Frequently Asked Questions About Family Counseling For Everyone

I grew up hearing people tell me that they wished to live as I did, even just for a day.

It confused me at first, but in the end, I thought, “How could I blame them?”

For one, Calabasas had been my stomping grounds for as long as I could remember. I lived in the same gated community where many A-list Hollywood celebrities lived. Though everyone complained about the Great Depression when I was in high school, it did not affect my family. My parents – both of them – were celebrated surgeons, and their combined salaries were enough to buy three more mansions in the area. I never had to ride a bus to and from school either, considering I had a personal car and driver.

Nevertheless, what people seemed to overlook was that we were Asians. Mom and Dad were both in the US, but their parents were first-generation immigrants who continued to follow Asian traditions even on American soil.

I loved telling people about my heritage; I’m honestly proud of having ancestors who fought in those great wars and died as heroes. However, if there was one thing that I was not proud of, it was the fact that many Asian parents tend to value their social status more than their true feelings sometimes.

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Breaking The Picture-Perfect Idea

For instance, my oldest sister, Sia, got pregnant in her second year at UCLA. She was supposed to follow my parents’ footsteps and be the best doctor in California, but those plans went kaput as soon as she decided to marry her boyfriend and become a housewife.

My parents wanted to disown my sister when they learned about her pregnancy, of course. They kept berating her about how slutty she was for being unable to wait until after college to get married. However, to avoid any scandal, they threw a lavish wedding for my sister and pretended like they loved my brother-in-law.

In another circumstance, my father got caught with another woman one time. Mom was livid about it for weeks. She said, “What would our friends think once they found out about this?” I thought they would get divorced at that time, but Mom resolved that they would stick together no matter what.

However, what genuinely disturbed me and pushed me to drag all my family members to counseling was when my parents decided to sleep in bedrooms. In their hunger for a picture-perfect family, they’d rather stay in a loveless marriage instead of splitting up. I could not stand that, so I made an appointment for all of us.

Here are some things you may want to know about family counseling.

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What does a family Counsellor do? 

 A family counselor helps family members dispute with each other as they encourage the latter to communicate better and lay out their issues. That way, they can reach an agreement and reconcile.

Can you get family Counselling on the NHS? 

 Yes, you can get family counseling on the NHS. It is one of the various types of counseling that they offer. More importantly, you need not ask for a referral from your psychologist or psychiatrist before availing of their services.

What is family therapy, and what are its goals and benefits? 

 Family therapy is a type of treatment that parents, children, and other relatives tend to sign up for when they have issues that they cannot talk about without fighting or yelling. Family therapy’s primary goal is to end any dispute that causes a family to divide or fall apart. The therapist also helps the family members improve their communication skills to not fight about the same things.

One of the benefits of family therapy is that everyone realizes the meaning of healthy boundaries and family dynamics. Sometimes, that gets lost in some people, assuming that what they are doing is acceptable because they all live under one roof.

Family therapy is ideal for individuals to develop a more profound sense of empathy towards their relatives. The more you understand your loved ones, the more you will think twice before throwing hurtful comments towards them.

How much does an MFT charge per hour? 

 A novice marriage and family therapist (MFT) may charge up to $70 per hour. As they gain more years of experience, though, their rate can become $250 per hour.

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What is the difference between therapy and counseling? 

 Counseling is a short-term approach to help individuals deal with their current issues. For instance, when a couple fights because of a third party or your partner died, you need counseling to resolve your issues and know how to move on from the situation.

Meanwhile, therapy is a long-term approach that helps folks with deep-seated issues. This is useful if someone deals with childhood trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety, and other problems that cannot go away after a session or two.

Which Counselling approach is best? 

 Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the best approaches that psychologists and psychiatrists recommend to their patients. As the name implies, it recognizes how a person’s way of thinking affects their actions. Then, the therapist helps the patient recalibrate their thoughts to alter their behavior for the better.

Can Counselling be harmful? 

 Yes, counseling can technically be harmful, especially if the counselor you end up talking to does not have the proper training to offer to counsel. If you want to get this kind of help, it may be best to go straight to a psychologist instead of talking to anyone who poses as a counselor.

Why is it not good to have two therapists? 

 You cannot have two therapists because they follow different techniques and beliefs while treating a patient. That is true even when they ideally graduated from the same universities and received the same certifications. One may go left, while the other may go right.

It results in you getting confused or mixing up whatever the therapists have said. Instead of finding clarity and resolving your issues, you may end up dealing with more problems that were not there before you decided to see two therapists.

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How do I choose a counselor? 

 When you are looking for a counselor, the first thing you must ask yourself is, “How comfortable am I to talk to this person?” Your friends and family can recommend anyone and say they are the best, but if you do not feel some kind of connection with the counselor, you need to look for another.

You should also look at the counselor’s success rate and certifications. If they have more positive reviews than negative ones, it must mean that they are competent. 

What credentials should I look for in a therapist?

The therapist’s level of education is the primary credential that you need to look for. A bachelor’s degree in counseling or psychology does not suffice to call someone a therapist. You can only do that once they have a master’s or doctoral degree, as well as a license to conduct therapy.

Furthermore, it would be nice if the license is related to the kind of therapy they offer. For instance, if it’s marriage and family therapy, you should go to a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT).

Comparing Life Before And After Family Counseling

Despite the affluence that my parents gave me, I was unhappy before the family counseling. In my head, I would rather be a product of divorce than a product of two individuals who already grew apart.

To everyone’s surprise, though, Mom and Dad opened up about their reservations, fears, and disappointments. It was a long and tearful process, and we were nowhere near done with it. I was cool with that as long as it meant that I could feel lucky to belong in this family anytime.

 

The War Against Junk Foods

TV commercials are populated with junk foods and fast foods with little to no nutritional value. This constant viewing of advertisements increases the chance that children will beg their parents to buy these types of foods. Children who spend a lot of time watching television or surfing online are more likely to eat more, regardless if they are hungry or not. For parents, it is quite alarming because of the risks it may bring to their child’s health.  

 

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My Child’s A Brat: Consequences Of Tolerating A Spoiled Behavior

If you raise a spoiled child, both of you will reap the consequences in the long run.

 

Parents listen up; spoiling your child is not healthy. If one day you end up asking yourself questions like, “Where did I go wrong?” followed by, “I gave you everything you need and want.” Well, you just answered your question. Love does not mean you have to give your kids everything they want just because they throw tantrums at you or whines every minute of the day.

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What Pushes Kids To Rebel Early

Having children is a wish for a lot of people. They say that you will only realize the true meaning of being alive when you have kids to care for and cherish. You will know what it’s like to sacrifice without feeling a morsel of regret about it. You can experience happiness, no matter how challenging it can be to provide their needs. 

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The thing is, most parents believe that the rebellious phase only comes when their kids hit puberty. That’s when they become hormonal, after all, and develop mood swings. It is a part of growing up – something that no one can ever stop. Carl E Pickhardt Ph.D. explains this “Although the young person thinks rebellion is an act of independence, it actually never is. It is really an act of dependency. Rebellion causes the young person to depend their self-definition and personal conduct on doing the opposite of what other people want.”

However, it is not uncommon either to see children rebel even before they become adolescents. To avoid becoming dumbfounded when you experience it firsthand, you should know what pushes them to become rebellious early.

They Feel Treated Unfairly

The first reason why kids rebel early is perhaps jealous. Among siblings, there is usually a weakling who require parents’ care more than others. If a child does not realize that, they may think that their mom or dad favors their brother or sister more. It may then cause them to act up so that they can receive some attention, regardless if it’s good or bad. “Sometimes parents think that comparing one sibling to another will inspire a misbehaving child to behave better.  It NEVER works this way. Comparisons hurt.” emphasized Eileen Kennedy-Moore Ph.D.

Their Parents Filed For Divorce

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When parents decide to divorce each other, they say that it’s for the best. However, kids do not exactly understand that and want their mom and dad to stay together forever. If it does not happen, they may choose to take part in activities that they have been told not to do. E.g., sneaking out, smoking, dating, doing drugs, etc. Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D. says that “Research shows that parents who experience conflict in their relationship tend to use inconsistent disciplinary strategies with their children. Why? It is hypothesized that the way parents discipline children varies with the status of the spousal relationship.”

They Have Depression

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Children can have depression. Millions of them have already been diagnosed with it from the tender age of 3. Dealing with this disorder entails that they may push away their loved ones. When their siblings try to play with them, the depressed kid may turn their back. If the parents want to bond with them or take a picture together, they either lock the bedroom door or not smile at all.

No One Seems To Understand Them

This issue is typically experienced by kids with high IQ levels. The truth is that some brilliant children tend to talk about things that their parents with average IQ may not understand. They may speak of quantum physics in the middle of a conversation, and their mom or dad will not know how to respond. They may ask about chemical reactions, but no one tries to answer them. As a result, they act up to gain a response.

Final Thoughts

Kids are born good. They may already show different personalities as soon as they arrive, but they are all sweet and cuddly. Their only fault is that they are excellent at copying the actions or emotions of others. In case you notice their attitudes turning sour, therefore, there is no one to blame but the people they hang out with most of the time.

Considering you don’t want your kids to rebel early, you should not push them to do it with your decisions and behavior.

Turning the Negative to Positive: Developing Optimism in Children

This world needs positivity, and it’s up to the kids to make that happen.

Optimism is rare these days, not a lot of people is as positive as they intended to be. But the thing about optimism is, it can take you places if you’ll only open your mind to possibilities. This mindset is something that you have to teach your kids especially now that there are heaps and heaps of unforeseeable challenges ahead.

“Optimism is a mindset.  It encompasses a ‘can do’ attitude, such as seeing opportunity where others see failure,” write Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D., and Linda E. Weinberger, Ph.D.

 

source: flickr.com

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What To Do When You Realize How Spoiled Your Child Has Become

The parents at my daughter’s school often get encouraged by the teachers to take part in their extracurricular activities. Whenever we go there, we would bring home-baked goodies, pasta, and other foods that they may like. I get to interact with a lot of moms and dads and kids as well, so I feel secure about who my baby interacts with daily.

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I must say, most of the kids are well-behaved. Some boys are a bit unruly, but it is understandable for young kids. If there’s anyone who’s most peculiar, it’s probably Sam, a little girl whom I heard my daughter and her other classmates complaining about.

From what I have observed, Sam is not the type to play with her peers at the playground. When she does, she always wants to be the center of attention. Otherwise, the girl would pout or cry loudly or take others’ things by force.

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When the teacher did not know how to handle her behavior anymore, she called in Sam’s parents. However, only her father came. As it turned out, the little girl is a product of a broken home. To compensate for the divorce, her parents decided to give her anything she wants, even if it no longer makes sense. That’s why it resulted in the child becoming spoiled.

“A spoiled person is unhappy. He feels frustrated, even cheated, if he or she is not allowed to indulge his or her wishes immediately,” writes Fredric Neuman, M.D.

There was an event at school when Sam’s father talked to the teacher, so we could not help but see how he reacted while listening about his daughter’s behavior. He was shocked, yes, but it was also evident that he understood what the problem was. The man left the school that day with his head down and his arms on either side of his body.

I am lucky for having a thoughtful child, but what can you do when you realize how spoiled your child has become?

Stop Buying Everything They Ask For

The first thing you must do is to stop splurging on whatever your kid wants. Not everything will be handed to them in a golden platter in the future. If you continue doing that, they will not know that that’s not how life works.

“Perhaps the most basic value about money that children can learn is that it should not define them. Instead, who one is, how one behaves, and how one treats others, rather than, for example, what one drives or wears, should determine their value as people,” writes Jim Taylor, Ph.D.

Give Them Responsibilities

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It is also advisable to give chores to children as soon as they can hold a mop. You can start by asking them to fix their bed every morning. Then, you may ask them to organize their books and toys. Over time, they can help you set the table or sweep the floor.

“Being a part of the ongoing work of running a household helps children develop an awareness of the needs of others, while at the same time contributing to their own emotional well being,” writes Dan Mager, MSW.  

Teach Important Values

Spoiled kids carry an idealistic belief that they can get anything they want. Thus, it makes them selfish, entitled, and too proud of themselves. To avoid that, you need to teach them good and bad traits so that they can treat people well.

Final Thoughts

Raising children with someone you no longer love can undoubtedly be challenging. You have to see your ex to co-parent your kids. You want to make sure that the little ones will not feel incomplete because of the divorce. However, it should not be an excuse to spoil your children to the max.

Find the balance between making kids feel loved and giving them the best things in life. Good luck!

Malini Saba – Not Just A Mom

Have you been burdened by gender roles ever since you became a mother? Although most people and companies practice equality these days, there are still a few who think that moms are supposed to stay at home only. Your job is to take care of your husband and kids, not to build your career, or so they say.

If the idea does not sit well with you, try to gain inspiration from Malini Saba.

The Past

Malini’s life story began when she was born to parents with mid-range income in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her family then moved to Australia, where she remained until the age of 19. Afterward, she decided to relocate to the United States with her then-husband and try her luck there. This was a significant risk on her part, as she only had 200 dollars as pocket money when she traveled.

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Even though she admitted that they were living in a non-sturdy apartment near the railroad, her former spouse was a student in Stanford University, and it allowed Saba to join a few classes without paying a cent. The fields of studies that caught her interest were related to investment and business. By the time she gained enough information through the lectures she had shown up to, Malini had gone on to ask for guidance from investment bankers and other professionals in the financial industry who know more than the theories taught in the classrooms. Her persistence to learn the tricks of the trade even led her to come uninvited to various parties where she could meet such experts

The Present

Malini Saba’s efforts have paid off since she is now one of the leading female investors on the planet. The investments she had made not only in the US but in South Asia and Europe as well are concentrated in technological, oil and gas, and agricultural industries.

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Being a seasoned capitalist in Silicon Valley, Saba has stocks in companies like Paypal, Netscreen Technologies, and Sycamore Networks. She is also into market commodities. When not a lot of entrepreneurs were doubtful about investing in India, she disregarded the hearsays and bought thousands of hectares of rice fields and ventured into gold mining.

Her success in the business has allowed her to donate millions for the creation of the Heart Research Center for South Asians in Mountain View, California and the 2004 tsunami victims in Sri Lanka and India. 

Stree

Malini Saba has put up her foundation too in 2001 named Stree: Global Investments in Women. She has seen how many mothers and children live on the planet without a source of income and can only depend on the salary of their husbands and fathers, respectively. She created Stree as she wishes to empower the female population of various countries who belong to impoverished families by giving them free training and education on diverse practices that they can make money out of shortly. Medical assistance is also available to them. The lady CEO believes that these are the simple things she can do to help them lead more exceptional lives.

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Her Definition Of Success

Success in the eyes of Malini Saba entails being able to follow one’s passion with a smile painted on their faces. Her most significant accomplishment is giving birth to a lovely daughter who provided her a sense of completion as a woman. The young child serves as her main inspiration as well to create a better world for everyone.

Also, she disclosed that living in the past is not one of her philosophies. History should only become a foundation of strength and knowledge. In case something knocks her down along the path to real happiness, the fall will be softer, and she can get up fast again.

Why Parents Should Stop Babying Kids Too Much

My sisters and I grew up in a household where we did not need to have chores. Mom decided to leave her job as a piano teacher when the youngest kid was born, so she was always at home. Dad also made sure that we had an in-house helper to do all the cleaning and laundry for us. Thus, we got used to the cycle of waking up, studying, playing, and sleeping, even when we reached high school.

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Whenever my friends would hear about how little I had to do at home, they would often express their envy. After all, most of them had parents who gave them chores as soon as they could follow instructions. The older they became, the more household activities they had to take responsibility for. That would sometimes make them resent their moms and dads, especially if they could not have fun without finishing their chores first.

The thing is, I realized that my friends were luckier than I was when I moved out of state for college. “Psychologist Erik Fisher, PhD, says, “Coddling is when parents predict the failure of a child. It is a protective act.” Allow me to share a few reasons why you should stop babying your kids, too.

They Won’t Know How To Survive In A Dormitory

The first issue came to surface when I went from the West Coast to the East Coast to get my college degree. My parents said in the beginning that they did not mind paying for my apartment, but I insisted on staying in a dormitory. In my head, it would be exciting to live with same-aged girls whom I was yet to meet.

However, I was not used to making my bed every morning. Most of my dirty clothes were either at the foot or under the bed as well. When it’s time to clean the room together, they would give me the most straightforward job of vacuuming the floor, but I still could not get it right.

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It would be great if your kids could find roommates similar to mine who willingly taught me basic chores. Otherwise, they would not survive in a dormitory.

They Could Not Handle Typical Part-Time Jobs

Going to college or even before graduating from high school entails that your children can apply for part-time positions. The money they would earn from the job would allow them to buy whatever they want on their own. It would also teach them to become responsible, financial-wise.

The only problem here is that most part-time jobs require a bit of knowledge about cleaning, cooking, and doing other tasks. That is especially true if the kids become waitresses, busboys, cashiers, or ice cream scoopers. Considering your children have never held a mop or dish rag in their life, though, it will be almost impossible for them to keep their position for weeks.

They Would Rely On You Forever

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Babying kids too much causes them to grow up as weaklings. What it means is that you have to help them with every single thing they do, even if they are old enough to start their own family. Instead of solving their issues by themselves, they would tell you about it so that you could resolve it for them. In other words, these kids would rely on you for as long as you are alive.

Final Thoughts

“Many of us often claim that our children are our world, and this is certainly true in our hearts,” wrote Angela Pruess, LMFT. In terms of daily life however, parents need to have more. We need to nurture the friendships, passions and hobbies that make us who we are as individuals. Doing this can feel like a battle, as our protective anxieties try to convince us our children can’t be without us, and also that we can’t be without them.”

It is okay to love and want to give the world to your children. You wish for them not to suffer as much as you probably had in the past, and that’s understandable. However, by babying them too much, you are not helping them at all. Stop that and teach the kids real skills instead.

Lauren Solotar, PhD, chief psychologist and senior vice president of clinical services at the May Institute, urges, “Parents must find a balance between providing the right amount of supervision and letting their child have enough esteem to make his own decisions.”

Good luck!