Posts Tagged ‘child therapy sarasota’

Can you hear me now? What’s up when your child is acting out

February 19th, 2013

Your child tells their brother to stop hitting them, they aren’t listening, the fighting begins and someone ends up crying “mmmoooooommmmmm”,

Your teen asks if they can go on Facebook, you tell them no, and find them pretending to do homework while chatting with their friends online,

You told your daughter she has to watch her bother’s game and she spends the afternoon whining and complaining that she hates her bother,

Your child wants to go to McDonald’s on the way home from school and when you say no, he has a fit for 30 minutes,

Your child’s sister is on the computer/tv/phone, and it’s unfair. You hear about how wrong you are for the rest of the night,

Your child comes home from your ex’s house from a weekend visit and all of a sudden you are the “bad guy” for asking them about homework.

It seems like you can’t win, and  no matter what you do your child is upset or angry and once again they are yelling or arguing. Is there really such a thing as a peaceful home?

Here’s the scoop- all of our behaviors are an attempt to get our needs met, and each of us have different needs we are trying to meet. Some of us want more freedom, some want more control, some want to feel safe, some want to feel loved and understood, and some want more fun. Our needs are so very different, and when we are feeling like our needs are not being met, watch out- that’s when the negative behaviors arise. Depending upon who you are (and your life experience) you may shutdown or act out when you’re feeling like your your not being understood or your needs aren’t being met.

Often those negative behaviors are ways of communicating without the words- yelling, pouting, hitting, tantrums, are all ways of expressing, “can you hear me now?”

Not the best the ways to get your needs met, for sure.

So how can you help your child (spouse/partner) express their needs and feelings in a positive way?

CQ Playful Creative Activity:           

Bust out the art supplies! Help your child identify what’s important to them. Create images, words, collages of what they like, what is meaningful in their lives. Help them put words to what’s important. This will help you understand why they are so upset when their brother changes the channel when they are watching Sponge Bob. You can help by validating their feelings, “I know it’s important to you and you feel upset”.
Use art to explore choices, create images or a collage of things they can do when they are feeling upset. Help them to identify ways they can get their needs met, and if they aren’t able to get what they want, things that they can do to help them calm down. Sometimes knowing you are heard and that you have choices is a pretty powerful tool that can diffuse reactive behaviors.

Use art to encourage identifying and expressing feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to verbalize or even understand a painful experience. The use of art materials can provide a safe container for self-expression.

Are you in need of some more support to help your child? Join the International Parents & Professionals Community– We’ve got lots of resources, 24/7 access to information to help your child whenever you need it, a group of awesome community members, plus you”ll have access to the upcoming February Support Call “Egads, what do I do to help my attention deficit, impulsive (ADD/ADHD) child?”

Need more support for your child, or you’re looking for child or family art therapy in the Sarasota, Fl area? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Laura by clicking here.

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Are You a Good Enough Parent?

February 21st, 2012

You may ask yourself, Am I good enough parent?

It seems like you are on a treadmill every day, trying to get the kids fed, looking for clean clothes, feeling overwhelmed by piles of to-dos, and struggling to get your child to sit down and do their homework without an argument. Oh yes, and don’t forget the last minute reminder from your child that you are supposed to bring in cookies for tomorrow.

There are moments you may wonder if you are doing a good enough job as a parent. Your heart may feel heavy, like you have failed as a parent. Here are 5 ways to be a good enough parent.

1. Let of comparing yourself to others. I bet you know at least one parent who looks so put together at the school meeting and car pick-up. You know, the person who has pressed pants, flawless hair, and lipstick. You made it out of the house with your hair in a ponytail and clean sweatpants, and all the kids have a lunch packed. At that moment when you bump into Wonder Mom you can easily start to criticize yourself for not appearing so put together. Let go of the self-critical thoughts, and replace these with some reminders of how you are rocking it just fine- heck, you don’t have a stain on your sweats and you didn’t forget anyone at home. Pat yourself on you back for what you are doing right and let go of the self-criticism.

2. Ask for support and let others help. There are so many things that need to be done throughout the day, and you may end up feeling like a workhorse. Let others help with household tasks. Have a list of chores that need to be done each day, put this on a whiteboard where everyone in the family can see it. Attach a specific reward to completing these tasks depending upon the age of the child. A 5 year old may be rewarded with an extra book at bedtime after cleaning up their toys, or your tween may earn computer time when they pick-up their clothes and make their bed, or you may give your teen an allowance for mowing the lawn. Ask for support and delegate household tasks.

3. Let go of doing things right. Many parents have a difficult time delegating out tasks because their child or spouse will not “do it right”. The secret is that many children (and spouses) know that is they do it “wrong” you will likely step in and do it for them. Yes, they will manipulate the situation, so let go of having things be a certain way. Plus, who want to hear nagging and criticism while your trying to be helpful? Ditch doing it the “right way” and welcome others to help out their way.

4. Model being good enough. I like to model when my “humanness is showing” and I use this phrase often when I make a mistake. Yes, we are all human, we all make mistakes, we all get upset, try too hard, mess up, misunderstand, miscommunicate- thank goodness! Let your child know that it’s okay to make mistakes, to try and fail, to be good enough. We ask children to try their best and let them know it’s okay of they didn’t make the team or get the grade they wanted. Can you model being okay with trying your best, even when things are disappointing and don’t work out the way you would like?

5. Be compassionate with yourself. Research suggests that those who score higher on self-compassion tests may be less anxious and depressed, and this may even impact eating habits and weight gain. So practice self-compassionate activities such as taking time for yourself, writing yourself a letter of support and understanding when you encounter a problem, making artwork that shows your positive traits, and ways you can be kind with yourself during difficult times.

You do not need to be extraordinary to be a good parent, you just need to be willing to communicate your needs and show respect and compassion for yourself and others.

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you would like more parenting support we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download  to help your child.

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Homework problems & struggles: Homework success tips

October 14th, 2011

Homework struggles?

Do you have a child who struggles with homework? Does your child have a difficult time sitting down to do their homework or organizing or remembering their assignments? You may find yourself spending lots of time trying to get them to finally attend to their homework without a daily battle, meltdown, or interruption. What’s a parent to do?

Sometimes homework struggles signify there is something more going on with your child. They may have processing or learning issues and they may become anxious or frustrated. They may have impulsivity or attention issues that make it difficult to concentrate. They may have executive functioning impairments, that may it difficult to organize, remember, or sequence information.

Every child is different, and they respond differently to the struggle they are encountering. Some children may shutdown or avoid, they may make up a bunch of excuses to delay doing homework, they may lie because they are fearful of how you may respond. They may dillydally or easily get distracted, or ask you to get them things so they can avoid doing the work. Or they may just plain forget, no matter how may times they have been told what they need to do and by when.

Here are the Creativity Queen’s recommendations to help reduce homework hassles and headaches:

1. Know your child. If you notice that your child is acting differently, struggling with academics, processing and retaining information, or organizational issues ask a professional for support. The issue may be that your child is not being disrespectful or lazy, but there is something wrong and there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. Intervention and support can help your child create academic success.

2. Set your child up for success by helping them be organized. This starts with creating systems to help your child. Start with your child’s backpack. Get colored folders to match each subject and have a place for completed homework and homework that needs to be done. Make sure your child has a calendar with all the assignments written down, and look at the calender nightly to help them breakdown larger projects into smaller action steps and add the action steps to the calendar.

3. Define where and when homework is done. Create a specific time and place each day when and where your child does their homework. Your child will know what to expect and it will reduce some of the power struggles over homework. The more responsible your child is, the less direct supervision is necessary and the more flexible you can be with time and location. Let your child know what they can do after their homework is completed, such as spend time on the computer or watch television.

4. Have a clear outline of how homework time is spent and what is expected. Some children will fly through homework so they can play video games. Or some children will be on the computer surfing the net when they say they are doing their homework. Be clear on what needs to be accomplished during that time. Some children with processing or organizational issues may need you to break it down for them, such as what subject they work on first, how many pages they need to read, and what homework they need to complete. You can write it down together and have check boxes your child checks off when each task is completed. Let your child know you will review work together before they are “done”.

4. Stay in connection with the school. If your child struggles to remember assignments or projects due and your child’s school has an online calendar of assignments print that out and use it to see if your child’s assignments match. Older children can print this for you. If your child has academic issues contact the school monthly to check on how your child is doing in school. Ask the teacher for ideas on how to best support your child.

5. Explore your options. Does your child need more support with academics at school? Consult with a professional. Your child may need to be evaluated to determine if they need an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with specific recommendations and supports that the school provides.

6. Get creative. Your child needs to find some positive ways to express their feelings around homework and their academic struggles. Art therapy is a helpful modality to help children express their feelings so they spend less time struggling and resisting homework. They can use their creativity to develop goals for the school year or create images, such as cartoons or artwork of what annoys and frustrated them, and then create solutions.

Here’s gentle reminder: please do not punish, demean, yell at, threaten children who have organizational, impulsivity, processing or learning issues. So many of these children feel like there is “something wrong” or they are “bad”. They are fearful of being picked on or being seen as “stupid” and may use negative behaviors, manipulate, lie or avoid, so they are not seen as “dumb”.  Children fear being labeled with these words and often would rather get in trouble with negative behaviors, than to be called names by their peers. Children can learn new strategies to change their behaviors and they can find positive ways to succeed at school when properly identified and supported.

If you have a child with academic issues then child therapy can help. Child therapists can rule out if the issues your child is encountering is behavioral and help your child and your family create systems to help your child with homework success. If you live the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton area child art therapy can help your child develop system and new coping strategies to create academic success. To learn more sign-up for your complimentary child support consultation here.

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Child Depression: 3 Creative Art Therapy Coping Strategies to Help Your Child with Depression

September 22nd, 2011

Children with depression: art therapy can help!

As featured on  PBS This Emotional Life

Depression in children and adolescents impacts 11.2 percent of children 13 to 18 years of age in the U.S. according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and 3.3 percent have experienced seriously debilitating symptoms of depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 3.7 percent of children between the ages of 8 and 15 have a mood disorder, with girls being diagnosed more frequently than boys and that treatment works for depression.

Children’s depression can look different than adult depression. Depression in children Symptoms of child depression: your child is not acting like him/herself, if he/she is lethargic and have lost interest in activities that once made them happy, if he/she is overly clingy, frequently reporting feeling sick, refusing to go to school or get in trouble at school, sleeping excessively or is excessively moody, there may be something more happening with your child.

So what course of action or treatment should you take if your child is suffering from depression? The Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). The latest research suggests therapy and medication may be the most rapid form of effective treatment for childhood depression, although over time therapy alone is just as successful.

The Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study evaluated the effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) therapy alone, medication alone, combined medication and cognitive behavior therapy treatment and placebo (sugar pill) treatments for adolescents 12 to 17 with depression. The combination of medication and therapy worked the most rapidly, although therapeutic treatment alone over months has a similar impact to the combination of therapy and medications. 

What is cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) evidenced-based mental health treatment for children? How can it help your child to overcome the challenges of depression? CBT treatment for depression is a therapy that teaches an individual how to manage their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings through education while testing new behaviors and assumptions. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, treatment may include learning how to set realistic and positive personal goals, encourage participation in pleasant activities, discourage negative thoughts, solve social problems, negotiate and compromise when conflicts arise, and foster assertiveness.

If you feel that your child is just starting to demonstrate signs of depression and you’d like to begin the process of helping them manage their feelings, try any of these three art therapy coping strategies. Depression is serious, so consult a professional if your child is exhibiting signs of depression.

1. Design a creativity journal. Go shopping with your child and pick out a journal they like, or go to the arts and crafts store and find a blank artists journal and create an individualized cover using magazine images, old greeting cards, wallpaper samples, or scrapbook papers. Embellish with unique words and images that represent your child. Let your child know this is a safe place for them to express their thoughts and feelings without feeling like they have to censor words and images.

2. Create a feelings box. Something as simple as a shoebox can be decorated with images or words that feel empowering. Allow your child to use the box as a safe place to put their worries, anger, anxiety, fears, and frustrations. Cut up slips of paper and add words or images of things that bother your child, and then have your child add these to their feelings box and “close the lid” as they let those feelings go. This teaches your child to respectfully acknowledge their feelings and let them go.

3. Make a mask. Go to the arts and crafts store and find a papier-mâché mask, or for younger children you can use a paper plate or craft paper and cut out a mask shape. Ask your child to create an art image of what they choose to show other people on the outside of the mask, and what they keep to themselves in the inside of the mask. Younger children may need to have this modified by asking them to create on the inside of the mask what makes they sad or choose a color that represent how they feel when they are sad and on outside of the mask choose images or colors of feeling strong, brave, or happy.

Often children and teens feel like they have to mask their feelings so they do not upset others. Allow your child to create their masks without censorship. Ask your child to tell you about it if they choose to, then listen without judgment.

Seeking professional help is essential for a child who is experiencing depression. As a parent look for therapists who specialize in working with children and adolescents, and who utilize cognitive behavioral therapies that teach your child appropriate ways to positively express their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Children and teens respond positively to art therapy and an art therapist can help your child manage their depression, especially if they use cognitive behavioral therapy in art therapy. If your child is depressed and you are in need of child therapy in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Venice Florida, art therapy can help. Schedule your complimentary Support Consultation here.

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How do I find a child therapist?

September 12th, 2011

child

Choosing a therapist for your child or choosing a family therapist is a difficult decision. As a parent you want the best for your child and you want to find the “right” person who can help your child be successful in managing their behaviors and expressing their feelings.

Here are my professional recommendations:

  • Ask another parent or professional for recommendations of child therapists in your community. Your pediatrician, school counselor, tutor, or other professional should give you the name of several resources for you to choose from.
  • Find a therapist who understands your child’s issues and your concerns as a parent.
  • Schedule a consultation with a several professionals and ask them questions about how they would best support your child. You’ll learn much about the potential therapist by how promptly they return your call and how they interact with you during the consultation.
  • Do not just rely on your insurance company for therapist referrals. Not all therapists specialize in working with children and many blanket their services as “child, adult, and family”, yet they have no additional training specializing in children’s specific developmental needs.
  • Let your child meet with the therapist and decide if that is the person they would like to work with. Let them know they have to see someone, and you can give them a choice of who they see.
  • As the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock said, “Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do”. Listen to your intuition and find the right person who respects your and your child and is willing to help you find new positive ways to communicate.

Need some more support to help your child? Schedule a complimentary Support Consultation by clicking here!

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Art Therapy: Using Art as A Tool to Help Your Child

June 9th, 2011

Sarah was an unforgettable girl. She was a tall lanky teenager with as many piercings on her face as freckles. She was a student in an alternative high school where I worked. I can still picture Sarah today in her baggy pants, ripped clothes and colored hair. She was one of those students who wore her anger and sadness like a badge.

Everyone knew Sarah had a rough time. She had even threatened to kill herself a year earlier. The clothes and the personal history made it easy for Sarah to be left alone, and she said that’s what she wanted.

A natural artist and freethinker, Sarah was recommended for art therapy by a concerned teacher. She strolled into our first session, unloaded her books and grabbed some clay. Quietly she molded the clay. For the first month we sat mostly in silence as she formed the clay into angry mask-like faces. I accepted what she gave me unconditionally, knowing there was more to Sarah than angry masks. I waited for weeks until the time was right. I asked Sarah, “What’s behind the mask?…If you took away the angry mask what would there be?” Sarah sat quietly looking at her clay. A long pause, a sigh, her brown eyes rimmed with tears, “ I don’t know”. Our journey together had begun.

Sarah, like many kids I’ve worked with over the years, embraced art. Even with so many let downs and mixed emotions, she was able to let go and risk show who she was through her artistic creations. I witnessed Sarah bloom from lost teen to graduating Senior. Her artwork changed too. From dark pictures and angry masks to bright colored painting she proudly gave to friends and family. She had finally found a way to give of herself and to be accepted.

Years later I got a phone call. Sarah wanted to meet for lunch. That day I walked in to see the butterfly Sarah had become. Her face was glowing. She looked so happy and healthy. Her pink outfit mirrored her wonderful transformation from anger to acceptance.

We ate, laughed, listened, and knew silently that we were part of a journey that had brought us to this place. I felt grateful to have witnessed Sarah’s transformations.

Art Therapists working with children share the hopes of all parents. Our goal is to help children discover their inner beauty and potential. For many people, this journey to self-acceptance requires special support.

I saw Sarah again several years later. She was visiting home briefly and had changed schools. She was going to study counseling. She told me she was going to make a difference in somebody’s life. I nodded and smiled, knowing that she already had.

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Programs

August 16th, 2009

Where do your start to help your child?

It depends upon your child’s needs.

Are they in need of support and new coping tools…

because they are experiencing problems that are significantly impacting their ability to manage their behaviors, feelings, and their self-esteem?

Most children respond to art therapy because it’s often a natural way for a child to express themselves. We use art therapy and creative play to help children manage their anger, cope with feeling of loss, depression, fear and anxiety, adjust to new situations, manage impulsive behaviors and frustrations, learn new strategies to communicate what they want and need without yelling, hitting, shutting down, tantrums or pouting.

Your child will learn how to cope with difficult situations, such as coping with with bullies, friends, siblings, relationships, curfews, peer pressure, loss, divorce, homework stress by creating new ways to solve the problems they are encountering.

If you need support for your child to make changes, and you’d like to change how the whole family responds when a problem arises (so there is less nagging, yelling, repeating, and frustration, and more peace and calm communication), then click here for information on the Comprehensive Family Support Program>>

Do you need some parenting support and tools that work, ASAP…

because you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed, unsupported, and disconnected, and you just want to do what’s best to help your child?

Contact the office at (941)504-8498 or email info@thecreativityqueen.com to schedule a complimentary phone consultation.

I would like some support just for me and what’s happening in my life, do you help adults too?

Yes, I found that many of the families I work with the parents want support just for themselves. Many adults also find that things surface from your own childhood when you are trying to better support your child. There is something nice about having some time to focus just on your needs without having to think about taking care of others all the time. What many of the adults discover when they work with me 1:1 is that they became an even better parents because they were more clear on what they are feeling and what they need, and they learn how to communicate the support they desire from their partners and their children. You can learn more about support for adults here>>

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