Archive for January, 2013

Improve Communication With Your Teen

January 24, 2013

Being a teenager is difficult, and being the parent of one can be just as tough. Sometimes teens resist joining family activities, or even speaking with parents and siblings. They are reluctant to talk about what’s going on in their life. You know your teen has much to share, but when asked to express thoughts or feelings, he or she withdraws.

You’re not always able to figure out why teens do things. Instead of focusing on why, look at what can be done to help. When a teen is isolating, one thing to try is a parallel activity.

A parallel activity is when you do something alongside your teen, but without engaging them. For example, if he or she is shooting hoops in the driveway, do yard work nearby. Make statements about what you’re doing, but don’t ask questions; questions suggest a conversation. You make yourself non-threatening this way. After enough encountersĀ like this your teen may recognize these as safe situations where he or she feels like sharing and starting a conversation. Parents are often surprisedĀ at how well “being there” works.

If the isolating becomes worse, consider that your teen may suffer from depression, a common problem that is highly treatable. Talk to your family doctor or a professional counselor if you feel your teen may be depressed.

Setting Goals

January 17, 2013

Now’s the time to set new goals and start achieving them. If you’ve had goals in mind, but aren’t sure how to proceed, the following tips can help you and your children successfully set and achieve them:

Be specific. When thinking about your gaol, be as exact as possible. People wo set specific goals are more likely to succeed. For example, instead of saying that you want to save money, set a specific goal to save $20 (or whatever your goal amount is) per week.

Put it in writing. Write down exactly what you want to achieve and post it in a place where you will see it every day. This will help remind you what you’re working toward. When you write, use positive terms. For example, instead of writing, “I will stop eating junk food,’ reword your goal in more positive terms: “I will make healthy food choices.”

Set realistic goals. When you think about setting goals, make sure that they are within your reach. Be mindful of your finances, schedule, and other personal affairs. Many people forget to think about these important factors and, as a result, they set unrealistic goals for themselves.

Develop an action plan. Create a time line with steps toward your goals. Set deadlines for each step and cross them off as you go. Sometimes just crossing things off and watching your list get smaller can give you a sense of accomplishment and help you to keep going.

Believe in yourself. Stay positive about your progress. Share your goal with a friend and ask him/her to help keep your spirits up.

Be flexible. Keep in mind that setbacks can happen. Don’t get discouraged and give up. Your hard work will pay off!!

Reward yourself. Acknowledge your achievements, even the small ones. Reaching a goal takes hard work, and you should be proud of your efforts.

Some Anxiety Is Natural and Normal

January 11, 2013

Most people experience feelings of anxiety before an important event such as a business presentation, big exam, or first date. Anxiety disorders, however, are illnesses that fill people’s lives with overwhelming anxiety or fear that is chronic, unremitting, and can grow progressively worse. Tormented by panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, flashbacks of traumatic events, nightmares, or countless frightening physical symptoms, some people with anxiety disorders even become housebound.

Anxiety disorder are most common, or frequently occurring mental disorders. Children, adolescents, and adults can all develop anxiety disorders.


Anxiety disorders can affect anyone. Anxiety often comes when people hold in their fears until they begin to feel anxiety. The signs of an anxiety disorder include:

  • Endless check or rechecking actions.
  • A constant and unrealistic worry about everyday occurrences and activities.
  • Fear and anxiety that appear for no apparent reason.

Anxiety disorders include the following:

  • Panic Disorder: a sudden, uncontrollable attack of terror that can manifest itself with heart palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, and an out-of-control or terribly frightening feeling;
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: excessive anxiety and worry that lasts for at least six months accompanied by other physical and behavioral problems;
  • Social Phobia: a persistent fear of one or more situations in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny of others;
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts that cause anxiety, often accompanied by ritualized behavior that relieves this anxiety;
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): caused when someone experiences a severely distressing or traumatic event. Recurring nightmares and/or flashbacks and unprovoked anger are common symptoms.

By contacting a psychologist or mental health professional, those who suffer from an anxiety disorder can take the first step on the road to recovery. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, the majority of people with emotional illnesses will improve or recover if they get treatment.