There is nothing easy about talking to kids about school shootings and confronting the feelings that follow horrific events like the one that occurred at a high school in Parkland, Florida just over a week ago. From overwhelming heartbreak to furious anger, its normal for emotions to be raw, conflicted and full of passion and pain. But as school shootings increase, one of the most frustrating feelings to emerge is familiarity. Following the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, people reacted with horror and confusion. It was one of the first school shootings of its kind and people struggled to comprehend how such a thing could happen. After the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, the despair was so deep that a lack of action to address this trend felt incomprehensible. So more than five years later, with events like these accumulating by the dozens and with literally no legislation on the horizon, one of the hardest emotions to reconcile after last weeks shooting in Florida is the ines-capable familiarity. Somehow, school shootings have gone from being a rare tragedy to a tragic reality. [Read more…] about Talking to Kids about School Shootings
Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapy
Vapes, Juuls, and A Whole New Generation
As the popularity of Vapes and Juuls have skyrocketed, smoking has declined more quickly than anyone could have imagined. And while the initial intention may have been to eliminate the use of tobacco, one of the unforeseen consequences is a marketplace that still delivers nicotine, often in much higher (and more concentrated) doses. So disguised in all types of fun-looking flavors, society has once again found a way to get its fix.
There was a time, in the not too distant past, when people smoked cigarettes without a care in the world. Before they were linked to cancer, cigarettes might as well have been an everyday accessory, and they were certainly a staple of modern society. But as the twentieth century came to a close, it was hard to ignore the connections between smoking and serious health risks. For the first time, the tobacco industry struggled, and smoking carried a negative stigma. But customers trying to quit cigarettes represented an opportunity and technology wasted no time in filling the void. With electronic cigarettes, people could quit smoking tobacco by using their very own personal vaporizer.
Parenting Complex Adolescents
Parenting complex adolescents has never been easy. And in 2018, it’s never been harder. While hormones and angst have accompanied adolescence since the beginning of time, we live in an ever-complex world. Gender identification, sexuality, and cyber bullying are just a few examples of complicated issues that kids are now facing more openly than ever. And with advanced technology at their fingertips, teenagers today may sometimes even feel as though they have to navigate two lives; the one they lead in reality and the one they have created for themselves online and/or via social media. As kids struggle with these new issues, they can often withdraw and isolate, sometimes presenting as angry and irritable in the process. For parents, this can be an alarming turn of events. Most of the time, this dynamic is just a frustrating reminder that a child is growing up. But in some cases, the problems may run deeper and be cause for greater concern.
While they don’t get paid for their efforts, it often feels as though a teenagers job is to be difficult. Its normal for them to feel misunderstood and confused. As a result, a teenager may feel angry, alone and lost while facing complicated issues about identity, peers, sexual behavior, drinking and drugs. Parents may feel frustrated that their child no longer responds to authority appropriately. Methods of discipline that worked well in earlier years may no longer have an effect. Parents may also feel frightened and helpless about the choices their teen is making. [Read more…] about Parenting Complex Adolescents
Surviving Your Anger
Even if you haven’t seen the recent Pixar classic, Inside Out, you probably know that anger doesn’t have the best reputation. Lewis Black ranting at the top of his lungs is perfect type-casting. But like all of our emotions, anger can be a normal and healthy outlet. The problem is that for some, this can be a challenging emotion to contain. When anger spirals out of control, it has the power to adversely affect every aspect of our lives. The goal of anger management is to reduce the emotional impact and the physiological sensations that accompany anger at its strongest.
Anger can be caused by both external and internal events. A person could be angry at a friend or colleague, for instance, over a perceived wrongdoing. And they could just as easily be angry at an unforeseen circumstance like a traffic jam or a cancelled flight. On the outside, this might look like rage. But on the inside, anger can manifest itself physically with symptoms that include an increased heart rate, along with rising blood pressure and adrenaline. These physical affects can often feel both instantaneous and scary in their intensity.
Almost everyone has probably had a brief moment of road rage or a day of irritability. But for those whose anger has become a baseline for their personality, there are likely deeper reasons to explore. In recent decades, psychological research has shown that anger is often an attempt to hide other emotions, whether it be guilt, embarrassment, fear or humiliation. Anger is not only a potential defense mechanism but it can be also be a dangerous diversion from sources of even deeper pain. [Read more…] about Surviving Your Anger
Video Gaming Disorder
From an ATARI in the early 80s to a SEGA or NINTENDO in the 1990s, video games and video gaming disorder have been an increasingly active presence in our lives for more than a few decades. Like movies and television, gaming can be an enjoyable escape from reality and a fun hobby for adolescents and teenagers. But the simpler days of Mario and Luigi are long gone. For the first time ever, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that it will classify gaming addiction as a mental health condition. Starting in 2018, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) will officially list the condition as “gaming disorder.” https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/27/health/video-game-disorder-who/index.html
Video gaming disorder has exploded into an entirely new phenomenon in the 21st century, driven by cutting-edge graphics and intricate storylines. Gaming is now an immersive experience. For some, this remains an appropriate escape from the real world. But for others, gaming has become more than a hobby. Whether its losing oneself in a world of fantasy, or obsessing over how to get to the next level of a random game, the experience can be a dangerously time-consuming distraction. And now, it can also be considered a diagnosable disorder. [Read more…] about Video Gaming Disorder