Archive for July, 2010

Change and the Three Rs

” The only thing constant is change”, I have heard this statement my whole life. When I was younger change was exciting and new. Graduating from high school, going to college, making new friends, graduating from college, getting my first full time job, getting married, buying a house, having children, and the list goes on and on. Yes, all those changes were scary but somehow the excitement overshadowed the anxiety.

As I have become older, this statement still holds true, but now it seems that I would be more comfortable and less anxious with things not changing for a while. But major work and life changes are common: Laid off from your job, retirement, relocations, divorce, children graduating from high school, increased responsibilities, loss of loved ones, and other numerous events. 

Whether these changes are welcome or unwelcome, all can be extremely stressful unless we learn how to adjust to them. Taking the time to recover, refocus and regenerate following life changes can help us survive and even thrive.

RECOVER - After a life change you need to regain your sense of balance and routine. You situation may be, at least for now, stressful, challenging, or unfamiliar. You may have symptoms such as headaches, backaches, or depression. To begin your recovery, it will help to step back from your new situation. Plan mini breaks like going to the movies, taking a drive to local attractions, planning a weekend away, or just taking time for yourself. These “distractions” can help you get distance and perspective. Exercise and sharing your feelings with others are excellent stress reducers which can help you get back on track.

REFOCUS – If you are able to look at “the big picture”, you will gain greater peace of mind about the change. If you have been recently laid off from your job now may be the time to accomplish some of those things around the house, take some leisure time going fishing and spending extra time with your kids and family. You may also take the time to learn new skills, reconnect with friends, or spend more time networking with others. Take the time to think about what has happened, why, and what it might mean. You will realize that your feelings are mixed. With time, those feelings will change. Talking to trusted friends, family members, clergy, or a professional counselor may speed the process.

REGENERATE – All change is stressful for your body and your body needs time to heal. Get extra rest, avoid alcohol and cigarettes, and eat properly. Try to increase your circle of support, connect with new people or reinforce old friendships. Social media including Facebook is an excellent way to do this.

No one can escape change. Accepting the fact that change has taken place is important. When you take steps to recover, refocus and regenerate, you will find acceptance easier. These steps will help you successfully make the change part of your life. 

Until Next Time,

Lory

Lory Naugle, MS, NCC, DCC is a Professional Counselor in private practice in Shippensburg, PA. She provides counseling to children through adults for various mental health issues. Lory also provides counseling by distance means such as skype, secure email, telephone, and secure chat rooms.

Parenting your Teen – Tips to Help you Cope Through this Trying Time

Parenting a teenager is one of the most difficult challenges a parent will face. A Yiddish proverb states, Small children disturb your sleep, big children your life. All parents face this time in their children’s life and wonder what has happened to the child they used to know. Volumes of books have been written about the subject. In looking back over my own experience of raising teenagers I feel lucky that I survived. I’m very proud of my young adults and who they are becoming.  My daughter and I clashed a lot. I was her target of blame for almost anything at times. I had to learn to pick my battles carefully and then be firm and follow through with the consequences. I was not her friend I was her mother. Below are some tips to follow as you navigate parenting a teen.

  • Set Limits and Follow Through on the Consequences – Your teenager still needs your guidance and even though they will never admit it at the time, they need you to say no. By setting and enforcing rules, parents give teens predictabiltiy and structure, as well as a way to combat peer pressure. Without your caring oversight, teens are left feeling isolated and alone. One of the most common reaction from teens in regards to this, I need limits. I’m going to yell at you and react to them, but when you don’t give me any, it makes me feel like I’m in charge. I may say that’s what I want, but it really scares me.
  • Always Listen – You may know what it’s like to be a teenager, but your child know what it’s like to be a teenager today. Teens today are dealing with a whole new set of stressors. Your teen may not want to talk about things when you want to talk but letting your teen know that you are available when they want to talk is important. Many  times we would have conversations in our household with our teens at the oddest times. No they weren’t always convient but looking back they were very powerful. Try to find a common interest with them in regards to a movie, sport, or other activity and talk about it without being critical. I love having conversations with my daughter about the Twilight saga. It’s interesting to find out which character they identify with and why. The teens response to this is, Sometimes I actually do want to talk to you. I just don’t know how. Find creative ways to make me talk to you. It’ll take the pressure off. 
  • Keep your Anger focused on Their Actions Not on Them as a Person- Teenagers can become very angry people. They continue to fight for their independence and less control by their parents. Teens can and do get overloaded with stress. They have poor coping skills, and getting angry is the only way they know how to avoid feeling sad, hurt, or afraid. Some of the most common teen responses to this include: I don’t always know why I’m angry, irritable, sad, or worried. Sometimes I may need you to help me figure it out. But sometimes, I may want to figure it out alone. And I’m not as in control as I am trying to look. Sometimes my hormones make me feel crazy. I haven’t learned how to regulate myself yet. One phrase I used quite often with my teens was that I really loved them, I just didn’t like their behavior at the moment. 
  • Give Your Teen Honest Compliments- Yes, I totally understand how hard this can be at times. But as parents it is easy to see all the things that they are doing wrong and not give notice to the things they are doing right. This is extremely important at this age. Teens do care what their parents think! You may give compliments as to how they handled a difficult situation, or in regards to their grades in school, or particular friends they are choosing to hang around with. I remember giving my daughter compliments on how she did her hair and makeup and trying something new (going out for a sports team). Because I was a professional counselor, she often asked advice on how to handle some of her friend’s problems, and I would be amazed as to how she thought she should handle them. Teenagers especially love to hear their parents give positive feedback about them to others. People would often ask me about raising a teenage daughter and I would say, ” I love the person she is becoming”.  Teens want their parents to be proud of them and accept them for who they are. This means resisting the urge to compare your child to others. Teens already spend their days assessing how they measure up and feeling badly about themselves – they are relying on you to be their biggest supporter. 
  • Try to Find a Compromise that Both Parties Can Accept - Teens consistently push their boundaries. When incorporating open communication as best you can, let your teen know that you are willing to trust them more but along with that trust comes more responsibility on their part. Compromises are and will always be a part of any type of relationship. Talk openly so both parties can accept what was agreed upon. 

If you continue to have conflicts with your teen, it is especially helpful to seek counseling with a professional. Not only does this give  your teen a chance to express themselves but also to talk to someone other than a parent or friend. Most professional counselors will also work with the parent on communication and parenting skills along with support for all parties involved.

“I am every emotion times ten, I conform yet I’m rebellious, always obeying but somehow still an outlaw, always talking but never heard, I am a teenager”. Author Unknown

Until Next Time,

Lory

If you like this article, please let me know and share it with family and friends. Thanks and have a great holiday weekend.

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