Is your child fidgety and easily distracted?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that robs children of their ability to focus and pay attention. Kids with ADHD are fidgety and easily distracted. This makes it difficult to stay “on task,” whether it’s listening to a teacher or finishing a chore. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 3% to 5% of kids have ADHD, but some experts believe that figure could be as high as 10%.  The main symptom of ADHD is the inability to pay attention. Kids may have trouble listening to a speaker, following directions, finishing tasks, or keeping track of personal items. They may daydream often and make careless mistakes. Children with ADHD tend to avoid activities that require sustained concentration or that might be boring. If you know a child that has these symptoms, we can help.  With treatment, the child will be more comfortable both socially and academically.

Source: WebMD.com

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Children and Divorce

Welcome to the second blog at Alliance Counseling Center.  Today’s topic is about children and divorce.  Children faced with divorce learn that life as they knew it will never be the same.  It is normal for children whose parents are divorcing to experience a negative reaction.  It is normal for them to express feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, and fear about the future.  A child or family may need professional help if the feelings are unusually intense, prolonged in duration, cause physical symptoms, or interfere with normal daily functioning.  Although the change brought about by divorce is unsettling for children, it need not always be a devastating experience.  Everyone wants what is best for the children, but the needs and emotions of the parents may sometimes get in the way.  The following chart of do’s and don’ts for parents is intended as a guide to assist their children in learning how to cope with the inevitable changes of divorce.  Children that are kept out of the middle of their parents’ battles, and feel safe, secure, loved and valued are less likely to display behavioral problems, have issues in school, or develop symptoms of depression or anxiety.

DO’S AND DON’TS FOR PARENTS OF DIVORCE

DO

- Tell your children together when the decision to divorce is made.
- Reassure your children that you love them, will always take care of them and look after their needs.
- Encourage your children to express feelings.
- Give your children a say, but take responsibility for the final decision yourself.
- Provide structure, predictability and be consistent with discipline.
- Accept your children’s love for their other parent.
- Make visitation transitions smooth.
- Support the other parent and make it easy for the other parent to have a good relationship with the children.
- Make it easy for the other parent to know what is happening with the children.
- Go directly to the other parent for information or an answer.
- Encourage your children to speak about their difficulties with the other parent.
- Encourage your children’s relationships with extended family members.
- Effectively handle birthdays, holidays and special occasions.
- Maintain family traditions and rituals.
- Have fun with your children.

DON’T

- Threaten your children with abandonment.
- Blame your children for the divorce.
- Argue with your ex-spouse in front of the children.
- Use your children as a messenger or spy. Use your children as an ally by asking them to take your side .
- Place restrictions on what your children can tell your ex-spouse or ask them to keep secrets.
- Criticize your ex-spouse in your children’s presence.
- Make promises you can’t keep.
- Overcompensate for your divorce by trying to buy your children’s love.
- Participate in your children’s angry feelings about the other parent.
- Compare your children to your ex-spouse in a negative way.
- Burden your children with your personal and financial concerns.
- Falsely lead children to believe that you may reconcile with the other parent.
- Drag the children into the middle of your communications and problems with ex-spouse.
- Make numerous changes in the children’s lives during the first year of the divorce.

Bibliography

Ricca, Isolina. 1997. Mom’s house, dad’s house: A complete guide for parents who are separated, divorced, or remarried. New York: Fireside.

Long, Nicholas, and Forehand, Rex. 2002. Making divorce easier on your child: 50 effective ways to help children adjust. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Books For Children

Brown, Laurene, and Brown, Marc. 1988. Dinosaurs divorce: A guide for changing families. New York: Little Brown and Company.

Field, Mary Blitzer, and Shore, Hennie. 1994. My life turned upside down, but I turned it rightside up. New York: Childswork/Childsplay, LLC.

Field, Mary Blitzer. 1992. All about divorce. PA: The Center For Applied Psychology, Inc.

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Beating Stress

Welcome to the first blog from Alliance Counseling Center of Omaha. Today’s topic is about stress.
Stress is a condition that we all deal with, often on a daily basis. Our body’s reaction to stress keeps us focused on a challenging task or gives us the ability to react to a dangerous situation. However, stress uncontrolled can lead to sleeplessness, inability to focus, forgetfulness, and inattention. It can cause depression, anxiety, excessive worry, being overwhelmed, and feeling out of control. If you are experiencing these symptoms it is advisable to seek counseling to avoid the possibility of more serious medical conditions like ulcers, heart disease, or cardiovascular disease. Below are some signs of stress and twenty ways to help manage stress.

Signs of Stress

 Emotional: apprehensive       overwhelmed       depressed       out of control
                     unhappy               nervous                 anxious            wound up
                     uncomfortable     worried                 frustrated        worthless
                     freaking out         lost or confused    panicky           overcommitted

 Physical:    tense                     headaches             nausea             change in appetite
                     jittery                   aches and pains    exhaustion      trouble breathing
                    chest pains           trouble sleeping    stomachaches  

 Cognitive: over thinking       blanking out          negative           focusing on the bad
                    racing thoughts   unable to focus     exaggerating    need to be perfect

20 Ways to Beat Stress
1)     Breathe deeply and slowly.
2)     Eat healthy. Limit sugar and junk food.
3)     Give up caffeine.
4)     Try to get 8 – 9 hours of sleep at night.
5)     Practice mindfulness. Be aware of what you are doing right at this moment.
6)     Prioritize.
7)     Laugh.
8)     Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
9)     Talk about your feelings to someone you trust.
10) Ask for help when you need it.
11) Make a plan.
12) Do something you love to do.
13) Get a hug. Give a hug.
14) Tell someone something nice.
15) Say nice things to yourself.
16) Learn to say “NO”.
17) Take time to play.
18) Help someone who needs help.
19) Meditate and pray.
20) Start.

For more information and help:

1. Davis, Martha, Elizabeth R. Eshelman, and, Matthew McKay. 1995.  The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, 4th Ed. New Harbinger Publications, Oakland, CA.
2. Diane de Anda. 2002. Stress Management for Adolescents. A Cognitive-Behavioral Program. Research Press, Champaign, Il.
3. Burns, David. 1999. The Feeling Good Handbook. Revised Edition. Plume, New York, NY.

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