Family Counseling – intervening in the family dynamics that need to change through structural/strategic family therapy.
Blended families – helping families navigate loyalty conflicts and custody problems, keeping the marriage intact and setting healthy boundaries.

Should I Let My Child Have Social Media?

Here’s my answer. Growing up in the digital age is something most parents today know nothing about.  We have no direct experience of what going through middle school in the era of social media is really like.  We can, however, observe the impact of social media on our children.   I want to emphasize that we must not underestimate its impact on our children.  I believe that our middle schoolers are the most vulnerable to social media’s influence.   The reason I say this is based on child development theory.  Erik Erickson developed the “Psychosocial” stages of development.  He believed
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, Relationships, School, and Transitions / Change.

A Thanksgiving Thought

Once November starts, the remainder of the year just flies by with all the plans, festivities and the extra work that goes along with them.  The frenzied pace can prevent us from really enjoying the purpose of the special days of thanksgiving and other holidays at the end of the year.   Take some time now to think about Thanksgiving.  The name of this American holiday spells out clearly what the purpose of the day is.  The word “holiday” is an old English word meaning “Holy Day.”  Basically, its a day that is set apart and made more special than
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, and Holidays.

What is More Important Than a Red Balloon?

I just watched the movie “Christopher Robin” in which we see Winnie the Pooh and friends rescue an older Christopher Robin from himself.  As a child, Christopher Robin played and spent long hours exploring the Hundred Acre Wood with his stuffed animal friends.  He used his imagination to create stories that most of us heard about as children in the Pooh books by A.A. Milne.   Some wise sayings from Pooh are heard again in the movie.  Specifically, there are a couple of observations Pooh has about doing nothing.  The first is “Doing nothing often leads to the very best
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, Marriage, Parenting, Personal Growth, and Stress.

Why is bullying such a problem these days?

Given the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the importance of addressing bullying is at its peak.  Bullying is an issue that is related to several problems in our schools, from mild anxiety problems to truancy to incidents of deadly violence.  Did you know that social rejection and bullying are common factors among students who become school shooters?  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics victims of bullying are twice as likely to bring weapons to school.  Statistics reported by ABC News state that nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids (nationwide)
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Family, Mental Health, Parenting, Personal Growth, School, and Stress.

Traits of Healthy Families Cont’d

This is the final part of the series I have written about traits of healthy families.  As identified by Dolores Curran in her book, Traits of a Healthy Family, the 15 traits that healthy families show are listed below.  Based on her research, a healthy family is one that: Communicates and listens. Values table time and conversation. Affirms and supports one another. Teaches respect for others. Develops a sense of trust. Has a sense of play and humor. Has a balance of interaction among members. Shares leisure time. Strong sense of family in which rituals and traditions abound. Exhibits a
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, and Personal Growth.

Traits of Healthy Families #10 Valuing Table Time

This post is guest written by Cassidy Ward, currently a sophomore Public Relations major at Harding University Laughter, arguing, crying, rejoicing, complaining, praising, and praying. All these and more I have experienced while gathering around the table with family to eat. One of the things I appreciate most about coming home from college during the holidays is family table time. Spending time together at the table to eat and converse during the holidays is important because it’s a time to reconnect, grow closer, and learn new things about your family and yourself. I grew up in a family where it
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Categories: Family and Holidays.

Traits of Healthy Families #6-9

Lately I’ve been expanding on Dolores Curran’s book “Traits of a Healthy Family” which identifies 15 traits that healthy families exhibit.  She is quick to point out that no family is perfect or lives out all of these 15 traits.   However, healthy families as a whole will show these qualities.  Last month’s column was guest-written by my daughter and covered the traits of “Valuing table time” and “strong sense of rituals and traditions.”  This edition will examine how and why playfulness, leisure time, balance, and shared responsibility are important in family life. We’ve all heard it said that “The
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Categories: Family, Marriage, Mental Health, Parenting, and Relationships.

Traits of a Healthy Family #3-5

Last month’s column introduced the traits of good communication and valuing family time and conversation.  In this issue, three more of the 15 traits from Dolores Curran’s book, “Traits of a Healthy Family” will be covered.  Traits 3 – 5 have to do with providing every family member with a sense of inclusion and acceptance. Trait three, “affirming and supporting one another”, really starts with the parents.   Happy parents make for happy kids.  Affirming parents have good self-esteem, and work to instill a positive mood in the home.  This positive tone in the home creates a general expectation that
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Categories: Family, Marriage, Mental Health, Parenting, and Relationships.

Traits of a Healthy Family #1-2

What do healthy families look like?  There’s a saying; “Crazy comes in many forms but sanity just has one.”  Dolores Curran, author of “Traits of a Healthy Family,” surveyed professionals in education, ministry, health care, and family counseling, asking them to identify what they observed in families they deemed as “healthy.”  Based on this survey, 15 traits were identified as components of healthy families.   There is no single family that embodies all of these traits, so don’t feel pressure to master them all.  This issue will look at the first two in Curran’s list; communication, and valuing family time
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Categories: Family, Mental Health, Parenting, Personal Growth, and Relationships.

The Challenge of Difficult Emotions

Fear.  Shame.  Anger.  Boredom.  Sadness.  Disgust.  These are feelings we don’t enjoy, and we can often go to great lengths to avoid them.  This was documented centuries ago by Blaise Pascal, who is quoted to say “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”   We try to suppress these emotions, especially fear and shame.  However, as Brené Brown has noted, emotions are like the old string of Christmas lights: when we deny or turn off one light bulb (such as anger) the whole string goes out.  Essentially, we become emotionally disabled in
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Categories: Children, Faith issues, Family, Mental Health, Parenting, and Personal Growth.