in the prime of her life (middle 20s to early 30s) and usually will belong in the upper-middle or middle class. The cutting may be traced to experiences of physical or sexual abuse, as well as a dysfunctional family environment. Cutting and self-injury is usually rooted in a deeper problem. . Provo counseling will not only aim towards stopping the act of cutting but also to delve into the root causes.
Self-injury is defined as intentionally causing injury to the body. This is usually manifested in making cuts or burns in some areas of the body. Self-injury is a coping mechanism that one may use to ward off feelings that may seem to overwhelm. A self-cutter will usually perform these acts to cope with anger, frustration, stress or feelings of emptiness and loss of control.
More often than not, self-injury also goes together with other psychological problems such as anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder or eating disorders. They may perform acts of self-injury to:
– Provide a temporary relief from what they are feeling
– Gain a sense of calm and control over their situation
– Provide some form of self-punishment, for what the individual perceives as his failure. It can also be seen as a cry for help
– Feel “alive” when feelings of emptiness become overwhelming. Cutting results in the release of endorphins, which give the body a certain rush.
Dealing with a Self-Cutter
Some signs of self-injury include:
– The presence of cuts, scratches and scars. Usually, these are unexplained.
– Having sharp objects nearby or in his person. This includes needles, razors, shaving implements
– Being “accident prone’”- where someone suffers from an unexpected number of broken bones, bruises and scars from cuts or burns
– Blood stains on clothes, tissues, bed linen and towels.
– Insistence on wearing “cover up” clothes such as long sleeved shirts and long pants, even during hot weather
– Need for isolation and “privacy”. A person who self-injures will avoid getting dressed or undressed in front of others, He will also brood or stay in the bathroom or bedroom for extended periods of time.
If you are a parent whose child shows symptoms of self-injury, it can be quite a challenge. It may require a fine balancing act – wanting your child to be safe and supporting your child as he heals. You may need to deal with personal feelings of guilt and self-doubt.
Some do’s and don’ts include:
– Don’t assume that the cutting is just a passing phase with your child. Seek help immediately. This can come in the form of family counseling in Provo. An experienced family counselor can help sort out the reasons and the triggers for cutting behavior.
– Do recognize the need for help. This is when family counseling in Utah can be helpful.
– Don’t hide knives, blades or any sharp objects. If a person is intent of injuring himself, no amount of hiding will deter him.
– Do show your support and unconditional love.
– Do keep yourself informed and educated. It will benefit the family to understand that cutting has an underlying cause and that it won’t be “fixed” by a few visits to the therapists or the taking of medication. The road to recovery will be a long and arduous journey.
– Don’t pile on the guilt. On yourself or on the self-cutter.
Dealing with self-harm problems will need the cooperation of the entire family. This will help each member understand the loved one’s condition and know how they can respond and relate with him. Provo therapists can also help identify self-harm triggers to help the loved one manage these triggers.
With the help of an experienced therapist, a self-cutter can find his way towards healthy ways to cope with emotional pressure and to deal with difficult situations.
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.
A Whitney Houston song goes, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”
This is rooted in the belief that developing and growing as an individual is intrinsic in maintaining a healthy relationship with others, most especially your spouse. Couples counseling in Provo will tell you that you need to develop your individuality to become “the other half”. You need to take care of your needs to be able to have the strength to do the same for your spouse.
Indeed, there is the challenge to be able to nurture your individual self, as well as the relationship. Now, how do you achieve this delicate balancing act? Overdo the quest for independence and you may find that you have distanced yourself from your spouse. On the other hand, if you ignore your needs and direct your attention only on your relationship, you may find that you have grown too dependent on the relationship to the point that you are perceived to be clingy and needy. To further complicate matters, there are other things to also consider. You also have to see to the needs of the children, as well as in-laws, bosses and friends. When problems crop up as you try to maintain this delicate balance, it may be necessary to consider going for family counseling in Provo to help you get equipped with effective tools for the couple and for the family.
How can a marriage (and one’s individuality) remain healthy in the midst of all these challenges? Here are some simple tips:
– Find time both for yourself and your spouse. Schedule “me time” and “we time”. Give each other space to pursue personal interests that may not be shared by the spouse. This may be a night out with friends, indulging in a sport you enjoy or taking classes to learn something you enjoy doing. At the same time, you also need to pencil into your calendar, dates with your spouse where you can spend time nurturing your relationship and building your bond. According to Utah counselors, giving time for both individual pursuits and pursuits as a couple can help strengthen you and your relationship.
– Work out your own personal space. Get into an understanding that each one is free to pursue his or her passion and that this personal space will be respected by the other spouse. For instance, while one spouse is pursuing her interest in the opera (which the other spouse is absolutely allergic to), the other spouse can go fishing (an interest the other spouse does not share). This is also an understanding that each one is entitled to his privacy. That means that you should resist the urge to pry and rummage into his belongings without his permission or approval.
– Clarify your own needs and wants, as well as your spouse’s needs and wants. Then, you can both come up with a compromise that you can both accept. This can apply to financial decisions, and other aspects such as child rearing, home décor decisions and goals for the family.
– Learn to appreciate each other’s individuality. Doing so will prevent you from being at odds with each other because of your intrinsic differences. Instead, you will learn to be grateful for differences you each have. It will also teach you to nurture the healthy individuality of your spouse, as well as yourself.
– Support but “push” as well. Cheer your spouse on as he or she pursues his or her individual needs and desires. However, avoid the temptation to nag or do the work that he or she personally needs to do. You can help your spouse realize that you are there to support.
– Learn to compromise cheerfully. Learn to give and take without feeling resentful if you don’t get your way at times. You may sometimes have to give way to your spouse’s needs at times. But you also have to expect your spouse to also give in at times to your own needs. Your Utah counselor can teach you both how to effectively compromise.
Utah marriage counseling can help you be more self-aware and at the same time, be more aware of the aspects of your marriage. As a result, you are stronger and more independent and you are more able to take care of the needs of your marriage.
You anxiously wait for the results. With crossed fingers, you finally dare to take a peek… and heave a sigh of disappointment. It’s negative – just like the other times.
When a couple tries to get pregnant, the hopeful expectations develop into alarm when the “acceptable waiting period” has long since passed and the date with the stork is not forthcoming. They start dreading family and friends who keep asking, “So, when are you having a baby?” The couple decides to seek medical intervention. When the diagnosis points towards infertility, the two spouses may decide to go for infertility treatment. When this happens, it is best to also go for Provo marriage counseling to help deal with the challenges of the situation.
Infertility, Treatments, and its Effect on a Marriage
A baby is a blessing to a loving family. However, not all couples are blessed thusly. Some couples have to face infertility. On top of the medical challenges, infertility treatments can prove to be an emotional roller coaster ride. Without the necessary coping mechanisms and assistance coming from Utah marriage counseling, this struggle to have a baby produces a lot of stress between the two spouses.
Emotional pressure and stress. The treatments are truly stressful for both the husband and wife. As the menstrual period makes its appearance, both spouses experience disappointment after a period of anticipation. This cycle (treatments, anticipation, letdown) takes a huge toll on the couple’s emotions. The couple may also have feelings of loss (for the family they dreamed of), jealousy at other couples and shame (where the inability to bear a child makes the husband feel less like a man and the wife less like a woman).
Sexual tension. With the pre-occupation towards getting pregnant, sex no longer becomes a pleasure, but rather ruled by schedules. At this point, the wife may become demanding and insist that the husband be available and “able to perform” during the time she is ovulating. In turn, the husband, feeling the pressure, may have problems having an erection or maintaining it. There is resentment on the part of the wife (for the husband’s failure to help with the conception) and the husband (for the wife’s expecting command performances from him). There are also feelings of anxiety and disappointment. Thus, the vicious cycle continues.
Financial stress. Infertility treatments cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes, financial worries and disagreements over the treatments can also be a source for conflict such as how long the couple is going for infertility treatments and how much to spend.
Physical challenges. For the woman, infertility treatments are not just uncomfortable. They can be quite painful. The fluctuations in hormones caused by the medications can also result in moodiness and can heighten the stress and disappointment.
Now, what can you do to cope? Here are some things you and your spouse can do:
– Shift the focus from ovulation periods and basal thermometers. It will be helpful for couples (especially for women) to move attention away from menstrual cycles and make sex about intimacy. Procreation, after all, is just one of the aspects of sexual contact. Have fun with your spouse!
– Agree on infertility treatments. Both you and your spouse should agree on the length of time for the infertility treatments and when it is time to stop. You should also agree about alternatives in case the treatments don’t work. For instance, you can explore the prospect of adoption.
– Spend time together “baby-free”. Relate with your spouse without “conception” and “pregnancy” floating over your heads. Schedule nights out, weekend getaways and special dates without discussing how you can get pregnant.
– Seek help. It will help to get couples counseling in Utah to strengthen your husband and wife relationship. Remember, you don’t just need to prepare yourselves physically for parenthood. You also need to have a strong relationship to provide a baby with a loving family environment. During marriage counseling in Utah, be honest about your feelings and thoughts.
The pressure brought about by infertility may shake the foundations of a marriage so that it reaches breaking point. Don’t wait until the cracks have become so huge that family counseling in Utah comes too little, too late. Talk with your spouse and talk with your therapist. This will help you come out stronger as a couple.
“I’m so fat. I hate myself.”
“I want to be taller. What can I do to improve my height.”
“I look too puny. How will I develop my muscles?”
“I hate my freckles.”
“I need a tan.”
Teenagers face a lot of pressure with regards to their appearance. Coupled with the desire to fit in with one’s peer group, to look “hot”, there is added pressure coming from the media, which has perpetuated a certain body image. Pop stars and models sport form-fitting clothes. Sports figures and Hollywood hunks with six-pack abs and big muscles. Your teen looks at these images and then looks at himself in the mirror and does not like what he sees. There is a tendency to be more self-critical, to see something as less than everyone else sees.
Studies indicates that around 90% of female teens are dissatisfied with their bodies and that their physical appearance ranks high among their major concerns in life. And issues on body image start early – girls as young as 9 years old said that they didn’t like how their bodies are shaped. And as teens become more dissatisfied with their bodies, teens may resort to dangerous dieting practices and develop bulimia, compulsive eating or anorexia. This may give rise to a whole list of other problems – physically, emotionally and psychologically. It may need some kind of intervention such as Utah substance abuse counselor.
As parents, how can we help our children love who they are and glory in their own unique personality and appearance? The key is to help your child build a healthy sense of self-esteem, to help him see his worth as he is. Here are some ways concerned parents can help:
– Teach your child to love who she is. If you make your child feel valued and loved, she will also value and love herself.
– Create a haven for your child. Peers, friends and even other people may, consciously or unconsciously, give hostile messages to our children. There may be comments not just about one’s body shape, but also one’s face, complexion and weight. Make your home a place where your child will feel safe from criticism with regards to his appearance. Recognize your child’s strengths and find opportunities to provide positive comments about these.
– Provide role models. Find examples of men and women who have achieved success because of what they did, not how they looked like.
– Eat together. Make it a point to have meals together at least once a day, where there are no distractions such as TV. Rather, make family dinner times a pleasant time where you can talk about how your day went. Don’t make dinner time your platform to discuss body image issues, either.
– Set a good example. Sometimes, we may not be aware that we ourselves are contributing to their poor body image by having poor body image ourselves. When we constantly complain about our appearance and our weight, this pre-occupation will also be our teen’s pre-occupation. Eat healthy meals and exercise regularly (not mainly to look thin but to stay healthy).
– Be conscious of statements and actions. Again, we can do a lot to encourage or discourage our child and how he sees himself. Be aware of statements such as “You shouldn’t have that dessert, dear. It could go straight to your already bulging stomach.” Also, there may be different messages we send to boys and girls. To boys, we say that it’s okay and even healthy for them to eat more while with girls, we unconsciously send the message that they should eat less. Being more aware of your statements will help you hold your tongue when you know that what you are about to say can be taken as criticism against how they look.
– Supervise his meals. Make sure that there are a lot of healthy meals and snacks available in your home.
– Teach your teen to be more critical about what he sees in the media. Help your teen see that the images presented on TV and magazines are not true reflections of reality. It will be beneficial to realize that most images are part of a marketing strategy to encourage people to buy products.
– Get help. Your teen may need Utah counseling to help him cope with poor body image issues and peer pressure. Utah therapists can help the teen become more self-aware and see his or her special abilities and talents.
Sometimes, it takes the whole family to go for family counseling in Utah to help the family be more proactive and each have healthy self-images. With the help of Utah counseling, your family can learn have wholesome attitudes about their bodies.
Is your spouse having an affair? What do you do when the admonition “love one another” is misinterpreted to mean “love another one”? Often, it is the other spouse who is the last to know. However, in hindsight, he or she can recall telltale signs that point to an affair.
Seeing the red flags can help you confront the situation sooner rather than later. It can give you the opportunity to try to rebuild the marriage before the situation makes a turn for the worse – where the affair gets past the point of no return, where it’s too late for marriage counseling Utah to help. For instance, the cheating spouse decides to leave the marriage or the affair resulted in pregnancy.
Here are some warning signs that indicate that your mate may be unfaithful:
– Unexplained and drastic changes in behavior. Your partner starts lavishing you with gifts – perhaps as a way of assuaging guilty feelings? She starts putting on makeup and dressing up more than the usual. He starts putting on cologne. She acquires this new taste for music.
– Changes in temper. You may notice him or her acting “weird” – being uncomfortable when you do something nice for him or her, or being quick tempered and quick to pick fights with you. Often, the fight escalates into threats about ending the relationship. Managing an affair can be very stressful and this can be made evident by mood swings. At one point they may seem exhilarated and at another they may seem depressed and moody.
– Change in communication patterns. Your spouse may avoid communicating and interacting with you, often for fear of saying the wrong things. He or she may even act coldly or rudely towards you. He or she may avoid eye contact and have excuses to avoid spending time alone with you. For instance, he or she may extend activities at night to avoid getting into bed with you.
– Changes in sexual interest. One sign is that there is a change in the level of sexual contact between you. It may go both ways. The cheating spouse may avoid having sex because of guilty feelings. It may also be the opposite, where the spouse seems to have revitalized sexual energy that it spills over to your relationship.
– Discrepancies in finances. If your bank account has unexplained withdrawals or your credit card billing has entries you don’t know about, this may be a cause for you to look deeper. Also, if a spouse suddenly becomes concerned about how money is spent or saved or suddenly suggests having separate bank and credit card accounts.
– Increased work hours or frequency of travel. Is your spouse traveling for work or business more often than before? Is he or she taking larger blocks of time for work, calling about required overtime or deadlines to be met? Is he or she hesitant to take you up on your offer to accompany him or her during business trips? It may also be that your spouse suddenly has a lot of errands that he or she didn’t have – such as more trips to the dry cleaners or to the supermarket.
– Engaging in secretive behavior. Suddenly, your spouse becomes very particular about privacy. He or she abruptly turns the computer off when you’re around. He answers telephone calls in the bathroom and insists that you don’t answer his phone calls. She changes her email password when she previously did not feel the need to. These may be clues that point to a straying partner.
The next step would be to decide what to do about your suspicions. It is up to you to decide whether to confront your spouse about it. The aftermath may require you to work harder at your marriage by going into Provo couples therapy to help both you and your spouse deal with issues underlying the possible act of infidelity.
If you are willing to work towards protecting your marriage or need to heal from the devastation brought about by infidelity, you can consider getting help from an experienced marriage counselor. Dr. Triston Morgan of Provo, Utah, provides marriage and family therapy to help couples and their children recover from the pain of infidelity. Dr. Morgan is also PREPARE/ENRICH certified.
“Everybody’s doing it, so why can’t I?”
“I don’t want my friends to call me a chicken. I want to look cool.”
“This is what everyone wears in school. I don’t want to look like a dork.”
Oftentimes, many a child is caught in trouble at the prodding or encouragement of peers, or based on the example these peers set. This is especially true for teens, where they are dealing with a confusing time in their lives, even as they struggle to discover who they are as an adult, the need for acceptance among peers becomes more intense.
The teenage years is the time when one starts experimenting. This may include skipping classes, trying on alcohol and even drugs, engaging in sex and other risky behavior. A study published in the journal Child Development conducted by the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and University of Colorado (Boulder) indicated that teenagers who are concerned about acceptance are more vulnerable to peer pressure. Also, if a certain risky behavior or attitude is endorsed by popular teenagers, a teen is more likely to hold on to these behaviors and attitudes, even when he is not in the presence of his peers.
That is not to say that peers or your child’s circle of friends only provide a negative influence. Peers can also be an influence for the good. However, it is important for a teen to get the support he needs, particularly from his parents. Here are some of the things parents can do:
– Build a loving and close relationship with your kids. When your kids feel secure in your love, they will tend to also be more secure about themselves and thus less vulnerable to giving in to peer pressure. And it’s good to start early – program activities for your family while your children are young. Doing so will develop a relationship that will serve you well as your children grow up (and by that time, they may not be as easy to invite to family activities). Have family camping trips, picnics in the park, or indulge in a sports activity together. Even regular, everyday activities such as doing the dishes, walking the dog or watching some television can be opportunities to bond with your child.
– Encourage your child to indulge in positive activities he is good at and enjoys. Is he good in basketball? Encourage him to try out for the school team. Is she good in arts or likes to perform? Why not encourage her to join the local arts or the theater club. The key is the word “encourage”. It is also not advisable for you to push your child into doing something he does not want. However, when your child is occupied with these activities, it not only means that he’s not out there indulging in risky behavior, it also improves your child’s confidence levels and provides him with positive role models and occupy his time.
– Help your child understand that peer pressure is normal. Realizing that peer pressure is a normal part of teenage life will empower your child say, “no” when necessary. It will help for a teenager to understand that other people went through the same thing and how they dealt with the peer pressure they faced.
– Know your teen’s peer group and friends. Get to know who your child hangs out with. Invite your teen’s friends over and take the effort to get to know their parents as well. Better yet, turn your house into the favorite hang-out of your child and his friends. The good thing about having them hang out in your house is that you know where they are and that they are not trying out drugs or drinking alcohol.
– Communicate with your child. Don’t just lecture about peer pressure – listen to what your child has to say. Our goal is to help our child be more self-confident and to be able to make wise decisions. Being willing to listen to what your child has to say sends the message that you respect his thoughts and opinions.
– Be there for your child. Sometimes saying “no” to peers will put your child in a difficult situation (having no ride home, needing to be picked up from a party). Your child needs to know that in these situations, he can count on you for your help. Some families develop a code phrase that, when spoken, means that the parents need to fetch the child, no questions asked.
– Avoid criticizing your child’s friends. Even when you don’t think that you child’s friends provide a positive influence, keep from making criticisms about them. This may put your child on the defensive. Rather than criticizing, point out specific behaviors about your child that need to be corrected.
– Help your child know how to respond to peer pressure. Discuss the usual situations leading to peer pressure and role play your child’s possible responses. Help your child think of alternatives when friends are prodding him to do something inappropriate. Also, help your child anticipate potential trouble and learning how to avoid it.
– Seek help. If your child seems to chronically have trouble with saying “no” to peers, it may help to consult with a family therapist in Provo. It may be that your child finds peer pressure too overwhelming and he needs some family counseling to boost his self-esteem and know how not to look towards what their peers think for them to measure his self-worth. A teen may also need to get some Utah substance abuse counseling if he has already succumbed to the pressure and tried drugs and alcohol.
Peer Pressure Help in Provo, Utah
It is important for your child to build his self-confidence, to be comfortable with whom he is so that he does not feel the need for other people’s acceptance to define him. This is where Utah family therapy can help. Parents can also get tools for them to understand what their child is feeling and how they can support their child. Dr. Triston Morgan in Provo, Utah can provide such counseling for your family. Dr. Morgan has experience in guiding families through the challenges of the teenage years. He is a marriage and family therapist licensed to practice in Utah.