How Do I Know If My Teen Is Rebelling?

Teenage rebellion is not just about skipping class, staying out past curfew, or smoking anymore, now the rebellion has taken on new forms and looks considerable different from the past.  Understanding the early warning signs of teenage rebellion as opposed to normal development can make the different not only in your relationship with the teen but in their lives as well.  As a mother, former teacher and counselor of teens, I have observed three main areas of rebellion in teens.  Each of these areas is as important as the next and should be addressed.

Authority.  As part of the normal developmental process of a teenager growing into adulthood, teens become increasing aware of the numerous authority figures in their lives.  For a teen, the number of authority figures seems to multiply from parents to coaches to teachers to police officers to store managers to even older teens.  While during childhood the authority figures were for the most part respected, for some teens they all of a sudden seem to become disrespected as the child ages.

Rebelling against authority is open defiance of the rules established whether it is at home, school, athletic field or work.  This rebellion maybe obvious or it maybe secretive, either way it is rebellion against an authority figure.  The teen maybe staying out all night, not going to school, drag racing, sneaking out of the house, running away, drinking and driving, stealing from an employer, school or home, or destruction of property to name a few of the big ones.  Also look for the not so obvious rebellion symptoms such as rolling of the eyes, not making eye contact, intentionally dragging out an instruction, sleeping instead of working, and name calling.

Peers.  It may seem strange that this category would be included as a type of rebellion; however some teens do not have issues with the authority figures in their lives but rather with their peers.  It is normal for teens to experiment becoming friends with different peer groups especially as their interests and activities change.  Some teens do well with multiple peer groups while other teens struggle to fit into one peer group.

The rebellion begins at teens struggle to fit into a peer group that is not accepting of them so they act out against that group.  This can look like bullying on the surface and can resulting in fighting, backstabbing, and name calling.  Some teens switch peer groups repeatedly as a way to prevent anyone from coming too close to them.  In the end, they may experience isolation and lose of friends.  Other teens identify so strongly with one group, a gang, to the point that they are antagonistic to others who are not a part of their group.  All of this is rebellion towards their peers.

Self.  As teens struggle with forming their identity separate and apart from their parents, often times they do not like what they see.  Instead they began a self-loathing process that can rapidly become harmful behavior.  Their rebellion against themselves displays as hatred for how they appear, how they think, how they act and what they have become.  In order to feel better about themselves, they often engage in dangerous behavior to bring relief to the pain they feel.  This self-harming behavior can be cutting, excessive piercings, bingeing/purging, drugs (illegal and prescription abuse), gambling, alcohol use, and excessive risk taking.

If any of these areas sounds familiar, don’t lose hope.  The good news is that when rebellion is handled correctly, the impact on the teen’s life can be long-lasting.  Look for the article titled, “What to Do If Your Teen Rebels” for ideas on how to properly handle the rebellion.

For more information, watch this YouTube video:

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Struggling with Parenting? Bookkeeper Parents are Fair

mother and childIn your head you keep a constant ledger and running total of all the gifts, grades, thank-you notes, kind acts, punishments, harsh words, phone calls, and hugs for each child.  You carefully check the ledger daily to ensure that your kids are all getting equal time, attention, and punishment as the thought you might be unfair to one child is extremely painful.  It may sound exhausting, but the alternative of appearing to favor one child over the other is far worse than having to maintain the ledger.

You are a Bookkeeper Parent.  As a bookkeeper parent, your favorite questions will be centered around the word “How”.  How are you going to do that?  How do you feel?  How are you doing?  Bookkeeper parents are very fair, diplomatic, and loyal but can easily get their feelings hurt in the process of parenting especially when accused of being unfair, undiplomatic and disloyal.  If your child is like you, they appreciate your fairness and see such an act as love.

The Good.  Because you pay attention to all of the little signs, the hurt feelings, and body language of your child, you really don’t miss an opportunity to show compassion, love and tenderness.  You are a gentle parent who tries hard to see things from your child’s perspective and given a choice you will side with your child over nearly anyone else including your spouse.  You really do care about your child’s struggles and you go out of your way to be understanding.

The Bad.  Rules are sometimes too flexible as you are more interested in understanding how your child could do such a thing rather than punishing them for violating a rule.  This can cause confusion for your child who quickly learns that by shedding a couple of tears they can win you over and reduce their punishment.  One comment from your child of “you are being unfair” is likely to send you in a tail spin as you examine your ledgers.  This becomes a great distraction from the real issue at hand and your child escapes without punishment.

The Ugly.  Your child will learn how to manipulate you and as an adult will manipulate others by using a person’s sensitivity against them.  They may even become uncaring to the point of ignoring the feelings of others all together because they see feeling driven people as manipulative.  This creates an unhealthy environment for their children who are likely to be more like you and less like their parent.

Understanding your parenting style is not about beating yourself up and or pointing fingers at your spouse.  Rather it is about understanding your natural strengths and weaknesses so you can build on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses.  Remember, bookkeeper parents are fair so be fair and minimize the hurt feelings.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

 

Related Articles:

Struggling with Parenting?  Begin with You

Struggling with Parenting? Active Parents are Fun

Struggling with Parenting?  Cautious Parents are Aware

Struggling with Parenting? Direct Parents are Motivating

Struggling with Parenting? Begin with You

sad-black-woman-378x329Parenting is hard work.  At times it can be overwhelming, lonely, exhausting, discouraging, exciting, joyful, rewarding, encouraging, and fun within just a few short minutes.  The wide range of emotions  you feel from excitement over watching your child finally ride a bike without training wheels to paralyzing fear as they ride that bike straight into an on-coming car is enough to drive you into some unhealthy potato-chip-eating-addiction.  Yet despite the stress, you couldn’t imagine your life without your kids and you try hard to be the very best parent.

So you read lots of parenting books, talk to friends, and listen to experts on how to be a better parent.  But how much time have you invested in understanding your natural parenting style?  Yes, how you were raised has a lot to do with how you parent both good and bad, but you are also born with a personality style that is directly comparable to your parenting style.  When you understand your personality and parenting style (and perhaps more importantly, your spouse’s style), you will naturally be a better parent.

Active.  It is easy to tell if you are an active parent just by looking at your family calendar.  Is it full of too many things to do with not enough time?  Do you find that when you have some down time as a family, you want to go and do something rather than just sit at home?  As an active parent, your favorite questions will be centered around the word “Who”.  Who else is going? Who are your friends?  Who do you want to be?  Active parents have a lot of energy, are exciting to be around, and adventurous but they usually over commit or don’t follow through with promises.

Bookkeeper.  Imagine an invisible ledger which details all of the gifts, grades, thank-you notes, kind acts, punishments, harsh words, phone calls, and hugs for each child.  Now imagine trying to keep that ledger in balance so that one child is not favored over another, so gifts are equally divided, and punishment is equally distributed.  This is the bookkeeper parent who can do such a task in their head.  As a bookkeeper parent, your favorite questions will be centered around the word “How”.  How are you going to do that?  How do you feel?  How did you get that done?  Bookkeeper parents are very fair, diplomatic, and loyal but can easily get their feelings hurt in the process of parenting.

Cautious.  Danger lurks behind every corner which is precisely why a cautious parent is so careful about what they say, do or act because you would never want to be irresponsible about anything in front of your child.  Setting a proper example for your child in behavior, thought, and control of emotions is important to you.  As a cautious parent, your favorite questions will be centered around the word “Why”.  Why did you do that?  Why didn’t you finish that?  Why aren’t you doing it this way?  Cautious parents are detail oriented, analytical, and perfectionists but when pushed they can become irrationally moody and over explain.

Direct.  There is no beating around the bush with a direct parent; whatever they are thinking will be stated in a short period of time and not always at the most opportune moments.  There is no question as to who is in charge if you are a direct parent, you are and your child knows it.  As a direct parent, your favorite questions will be centered around the word “What”.  What are you doing?  What are you trying to accomplish? What is your point?  Direct parents are goal oriented, focused, and motivating but they can easily overpower a child and miss an opportunity for tenderness.

Knowing your style of parenting compared to your spouse’s style might just be the life-saver you need in preparation for your next parenting argument.  All of these styles have good, bad and ugly elements as one style is not better than another.  Rather, a child does well when all styles are represented and a more balanced approached to parenting is taken.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Related Articles:

Struggling with Parenting? Active Parents are Fun

Struggling with Parenting? Bookkeeper Parents are Fair

Struggling with Parenting?  Cautious Parents are Aware

Struggling with Parenting?  Direct Parents are Motivating

Sermon on Depression and Suicide

National Presbyterian ChurchIf you are struggling with depression or know of someone who is, please read this tender yet honest sermon from Chris Erdman about the death of his friend and Pastor Jamie Evans.  I knew Jamie as a child as his parents were and still are dear friends of my parents.  His father, Louis Evans Jr., now deceased, was also my pastor at National Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C., the one who taught me to have a love for God that is still strong within me.

I have nothing but fond memories of Jamie as he would often pick my brother and I up to attend youth functions at our church.  He was always so full of energy and life, so much fun to be around.  In fact, my first motorcycle ride, much to the dismay of my parents, was on the back of his bike.

This wonderfully written sermon is a testimony to Jamie’s life and struggles with ADHD, dyslexia and depression.  It reminds us of the importance of treating mental illness and not pretending everything is OK when it is not.  It is well worth your time to read.

http://chriserdman.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/God-and-Suicide-Luke-13.31-35.pdf

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Could My Child Become a Violent Shooter?

Hulk (comics)

Hulk (comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, no and maybe.  Remember the Hulk?  A normal looking man who turn into a green monster in a matter of seconds.  As a man he seems kind, understanding, logical, sympathetic, and systematic but given the right opportunity, he becomes unreasonable, angry, aggressive, spontaneous, and violent.  In a very simplistic way, this illustration clearly describes what happens to a violent shooter.  Yes, there are personality profiles, addictions, disorders, environments, and relationships that all contribute to the likelihood that a person will become a shooter but the bottom line is there is still a willingness to become the monster that lurks deep inside.

Who does this happen to?  Be honest for a second and recall your last monster like appearance.  Were you ranting and raving about something meaningless, were you throwing something across the room, were you crying uncontrollably, or were you wishing harm on someone?  If you can honestly assess your own monster like tendencies than you have the ability to discern your child’s monster like tendencies.  Everyone has this, it is just a matter of degree and triggers.

How does this happen?  It is like the flick of a switch.  One moment everything seems fine and then the switch is flicked and things are out of control.  Behind the switch however is a trigger that provoked you or your child into becoming the monster.  So the key is to know your own switches first and then you can more clearly see your child’s.  After all, some of your switches are likely to be the same or at least similar areas of frustration.

Why does this happen?  Well, within all of us lies an evil nature that if properly provoked could result in behavior uncharacteristic of you or your child.  Yes, it is hard to believe that your sweet innocent child might have some evil lurking inside but there is only person to be born without an evil nature and subsequently die without committing a sin and it is not your child.  Accepting the reality is far better than living in a fairytale land and pretending that your child is incapable of any harm.

What can I do to stop it?  Once you have accepted the possibility that your child could cause harm to others and learned their triggers, then you are in an excellent place to discern what type of care or treatment is needed.  If your child has numerous violent video games, talks about killing people, is easily angered into rage, has a history of causing harm to animals, or shows great disregard for authority, then your child needs immediate help from a trained professional.  If the reaction is less severe, then modeling proper behavior is the best place to start.  Your child will learn far more from how you act rather than what you say.

So yes, everyone is capable of evil.  No, this does not mean that your child will become a shooter.  But maybe, through good modeling in keeping your parent monster in check, you can teach your child to keep their monster from coming out and harming others.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

How Social Media Has Changed Dating

social networking

social networking (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Once upon a time, a guy would physically see a girl from a distance and become attracted to her and than approach her about going out on a date with him.  The first date most likely occurred without too much prior contact, sometimes with only one brief phone call (this is an actual phone call not a text or email) to discuss the schematics of the date.   But the first date was filled with much anticipation, as neither one really knew the other person and it was a toss of the dice to see if the initial attraction turned into a spark or fizzled out.

Now, things are different.  A girl sees a FB profile of a guy on-line and checks him out on his page and on LinkedIn before messaging him.  They begin to chat on-line, then text, then email and finally work up to a phone conversation long before the first date.  After a period of time, they agree to meet but have already learned so much about the other person that the date becomes the last part of the getting-to-know-you phase and not the first part.  This is precisely why social media has changed the way we date.

Attraction phase.  It is much easier to become attracted to a person on social media websites now because so many people use professionally touched-up photos or at the very least, the best photos they can find.  While a picture can say a lot about a person, it by no means says everything because you are the one interpreting the photo though your own perspective.  Basically, you can make a photo say whatever you want it to say just like you can interpret too much about a person based on one photo.  Don’t allow a photo to determine your level of attraction as you might be more or less attracted to the person when you finally meet them in person.

First-contact phase.  There are no real rules when it comes to who should initial the first-contact however, you should not be connecting with a person more frequently than they are connecting with you.  For instance, if you begin chatting with someone and they don’t respond right away, don’t be too quick to respond either.  If you do, you look desperate.  Rather respond an equal number of times to demonstrate that you are neither too eager nor too unavailable.  All forms of contact are appropriate but most begin with chatting, then texting, then email and finally phone calls.  This is a gradual process not a sprint.

Dating phase.  By the time you go on your first date, you should know quite a bit about the person you are expecting to meet in person.  By this time you already know that you like the other person and they like you, what you don’t know is if that spark on the phone will translate into a spark in person.  You also don’t know if the picture you have been seeing is real or imagined.  It is much easier to pretend to be something that you are not or something more than you really are when the person is not right in front of you.  It is much harder to do this in person, not impossible, just harder.

Social media has changed dating.  The “once upon a time” story will not return and “talking” has replaced “dating” as the new buzz word indicating an exploration of a mutual interest.  By the time a person is “dating” now, a relationship is already implied and exclusivity is expected.  Things are quite different from twenty years ago.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Final Version of DSM-V

dsm5-apaHere is the final version of the DSM-V which changes the diagnosis of Aspergers to a form of Autism and does not include SPD, Sensory Processing Disorder.  This is a unfortuante lack of inclusion as SPD is diagnosed in occupational therapy circles but not in psychological circles and many therapists are not familiar with the difference between Aspergers and SPD.

Some children have sensory sensitivity with the way food tastes, strong smells, too tight hugs, tags on clothes, or overstimulation visually.  For instance, if a child is in a classroom where every wall space is littered with too much stuff, they may have a hard time with distractibility or may act out after prolonged periods of time in the visually over-stimulated room.  This behavior is often seen as ADHD or Aspergers when it is really SPD where too much information is taken in by the brain without the proper time to assimilate all of the information.  This is not a “slow” child, rather the child is unable to filter out unnecessary information as others unconsciously do.

Sadly, because the DSM-V does not include SPD, many child will continue to be misdiagnosed and most likely unnecessarily medicated.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/12/02/final-dsm-5-approved-by-american-psychiatric-association/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.