Saturday, July 1, 2017

Back to School

It is August, the month most students return to school.  I have developed a contract for parents and their students to read, discuss and alter to fit their family and sign as a blueprint to having a harmonious and successful school year each and every year. Click here for the Form.

I hope this will be something you find useful for your family.  Have a GREAT school year!

Here's a preview: 

Parent/Student Contract for School 8/2017
I, We _____________________________________(the parent(s)) enter into the following contract with our son, daughter in order to create and maintain order, success and harmony in our home during the 1st - 12th grade school years starting with this school year 2017-2018 at __________________________________________________elementary/middle/high school.
(Student)________________________________________________ promises to follow all rules discussed and written on this contract daily and understands that there will be consequences for not following the rules as agreed upon in this contract and signed by parent and student.

1. Respect yourself and others in everything you say and do.
2. Use a calendar to record homework and other important dates, and activities.
3. Have regular attendance in all classes and arrive on time.
4. Listen carefully to all directions given, and ask questions when necessary.
5. Write down all assignments, show them to your parents, give homework to the teacher.
6. Maintain a positive attitude daily and smile at all of your teachers.
7. Be prepared when you get to class, have all necessary supplies with you.
8. Do your very BEST every day, share events of the day with your parents.
9. Attend tutoring for any subject that becomes difficult and your grade is below a _________.
10. Keep up with all of your personal belongs and possessions every day.    
11. Become very familiar with district and school policies and rules.
12. Get to know the names of teachers and staff and work together for a successful year.  
Parent’s Signature   _________________________________________________
Student’s Signature   _________________________________________________

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Veterans with a Vision for Their Life

by Wanda Hobbs, LPC

I have been privileged to work with a group of female veterans every week for almost two years.  During the last quarter of 2016 we focused our discussions on goal planning and developing a vision for each of their lives that they could refer to regularly for motivation and inspiration, and revise as needed, both now and in the future. This was accomplished by having each veteran choose pictures and words from magazines and assemble them on a large piece of poster board.  The outcome was simply beautiful and gave each person specific things to focus on doing to accomplish their individual goals as they make plans for their future. Some expressed a desire to earn a Bachelor’s degree from a university, some are seeking full-time employment, one having already received training to become a pharmacy technician, others will return to the careers they had in the military, such as Logistics.  The ladies also put on their vision board a vision for their families, relationships, traveling, decorating their very own apartment space with colorful, eclectic, items, and maybe even adding a pet.  This project was very satisfying to the women and a joy for me to observe as well.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

What is Play Therapy?

Jennifer Hendricks, M.Ed., LPC, RPT 

Play Therapy can be individual, family or group based, for kids as young as 3 through early teens.  It  is beneficial for children because they are able to express themselves through their most natural language, play.  The toys utilized in the playroom allow for expression of nurturing, aggressive and collaborative play.  By engaging with the therapist, a child is able to enhance problem solving skills, expression of feelings and develop coping strategies to use in everyday life.

Play Therapists can also utilize sand trays with a multitude of miniatures to allow children to create their world and process situations.  Kids can show family or peer situations.  I’ve seen battle scenes, playground scenes and slumber party scenes.  Toys utilized in the playroom are specific and selected in that there are no rules for the play.  Puppets, dollhouses, family figures, animals, dress up and building play are all included in the playroom.

Book series are often used in the playroom to address specific situations with children.  This is beneficial for children with a history of trauma, specific anxieties or worries or to allow for developmentally appropriate expression.  

Therapeutic games are helpful in addressing situations with children of all ages.  These games can be focused on increasing self awareness, self expression and social skills.

Play Therapy is engaging for all kids, big and small.  I enjoy watching children connect with me and their families by learning a new skill or expressing difficult emotions.  I’ve seen kids share their feelings with parents about traumatic events and seen kids discuss helpful strategies to help them with peers at school.   Kids can learn to identify their strengths and accomplishments through play.   Play therapy can be combined with talk therapy to address topics in a less threatening manner and allow children to process topics that would be difficult in a dialogue.   We can learn from children that we are never too old to play!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Importance of Helping Your Children Make the Transition from Children/Teens into Adulthood

Leslie Schultea, MS, LPC, LMFT

One of the primary goals of parenting is to raise our children to be responsible and fully functioning adults.  A legal adult is defined as “a person who has attained the age of majority and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient and responsible.”  A common term for this process is “adulting.”  Regardless of emotional maturity of a person each child needs to be fully equipped by the age of 18 to accept and manage adult responsibility.

Unfortunately many parents delay or even avoid this process in an effort to “hang on to their children,” avoid upsetting their children or honestly not knowing how vitally important this process is for life long success.  Teaching your children to be responsible and independent can not and should not be rushed or hurried.  If you wait too long you are likely to over whelm and cause fear in your children.  Both parents and children should have a sense of excitement and pride in the adulting process.

Below is a list of the areas that parents need to address in an effort to successfully help your children become a successful, independent and self-sufficient adult.  In other words “adulting your children.”

1.      Taking Risks-Encourage your children to do things outside of their comfort zone and do not protect them for real life pitfalls and disappointments.   Taking risks will show them that they can rely on themselves and survive hard situations on their own without being rescued.
2.      Managing Finances-Teach your children basic banking skills and managing money.  Open a bank account for your children and give them a budget to manage.  Reinforce real life consequences if they do not adhere to their budget. 
3.      Navigate Around Town and in new/unknown Areas-Teach your children to identify roads, highways, routes and real life travel situation and allow them to find their way around without escorting them.  Teach them to also fill up their gas tank and take basic care of their automobile.  Educating them about public transportation is also very important.
4.      Cooking, Cleaning and Self-Care-Children must know how to cook at least basic recipes and measure ingredients in order to feed themselves.  They also need to know how to do their own laundry along with purchase their own clothes within a budget.  By the time a child is in their late teens they should know how to do their own laundry, care for their clothing and maintain it.    Basic hygiene must also be addressed early on and reinforced throughout the teen years.  This might seem like a simple concept but many tweens and teens resist basic hygiene skills which are necessary in adulthood. 
5.      Managing Relationships and Social Media-Children must learn to negotiate and mediate friendships and other relationships.  They need guidance in understanding social norms, non-verbal behavior and social clues that will help them adapt and adjust to different types of relationships.  Successful completion of these skills will ultimately help in social and work relationships.  Children must understand the risks of social media and posting things on social media that are not appropriate.
6.      Time Management-You must be a good example of time management and expect your children to adhere to a schedule and respect time limits.  Do not schedule things for them and do not constantly remind them of time constraints.  The best time to learn this skill is in childhood instead of late adolescence.  Have consequences for tardiness.
7.      Talking to Adults and Strangers-It is imperative to teach your children to look adults in the eyes when speaking to them and speak in an assertive (not quiet and passive) manner.  You can start this at a very early age by allowing children to order for themselves while eating out and speaking for themselves when meeting with teachers, Doctors and the like.  These basic social skills are mandatory when entering the adult world of college, work and other relationships. 
8.      Marriage and Long Term Relationship-It is the duty of parents to model healthy marital relationships as well as discuss with them what their personal expectations are in their own intimate relationships.  The teen years are the perfect time to discuss with your children and explain the positive qualities of a good partner along with healthy modeling what a healthy relationship looks like. 
9.      Critical Thinking-At the age of 12 critical thinking skills begin to form.  Parents during the teen years either encourage and reinforce this behavior and shut it down.  Allow your children to make decisions even if they make an error in judgement (within reason).  Children need to learn natural consequences of their choices and if their parents are always making their decisions for them those natural consequences will not occur.
10.  Learning and Understanding Politics-Teens must be educated about politics and the rights that they will hold when they are adults.  Parents need to encourage open conversations about politics even if their views differ.  It is your job to reinforce that  their opinion does matter and they have a voice which may influence their adult life.  Push them to look and talk about all things that are pertaining to politics and remind them how important it is to be a part of shaping their own future.    

“Adulting” can be a hard process for some parents and children but the best advice is to start early and be consistent through the teen years.  The skills listed above will make the path a bit easier in the long run.  Remember that you are setting up your children for success when they “fly the nest” and set out on their own.  Your hard work and persistence will pay off when you realize that you have raised strong, independent and self-sufficient adults who are ready to manage and master their world and environment.