Alternative Forms Of Therapy That You And Your Kids Can Try

Are your children dealing with bullying, family conflict, or health complications? And do you notice that it’s taking a toll on them mentally? If the answer to these questions is yes, your children may need to undergo therapy. When a variety of problems affect how people think and feel, a possible form of treatment is therapy. It is when people talk about their situation and emotions to learn how to deal with them.

Therapy can also help people with conditions like ADHD, depression, and anxiety, to name a few. If your children receive any of these diagnoses, it’s recommendable that you have them undergo therapy.

However, the entire process may seem intimidating, even scary, especially for the younger ones. The usual one-on-one sessions with a therapist might not work with some children. So, here are three alternative types of therapy that your children, as well as the rest of the family, can try:

Art Therapy

“When words are not enough, we turn to use images and symbols to tell of one’s life story and pave a path to recovery and transformation. Art and Expressive Therapy can help in the treatment of trauma/abuse, anxiety, depression, low self esteem, medical issues/illness, and grief and loss,” says Lara Henson, LCSW, a verified therapist of Psychology Today.

Art is already known as a form of catharsis. It means that it’s an outlet through which one can release intense emotions. Through this catharsis, people get rid of their negative feelings. It is what art therapy seeks to accomplish. Art therapy isn’t just “arts and crafts.” It’s not adult coloring books or coloring apps either. Making art in this context encourages participants to create works that explain how they feel.

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In art therapy, participants can express their perceptions, experiences, and problems visually. This form of creative expression overcomes the limits of language. After all, explaining what you feel isn’t always easy, especially in the case of young children.

If your kids are interested in the arts, it might be a good idea for you to bring them to an art therapy session. The environment is very relaxed and friendly. Plus, your children would be doing something they’re interested in. Who knows? You too might appreciate art!

Play Therapy

Don’t be so quick to discount this form of therapy as “just play.” It might seem like fun and games to the children involved, but they get to express a lot of significant emotions. Remember that kids communicate by playing.

“Play therapy is a type of mental health counseling that allows children to use a specially designed playroom to facilitate expression of emotions and feelings,” shares Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT, specializing in individual group, and family therapy with a specialty in Play Therapy. “In play therapy, children can take control of the therapy experience by choosing to play and/or talk.”

For example, playing pretend allows them to assume a role that they rarely take on as children. Through this role, they can express their emotional experiences. Through this, the play therapist can talk to them about their feelings. And together, they can find ways for your children to cope with their problems.

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Play and reality aren’t very different from each other. By playing certain games, the play therapist can learn about your children’s circumstances. Despite the fun and carefree exterior, the process helps therapists and concerned family members learn more about their children.

Much like its art counterpart, play therapy helps children work with unbearable and complicated feelings. It allows them to express emotions that, often, cannot be expressed through language. And in this context, they’re able to do so in a safe and non-intimidating environment.

Pet Therapy

Finally, there is pet therapy or animal-assisted therapy (AAT). In this form of treatment, an animal, as well as an animal handler, is present.

“In my clinical practice as a professional counselor, I have worked with a dog, a rabbit and horses and I’ve noticed benefits–especially anxiety reduction and relationship enhancement–when working with all three species,” discusses Leslie Stewart, PhD, LPC, an assistant professor of counseling at Idaho State University. “Since animal-assisted therapy is a relational approach, I think the provider’s skill along with the animal’s temperament and individual personality is probably more important than the animal species.”

A lot of animals serve in pet therapy. The most common are dogs and cats. Other animals include guinea pigs and horses. Children that are allergic to fur can work with fishes and dolphins. In the end, the animal of choice depends on the child and the kind of help they need. With each animal, there is a different kind of therapy.

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A lot of children work well during pet therapy. It’s easier for them to bond with an animal than it is with a human therapist. Given this, they’re less anxious about the processes. Pet therapy not only helps children cope with their mental stress. It teaches them to be compassionate towards another living being. It also helps them learn how to communicate, both verbally and non-verbally.

One-on-one sessions might not be practical for your children. Being left alone with someone unfamiliar might make them uncomfortable and less likely to talk about what they feel.

These alternative forms of therapy might work better as they combine therapeutic practices with fun. They’re also conducted in an environment that children see as less threatening. If you think your children might need therapy, consider these three alternatives!

Parenting Advice On Talking Around Your Kids

 

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If you think that your children are not mature enough to comprehend any of your adult conversations, then think again. When the family gathers around for dinner and mom and dad suddenly muster something about what they did in the bedroom, they think they can easily change the topic or find a nice segue without the kids wondering. You must not assume that they don’t have an idea about what it was, because they do.

“In my practice, parents are constantly shocked by what kids have overheard,” said family psychologist Brad Sachs, PhD, author of The Good Enough Child and The Good Enough Teen. “But as soon as children can talk, they’re listening to what you say.”

And if you think they just overheard what you and your friends were talking about in the backyard, try asking them. Allow them to talk, and you’ll realize that they were listening. Children sometimes get confused and upset by mature conversations, and they may not tell you about it, but they’re already worried by what they heard. So before your child says something to your in-laws about what you may have said, perhaps now is the time to talk more carefully.

 

Topics To Avoid When Kids Are Around

Don’t discuss these when little ears can hear:

 

  • Tense topics. You need to be cautious when you want to discuss serious issues, such as finances or family problems, because your kids may be listening. They are drawn toward emotional conversations and misunderstandings. This is confirmed by Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D., an author and psychologist in Princeton, New Jersey. You think it’s okay because they don’t completely understand, but that’s exactly the problem. If they hear it and have trouble understanding what is going on, their interpretation of the topic may even be worse than what it is.

 

What You Can Do. If there’s something unpleasant happening at home, your children will eventually sense it no matter how hard you hide it. So maybe you can share with them the simple facts.

 

  • Criticisms Toward Your Kids. Sometimes, when you’re too upset about your child, you impulsively share this over the phone with a friend, telling her how stubborn your kid is or divulging his mistakes to them. When your kid overhears this, he will more likely be ashamed, sad that you’re mad at him, and frustrated that he keeps on failing you.

 

What You Can Do. One of the common mistakes that parents do is not minding if their kids hear them talk about criticism toward them. This will have a negative impact on their confidence and perception of themselves. “It can be really hurtful if your kids overhear you criticizing them or talking about some mistake they made,” said Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD. “Be discreet about your kids’ indiscretions.” Avoid complaining about your children’s mistakes to others.

 

  • Trash Talk. Don’t you care if your kids are around and you’re criticizing their teacher, ex-husband, friend, or mother?

 

What You Can Do. You are displaying negative behavior for your child to follow. This is why some kids think nothing’s wrong when they say something unpleasant about somebody. Or maybe you might say something cruel about someone that your child cares about. And though he might get hurt, he won’t tell you. So stop.

 

  • Frequent Complaining. When you keep complaining about how exhausted and frustrated you are about your job, or why your husband’s job entails him to work in the evenings, you are also modeling bad behavior, and maybe your child would repeat this attitude in school – with his homework, lessons, or teachers. Obviously, this doesn’t have a good outcome.

 

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What You Can Do. Let him hear about the positive points of your job, that no matter how exhausting it is, it’s worth it. Explain to him working or being diligent and patient has their rewards.

 

  • Devastating World News. For your children, when they hear bad news on television, like terrorism, disasters, or robbery, they’d think these things could also happen to them any time. They would be afraid that the tsunami might come to them while they’re sleeping, or some bad guys would invade their house one evening.

 

What You Can Do. Some parents go to the extent of cutting their television to protect their child from depressing world events. Perhaps it would be all right not to shield your children from world events, not completely. You can make time to explain the news to them and reassuring them that they are safe with you.

 

  • Yes, this is very common – parents swearing in front of their children. When your kids hear this, they’ll attempt to repeat it, and you should not overreact, as it will only make the word sound exciting to your child.

 

What You Can Do. Always avoid swearing when your kids are around and never swear AT them. If you are not able to control your outbursts, tell your children to collect a dollar from you when they hear you swear. This will make them realize that you don’t want to swear and you’ll be punished if you will.

Conclusion

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, your children will end up overhearing things that you shouldn’t have allowed them to hear. A productive way to solve this is to ask them straight about what they heard, assuring them that they won’t be reprimanded if they tell you. Being proactive is also a wise move, like explaining to them in a way that is age-appropriate. If it is essential that they should not know about something, then you might as well get out of the house and go for a walk with your partner so you can talk without worrying if they’ll know.

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“Parenting is a difficult job, and one in which we all make mistakes at times. Communicating effectively with our children takes time and energy,” wrote Melanie Greenberg, PhD. Open your mind and realize that your children are affected by everything they hear. You just need to approach them the right way and always, with love.

 

 

Things That Parents Don’t Want To Talk About With Their Kids

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A lot of parents have a variety of methods regarding their parenting style. All of which differ from one child to another. However, in most cases, some parents somehow agree on some of the things that they don’t want their children to know. Let’s try to check out that stuff and understand why some parents consider it a taboo for kids.

 

Relationship And Divorce Issues

Most parents are incapable of telling their kids about the marital situation. It is either they want to keep it a secret or want their kids to figure it out on their own. They somehow try to avoid too many personal questions. Sometimes, the thought of confrontation scares them. The avoidance becomes enough to divert the current issue into something that’s not of a big of a deal. In some events, parents leave their kids hanging and uninformed about the things concerning their family relationship.

However, “[c]hildren & teens look to you to help them understand what is going on,” wrote Robert Taibbi, LCSW. “That said, this is a change over which children have no control, over which they have little, at best, understanding about the why and what of this change in their lives. As parents we want the best for our children and sometimes that means we need to create the best for ourselves.”

Source: pl.wikipedia.org

Sexual Involvement

As much as possible, parents don’t want their kids to tackle sex at an early stage. Sometimes, they even leave them alone and let them understand it in secret. Since it is all about intimacy in all forms of sexual affirmations, parents avoid getting questioned about it. They feel embarrassed and too uncomfortable to share experience and knowledge. In some instances, when a child asks about where kids are from, they answer in a complete metaphoric statement. It becomes fair enough not to directly tell the child that babies are the result of two individuals who have unprotected sexual intercourse.

 

Same-Sex Relationship

Kids are naturally curious about a lot of things. And when they start to ask something, they would certainly want an answer. Though some same-sex couples easily find it comfortable telling their kids about the situation, it differs on others. Parents, who have opposite gender, tend to avoid discussing gay marriage to their children. They seem too afraid to talk about it. They believe that if they do, they will imprint an idea on their kids’ heads.

Nonetheless, Fred Kaeser EdD, said, “My belief is it is never too late to begin your conversations with your child. But it can certainly be far better to start early. I advise parents that the age of 5 is a wonderful time to lay a foundation for what homosexuality is and to instill in your young child a sense of tolerance and acceptance for being lesbian or gay.”

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Bereavement From Losing Someone

Though others may think that grief is okay, for some parents, death is not a good topic to be discussed in front of children. They believe that talking about it induces fear and worries on the kids’ younger minds. Although the idea of death is something universal, parents don’t want them to suffer an emotional and mental breakdown at an early stage. That is quite an acceptable reason because the topic of death itself will affect their overall function. Parents try to avoid children to force themselves to understand the things that they are not supposed to know at that particular moment.

When talking about death, Deborah Serani, PsyD, said, “Share information in doses. Gauge what your child can handle by giving information in small bits at a time. You’ll know what more to do based on the questions your child asks.”

It’s understandable that parents only want what’s best for their kids. However, it doesn’t mean that some of these topics should have to be avoided. Though some of these are scary, parents need to find the right words that can best describe the situation. They may talk about it too soon or somehow they might not. Nonetheless, the essential things are the pieces of information children can learn from these topics.

How Therapy Can Help Your Kid Recover From Depression 

Finding out that your child is clinically depressed can break your heart into million pieces. It will be easier on your part to feel sorry for what happened to him. You will start to blame yourself for your shortcomings. While this may be the normal reaction for any parent, it does not mean that there is no way out. Fortunately, there are now several ways on how you can help your kid recover from depression, one of which is therapy, wherein your child will have numerous face-to-face sessions with a therapist.

 

Source: pxhere.com

Continue reading “How Therapy Can Help Your Kid Recover From Depression “

Therapist Recommendations On Sustaining A Marriage While Nurturing Special Needs Children

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Parents require a certain amount of patience and endurance when providing additional attention and care of their special needs kids on top of struggling to keep their marriage and life together.

“To begin, there is no strict or clear definition of what it means for a child to have “special needs.” Many people think of special needs as necessarily involving a serious or chronic medical condition, wrote Seth Meyers, PsyD.

Couples therapists are well-aware that finding the right amount of balance is demanding. Married couples must find a way to meet in the middle primarily if that would entail settling things in a way that obligations within the house won’t affect their relationship and their responsibilities with their special needs children.

Not every day is a great day; certainly, there will be days when stress will just eat you whole. But, if couples surpass these challenges, they will become more mature and skillful in handling their situation without compromising mutual respect and equilibrium.

So, how do couples go about sustaining their marriage while being responsible parents to their special needs child? Here are some significant inputs from therapists that couples can consider.

Source: pixabay.com

You Are Equal

In handling a family, couples should see each other eye-to-eye; nobody should be above the other for it would only lead to disputes. Remember that as parents, you are a team who are mainly tasked to get through with life, warding off difficulties and solving problems. Though there will be times that you will find yourselves at the losing end, it’s entirely normal.

“For couples counseling to work, a couple must want to move forward together. They should have a shared vision of what their relationship could be,” wrote Rose Reif, LPCA, CRC, BC-TMH. Learn to work together in taking care of your special needs child. As equals, couples should communicate with each other about their main responsibilities inside the house and what their contributions are to the family.

Reduce Blaming, Practice Forgiving

Everybody makes mistakes. Even those who have perfected their crafts still encounter missteps. Therefore, if issues arise regarding special needs care or anything concerning the relationship, talk with each other about the issue as calmly as possible.

Catherine Aponte, PsyD, suggested, “I offer collaborative negotiation as the process by which issues are identified, discussed, and resolved in such a way that each partner feels honored and valued—supporting the coupleship for the long haul.” Allow your partner to vent and acknowledge their frustrations for they are valid. Despite the errors made, learn to forgive because it is the only way that couples recover from disharmony. Cease the blaming and try to not habitually re-open sensitive subjects that have been agreed upon in the first place.

If you have I-told-you-so comments brewing inside your head, just keep it to yourself. Blaming is destructive and makes couples lose respect for each other. Furthermore, as one practices the act of forgiveness, the other must also be accepting of mistakes made.

Accept Differences

A person will only reveal his or her true nature once you start living together; this is particularly true for married couples. There will be instances that you will be breathing down each other’s necks not because you hate each other but because your views and principles on doing things inside the house and taking care of your kids don’t coincide; especially regarding discipline, treatment options, school curriculum, and finances. Relax. There will be days like that. Consider those kinds of days as periods of adjustment and learning – you will know how to respect each other’s principles, thoughts, and opinions while being able to learn more about each other

Usually, the best way to deal with differences is to weigh who gave the better option and accept defeat. You also have to remember that there will be days that your partner will provide better options so you should give way. In the end, everyone benefits, especially your special needs child because more options open up better opportunities for childcare.

Rekindle The Romance

Just because you’re swamped with responsibilities and obligations in and out of the family, doesn’t mean that you cannot be intimate and romantic, just like the way it used to be when you’re still on the process of dating. Rekindle heartwarming moments by doing sweet things no matter how simple they would appear.

Do bed and breakfast, add loving and thoughtful notes on personal items, and bring favorite things for no reason at all. To make someone smile is one of the greatest feelings in life, it makes you remember what made you fall deeply with each other and quickly wipes away the stressors and troubles of the day.

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Make Time For Each Other

Spending time together after a challenging day or week be complicated, but it’s vital in reconnecting with each other. Have a moment for yourselves as a couple. Go on a quick getaway. Take advantage of your support systems like relatives and grandparents. Remember that keeping your relationship healthy is as important as taking care of your special needs children for, without harmony between individuals, it would be more challenging to provide care.

At first, your relationship will be very rocky, and you both will stumble a couple of times. But that’s not a sign that you should give up easily. That’s how marriages work. Therefore, it is essential that you appreciate the efforts made, respect varying perspectives, and embrace differences. Only then will you understand your partner and be in unity when taking care of your special needs child.

 

Ways to Cultivate Gratefulness from Your Child

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“Gratitude is a powerful human emotion. By conveying and receiving simple ‘thank you’ messages, we can truly derive the pleasure that we seek everywhere else,” wrote psychiatric counselor Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury, BA. Gratitude, if promulgated accordingly, will reap bountiful benefits for your children.

Isn’t it such a satisfying feeling to raise a child who knows how to be thankful for everything that life bestows on them no matter how big or small or good or bad the outcome may be?

Continue reading “Ways to Cultivate Gratefulness from Your Child”

The Importance of Curfew (For Kids)

If you were ever lost for words to explain to your children why they should care about curfew, then do not worry we have been in the same boat and are here for you. It is vital that you never tell your kids, ‘because I said so.’ as a justification for any of your actions. While it might be a quick answer to the now, your child will lack the proper knowledge of why to not do what you are trying to push them away from. Imagine what will happen in the teenage years when they try to look for reasons to not stay out past curfew will it be just because you say so? If this was new information to you, then read on for some other important parental information.

“Curfews are an important tool in helping to manage a teen and keep them away from risky situations,” said Michael Dennis, PhD. “They are at risk for being able to use and/or using to the point of getting in a dangerous situation in terms of sexual risk, being in a car with a driver being intoxicated, getting into a fight, and a variety of other things. Therefore, it’s important for parents to come up with clear boundaries about when kids need to be home and to make sure that those kids follow those boundaries.”

Aside from typical home curfews, Katelyn Alcamo, LCMFT, also suggests setting a technology curfew for younger kids. She said, “This means all devices should be stored with the parents after a certain time of night. This is the time when most kids get into trouble with their social media use, as it is often unsupervised. There is no one available to support them if something negative happens.”

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Choosing The Right Time

Now the best time to tell your kid about a curfew might come to a surprise to most parents, but it is now. The rumours that there is a certain age to start talking about curfew is just that rumor. What is the right time to start teaching responsibility? What is the right time to not worry about your child? When is the right time for someone to snatch your kids off of the streets? While it is impossible to keep your child a hundred percent safe (unless you are fortunate enough to afford to homeschool), it is possible to mitigate. The timing is not what you need to worry about but rather the wording.

“The matter of curfew raises both specific and symbolic issues. Specifically, curfew has to do with how late an adolescent is allowed to stay out by parents who set a time she has to be home. Symbolically, curfew has to do with parents setting limits on the adolescent’s personal and social freedom at an older age,” wrote Carl E Pickhardt, PhD.

 

Stern But Fair

When you are telling your kid about curfew, it is important that establish a stern but fair tone and nothing on the far end. Coming off as too stern then you child might feel rebellious in later years and miss curfew just to spite you when it is just notwithstanding their safety. However, if you are too lax, then the seriousness of the curfew will fall on deft ears which are just as terrible. Read on if you are having trouble with the wording.

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Explain

Now to sound like you are setting these new timelines for their safety rather than abitarily is to speak to your child like an adult. The worst thing that you talk to them below their intelligence as this will be a conversation that they are going to need to remember for years. Do not spare any of the gory details either as you tell them everything from curfew police to the drunks to the child molesters that walk the streets. It is also important to teach your kid that not all strangers all evil. Just the ones that are overly friendly at first or seem gruff from appearance. There might not be a way to tell your kid what a child molester looks like but you can tell them what a decent stranger looks like but under no circumstances should they follow or take anything from a said person.

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Reward

The last and least important thing that you need to tell your kid after all else has been mentioned is that they will not go unrewarded. This site has an excellent article on creating a reward system but here is an overview of reward systems that you can do depending on your budget:

 

*Tight Budget Reward System

Have your child write a top ten of things that they want for Christmas. Tell them that you will mark out and a checkmark by their behaviour to the curfew rules.

 

*Moderate Budget Reward System

Use your knowledge of your kid to your advantage as you give them their most/least favourite food in accordance to their behaviour. If they are good for prolonged periods of time, the rare non-holiday gift is beneficial.

 

*High Budget Reward System

Plainly start an allowance for your child. Something you wish your parents had done huh?