The world through our children’s eyes during COVID-19

This will be a six-week online program for children between the ages of 6 and 10. Youth Crisis Center Family Link Therapist Clarissa Benitez, MSW will conduct this free online group through BlueJeans.

Space is limited please call 904-575-1324 by May 11th, 2020 to learn more and reserve a spot for your child.

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5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family

The Great Indoors: Staying inside and entertained with your family

 

There are more options for things to do as a family are starting to open up with the news of some of our local beaches opening up along with parts of our country. For some, cabin-fever is the only thing they are feeling as many people in our country have been told to stay at home and to practice social distancing. Social distancing has led to strict rules at our grocery stores, favorite shopping areas, and even to our parks. Staying inside has become the “norm” for the majority of us and we could still see certain restrictions throughout the next couple of weeks.

 

Keeping kids entertained

 

Family Link Lead Therapist Jazmin Jerome says it is important to keep kids busy to prevent the feeling of anxiety, depression, and other negative feelings. She says that can sometimes be a result of feeling isolated. Jerome is a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern with the Youth Crisis Center. She recommends helping your child find new hobbies to engage in, increase family time, and encourage a healthy amount of electronic communication with peers. She also says there are a number of things you can do as a family to stay entertained such as watching movies or even holding a marathon of some sort. You could learn a new recipe as a family to make something new and enjoy it during dinner as a family. Jerome recommends eating together at least three times a week.

 

Keeping yourself occupied

 

For adults adjusting to the current pandemic, Jerome says it is important to participate in self-care frequently. She says anything from taking a few moments to relax, to taking a hot shower are just a few things that can be done. If you have children and you’re able to work, you are probably having to help home-school kids while ensuring your daily tasks get completed. According to Jerome, being able to keep a healthy balance between work, school and personal life is key to keeping your sanity during these questionable times. She recommends having structure for both yourself and the kids so you can have some sort of routine similar to what life was like months ago.

 

Youth Crisis Center’s Family Link Program

 

YCC’s 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) 725-6662.

 

 

 

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family

What do I do with a child dealing with depression?

Depression and what does it look like for me and my child? We as adults think we understand what depression looks like, we sleep a lot, maybe we eat too much ice cream, we wear black, and listen to sad music. We write sad poetry and comment on the unfair nature of life? What does it look like with our children should be the real question? Honestly with all the physical, social, and emotional changes happening with our children each day depression and anxiety for a child are so difficult to differentiate. Before with children, we would chalk it up to growing pains, or a phase of life for which children will grow out of. The real truth is, it is one of the most difficult times in American history to be a child.

 

If you looked up Depression in the Webster Dictionary you will get a definition of:

1.        Feelings of severe despondency and dejection

When I first looked at this definition, I note with the question “What is severe?” With many kids’ emotions and the many fluid changes happening in a kid’s life, everything seems severe. Some may wonder if it could be so severe that it will end in drug addiction, criminal behavior, or suicide. The fact is what is severe with one child, may not be severe for another. We cannot assume that because we as parents can deal with something our child will be okay. A break up of a relationship or a failing grade may not lead to an extreme action of self-inflicted pain or suicide. This may not be the case for other kids, as an event like this may lead to the decision to harm themselves or others. As a parent, it is important to an error on the side of caution and you should speak to a professional. You may know your child, but if they are dealing with depression or anxiety, they may not want to share that with a family member or a loved one. In some cases, kids may find it easier to open up to someone who is not related to them.  

 

 

What is part of growing up and what is a mental health condition?

“In 2017, 13% of U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 (or 3.2 million) said they had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, up from 8% (or 2 million) in 2007, the total number of teenagers who recently experienced depression increased 59% between 2007 and 2017. The rate of growth was faster for teen girls (66%) than for boys (44%). 7-in-10 U.S. teens said anxiety and depression is a major problem among people their age in the community where they live, according to a Pew Research Center survey of teenagers ages 13 to 17 conducted in fall 2018. An additional 26% cited anxiety and depression as a minor problem. An article in Johns Hopkins Health Review explains adolescent depression is a relatively new diagnosis. Until the 1980s, mental health professionals were reluctant to diagnose youth with a mood disorder in part because the adolescent brain is still developing and they thought it would not be appropriate to diagnose someone so young with depression. Also, professionals believed that teen moodiness was perfectly normal during what is often referred to as the “turbulent years.” According to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Pew Research Center). 

 

   Kids today deal with more than any other child in the modern age, from social media overstimulation, increased standards for success earlier in life, limited avenues for success, disjointed family structures, and divisive social interactions.  

 

Children deal with : 

Uncertain time

Today’s youth are living through world Pandemics, Terrorism, School shootings, increased levels of suicide, drug use to include drug overdoses, and increased teenage gang involvement. We live in a world where our news is on a 24/7 cycle. There is always something breaking in one country. Kids today know and can access more information both positive and negative than any other generation in the past. 

 

Lack of sleep:  

Electronics increased requirements in school, and limited avenues of success for youth in school (no music, art, or vocational arts). We all have our distractions, but kids these seem to be caught with their video games, social media apps, and streaming services that some may spend less time working or socializing in person.  

 

Lack of Family and Community: 

A new Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories shows that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households. While U.S. children are more likely than children elsewhere to live in single-parent households, they’re much less likely to live in extended families. In the U.S., 8% of children live with relatives such as aunts and grandparents, compared with 38% of children globally. According to the New York Times In 1962 African American Homes single parent, were 30% and in 2017 reported 82%. Caucasian homes in the same statistic went from 5% to 55%. Today 28% of families report having both parents in the home and never married. We have no real definition of family. Community interaction is limited at best to non-existent, and schools due to security threats look more like prisons than places of youth education. With mass shootings at public events, and security needs around the world people have been isolating from 9-11, and now with the world in lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue will be intensified. 

 

     So as a parent what should you look for with a child dealing with depression?

The following symptoms for childhood depression are: 

  • Irritability or anger
  • Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection
  • Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
  • Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
  • Vocal outbursts or crying
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that don’t respond to treatment
  • Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Impaired thinking or concentration
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If my kids have some or most of these symptoms what do I do?

     Get help from a professional. 

 

With resources in the palm of your hand, there is no excuse to get help. In every city and state, there are resources out there to help you and your family. With tragedies like school shootings Parkland Florida, and Columbine High School, Columbine, CO has come a better understanding of Mental health, depression, bullying, school pressure and the need for professional aid. You don’t need to be ashamed, you’re not alone. If you don’t have money there are services for free to aid children. 

 

Exercise: 

It is proven that exercise creates the brain chemical known as Dopamine which is directly responsible for happiness. Get your child out of the house and running around. Take your child to parks, playgrounds, and other places for safe fun athletic involvement. Enroll your child in organized group activities they are good at and encourages social interaction. 

 

Eat healthier: 

This means less fast food and more home-cooked meals, more greens, beans, nuts, and rich health proteins. What we put in our bodies directly reacts and relates to our mood. If you eat healthier, then you allow the body and the brain to run more efficiently. With the creation of the T.V. dinner in the 1970s, we stopped family dinners and moved from the dinner table to the drive-thru. With more meals, you will see a better mood, better school performance, and less depression. 

 

Get more sleep: 

Children require a minimum of 6 hours of sleep and recommended 8 hours of sleep. This allows time for the brain to enter REM mode which allows the brain to reset chemically. It was believed the brain shut down during sleep, but with technological advances, we have come to learn the brain becomes hyperactive as it processes and resets the brain to optimal working standards. When you do not get enough sleep your brain fails to have this opportunity and works less efficient which leads to anxiety and depression.

 

Be involved with your child: 

Be involved in your children’s lives. It’s not enough to provide their needs, and wants, but to be involved in their lives. Teens begin the “War for Independence” when they enter the “turbulent years,” which makes connections difficult, but it is still very important for them to know that you are there for them. Children develop life skills from school, the social interaction from friends, and self-esteem from both Parents. It is not enough to take care of them, you need to be there for them.

 

Limit media intake: 

 

There is nothing wrong with limiting negative information and access to free streams of information. No matter how intelligent your child is, or believed capable or interested in social media it is important for limits to social media, news, video games, and other technology. Youth are still dealing with all the same scholastic, social, romantic, and parental demands we dealt with, but now they are connected and plugged in 24/7. As parents, it’s important to limit online connectedness for real-life family interaction. 

 

Finally, if you suspect Suicide?

  1. Ask your loved one if they are suicidal or plan to harm themselves. They may answer “no” and you may still need to take them to the hospital for help, but the fact you asked the question may be enough to draw attention to the situation for the youth.
  2. Call the Police. In Florida, we have what’s called the Baker Act named after the originator Maxine Baker. This law was created for those wishing to harm or suicide themselves could be taken, assessed and receive treatment. 
  3. If you know someone that is planning on killing themselves then please call (866) 441-8725 in the state of Florida. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-8255 or call 911 and speak to the local police. 

Youth Crisis Center’s Family Link Program

YCC’s 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) 725-6662.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family

Staying on top of your mental health during COVID-19

The kids are home from school and you’re probably working from home as the world continues to deal with COVID-19. For some families, this could be a dream come true to spend the entire day with their loved ones every single day. Others might not know how to deal with this kind of scenario because it rarely ever happens for them. Being at home with your loved ones all day when you’re not used to it could cause conflict, according to Family Link Therapist Jessica Beal.

Finding Time for Yourself

Beal recommends finding time for yourself as the calls for “social-distancing” continues. She says the feedback she gets from her clients is that tension is higher due to boredom and feeling trapped. Beal says she has been suggesting to her clients to spend time safely outside. She also recommends using your extra time for personal hobbies like video games, exercising or developing a new skill.

Establishing a Routine

It can be difficult to keep track of days for some people who are being told to stay home due to the virus. Whether you’re working from home, doing your college work, or helping your kids get their schooling done; Beal strongly encourages getting into a routine. Before this happened, chances were that you had some type of schedule or routine for your job or everyday activities. As the world deals with this time of uncertainty, having a regular routine can help you keep your mental and physical health in check.  Beal says she has been recommending that her clients continue to wake up at their normal time, eating regular meals, and taking care of their hygiene. This also can be said about working or schooling from home, for example setting up a work space or designating an area in your home to schoolwork. Setting a routine can also help with possible tension in the house by limiting distractions while one is trying to work or learn.

Social Interactions

At a time of social distancing, it is important to not social isolate yourself form your loved ones. Beal shares that many of her clients have been getting creative and using video conference platforms to hang out with friends as a group. She says social interaction with others is especially important during this time with an emphasis on video chats and phone calls.

Youth Crisis Center’s Family Link Program

YCC’s 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) 725-6662.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family

Social Distancing vs Social Isolation: Maintaining relationships and setting boundaries

As our country continues to deal with COVID-19, the term ‘social distancing’ continues to pop up. Social Distance is a big reason why you are probably working from home, your kids are not at their physical school, and why so many businesses are limiting how many people are allowed inside. CDC says limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of the virus. Basically, social distancing means keeping space between yourself and others when you are not inside your home. You have probably noticed stores placing markers or pieces of tape to keep people at least six feet apart. It is recommended to avoid groups and stay out of crowded places.

This could be particularly hard for people who consider themselves extroverted or someone who simply enjoys being out around a lot of people whether that be the mall, the beach or their favorite restaurant. If you are someone who enjoys spending time with your friends or family members, this time could also be particularly challenging. However, just because you are being asked to distance yourself that does not mean to isolate yourself from your loved ones. In fact, you should be finding other ways to talk to your favorite people as we all go through COVID-19.

 

Setting boundaries for others

Whether you consider yourself an introvert or you’re taking the CDC’s recommendation seriously, you might have to deal with family members or friends who do not take the recommendation as seriously. This is where setting boundaries can become useful according to Bertha Barrett, an Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center. She suggests you should be clear about your concerns, especially if you’re at a higher risk of contracting the virus due to health issues. You should also take into account if you have young children or even a newborn who could be prone to getting the virus.

Even though you are keeping your distance for health reasons, that does not mean you need to cut off all communications with your loved ones. Recently, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry called on residents to try and call somebody at 7 pm to still stay in touch while also practicing social distancing. This is not the time for someone to intentionally try to ostracize themselves and be lonely. Even though you have set physical boundaries for someone does not mean you should set emotional ones as well. Use this time to not just call a loved one but find ways to reconnect with your family as you all go through this together.

 

Setting boundaries for yourself 

Barrett says setting boundaries for yourself can help you stay mentally well by reducing stress. If you happen to live alone or you don’t have family members or friends to call at the moment, use this time to focus on yourself. She recommends limiting your time in front of the television or any screen, especially if constant updates of the pandemic makes you uneasy. If you’re working from home, Barrett says it can be easy for someone to isolate themselves from the world by diving into their work. She wants you to stick to your normal work routine and hours if possible. Barrett says it is important to know when your workday is over. While maintain a work schedule is important – she also recommends setting time aside for yourself. Barrett calls finding ways to relax and focus on both your mental and physical health important during this time.

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program


The Youth CrisisCenter 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 DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 


Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client.

 

Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Accepting the new normal: Working and learning from home

If we’re not already wondering ourselves, someone is probably joking about it on social media: “what day is it?”

The CDC has been keeping on an eye on the coronavirus since the beginning of 2020. The United States has seen over 300,000 cases this year and over 7000 deaths since January. The global pandemic has caused the country’s leaders including those at the state and city level to take action to do what they can to keep you safe. Some states and cities have a ‘Safer at Home’ executive order aimed at having citizens staying at home except for critical and essential services.

Setting a Routine

This means people are having to work from home and then staying home. Children are having to do their schooling from home as well. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are used to routine and structure. We have dealt with it since before we could possibly remember with our caretakers put us down for our usual nap as toddlers, the school bell ringing marking us tardy or on time for class, and to make sure we clock in and out on time for work. Humans are truly creatures of habit, and COVID-19 has seemed to disrupt our normal routines and staying at home for work and school, has become our new normal, at least for now.

Amanda Marker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is the Lead Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center. She says with routines as we know it being interrupted across the glove, it’s important to re-establish routines for oneself. Marker suggests trying to make a reasonable schedule you feel you can stick to. She believes creating a routine can cut down on stress by providing structure to ‘what comes next.’ This is especially helpful for kids who are home all day when they are used to having a structure in school.

Marker says it’s important during this time to not put too much pressure on yourself. She goes on to say we are experiencing this new way of life collectively.

Time Management

Working and schooling from home can be difficult if it’s not something we are typically used to. For many of us, the boundaries of work and home life are not as clear as they were. Marker says it’s important to set reasonable limits, build in short breaks throughout the day, and find time to disengage from work.

Marker points to the Pomodoro method as a way to manage your time. It’s a technique in which you set a timer for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break from your work or study. After four 25 minute work sessions, you are then allowed to take a 15 to 30-minute break.

Disengaging from your job or schoolwork is just as important as practicing time management. Marker recommends creating an “end of the day” ritual. This could be changing clothes to signal your workday is over, turning your work phone off or just simply closing your computer.

Designating a work from home or school space

According to research by Anja Jamrozik, a cognitive scientist, states there are five basic needs to meet to create an effective work from home space “Access to natural light, a comfortable temperature, good air quality, comfortable furniture, and a strategy for minimizing distractions.”

Everybody’s situation is different. Someone may live in a small two-bedroom apartment or have three kids who all need to their schoolwork onlineNot everyone has the opportunity to close a door and set up a desk in a spare room with natural lighting. Marker wants you to remember that it is okay if you can’t do that. Whether you’re trying to set up something for you, your kids, or the whole family the key is to create a routine and make space for it each day. Making space in your home for education shows your kids that it’s important to you and you value learning. Making space for your work helps you focus that it’s time to work and it could be your ‘getaway’ from what else is happening in the world.

Communication is also important when it comes to designating a work or schooling space. You want to limit distraction if possible. Marker says it’s important to set guidelines. If you’re working from your bedroom, close the door to signal to your family members or roommates that you are working. If you are working in an open area, you could try putting on headphones. Marker explains this could be a visual cue to others to not disturb you when you are in the zone working. She also recommends talking to those in the household ahead of time to set boundaries, guidelines, or a schedule when it comes to working from home. By doing that, everybody can help curb the interruptions.

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth CrisisCenter 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 DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client.

 

Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Talking to your kids about COVID-19

The U.S continues to talk about COVID-19 and the uncertainties it not only leaves for our country but the rest of the world. The virus has been dominating headlines and has been a part of the news cycle since the beginning of this year. At a time of calls from our nation’s leaders to social distance, it can be had for some children, regardless of age to fully grasp what exactly is happening not just in our country, but around the world.

Kim Sirdevan the President and CEO of the Youth Crisis Center says this is the time to talk with your kids about the Coronavirus. With the majority if not all public schools in the state of Florida out and doing online learning, there is a chance your child is possibly missing those valuable hours with their friends and teachers. It has come to a time where it may not be the best decision for your child to go to their friend’s house or hang out with a group of them and that can be hard to understand.
Sirdevan recommends talking with your kids and just reassure their safety at this time. You should also try to limit what they see.

“You don’t want to scare them and that’s what is happening. They are reading data and seeing numbers.”

She tells Real Country Mornings with Gary and Char, a lot of kids watch and follow the lead of their parents. Sirdevan goes on to say that if a child sees their parent navigating through this time calmly and carefully, your kids will feel more confident about what’s happening. Kim Sirdevan also wants parents to use this time to educate themselves. If your child comes to you with a question – she says parents should be able to give them credible answers. She goes on to say that if a parent doesn’t know that specific answer – then they should try to find out for their child.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth CrisisCenter 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 DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client. 

Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Finding your flock; how to avoid getting mixed in with the wrong crowds

It’s a proverb you have probably heard once or twice in your life, “birds of a feather flock together.” It means those who have the same interests or like the same things will usually be found together. Everybody has their own flock whether they’re extroverted and enjoy going out on Friday nights for karaoke or staying in and reading a book. At one point in your life, you have probably felt pressure to do something a certain way or felt the need to try to fit in with a group of people. With the rise of social media, kids and teens may feel or experience this pressure even more than those who were the same age about 10 years ago.

As parents, your main job is to protect your kids. You want to help them be their best selves and sometimes who they spend their free time with plays a role in that. No parent wishes for their child to get mixed up in the wrong crowd. If a child feels like their parents or guardians are strict when it comes to who they hang out with – there’s probably a reason for that. Family Link Therapist Jazmin Jerome has several pieces of advice for kids who find themselves constantly being told to avoid a certain group of people.

Be You

Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” As cliché as it may sound, it’s true. Being unique is what makes someone stand out. Jerome says if you have to change who you are to fit in with a certain crowd that is a sign of possibly getting involved with the wrong crowd. If a group cannot accept you for who you are then there shouldn’t be much of an incentive to try to fit in with that particular group who doesn’t accept you as you are.

Communicate Your Needs

According to Jerome, Often times kids and even adults are drawn to find that they are missing.

“Find someone you can trust and talk to about what is missing in your life so that you don’t have to feel drawn to the wrong crowd.”

Jerome also suggests trying to stick to your values. That means honoring your parents’ or guardian’s wishes and never forgetting how you were raised.

Youth Crisis Center’s Family Link 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 DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

 

YCC’s 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) 725-6662.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family

Setting aside time to check in with your child


It’s natural for parents and children to want to spend time together. However, with a busy work-life, school, after-school activities and other distractions, it could be hard to be able to set aside time to check in with your loved ones. Things happen and sometimes interactions slip through the cracks, but there are ways to make sure you do get that quality time with your loved ones.


Find a Routine


Amanda Marker is the Lead Outpatient Therapist for the Youth Crisis Center. She recommends creating an after-school plan to help not just cut down on the chaos of making sure homework is done but to create more time with your child. The after-school plan could mean your child will spend one hour doing their homework or an hour of reading with you. This also helps set expectations.


Talk With Your Child


Don’t be afraid to just pull your child aside to talk with them. Marker suggests asking them how they’re doing or asking about school. She says you should use active listening skills to understand what is going on in your child’s life. Marker wants to remind you to validate your child’s feelings, adding she believes they want you to let them know that you care about them. According to Marker, as parents, we may not be able to fully understand what is going on in a child’s life if we are not actively checking in with them or asking how they are.


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 DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client. Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

How to show your child affection if you struggle with it

There’s no universal way of showing love. People show love and affection in different ways. Plenty of people express their feelings through hugs and kisses, but that kind of physical affection could be difficult for some. Others may struggle with giving and receiving compliments. The same goes for families. While adults may be used to showing a type of affection their child may not be as receiving of that type of affection. The parent could have also been like that as a child and now struggles with showing affection now that they have their kids of their own.

Be Present 

Lonnie Erskine, a Mental Health Counselor Intern and Family Link Therapist with the Youth Crisis Center says being present is a must. Important conversations while at the table or just sitting around can fall through the cracks if everyone or just one person is on the phone.   

“Children just want to know that you’re present.”

Erksine recommends asking your child about their day and starting a conversation with them. She wants you to ask your kids how they’re doing and also give them positive affirmation. According to Erksine, this can be very beneficial to the parent-child relationship as it shows the kid you are their biggest cheerleader.

Saying ‘I love you’

Those three little words can hold so much weight. Erskine says it’s important to constantly remind your kids how much you love them. If you struggle to find the right words to show your loved one how much you care, you could benefit from learning about the “5 Love Languages.”

Youth Crisis Center’s Family Link Program

YCC’s 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) 725-6662.

 

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5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family