Counselling and Therapy Services~Harrow, Middlesex Area


Teach children ” How To Say No”

Posted by on 1:06 pm in Blog | 4 comments

  All day, every day, we hope that our teens will resist when they find themselves in a dicey situation — whether it involves drugs or booze or looking at porn Web sites or having sex. We cross our fingers that their first reaction will be a hearty N-O. Recently I was on the Skype counselling with a teenage mother . My client was beside herself because her precious son had come home drunk the night before. My client wailed to me: “How many times me and my husband spent talking about alcohol during the past decade? And the first time he’s offered beer, he takes it. He TAKES IT!”  I asked her what was his excuse for taking it?” My client said: “All he could come up with is: ‘Mom — I DIDN’T WANT TO SAY YES — BUT I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO SAY.’”  Now , this made me think on more deeper level !! You know, Just Say No sounds good in theory. But it implies that saying no is as easy as saying yes. It’s just not. In practice, saying no begs an explanation and saying yes doesn’t. Just Saying No makes for an awkward moment, which makes it an unhelpful suggestion to teens (and people pleasers ) who often care about avoiding awkwardness even more than they care about their own well-being. Yes, we spend hours talking to our kids about WHY to say no, but we don’t tell them HOW to say no. When they are put on the spot, they don’t have hours to explain their decisions to their peers. They have a split second. And while our teens and want to make the right decisions, they often want to avoid awkwardness even more. In the absence of a plan, they’ll likely default to yes. Just like we so often do. Maybe they’re not saying yes because they want to rebel – maybe they really do say yes because they don’t know what else to say. They need help knowing, preparing. One of life’s great reality checks is parenting or caring for young people. The process of trying to protect them and prevent them from making bad choices reminds all who try that we have very limited power. We may think we can control the worlds and people around us. But the reality is we have very little control over other people or the choices they make. It is a lesson that many parents find hard to accept it. Teach your kids how to handle peer pressure with following strategies for resisting temptation, bad influences, and unsafe… It’s Not as Easy as “Just Say No” Teaching Individuality and Weighing the Options  Teach your teen to: Look out for number one. Why it works: Teens are so attached to one another — and to groupthink — they forget to look out for themselves as individuals. Explain to your child that by thinking of herself as a solo act she can get out of tough situations without a drama. “Let’s say your kid realizes there is a lot of drinking going on at a party, “Telling her friend, ‘Look, I’m uncomfortable here, and I’m leaving — but I’ll understand if you want to stay’ does two things. It gives your daughter the freedom to get herself out of trouble. And, since she’s not exerting any goody-two-shoes pressure on her pal, it...

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Helping Your Daughter to Learn About Periods !!

Posted by on 11:38 am in Blog | 0 comments

    “What are these, Mommy?” asked the 7-year-old Gopi, reaching into her mother’s vanity drawer and pulling out a box of Sanitary  Pads. Caught unprepared to talk about puberty and menstruation, her mother Sheela  said, “Um…they’re windshield wiper cleaners, dear , keep it inside please .” Will you be more ready than that when it’s time to talk to your daughter about her first period? That time may come sooner than you think. Although a girl’s first period usually occurs at about age 12, some girls experience their first period much earlier. And even before she gets her first period, your daughter will be noticing other changes in her body: Recent studies show that most girls start developing breast buds sometime between age 9 and 10. When that happens, you’ll know that her first period may not be far off: The development of breast buds usually precedes a girls’ first period by about two years, while pubic and underarm hair usually begins to appear about six months before the onset of menstruation. “A girl’s first period should actually be a milestone in a series of talks over many years about normal development — physical changes and psychological changes,” says Karen Zager, PhD, a psychologist. “All of that should start when they’re very young, in age-appropriate ways.”  Tips for Talking to a Girl About Her First Period Start talking about periods in general terms from an early age. “Put it in the context of natural functions, and it’s very easy for kids to absorb.  “You can tell her, ‘You know, someday your body will grow up and look like Mama’s, and you’ll have breasts and hair in certain places. Your body will change in lots of ways as you get ready to be a grown-up woman.” As your daughter gets older, get into specifics.You can talk with her more about what that menstruation means — such as what her first period will be like and being able to get pregnant if she has sex. Answer questions with simple, factual information that is age appropriate.Don’t feel the need to elaborate or go into extensive explanations because you’re nervous. If your first-grader finds your box of sanitary pads, you can simply say, “Mommy uses those every month when she gets her period,” without going into a two-hour discussion of the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and female anatomy. Take time to understand what your daughter is really asking.Instead of assuming you know what your daughter’s asking, find out what she thinks the question is about. If she asks something about girls bleeding or has heard another girl talk about her first period, ask her, “What have you heard about it?” You might find out that she’s heard something strange or off-base that you’ll need to correct with good information. (And you’ll also buy time to figure out just how you want to answer.) Use your own experience to spark discussion about hers.“It’s perfectly fine to say, ‘Do you have any questions?’ And somewhere on the planet there may be a kid who says, ‘Yes, I have several questions and here they are.’ But most won’t,”  Instead, take a more casual approach: “You know, when I was your age, I was really worried about getting my first period because I thought it would hurt a...

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Anxiety In Children !!

Posted by on 12:59 pm in Featured | 0 comments

“While the overused phrase, “children are resilient” is somewhat accurate, it isn’t true in the way we think. They are resilient because they have access to defense mechanisms, but those mechanisms can become debilitating if they continue in to adulthood…” – Elisabeth Corey.

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Care for self -1

Posted by on 1:13 pm in Parenting Cards | 0 comments

Being a parent is for life.  Being a parent can be stressful. Being a parent can be very satisfying. Parents have to care for themselves too.  No matter what your past, you can become the parent you want to be.  You can be imperfect and still be a good parent.  Every parent needs someone to talk...

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How To Motivate Your Child !!!

Posted by on 9:18 pm in Blog | 3 comments

Why is it so hard to motivate kids? As parents, we often have a funny, inaccurate belief that our children won’t care unless we twist their arms. But the simple truth is that your attempts to motivate your child are probably working against you. You can’t make your child care just because you do—in fact, you might actually get in the way of their motivation. What’s worse, the push-pull of trying to motivate your child usually turns into a power struggle. There’s something wrong with the picture if you care more about your child’s grades than he does. If you’ve been getting in your child’s “box” and trying to make him care because you do, it’s important to stop and ask yourself this question, “What’s my child’s responsibility here? What’s mine?” If your child isn’t getting his work done, your job as a parent is to hold him accountable and teach him how the real world works. In the real world, if you don’t finish your work, you won’t get paid. Give consequences to show your child what the result of his poor choices are, but don’t confuse the reason for doing this with thinking you’ll make him care about his math homework simply because you care about it. Consequences aren’t there to create motivation; you give them because you’re doing your job as a parent. The bottom line is that you can’t motivate another person to care. Your role, rather, is to inspire and influence. As parents, we often feel responsible for our child’s outcome in life, but understand that this is never the case—ultimately, your child is responsible for his own choices. But because we think our kids’ success depends on us, we step into a place where we don’t belong. We’re taught that we need to somehow control our kids, so we often jump in their box without a second thought. We think we’re supposed to motivate our children to want certain things in life, but that only causes them to function in reaction to you. Your child might comply to get you off his back or even to please you, but that doesn’t help him get self-motivated. Again, you definitely want to inspire and influence your child. The goal is the same: we want our kids to be motivated—it’s how we get there that makes the difference. I’m Trying to Motivate Him. Why Isn’t It Working? The truth of the matter is, some children are less motivated than others. There are kids who are smart as a whip but who get report cards with D’s and F’s. Some sit in the classroom gazing into space despite the teacher’s—and your—best efforts. Maybe you have a child who forgets his assignments or worse, does them and never turns them in. Or you might have a pre-teen who doesn’t seem interested in anything and has no real hobbies or passions. Maybe your teen gives up easily or doesn’t want to try. In spite of your best efforts, he remains stuck or is starting to fall behind. (If you have other concerns, be sure to have the school and/or your child’s pediatrician rule out learning disabilities, ADHD/ADD, depression, addictions and other conditions.) If your child is one of the less motivated, it can be a source of great worry...

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Posted by on 5:15 pm in Blog | 6 comments

Anxiety is on the rise, including in the teen population. While a very small number of people need to manage anxiety  with medication, adjustments in a teen’s lifestyle and extra support at home can lead to great changes. If your teen is currently using anxiety  medication, it is important s/he also learns coping techniques that can minimize or eliminate the need for or dependence on prescription drugs. A healthier lifestyle will improve the overall quality of your teen’s life. Encourage your teen to make necessary adjustments. Here are 9 tips to help your teen cope with or eliminate anxiety . Relaxation methods:Yoga, nature walks (e.g. hiking), quiet time (without music, TV, or other electronic devices), and laughter are all example of methods that produce feelings of relaxtation and reduce anxious feelings in the body. With a hectic life and access to many electronic gadgets, most kids have little quiet time and have minds that are constantly running. Try to schedule quiet time in the house for everyone. It can be at different times or at the same time for everyone. The present moment:If you find your teen is constantly talking about the past or about the future, guide him/her to the present moment. The past cannot be changed and the future holds endless positive opportunities. Ask your teen about what is happening in life now and what can be done now to shape the future s/he wants. Teach your teen to let go of past events and to be an optimist regarding the future. Set a good example. Find root cause of your child’s thoughts:If your child is expressing nervousness and fear, don’t sugar coat the feelings by saying everything will be fine. The feelings are based on thoughts and past experiences. Ask questions that will lead you to the root cause of his/ her fear. When you find it, eliminate it through logic, past examples, and optimism. Practice positivity:Encourage your child to think positively. At the beginning of each week ask your teen to write one positive story. The story should include details of how things will turn out positively. When the story is completed, ask him/her to re-read it daily. Journaling: Ask your teen to write down what makes him/her feel anxious and what makes him/her feel good (what thoughts associate with each situation). This will allow the two of you to pick up on patterns and get an idea of what the trigger points are. This can be done daily or 2-3 times per week. Healthy lifestyle:Living a healthy lifestyle has the power to influence thoughts in a positive direction. Taking positive actions also provides evidence that life is changing for the better. Incorporate the following into daily life: regular exercise, nutritious diet , drinking plenty of water, enough sleep. Also, see if your teen can avoid the following items: caffeinated beverages, alcohol, cigarettes, & drugs. These items are stimulants and can enhance anxiety. Social group:Who is your teen hanging out with? How is this group contributing to his/her anxiety? If you think changes are necessary, approach your teen from a neutral perspective and point out any issues. The key is to avoid lecturing but allowing your teen to feel s/he has some choice in the matter. S/he may not see your point immediately but you will be planting positive seeds...

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How to Communicate Sex With Your Children Of All Age !!

Posted by on 8:03 am in Blog | 4 comments

“Many parents are rather shocked at how early I suggest they should start talking to their kids about sex”. But what I also hear from parents is ‘I want to be first.’ Then I say , If you want to be first, you have to make sure you’re first; otherwise kids will get their information and attitudes from other children and the media.”  That doesn’t mean marking a date on the calendar for one marathon birds and bees session. Teaching should be an ongoing process in which your child learns over time what she needs to know to develop a healthy attitude toward her body and sexuality. With that in mind, I’ve put together a parental primer to make talking the talk easier at every stage of your child’s development. Birth to 2 – Where they’re at  Many parents are surprised to find that their children are sexual beings from birth,  Even infants are curious about their own bodies and will often touch their genitals in the bathtub or during diaper changes, and baby boys have regular erections. Toddlers have no sense of privacy and may masturbate quite openly. “My 18-month-old used to rub herself ferociously during nap time at daycare,” says mom Sheetal from Bangalore  “Finally, her daycare provider said we had to speak to her about it—apparently, all the other children were watching!”   What you need to know as parents 
  If your toddler is in the habit of touching herself at daycare, the grocery store or in front of your moms’ group, gently remind her that we keep our dresses down in public and we take our hands out of our pants. “Children learn from their parents’ reaction whether or not their actions are acceptable. At two, they simply need to be told, ‘That’s not allowed in public.’” Don’t scold or shame them. The message you want to give to your child is that masturbation is healthy and normal, but something that should be done in the privacy of her own room.  It’s never too early to start teaching children the correct names for their body parts, including their genitals. When you’re giving your tot a bath or changing his diaper, state matter-of-factly, “This is your nose, this is your tummy, this is your penis.” It’s confusing for kids to have cutesy names for some body parts and not for others. “When you teach a child the correct names for their genitals (penis, scrotum, vulva, vagina, anus), they have no overwhelming shame or shyness around that part of the body,”. Names  changed due to confidentiality.  3 to 5 years – Where they’re at
  Preschoolers are as intensely curious about other people’s bodies as they are about their own. “My five-year-old was playing  with a friend and he asked, ‘Why does his penis look different than mine?’” says Maya , Coimbatore, India. “He had obviously looked long and hard enough to notice there was a difference between a circumcised and uncircumcised penis.” Kids this age are also  “magical thinkers.” “If they don’t get factual information, they make up a story to explain things to themselves.” They may decide, for example, that if you want a baby, you go to the hospital, where a nurse hands them out to anyone who asks. What you need to know...

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Posted by on 12:17 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can be very difficult to manage – especially for adults with ADHD. As the name suggests, this cluster of symptoms is the result of experiencing a traumatic event. A person with PTSD may be easily triggered by a smell, sound, sight or other sensation associated with a conscious or unconscious element of a traumatic incident, reactivating the psychological response. Often people with PTSD are aware of their traumas and associated triggers. These people may recognize when they are re enacting the emotional response. This is the case with people who have been in car accidents and become unable to drive (or ride) in a car without distress; crime victims who are terrified to go near a bank or other scene of the crime; sexual abuse or rape victims who become physically sick when they smell certain cologne or try to eat certain foods. For people who don’t remember the trauma, these reactions are usually confusing and frightening. People may spend years in therapy attempting to figure out why they have such extreme reactions to seemingly neutral objects. What about those who have unnamed trauma? Or, those who are unaware of their triggers and may not recognize what is happening when they slip into that ‘psychological space’ in their minds. Below is a list of some more commonly reported PTSD reactions. • Often the symptoms begin as feeling a bit dazed and numb – things seem a bit hazy or unclear – that can continue for several days or weeks. Dissociation is a common response to trauma, not unlike the times one’s mind just disappears with ADHD. • The confusion and dreaminess is usually followed by or accompanied with anxiety , often the generalized (free-floating) anxiety that feels like edginess, being easily startled and jumpy for no apparent reason. • People usually have problems sleeping or relaxing. Hyper-vigilance, that constant sense of urgency, being on guard or ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’, ramps up the anxiety to the point of paranoia at times. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which amplifies the hyper-vigilance and many other problems. • Isolation is pretty common for people who are hyper-vigilant or paranoid. In the extreme, people become afraid to go about their daily lives; in less extreme cases, they may avoid certain areas or trigger points and try to continue with their daily routine. If left untreated, this can lead to problems at work or school, in relationships or other facets of daily living. • Symptoms of depression may also follow: Frequent crying, feeling ‘low’ or sad, lack of energy, loss of interest in things you usually enjoy, irritability or agitation, problems with concentration, changes in eating and sleep patterns, for some, thoughts of suicide or death and feeling guilty or worthless. This is important for the thousands who are living with PTSD and unaware of this cycle. Either PTSD or ADHD could be misdiagnosed for the other. More often, they occur simultaneously, inflaming symptoms that look a lot alike. The pattern may be repeated at infrequent intervals, or happen very rarely. Often PTSD goes undiagnosed, unless a medical or mental health professional takes an extensive personal history, asking the right questions in just the right way. Many times the reporter does...

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Helping Your Kids To Learn Boundaries

Posted by on 4:12 pm in Blog | 5 comments

  I’ve worked with many parents and often found them struggling to create  boundaries for their children , and one of the running themes is that most of us aren’t taught how to set boundaries as kids. That’s because our parents didn’t know how to set boundaries, and they didn’t know because their parents didn’t know either, I really think that “This is really a generational repetition of patterns.” Teaching your child to set boundaries is important because “every one of us must learn to self-advocate as part of our independent process. Our moms and dads won’t always be there to take care of us. Here are a few examples of children who lack boundaries: Little Tanay walks right into his parent’s bedroom whenever he wants. It does not matter if the door was open or closed. 2. Twelve year-old Shyam changes the channel on the television whenever he wants. It does not matter if anyone was watching a show or not. 3. Sinara blames others for her mistakes. It always seems to be her teacher’s fault, brother’s fault, or a friend’s fault when something does not go right. 4. Maya is uncomfortable with how her boyfriend treats her and pressures her for sex. She keepsdating him because she questions who else would want to date her. Without boundaries children will have problems in relationships, school, and life. Many times addictive behaviour  can be traced to lack of boundaries. Here are a few results that can occur: Children can have controlling behavior  Children can be motivated by guilt or anger. Without firm boundaries children are more likely to follow their peer group. For example, making unwise choices on sex, drinking, or driving.  Children don’t own their own behavior  or consequences, which can lead to a life of turmoil.  Children may allow others to think for them.  They may allow someone else to define what his or her abilities will be. This denies their maximum potential.  When someone has weak boundaries they pick up other’s feelings.  Weak boundaries may make it hard to tell where we end and another person begins. What parents can do? Many times we hinder the child from developing boundaries. Here are a few suggestions to help you set boundaries: Recognize and respect the child’s boundaries. For example, knock on their closed bedroom door instead of just walking in. 2. Set our own boundaries and have consequences for crossing them. 3. Avoid controlling the child. 4. Give two choices; this helps our children learn decision-making skills. 5. Realize we must teach our children boundaries; they are not born with them. 6. When you recognize that boundaries need to be set. Do it clearly, do it without anger, and use as few words as possible. 7. We need to say what hurts us and what feels good. 8. It may be difficult to set a boundary. You may feel afraid, ashamed, or nervous, that’s okay, do it anyways. Another way to work with boundaries and children is to model these for our children. Recognize your physical boundaries. 2. You have the right to request proper treatment, for example, poorly prepared meals in a restaurant should be sent back, ask others to smoke away from your space, and ask that loud music be turned down. 3. Share your opinions...

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Could My Child Be Sexually Abusing Other Children???

Posted by on 5:50 am in Blog | 0 comments

  We are becoming increasingly aware of the risk of sexual abuse that some adults present to our children and there is a growing understanding that this risk lies mostly within families and communities. But very few people realise that other children can sometimes present a risk. A third of those who have sexually abused a child are themselves under the age of 18. This is an especially difficult issue to deal with, partly because it is hard for us to think of children doing such things, but also because it is not always easy to tell the difference between normal sexual exploration and abusive behaviour. Children, particularly in the younger age groups, may engage in such behaviour with no knowledge that it is wrong or abusive. For this reason, it may be more accurate to talk about sexually harmful behaviour rather than abuse.   Why do some children sexually harm others? The reasons why children sexually harm others are complicated and not always obvious. Some of them have been emotionally, sexually or physically abuse themselves, while others may have witnessed physical or emotional violence at home. For some children it may be a passing phase, but the harm they cause to other children can be serious and some will go on to abuse children into adulthood if they do not receive help. For this reason it is vital to seek advice and help as soon as possible. Age appropriate sexual behaviour We all know that children pass through different stages of development as they grow, and that their awareness and curiosity about sexual matters change as they pass from infancy into childhood and then through puberty to adolescence. Each child is an individual and will develop in his or her own way. However, there is a generally accepted range of behaviours linked to a child’s age and developmental stage. Sometimes these will involve some exploration with other children of similar age. It can be difficult to tell the difference between age appropriate sexual exploration and warning signs of harmful behaviour. Occasionally we may need to explain to children why we would prefer them not to continue with a particular behaviour. This is a chance to talk with them about keeping themselves and others safe and to let them know that you are someone who will listen. It is important to recognise that while people from different backgrounds have different expectations about what is acceptable behaviour in children, sexual abuse happens across all races and cultures. Warning signs of sexually harmful behaviour One of the hardest things for parents to discover is that their child may have sexually harmed or abused another child.    In this situation, denial, shock and anger are normal reactions. If it is not responded to quickly and sensitively, the effect on the whole family can be devastating.    For this reason it is vital to contact someone for advice about what to do as soon as you suspect that something is wrong.    The positive message is that early help for the child or young person and their family can make a real difference.    Evidence suggests that the earlier children can get help, the more change there is of preventing them moving on to more serious behaviour.    It is important to be...

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