Addressing Unspoken Family Rules

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A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

It is important to identify your rules for dealing with your teen as well as their rules for dealing with you. – Sandra

PARENTAL RULES:

  • “I’ll give you anything you want if in return you will love and respect me.”
  • “I need to raise my kids the exact opposite of how my parents raised me.”
  • “Since I am your mom, I obviously know what is best for you.”

TEENS RULES:

  • “Whatever trouble I get into, my dad will get me out of it.”
  • “It’s my parent’s job to do everything for me.”
  • “Everything should go my way. If not, I get to throw a tantrum and disturb everyone around me.”

WHERE DO THESE RULES COME FROM?
We usually make up rules based on varying experiences we have had in life, their purpose being to help direct the exchanges we have with others. These rules are generally neither right or wrong, but they either either work–or they don’t.

You should keep using the rules governing your exchanges with your teen only if you are getting positive results. Remember, hidden rules can sabotage a relationship.

We ultimately need to try and bring hidden rules out into the open. If there are hidden agendas or rules, people usually feel they are trapped, unclear about what is expected of them. This often leads to rebellion and/ or power struggles.

By putting the rules on the table they can be talked through, and made transparent. An example of naming the rules would be “the reason I can buy you the things you want is because I worked overtime. The reason I can do this is because you help out at home with the work I normally do. By your helping me, I can help you.”

Teenagers then know that there is a cost for what they are getting. By doing this, you help teens become more aware and grateful. Adolescents know that they must take part in the exchange, if only to say “thank you.”

It can be very helpful to first approach a teen asking “What do you want?” and clarify what that means to them. You can then ask the big question…”What are you willing to give to get that?”

Remember, you are in the power position. Power, used wisely, can eliminate power struggles allowing you to focus attention on creating exchanges that work.

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
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For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Would Parenting Support Help?

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A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

Conscious parenting requires pausing to evaluate whether your words or actions are truly necessary, or helpful. – Sandra

Encouraging your teen should never include a demeaning or threatening word, nor cause them to lose their dignity or self-respect. Your encouragement should inspire and uplift them, and guide them towards a path of hope and possibility.

When teens act out, disobey, behave rudely or display disturbing emotions, it’s easy to dismiss their behavior as “bad” or “wrong.” It’s helpful to see these behaviors as your teen’s best attempt to meet their needs. It is an invitation for you look at your relationship with your teen, and try to discover the source of their unmet need.

Although it can be exhausting to cope with the challenges and demands typical of this period, parents need to deal with their teen’s mis-behavior in a straightforward way that affirms the dignity and power of both parent and the adolescent. The parent who cannot tolerate their teen expressing their autonomy (wanting to do things independently) will make their child feel as though the price of their budding independence is the loss of their parent’s love.

Respectful parenting means being able to see the frustrations your teen encounters when pushing against your boundaries as opportunities for them to learn self-control and respect for others.

If your teen is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it. 

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
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For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

What Is A Recipe For Happiness?

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A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

Is it possible to remain happy while figuring out solutions to the obstacles that come up in life? Here are some thoughts you might want to share with your teen. – Sandra

The definition of happiness differs for everyone. Happiness can be anything from a blissful state of euphoria to a gentle feeling of contentment.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you on a daily basis? Does your happiness rating change from day to day, dependent upon the circumstances?

Have you ever noticed how feelings can change in a second? Like the weather, the sky can be filled with scattered clouds, and then suddenly it can get bright as a cloud moves away to reveal the sun.

Happiness is not some end point to be achieved, but rather something that occurs in moments. A more effective goal than trying to be happy all the time is to seek a sense of peace and contentment through the ups and downs, learning how to see and accept life as is, responding appropriately to each situation.

Our experience of life is often based on our perception of the events that are happening within it. As you face your challenges, try to stay aware of the love and abundance already present in your life.

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Effective Parenting: Leading By Example

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A Note From The Santa Monica Family Therapist

The foundation of effective parenting is leading by example. When children observe how we treat them and others, they learn how to behave. – Sandra

A parent’s interaction with their child literally impacts their child’s brain development, and parenting styles can be passed down through generations.

In our society, shaming is an accepted parenting tool for controlling kids. Our body language, facial expressions, the tone and volume of our voice, threatening violence, withholding affection, rejecting behavior, using demeaning words or physical punishment definitely impact a child’s self-esteem and can teach them aggressive behavior.

As parents, we are responsible for modeling self-respect and respect for others. When we treat children with respect, they learn to treat themselves and others respectfully.  The foundation of any respectful argument involves avoiding the following: raising your voice, swearing, name-calling and pointing your finger in the other person’s face.

Conscious parenting involves pausing before speaking or acting to evaluate whether our words or actions are necessary. (Will your words or actions truly help the situation?) Encouraging your child should never include a demeaning or threatening word, act, or deed, nor should it cause them to lose their dignity or self-respect.

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Parenting Teens After A Divorce

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A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

It’s often difficult for teens whose parents have split apart. Wherever possible, try to communicate directly and privately with the other parent about matters relevant to your children. Read on for more suggestions. – Sandra

A teen doesn’t like the feeling that he or she must act as a messenger between hostile parents. Adolescents want parents to talk with each other so that the messages are communicated the right way, and don’t feel like they are going to mess up. It is unfair to make your teen carry messages to your “ex” because you find it too awkward or aggravating to do so yourself.

Avoid arguing and discussing child support issues in front of your teen. Most teens upon hearing these things feel that their existence is a burden on their parents. Do not put your teen in the middle of your child support disputes.

It hurts your teen very much to hear one loved parent criticize the other loved parent. When teens hear bad things about one parent, they hear bad things about half of themselves. Even if you are sure you’re right, try to avoid criticizing the other parent around your kids.

DESTRUCTIVE REMARKS THAT YOU SHOULD NOT MAKE:

  • You’re lazy/stubborn/bad tempered, just like your mother/father.
  • Your mother/father put you up to saying that.
  • Your dad/mom doesn’t love any of us or he/she wouldn’t have left us.
  • You can’t trust her/him.
  • He/she was just no good.
  • If she/he loved you, she/he would send your support checks on time.
  • Someday you’ll leave me too, just like your father/mother.

All of these remarks raise fear and anxiety in your teen.

It is very difficult for the teen of divorced parents to cope with feeling “caught in the middle.” If they want to tell you about time spent with their other parent (and they usually don’t), listen closely and politely, and then stop. Encourage your teen to love both parents. Asking your teen to take your side in any situation regarding your ex-spouse can create a tremendous amount of stress for your teen. Your teen wants to love both of his or her parents. Avoid putting teens in the position of having to take sides.

Complaining to your teen about how lonely you feel makes them feel guilty and sad. It’s not healthy for a teen to be consumed with worry for their parents’ ability to survive. Let your teen be a teenager. Your teen will have the best chance of growing up to be a functional human male or female with both parents as role models and nurturers. This means that there should be some way of them having access to the good each parent has to offer.” (Acknowledging Ruben Francia)

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Why Teens Experiment With Drugs

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A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

Did you know that self-medication through drugs or alcohol is often an attempt to regulate or avoid painful feelings? – Sandra

Feelings aren’t always comfortable. Some teens so strongly dislike feeling sad, anxious, angry or insecure so much that they will do anything to avoid these feelings, such as experimenting with mood altering chemicals.

Teens at high risk of actually becoming addicted to these substances are often lacking deep connections with others. Meaning, they feel emotionally cut off from most people in their life.

Adolescence, with all the changes that accompany it, can be an intense time where teens are overwhelmed by new feelings. Substance abuse in teenagers can appear as attention seeking, and/or isolating behavior.

Reaching out in times of challenge is always a wise decision. If you have noticed changes in your teen’s behavior that leads you to suspect that drugs are involved, I have numerous resources available to help them.

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Your Teen Depressed?

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A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

Teen depression seems to be on the rise, affecting one out of every 20 teenagers. What is the cause … and what is the solution? – Sandra

During the teenage years, the pressure to conform with their peers can be incredibly strong. If kids feel different, inadequate or deprived in some way, then feelings of self-loathing and depression may be the result. With Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram so prevalent, teens are being bombarded with images that they feel they need to live up to.

There are also increasing concerns about competition for college, and the endless hours that are going into creating the perfect resume with extracurricular activities and advanced coursework. Today’s adolescents are exhausted, overwhelmed and breaking down.

It is important for parents to make a distinction between situational depression: which is a normal reaction to stress or loss, and clinical depression: believed to be caused by brain chemistry and not related to external situations. Regardless of the cause, it can be beneficial for teens to receive support going through these periods from a trained professional.

“The idea that one must be, and look, endlessly cheerful is a destructive and daunting expectation for teens.” says Dr. Andrew Weil, who feels that kids need to learn that happiness is not some end point to be achieved. I teach teens how to discover a sense of peace and contentment through life’s ups and downs, see and accept life as is, and find ways to respond effectively to each situation.

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Your Teen Emotionally Intense?

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A Note From The Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

Highly sensitive & creative teens are frequently misunderstood, mislabelled and misdiagnosed. – Sandra

Teens who are extremely sensitive experience day-to-day life even more vividly and deeply. With their unique ways of perceiving the world, “emotionally intense” responses to challenges at home, school, work or in relationships are common.

Unfortunately, this emotional intensity is often misunderstood, and these intelligent, caring, and expressive young people are frequently mislabeled and misdiagnosed. There is great value in highly sensitive adolescents learning to manage their vulnerabilities — and harness their strengths.

I help highly sensitive young people to expand their ‘window of tolerance,’ so they are less easily triggered into states of acute stress, rage, and panic. I can teach your teen to harness their strengths and manage their vulnerabilities–so that they can thrive.

Being in the world with a highly responsive nervous system is not a disorder. But it can be challenging for parents and teachers to understand this young person’s hesitancy before trying new things, and their reactiveness to feeling overwhelmed.

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Frequently Yelling At Your Teen?

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A Note From the Santa Monica Teen & Family Therapist

Do you sometimes get so frustrated with your teen’s behavior that you find yourself yelling? – Sandra

Stepping away for a moment to keep yourself from exploding may give you space to determine what actions could actually help your teen move beyond their inappropriate behavior. Taking a deep breath whenever you feel stressed and overwhelmed can help calm your nerves and bring your thoughts into a more a peaceful alignment.

Once you feel ready to discuss your teen’s behavior, try expressing curiosity about their choices instead of judgment. In this manner, you are able to learn more about their motivation and point of view. Utilize their mistakes as an opportunity to help them to grow by creating a discussion where you respectfully impart your life wisdom.

Remember, you don’t have to fix everything today. Sometimes there is value in teaming up with a teen specialist who can help you explore solutions. Remember the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child? Let me support you in becoming the best parent you can be!

Adolescent counselor, family therapist and respectful parenting coach for over 10 years based in Santa Monica, California.

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teen Safety Behind Closed Doors

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A Note From The Santa Monica Family Therapist

Do you know what actually goes on behind your teen’s closed door? Read on to learn more. – Sandra

Girls and guys alike may preen in front of the mirror, checking out their hair and skin, trying on outfits that they hope make them look good. They may also engage in phone conversations that consist of gossip, flirtations, or simply getting emotional support about teen “phase of life” issues. However, sometimes what goes on behind closed doors may not be so innocent. With the potential danger of sexting and cyber-bullying, it is helpful for parents to have a clear idea of what is going on in their teen’s room when no one is watching.

I personally like the concept of not putting a lock on a teen’s bedroom door. This does not mean that a parent can enter without knocking first. But it does serve as a reminder to teens that parents have access to their room.

Another interesting choice I see parents make is allowing their teens to entertain their boyfriends and girlfriends in their bedrooms. If the intention is simply to have some privacy for their conversation, perhaps a space can be designated for them to chat without interruption. If, however, space is limited, then you may want to consider the possibility of requiring that their bedroom door be left open …

If your teen or young adult child is struggling socially or emotionally, I can help you to discover the cause and remedy it.

Menu of Services Offered:

Call Now to Schedule a Free Consultation!

Click to Call:

(310) 951-5678
.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.