"For there is but one problem - the problem of human relations. We forget that there is no hope or joy except in human relations."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Solutions Counseling - working togeather towards solutions together

February 2016

5 Ways to Help your Angry Child

While no person or no family can be anger-proof there are ways you can help your child get a handle on anger.

1. Help your child have inner peace - spend time nightly/daily relating
in love.

Research has shown, and our experience supports the observation, that connected children and their parents get angry with each other less. The connected child, growing up with a sense of well- being, has peaceful modeling. He will get angry, but he learns to handle the anger in such a way that it does not take over his personality. Connected parents know their children well, so they are less likely to create situations that provoke them and their children to anger. Attached parents know they don’t have to be harsh to be in control.
The unconnected child operates from inner turmoil. Down deep this child feels something important is missing in his self and he is angry about it. (This feeling may continue into adulthood.) This void is likely to reveal itself as anger toward himself and parents, placing everyone at risk for becoming an angry family.

2. Don’t let your child stuff anger - Have them recognize their feelings!

Encourage your child to recognize when he is angry, starting with the toddler. Be an attentive listener, helping your child work through feelings. Give them a willing audience that shows empathy rather than judge. Listen attentively and nonjudgmentally while your child pleads their case. After they have made their appeal, check for understanding, then with calm authority make your own points. Empathize while conveying to your child that you understand, but do not agree with his viewpoint. Offer a replacement activity or have them think of a good compromise.

3. Look beneath the “bad” kid - What are you modeling? Teaching?
Be mindful.

The habitually misbehaving child is usually an angry child. If your child seems “bad” all the time or you “don’t know what else to do” or your child seems withdrawn, search beneath the surface for something that is angering your child. There are usually one of two causes: Either there is a lot of family anger – mother and/or father is on edge all the time and the child incorporates these feelings as part of himself; or the child feels angry because his sense of well- being is threatened. Helping children who misbehave repeatedly or seem “bad” more than “good” usually begins with a total family overhaul. Take inventory of the influences in your child’s life. What builds up his self-esteem? What tears it down? What needs are not being met? What inner anxiety is at the root of the anger? Anger is only the tip of the iceberg, and it warns of needs to be dealt with beneath the surface.

Inner anger often causes a child to withdraw. In a struggle to ward off attacks on a shaky self-image, this child puts on a protective shell. On the surface he may seem calm, but underneath a tight lid is a pressure cooker of emotions needing to be channeled or recognized. To keep the lid on, the child withdraws, avoiding interaction that might set him off. This is why we advise getting behind the eyes and into the mind of your child – things may look different from that perspective.

It’s devastating for a child to feel that she is a “bad kid.” Unless that feeling is reversed, the child grows up acting the part. To get the “bad” feeling out of your child, intervene with a reassuring “You’re not bad, you’re just young, and young people sometimes do foolish things, but Daddy is going to help you stop doing them so you will grow up feeling like you are the nice person I know you are.” This sends a message to your child that you care enough to find the good child beneath the bad behavior.

4. Laughter – The Best Medicine for Anger!

Humor diffuses anger and keeps trivial upsets from escalating. You cannot relate and be angry at the same time.

5. Model appropriate expressions of anger - Communicate your anger.

Anger that is expressed inappropriately blocks your ability to discipline wisely. For example, your four-year-old does something stupid. She covers the dog with spaghetti sauce, and the dog bounds off into the living room leaving orange-red paw prints on the white carpeting. This is not the time to blow your top. The more aggravating the deed, the more you need a clear head to evaluate your options in handling the misbehavior. Each situation is different, and you must be able to think straight to choose the reaction that best fits the action. Being in a state of rage clouds your thinking. Your unthinking expressions of anger cause the situation to escalate. You hit the dog (which causes him to run through more rooms leaving more sauce behind); you spank the child and send him to his room (which leaves you, still seething, to clean up the mess alone). By the time the episode is over everyone feels abused. An approach less draining on everyone requires a level head and a dose of humor: quickly grab the dog and head for the bath tub, calling for your child to come along (in the most cheerful voice possible) to help de-sauce the dog and then the rug. Your child learns how you handle a crisis and how much work it is to clean up a mess. A temper tantrum from you can’t undo the childish mess, it can only add to it!

Anger puts a barrier between parents and child. You want your children to feel comfortable approaching you, no matter what they have done or how they feel, so eliminate the fear factor. Promise not to yell at you as long as you talk to us. Listen calmly. It will not change overnight, and you still “blow it” from time to time, but when this happens apologize and move on. Displays of anger will cause your child to retreat or develop an angry behavior pattern or personality. When you move the barrier of fear, you can continue to work on your communication and change behavior to be more positive. Learn to calmly say, “I get angry when you…” Children and spouses need to know what makes you angry. They don’t need to have your anger spewed all over them.

Small children are devastated by the sight of big, scary, out-of-control daddy or raging mommy. They fear that the parent will stop loving them, hurt them, or leave. You don’t want your child to have to squelch the flow of his normal feelings because he’s frightened of what he might set off in you. Adults should be responsible for controlling themselves. The child should not be put in a position where he starts to feel responsible for controlling your rage. This sets up very dysfunctional patterns as your child grows. If your anger is out of control and scaring your child, seek help! You need to learn that it is not wrong to feel angry, even as an adult (remember—you have a heartbeat).

January 2016

January 2015

KEYS TO IMPROVING YOUR MARRIAGE

Over the next five months, I will be sharing with you the top five marital problems. Be sure and like our page so you can be educated on the problems and get them all! Knowledge is power! With power, you too, can make the needed changes.

#5 Growing Apart....

How this happens?

* Leading autonomous (aka. Independent) lives

Causes?

* A job with odd hours or frequent hours

*Being a workaholic...

How to fix?

PLANNED QUALITY TIME

June 2012

5 Sexual Behaviors Parents Should Teach their Children

1. It's OK to touch your private areas in private.

2. It's NOT ok to touch someone else's private areas.

3. It's NOT ok for someone else to touch your private areas.

4. It's NOT ok to show your private parts.

5. It's NOT ok for someone else to show their private parts.

May 2012

A Short Course in Human Relations

The six most important words: "I admit I made a mistake."

The five most important words: "You did a good job."

The four most important words: "What is your opinion?"

The three most important words: "If you please."

The two most important words: "Thank you."

The one most important word: "We."

The least important word: "I."

April 2012

Rain checks

What are they?

An agreement to deal with something at a later time.

Why use them?

  • To teach responsibility.
  • To show your credibility. (Not keeping word = NO credibility)
  • Builds mutual respect.
  • Eliminates relationship stoppers that are damaging to a child like:
  • Leave me alone.
  • Can't you see I'm tired?
  • Just do it.
  • Because I said so.
  • I just sat down.
  • You always want something.
  • Don't bother me.
  • Ask your dad/mom to help you.

How?

Your child wants to play a board game with you, but you have a deadline in a report and just cannot stop working on. You might request a rain check and offer to play the game with him at a certain day and time in the future. And then…. FOLLOW THROUGH.

You ask your son to empty the dishwasher and he is in the middle of a video game he's waited all day to play. He can request a rain check to empty the dishwasher at a certain day and time in the future. And then….. he must FOLLOW THROUGH.

March 2012

Rebuilding Trust after the Affair - The Beginning

Trust is something that is earned, but it is also a basic need for any human being. In a relationship the lack or destruction of trust can make or break a relationship. Spouses must learn to rebuild trust after an affair so they can again capture a sense of security and have genuine intimacy. Trust indeed takes time to rebuild, but such can be accomplished and restored if both parties come to a place where each of them understands the feelings of the other.

So, where do you start when the trust is gone? In order to regain trust, many jump quickly to an apology, though quick apologies are often dismissed by the spouse that is hurt. The spouse in pain can also not truly, genuinely even begin to conceptualize forgiveness initially. What the partners must do is begin to give "gifts of understanding" so that the partner feels heard and understood. Giving such a gift, is not an apology, but it is just that - a gift. Something that you give to your partner to assist them in feeling understood in which you expect nothing in return.

A "gift of understanding" has 3 main parts and is a verbal offering of sorts. First, to give the gift you must acknowledge feelings whether they be hurt, anger, or sadness. For example, one might say, "I see that you are hurt....." to acknowledge feelings. Next, it will be important to give an interpretation and make note of the role you played. You must take responsibility for your actions! One might say in communicating the second step, "....And I see you are sad because I have confided many of my secrets to someone else." Last, acknowledge what you did was wrong and validate their feelings by sharing something like "....I was selfish and inconsiderate and you have the right to be angry". The other person must feel that their feelings are legitimate and fair - that you GET it.

Gifts of understanding can be used daily, but should only be afforded to your partner in a genuine manner. Giving such a gift without a genuine sense of how the other is feeling, or stating they have the right to feel a certain way when you do not believe it will just create a further wedge and sense of disconnect because your partner will be able to sense you don't truly feel this way. It may take some time to think thoroughly to come up with what your part has been that drove the unfaithfulness, but you also may know right away. It is important to reflect inwardly to get an understanding of what you are feeling as the gift giver. Both spouses should be wary of any negative thought processes. It is okay to struggle somewhat in accepting responsibility initially, but continued trouble with accepting such may indicate a deeper rooted issue that could be stemming from childhood or possibly indicative a mental health issue if the act is a repetitive pattern and seeking counseling to uncover any history or disorder driving the dysfunctional pattern would be important.

Understand, as you give the gift of understanding, that it will take some time to be well received by the offended party even if heartfelt and sincere delivery and communication is accomplished. Your spouse is in pain. Most importantly, give the gift, and then walk away. Don't explain your actions unless asked. Allow your partner their feelings. When they want to know the hows and whys, they'll ask. Sometimes they don't want to know. Sometimes they are not ready to know. Sometimes they will ask anyway, though may not really want to know or be ready to know. The gifts of understanding alone paired with some time, and then finally some changed behavior will assist you in breaking down the first wall to rebuild trust. Eventually, if you do this, TRUST will be easier to regain over time and the other person will feel understood. Only at that time, will you be able to truly begin to rebuild.

Jessica L. Rogers, MA, LPC
Solutions Counseling
http://www.solutionscounseling4u.com
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6820708

February 2012

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

We must meet our very basic needs before we can develop a healthy self esteem and find our place in the world. Though, our physiological needs must be met before we can feel safe. We must be able to feel safe and trust before we can develop healthy relationships. Without healthy relationships, our self esteem plummets and then our moral compass is without direction. If you need assistance with building your self esteem, look at what supports you have or don't have in the bottom portion of the pyramid. Relationships are the core of a happy life. If you feel you are without positive relationships, then seek help or look within. Be aware of those who are not good influences around you and protect yourself by having good boundaries. Stay positive, get rid of your negative thinking, and take interest in the world around you. Take care of your body, mind and soul. Be optimistic and a good listener to draw others near. Positivity breeds positivity. If you are a love one is struggling in your relationships, call Solutions Counseling. We are happy to help!

January 2012

Stay Calm: Preventative Relaxation Techniques

1. Quit thinking about what might be getting you upset.

2. Focus on your calming body by changing your breathing.

Breathe Slowly!

3. Repeat breathing several times before moving on.

Inhale the Good Air Around You. Let Go of Any Anger or Tension as You Exhale!

4. Focus on your eyes. Relax the tiny muscles around your eyes.

Think "Soft Eyes"!

5. Now, relax your mouth and chin. Let go of any tightness there.

Relax Your Face.

6. Breathe in a couple of slow, deep breathes through your mouth.

7. Focus on loosening neck.

Roll Your Head Around A Couple of Times Slowly.

8. Now, relax your shoulders and upper back muscles.

Roll Your Shoulders in Big Circles to Get Rid of Tightness!

9. Before going on, take about 15 seconds to feel your whole body and mind relax.

Continue to Relax Your Mind. Imagine Negative Thoughts Floating Away.

10. Now focus on your chest.

Each Time You Breathe in – Relax Chest Muscles.

11. Now, relax your stomach. Relaxing your stomach helps with fear of anger.

Let Go of Any Knots in Your Stomach. Replace with Feelings of Peacefulness, Calmness, and Safety.

12. Next, relax your lower back, buttocks, and groin.

Take Extra Time to Relax Your Back. It May Take Longer.

13. Now, relax your arms and legs.

One at a Time, Let Each of Your Limbs Relax.

14. Return to your Breathing.

Relaxation Always Begins and Ends with Breathing.

15. Practice if you want to become more relaxed at least once a day.

December 2011

Tis the season….. Ever hurt someone unintentionally? Does your loved one feel misunderstood? Here is the perfect gift this Christmas!

Gifts of Understanding

1. Directly acknowledge feelings

EXAMPLE: I see that you are hurt, angry, confused…

2.Give an interpretation of the situation and how you played a role.

Take responsibility for your actions!

EXAMPLE: …And you have the right to be upset, because I didn't tell you I was going to arrive home late.

2.Acknowledge what you did.

EXAMPLE: I was _____________. (wrong, unthoughtful, ungracious)

The other person must feel that their feelings are legitimate and fair – that you GET it. If you do this, TRUST will be easier to regain and the other person will feel understood.

REMEMBER! A gift is given without expecting ANYTHING in return!

Merry Christmas!

November 2011

 

October 2011

Mate Check

Stay or Go?

1. Is he abusive? What's his family history like?

  • Everyone is entitled to 1 mistake……
  • unless it causes serious bodily harm.

2. When you are at your best in the relationship, is really all that good?

  • If it doesn't feel right or work well at its "best",
  • the outcome of the relationship will be poor.

3. If God or some omniscient being said it was okay to leave, would you feel immediate and tremendous relief?

  • The answer ere is only meaningful if a clear, definite yes came through without hesitation or confusion.

4. In spite of problems, is there at least 1 pleasurable activity or interest you enjoy together (without children)?

  • This is something you do together that you both like, that you look forward to sharing, and that gives you both a feeling of closeness.
  • IT DOES NOT INCLUDE SEX……unless, you BOTH enjoy, BOTH look forward to sharing, and make you BOTH feel more connected.
  • Real LOVE needs REAL experiences!

5. Is he/she basically nice, reasonably intelligent, not too neurotic, okay to look at and most of the time smells alright?

  • You just can't love someone that's mean, dumb, crazy, ugly or stinky.

6. Is your partner controlling? To a degree you cannot get your own needs met?

  • People with power poison passion!
  • (Try the fairness test….bring an issue up that bothers you. Is it met with power tactics?)

7. Do you have a basic, recurring, never-completely-going away feeling of humiliation and invisibility in your relationship?

  • This is how you might feel in a relationship with respect to a partner's power…..
  • A person expresses humiliation in 2 ways:
  • RAGE or DEPRESSION
  • Humiliation is the barometer of hatred!

8. How's your communication?

  • Is it free flowing or does your partner have a case of off-the-table-itis?
  • If you feel it's off-the-table-it is, point it out. What happens? If the topic continues to be "off the table", there's severe communication issues.
  • Also, check YOURSELF. Are you one of those people who won't take NO for an answer… if so, NOT off-the-table-it is.

9. Can you trust them?

  • Trust is about SAFETY!
  • When your partner speaks, do you think, "He's probably lying," or is there a tightening in your gut that make you think he's going to lie?
  • If you're in a relationship with a liar, your relationship is a lie.

Need more help with your decision to stay or go?

Call Solutions Counseling at (817) 475-1735 and make your appointment to day!

September 2011

What is NoRmAl?

Sometimes therapists get so caught up in what is abnormal…….

It is also however, necessary to know what is not abnormal to determine what someone might be dealing or coping with outside of their mental health state. For instance, if we have a couple struggling with their relationship, to best to work with them and guide them we must be aware of any individual issues at hand and who they belong to so that we can target such in treatment.

Why? The sum of the parts equals the whole, or at least the sum of the parts can add to the whole or detract from it, making the whole a whole lot different. If there are individual issues, they will need to be worked on to create the best relational dyads, the best marriages, the best parent-child relationships, and so on.

So, what is NORMAL?

The following is a list of mental states and symptoms, along with typical normal situations, in other words, common, ordinary, everyday type of occurrences:

Pathology Normal
Psychosis Dreams, Imaginary playmates, déjà vu, and the hallucinations that occur when we are going to sleep or awakening
Depression, mania Common sadness and joy experienced in daily life
Panic attacks Adaptive fright that helps avoid speeding trucks, raging torrents, and crashing bores
Phobias Realistic concerns about being embarrassed (such as someone who stutters might feel) or unable to help oneself (as perhaps a paralyzed person might feel)
Social anxiety Stage or microphone fright and ordinary shyness that doesn't result in clinically important distress or impairment
Obsessions, compulsions Superstitions, and ordinary checking to see that the stove is turned off before we depart for the airport
Pathological Worry Legitimate concerns, such as paying the rent and putting the kids through college when we've just been laid off
Somatization, hypochondria Concerns about demonstrable physical disorders
Dissociation Daydreams, reveries, fantasies
Compulsive gambling Professional and recreational gambling
Rejection of
gender identity
Tomboyishness, theatrical role playing, and any other cross-gender behavior that doesn't cozily fit in our cultural stereotypes
Paraphilias Ordinary use of fantasy to enhance sexual excitement
Deviant Personality Personality and character traits that are merely annoying (yours) or even endearing (mine)

LIST BORROWED FROM "DIAGNOSIS MADE EASIER"
BY JAMES MORRISON

August 2011

Going Through Divorce?

Let's talk about marriage as a whole! This is a really great way for your therapist to understand the husband and the wife's strengths and weaknesses as parents. It gives insight to the therapist to know what life was like for the children before the divorce and a clue as to what might be especially difficult for the children with the separation

Let's talk about research! Research shows that major stressors for children in divorcing families are high conflict and violence. This can breed anxieties and stress even bfore the split! It is important that if high conflict or violence is something t hat has occurred in your marriage over time or has been instigated by the separation, you invoke the rule NOW to DO NO FURTHER HARM. It will do greater harm to your child/chilcren if you decide to divorce and then continue fighting.

Other factors that affect children regarding divorce is that they are generally given little emotional preperation. Such reactions of children might include grief, anxiety, anger, shock and/or disbelief, much like in grieving over a death of a loved one. With children that have closer attachments to one parent or another this can heighten the distress and pain for them if this is the parent that plans to leave the home. What does this mean?

TALK TO YOUR KIDS!!!

1. Give your child/children more than a 1 or 2 line explanation

  • Do not leave them to decipher what the meaning of divorce is! Their ideas of divorce are often scarier than what is really happening.
  • No communication causes a sense of isolation, as well as cognitive and emotional confusion.

2. Fully inform them of the plans — Do not share romantic emotion of the relationship!

3. Let them know how both parents will continue to be involved

  • Visitation/Access to the children should be developmentally appropriate
  • At will communication between parents and children should be available, NOT RESTRICTED!

What needs to occur even before communication with the children is communication between the parents!!! It is best ALWAYS if the parents can collaborate to do what is best for their children! Have a discussion with your spouse first, to determine at least temporary arrangements. Then share that information with your children as a united front.

PLEASE PARENTS, DO NOT ABRUPTLY DEPART YOUR MARRIAGE OR YOUR HOME WITHOUT THIS COMMUNICATION!

For assistance in transitioning through divorce, please call our office or set up an appointment online.

CHILDREN OF DIVORCE GROUPS BEGIN IN SEPTEMBER 2011 FOR GRADES 5-K.

~ Jessica L. Rogers, MA, LPC

 

July 2011

What is Your Relational Function?

Relationships come in many shapes and sizes, the smallest of which is referred to as a dyad (a relationship between two people). Relationships can be fostered and nurtured in many ways, but not one is the same. Why? People operate from different places depending on various factors – how relationships played out when they were young, a person's biological makeup, and even trial and error and/or past experiences, good or bad. Most people fall along a continuum as far as how they relate. They are either autonomous or connected.

Autonomous/Connectedness

At one end of the spectrum, we have people that are very autonomous. Autonomous people like distance and/or independence to a large degree. On the other end of the spectrum, we have people that are the exact opposite - connected. Connected people like contact and are socially seeking outward acceptance to some degree. Directly in the middle of the two is a midpointer. A midpointer is a person with an exact level of behaviors represented by both sides. They relate both autonomously and with connection somewhat equally. It is also important to note that you may be autonomous with one person you could be a midpointer with another. The relationship differs between differing people.

Autonomy/Midpointing/Connected

There are also varying levels of autonomy and connectedness. The closer a person moves from being autonomous towards being a midpointer, the less autonomous characteristic there are of autonomy. Such is true as well, for a connected person moving to midpointing. A level 3 on the autonomy spectrum is extreme, and such is also true for a level 3 connected person. As you move in towards midpointing, those traits of each become of a lesser degree.

Why is this important?

An autonomous person does not get their needs met in the same way that a connected person does, and vice versa. Your relational function - be it autonomy, a midpointer, or connected, is determined by patterns, not feelings. Though when needs are not met, it is feelings that get hurt and needs that are unmet. It is important to know who you are and where you lie on such a continuum not only to get your own needs met, but also to meet the needs of others around you such as your teen, spouse, or friend.

Case Study:

Natalie is a 15 year old girl. She is smart, but struggles in school sometimes and definitely has trouble at home. She is very independent and likes to do things on her own so rarely asks for help. She has many jobs and outside activities that she is involved in outside of home, but at home she is passively withdrawn, likes to keep to herself, and does not always communicate effectively. She enjoys playing on the computer and eating dinner alone (she hates coming to the table and when she comes she doesn't want to talk about her day). Her mother, Sandra, is one with a bubbly, vibrant personality. She likes to communicate. She is constantly calling Natalie when she is away from home to check on her which sometimes erupts into fighting. She also likes to get a play by play of her daughter's day at school. Her mother feels her daughter might be depressed because of the time she spends alone in her room or maybe into drugs due to the time she spends away from home. The harder her mother presses to have a relationship with her daughter the more chaotic and sometimes violent it gets between the two.

Assessment:

Natalie is autonomous, most likely on a level 1 or 2. Her mother, Sandra is more connected. They are operating on differing sides of the relational continuum. Neither of their needs are being met because they both need different things to get their needs met. Natalie needs space and privacy while her mother needs contact and connection.

Behavior Plan/Change:

So, what now? How do we help them? We teach them how to communicate from their comfort zone in a way that each gets their needs met. Texting for the mother might be a more invasive way for her to communicate with her teen, all the while getting her needs of contact met and keeping her daughter safe without the intense contact that Natalie dislikes. At the table, Natalie will agree to sit at the table if she doesn't have to talk about her day maybe, but instead the family might watch a television show over dinner. Watching movies or television together are great ways for this mom and daughter to connect because mom gets the closeness with her daughter she craves and daughter doesn't have to withdraw to her room because she knows there won't be a lot of communicating while they are busy taking in the programs. So, does this mother and daughter never have a sit down, serious conversation? No. When the connected parent feels there is something important to talk about she just doesn't impart that knowledge on a hourly or daily basis, but instead reserves it for a round table discussion that can be set aside each week or month depending on the need. This will alert the autonomous teen so that she may prepare her mind and body for that which is upcoming. With these arrangements in place for this type of relationship, there is likely to be less disruption, arguing and overall chaos.

"It is important to know we cannot choose where we are on this continuum, nor can we change who we are, but if we are aware of where we are relationally and know what our needs are, as well as those of others, we can function better relationally."
Jessica L. Rogers, MA, LPC