Communication in the Family

How can parents help their kids feel comfortable talking to them?

  • One of the greatest ways a can parent help their kid open up communication with them is through learning and nailing the art of validation. The dictionary defines validation as “the recognition or affirmation that a person, their feelings, or opinions are valid or worthwhile.” Validation kindly communicates that you want and are trying to “get” them or their perspective and that their thoughts and feelings are understandable. Reflecting back to your child in your own words a summary or a paraphrase of what they have communicated is a great way of demonstrating that you are listening. It is also an opportunity for the child or teen to clarify what they are saying. Validation is experienced through eye contact, empathy, attentiveness, and a genuine heart to understand rather than get a point across.
  • Your child or teen has a deep and immeasurable need to be known in this way. Often times fear or need for control will hijack such conversations and a parent will feel pressure to use the moment to get information, solve a problem, or lecture to instill a lesson or character trait. To the Youth, this feels like a selfish exchange on part of the parent and in many ways it is. A lecture is actually meeting the parent’s need at that moment and not the child’s, even though this usually comes from a place of good intention. The more you practice validation, the more your sense of when your child needs validation more than anything else will become more apparent. Therapists are also happy and ready to help you learn this skill if you need some help!

How to be open with your parents.

Kids, if you would like to be more open with your parents and feel more heard on things that are super important to you or sensitive in nature, sometimes it is helpful to set up a conversation for success by choosing a good time as much as possible and stating your need. For example, “Dad, I want to talk to you about something important and I need you to please (listen well, not interrupt, sit and talk in my room for a bit, etc). This gives your parent a chance to give feedback about the timing and it alerts them about the importance of the conversation. Sometimes it is really helpful to be respectfully blunt in communication but do make sure to appreciate the difference between being direct about an emotional need vs being demanding.

Benefits of Clear Communication

Clear and direct speaking and listening can prevent an untold number of painful and unnecessary conflicts and misunderstandings. Validation and directness in communication build mutual understanding, respect, trust, and ultimately deeper bonding and love between family members.

YCC’s Family Link Program 

The Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term, outpatient counseling services to families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing concerns that could disrupt the health and stability of the family. These services are available at no cost to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns, and Nassau counties through appointments at the child’s school or other community locations. Click to learn more about Family Link and the 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential. To learn more about services, please call (904) 720-0007.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

You don’t have to run away, talk to someone

For some youth, running away may seem like the only option and the best case scenario when things start to go south at home. Therapists at the Youth Crisis Center want all youth or anyone who might be running away from home or their problems to know that it’s not worth it. There are so many other options that could help you. At the Youth Crisis Center, we have staff ready for your calls and a wide range of therapists willing to help you work through some of the curveballs life throws at us sometimes.

 

It’s not worth it

 

Family Link Therapist Quandalyn Prince, MSW says her first advice she would give to a child who is running away is “don’t do it.”

“It’s not worth it. There are other alternatives besides running away and leaving a home that you are safe in versus going out into the real world and experiencing things you may not be used to.”

Prince wants to warn youth that there are people out there who go out of their way to take advantage of and prey on children. She also warns about sex trafficking, access to drugs, and other things that could lead to a negative impact on your life.

 

Talk to someone

Prince believes running away, especially as a youth, could lead to consequences you may not have thought about. Instead, she strongly encourages you to go talk to someone whether that is a parent, a friend, an adult you trust, or even a counselor.

 

“Urge them to hear what you have to say about running away because there are options out there.”

 

Prince says there could be a positive outcome from talking to a therapist. By speaking with someone, you could uncover a deeper reason why you want to run away. Therapy can also help you figure out coping skills and techniques so you’re able to tackle some of the speed bumps of life that come your way.

 

“Because once you run away, you’re no longer the same. You can experience so many things that can impact your future.”

 

About YCC’s Residential Crisis Care Program 

Referred by family members, community resources, schools, law enforcement, and YCC outreach, these youth have either run away or are at risk of running away, been locked out of their homes, are habitually truant from school, or have exhibited ungovernable behavior. Our program is here to provide a safety net to young people and their families when they need it most.

 

 Our residential therapists work with youth and their families to address the immediate crisis and help provide long-term solutions to handle future concerns once the child or teen returns home. Our goal is to reunite families by providing assistance and support with a clear plan for continued stabilization.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

3 things you can do now to get more involved in your child’s life

Have you ever wondered how you can get more involved in your child’s life? Perhaps you may have wondered if parental involvement is important for children?

No matter what your reason is, Family Link Therapist Sidney Vernon, MSW, has listed a few suggestions below on how you can become more involved in your child’s life. 

How to get more involved in your child’s life:

1. Create routines.

Routines help children to feel safe and provide structure to their lives. To get more involved in your child’s life, consider making new family routines. Some examples include: try to have a family dinner at least three times a week, start a weekly family game night, have a monthly family movie night, or have a family outing

2. Do a daily “check-in.”

To be more involved in your child’s life, try to build a routine of doing a daily “check-in” with your child. Come up with questions to ask your child during your daily check-in time like what was your favorite part of your day, how did you feel today, etc. Some good times to complete a daily check-in are in the car on the way home from school, on the walk home from the bus stop, bedtime, or any other time of day that you are and your child are typically already together.

3. Communication is key!

Communicating with your child is a great way for you to be more involved in their life. Depending on the age of the child, communication looks very different. Young children communicate through play and behaviors. Older children can communicate more through having conversations. If your older child does not feel comfortable talking, you can try writing letters back and forth.

Why to be more involved in your child’s life/ Some benefits may include:

  • Improved attachment / relationship
  • Builds trust
  • Increases your child’s self-esteem
  • Increases your child’s self-confidence
  • May decrease your child’s bad behaviors
  • May increase your child’s school performance

YCC’s Family Link Program

The Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term, outpatient counseling services to families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing concerns that could disrupt the health and stability of the family. These services are available at no cost to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns and Nassau counties through appointments at the child’s school or other community locations. Click to learn more about Family Link and the 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential. To learn more about services, please call (904) 720-0007.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Addressing Anger

It is rare to find someone who is happy all the time. Getting mad is just as common as feeling sad, joyful, jealous, and scared or any other emotion. As human beings, we cycle through these emotions and that’s okay; it’s normal. How we feel and respond to things plays a part in what makes us unique. However, it is wise to  never let one emotion rule your life. You take the happy times with the sad. Certain conversations with people can make you angry while some situations can make you scared. Your feelings are valid. However, while your emotions such as getting angry is okay, how you react to your anger is what makes a difference.

Talking to your kids about anger

Outpatient Therapist Ron Bertie suggests letting your child know that anger is normal, but you want to work with them on how they react to that anger. He wants you to help your child come up with positive outlets. This can be something like painting, drawing, or another type of creative outlet. If their child prefers something more on the physical side, it can be dancing, running, or working out. Bertie suggests these kinds of coping mechanisms should already be in place before an incident takes place. He advises talking to your kids about controlling their anger when they’re already angry may not be as effective.

Triggers

Whether it is your child or yourself, Bertie recommends thinking and talking about your triggers. He says when you have identified possible triggers, you can then focus on how you react to that particular trigger. According to Bertie, a way to deal with your triggers better or even overcome is to change your perception of them by being more empathetic, setting boundaries, or if it’s a person – talking to them.

Dealing with anger as an adult

Bertie says his advice would not differ too much when it comes to talking to kids or an adult about their anger. The reason for that is because Bertie explains some issues are derived from childhood. Bertie recommends for adults to learn how to heal from old scars. He also wants adults to evaluate the outcome of their outburst. Once they have completed those steps, Bertie says it will be time to find innate reasons for change.

About SNAP® at the Youth Crisis Center

YCC offers a program called SNAP®, which stands for STOP NOW AND PLAN. This is an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral model powered by the minds at Child Development Institute (CDI). SNAP® can help children, ages 6-11, and their parents learn how to effectively manage their emotions and ‘keep problems small.’ We know that because small problems can quickly turn bigger or worsening problems if a child or their parent doesn’t have effective emotion regulation, self-control or problem-solving skills. 

Download our free ebook!

 Six Signs That Your Child May Have Behavioral Issues or Concerns

How to work with your kids to tackle bullying

It’s hard to run into anybody nowadays who has not been affected by bullying. Bullying can be defined as someone who is being hurt by either words or actions on purpose more than once. It can cause physical pain or even emotional pain. According to StopBullying.gov, some bullying can fall into criminal categories, such as harassment, hazing, or assault. Bullying isn’t a new concept as it has been around for generations, it even changes with each generation as today’s youth have dealt with bullying through social media.

The effects of bullying on mental health

Youth who are bullied over time are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem compared to their peers who have not experienced it, research suggests. It could be difficult for one to determine the exact effect bullying has on someone because we all experience and cope with things differently. That same study also shows that youth who bully others over time are at higher risk for more intense anti-social behaviors like problems at school, substance use, and aggressive behavior.

Duval Charter School Therapist, Clarissa Benitez, MSW claims kids cans often times feel embarrassed after experiencing bullying and will worry that their parents will be upset if they found out. She also says youth may feel like it is their fault and reaching out for help will only cause the bullying to get worse.

How parents can get involved

It is always encouraged for parents to check in with their children and look for any kind of warning signs. Parents should pay attention to things such as whether their child is getting into physical or verbal fights at school. Stop Bullying also says another warning sign could be your child blaming others for their problems.

Benitez suggests to parents to listen calmly and offer comfort while listening to their kids talk about their problems. She says it is vital you offer support during this time. Benitez does admit, for some parents it can be tempting to tell your child to fight back. She says this feeling is common because parents are angry that their child is suffering.

“Let your child know the importance of standing up for themselves by telling someone: a teacher, a parent, or any trusted adult.”

Benitez recommends coming up with a plan with your child on how they can respond to the situation and most importantly, reassure them that you will figure it out. Some other strategies include teaching your child to walk away and telling the bully to stop; however, Benitez says it is important to make sure that your child feels safe and confident enough to do that. She also encourages coming up with a buddy system so your child is never alone and has a friend with them. It is recommended by Benitez to talk to your child’s school about the bullying.

“Don’t be afraid to ask the school what their policies are on bullying prevention and the actions taken if a child is being bullied.”

 

What if my child is the bully?

Benitez says it is important for parents to help their children understand that their actions are hurting others. She goes on to explain that parents need to use this opportunity to tell their child that everyone deserves respect, and that could start with setting examples at home. She recommends modeling nonviolent behaviors for your child and to encourage them from talking to someone. According to Benitez, parents must take this situation seriously and do not pass it off as ‘just a phase.’ She says that being a bully can have long-lasting effects on a child that can lead to aggressive behaviors. Benitez says if the bullying does not stop for your child, seek a mental health counselor.

About the SNAP® at the Youth Crisis Center

YCC offers a program called SNAP®, which stands for STOP NOW AND PLAN. This is an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral model powered by the minds at Child Development Institute (CDI). SNAP® can help children, ages 6-11, and their parents learn how to effectively manage their emotions and ‘keep problems small.’ We know that because small problems can quickly turn bigger or worsening problems if a child or their parent doesn’t have effective emotion regulation, self-control, or problem-solving skills. 

 

Download our free ebook!

 Six Signs That Your Child May Have Behavioral Issues or Concerns

The importance of therapy

What is therapy and can it really help people? 

Therapy is designed to assist someone who may be dealing with life stressors that can affect their outlook on life. You can see a mental health profession for a multitude of problems such as anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma, low self-esteem, anger, grief/loss just to name a few. Therapy allows you to talk openly with an unbiased mental health profession. As a mental health profession, we assist our clients in uncovering strengths about themselves and to help them learn new skills in life so they can deal with situations that may impact their life. Therapy not only helps you to deal with what is going on internally but it can boost your physical health as well.

Can therapy be for one person or can the whole family participate? 

Therapy is designed for the individual and their family. Individual therapy is one-on-one and it tackles your needs as a person so that you can handle any obstacles that you may face daily. Family therapy allows for family members to come together and work on any conflict and lack of communication there is amongst one another. At Youth Crisis Center we not only provide individual therapy but strive to have family therapy as well to help address specific issues or concerns they may have.

Is therapy only for someone who is mentally ill? Can therapy tackle more than one issue?

Therapy is not just for people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Everyone needs a positive support system in their life and by talking to a mental health professional regardless of if you have a mental illness or not, it can give you a new perspective on how to deal with certain situations in your life. Therapy can tackle as many issues as you would like to work on. At Youth Crisis Center, our treatment plans are personalized to meet the needs of our patients and there are times where they have more than one issue they would like to work on.

 

YCC’s Family Link Program 

The Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term, outpatient counseling services to families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing concerns that could disrupt the health and stability of the family. These services are available at no cost to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns, and Nassau counties through appointments at the child’s school or other community locations. Click to learn more about Family Link and the 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential. To learn more about services, please call (904) 720-0007.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Mindfulness for beginners: what is it and how to practice

Let’s start by defining ‘mindfulness,’ according to Headspace, mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we are doing at the moment. Amanda Marker, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and the Lead Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center says mindfulness has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness. Marker explains there are two key elements of mindfulness: focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment.

 

Practicing Mindfulness

According to Marker, mindfulness starts with being aware of our bodies. She goes on to say that very act can be calming.

“You don’t need to buy anything. You can practice anywhere – all you need is a little time and space.”

Marker understands that it can be incredibly challenging to quiet the mind, but she acknowledges that is not the goal during this practice. She says when it comes to practicing mindfulness, all you’re trying to do is pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Marker says your mind will wander during this practice. You might start to think about your to-do list, the laundry you forgot in the dryer, or even a conversation you had with someone yesterday. Marker explains that is normal and part of human nature. She says when practicing mindfulness, try to not judge yourself for whatever thoughts pop up. Instead, she wants you to focus on your breathing and return your attention to the present moment.

“Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.”

Basic Mindfulness Meditation 

The first thing Marker suggests when it comes to your practice is to take a seat. She wants you to find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you. She recommends setting a time limit, especially if you’re new to the practice. Once you’re sitting down, it will be time to focus on your breathing. Marker wants you to use this time to allow your thoughts to come and go without judgment. She also wants you to focus on your breath or even a mantra you may have set at the beginning of the day or your practice.

Marker encourages using your senses during your practice. She wants clients to focus on what they see, smell, taste, or even feel. In fact, she recommends you saying them aloud before letting those thoughts and senses go. She also invites clients to allow their emotions to be present during this practice. Similar to the senses, you can describe aloud what you are feeling.

 

The Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

In an article published by Harvard Medical School, mindfulness can bring improvements in well-being. Amanda Marker, LMHC believes being mindful makes it easier to enjoy the positive movements in life as they happen and can help you become fully engaged in activities. Another benefit is being less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past. Mindfulness can also help with improving your mental health and relieve stress.

Introducing Your Child to Mindfulness 

Marker wants parents to talk with their kids about mindfulness.

“When the opportunity presents itself, talk about how you used mindfulness during your day.”

She says children learn by seeing what the adults in their lives do, so she encourages being open about how you practice mindfulness. Marker suggests introducing exercises when things are calm and your child is in a good space. She explains during this time would be ideal to try mindfulness activities as a family, as it could be a great way to connect one another. Marker does warn to keep the time short, especially if your child is on the younger side. She also wants you to let the child set the pace. If they’re done, don’t push it.

For activities, you can start with a walk or breathing exercises with your child. Once you have completed that activity, you can shift your focus to the senses. Marker suggests activities like listening mindfully, eating a treat mindfully, or taking another walk using all of your senses. For example, have your child hold a raisin. Marker instructs having your child notice the color, texture, shape, size, smell, weight, and taste of it for one minute.

 

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth Crisis Center was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington D.C. Throughout the past 46 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

One of the several programs, YCC offers is Outpatient Behavioral Health. This program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as three and their families. Parents may also receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at YCC.

 

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

What is Mental Health and does everybody have it?

Mental health is the well-being of an individual’s mental, emotional, and/or physical functioning. Mental health is something that all individuals have whether they are aware of it or not. When something has an impact on our mental health we may refer to it as mental illness. Although there are myths about mental health/illnesses and how it impacts individuals it is very similar to any other illness and should be treated as such. For example, imagine having migraines that interfere with how you can interact with your friends/ family, perform job responsibilities at work, or even do things you love like going for a run. Most of us will seek a doctor to learn the cause of the migraine and how we can at least decrease or eliminate migraines due to its impact on our lives. Having migraines doesn’t mean something is wrong, but further warrants attention by a professional. In the same concept, mental health warrants us to take a look into what is impacting us mentally, emotionally, or physically, and what we can do to make it better.

Sometimes mental health and mental illness are used interchangeably. This should not be the case. According to the CDC, mental illnesses are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior. Those conditions have a handful of different names like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. The CDC says such conditions may be occasional or long-lasting and affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.

The CDC says while the terms are often used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same things. For example, a young woman can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. However, a teen boy could be diagnosed with a mental illness and experience a period of physical, mental, and social well-being.

How can someone take care of their mental health? What does care look like?

Lead Family Link Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center, Jazmin Jerome says ensuring mental health can look different for many people. Self- Care and implementing healthy coping mechanisms can provide individuals with a source of strengthening their mental health and overcoming challenges faced in.

  • Healthy eating
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Medication
  • Talking with a mental health professional
  • Doing puzzles
  • Exercising 
  • Spending time with family/friends

 When someone struggles with mental health or does not know where to start when it comes to taking care of it, what should they do?

For someone unaware of where to start when it comes to taking care of their mental health it would first be beneficial to think about/recognize any changes in behaviors, moods, and interests. Jerome, who is also a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern suggests talking to someone about these concerns is the first step to getting help from a professional. Although you may not want to talk to a mental health professional at first, being able to talk to a trusted individual and expressing your concerns will allow others to help you as well. 

Easy Mental Health Tips:

Some of Jerome’s favorite mental health tips include:

  • Spending time with loved ones, surrounding yourself with good company and people who have your best interest 
  • Journaling, even if not physically writing in a journal but at least having a trusted individual that can act as your “human journal” who you can talk to and truly express yourself with
  • Finding a new hobby or continuing with a current hobby, being able to identify things that make you, you that brings you peace is very important when it comes to ensuring positive mental health.

About the Youth Crisis Center

Founded in 1974 as Florida’s first runaway program, the Youth Crisis Center emphasis on care is for those who have been exposed to traumatic situations such as divorce, homelessness, relocation, bullying, loss of life, and abuse. This past year, the Youth Crisis Center served a total of 2,467 children, teens, young adults, and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC.  YCC provides a variety of services such as short-term residential crisis care, outpatient therapy, skills-based groups for children and their parents, and transitional living programming for young adults.

 

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

What is stress and how can we manage it?

Stress happens.

In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, “stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands a life.” The Mayo Clinic even states that a small amount of stress can be good for you, and can help motivate you to perform well. However, for some people, what could seem like a minor challenge to you could push another person beyond their breaking point or affect their ability to cope.

Why do we stress?

The National Institute of Mental Health says stress affects everyone. As stated before, there can be stress that stems from the pressure of daily responsibilities such as work, school, and family other things. The NIH also states stress can be brought about by a sudden negative change like losing a job or a divorce. Trauma can also be a factor of stress after experience a major accident, war, assault, or a type of natural disaster. There is no exact reason why people stress because different people experience stress differently. While the Mayor Clinic stated that a small amount of stress can actually be good you do need to be wary of long-term stress. The NIH says long-term stress can harm your health.

Ways to manage stress 

With there being so many things that can cause stress; there are just as many ways to relieve it. Family Link Therapist Carl Keller says it all depends on what kind of person you are. He says if you are someone who likes staying fit or enjoys exercising, he suggests going on a run. If you are more of a creative person, he believes having a creative outlet can often help relieve stress. Keller even says doing things that bring you joy or comfort like reading or listening to music. He says those activities can also help with relieving stress.

YCC’s Family Link Program 

The Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term, outpatient counseling services to families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing concerns that could disrupt the health and stability of the family. These services are available at no cost to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns, and Nassau counties through appointments at the child’s school or other community locations. Click to learn more about Family Link and the 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential. To learn more about services, please call (904) 720-0007.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Maintaining healthy relationships at a time during social distancing

Time has changed. Some restaurants require us to wear a mask before we sit down to eat and even wear a mask before we walk into the door. Some students have to sit in front of a computer at their own house for their first day of school due to distance learning. Greetings such as handshakes or hugs can sometimes be met with a confused look or are strongly discouraged. Our major parades have been canceled or modified, the concerts we have been saving up for have been delayed, and some grocery stores have lines with them as workers try to limit the number of people inside.

Social Distancing, Social Isolation, and Self-Isolation

“Social-Distance” is something that we as a nation have heard from our government for months now. Having to socially-distance could be a big reason why some parents choose to have their kids learn from home rather than the school halls; it’s the reason for the stickers on the floor at your favorite store to make sure you don’t stand too close; and, it’s the reason some restaurants have limited seating inside to make sure their customers are socially-distanced from others

During a time like this, social-distance at a time like this can often be confused with social-isolation. Now, social-isolation and self-isolation should also not be interchanged.  An article in Psychology Today, says, “social distancing is important in controlling an outbreak.” The article encourages the reader to think about whether it’s smart to go to crowded restaurants. It also wants the reader to think twice about how many kids they allow their child to have play-dates with if any. It also touches on romantic relationships and to decide if it’s best to go on dates and meet up with friends. The answer is yes, those are still good ideas and important to your overall mental health, to where it applies. However, if you are sick or in a very high-risk group, you may not want to participate in those activities.

Being socially distant does not mean socially isolating yourself from your loved ones, friends, or activities you like to do. Choosing to social distance is to just maintain your space from others, not in your group, and to be mindful of how close you are to others. According to the CDC, it also means wearing a mask when you can’t social distance, frequently washing your hands, and avoiding touching your face with your unwashed hands. You can still do the things you love and social distance at the same time.

Having to self-isolate is a result of different reasons. The CDC says isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

 

Maintaining Healthy Relationships 

Danielle Masters, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center say social distancing can make ongoing or developing friendships even more challenging. As parents and caregivers, we can help to create resilience and support our child’s needs while also maintaining safety through communication, encouraging an open dialogue for them to be able to talk with us about their feelings as well as fostering their social connections. We can make time for our children to be able to socialize through phone calls or video chat dates. For younger children, coming up with some creative ways that they can make the most of their time with their friend, like drawing a picture together, making up stories and then taking turns sharing, building things and then showing the other, as well as just allowing them time to “just chat”.  

Masters also suggest virtual clubs or classes for teens. They can also take walks, ride bikes, and do things outdoors with a friend if able to safely social distance. They can also connect through age-appropriate gaming (if allowed in your home and with parental discretion/monitoring.) It is important to have a conversation with your children regarding safety and differing viewpoints about social distancing. By helping them to understand and respect that every family has their values and opinions on how to keep their family safe we are encouraging empathy and can continue to find creative ways to cultivate social connections.

Talking to your kids about healthy relationships

Masters believes as parents or caregivers, it’s never too early to begin talking with our children about what a healthy relationship is. Helping children to define and understand that all good relationships are built on communication, understanding, trust, loyalty, respect, and boundaries. Most of us do this with our children automatically, when we teach them the importance of sharing and taking turns, when we show empathy for them if they fall or hurt themselves or are sad about something and we ask, what happened? Or how can I help you? She goes on to say that we also show this by teaching children about the importance of consent, by asking before taking things that do not belong to them and helping children to understand how their words or actions may influence other people. Helping children understand that no means no and “to listen and stop”.

Masters encourages parents to discuss with kids their boundaries, what makes them comfortable or not comfortable, and helping them to understand that their boundaries, as well as others’ boundaries, need to be respected. Another influential way to teach our children about healthy relationships is by being a good role model within our relationships. Our actions, attitude, and behaviors towards our significant others, family, and friends can have a big influence on our children.

Define what an unhealthy relationship is. Talking with children about peer pressure is especially important. When teens begin developing romantic relationships, helping them to understand that one partner should not try to control the other by intimidation, isolation, emotional abuse, physical abuse, or even digital abuse. Lastly, being supportive and non- judgmental so that if the child ever feels that a relationship is becoming unhealthy they can talk with you or another trusted adult.   

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth Crisis Center was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington D.C. Throughout the past 46 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships.

One of the several programs YCC offers is Outpatient Behavioral Health. This program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as three and their families. Parents may also receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at YCC.

 

 

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships