Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What To Do if Your Teen Rebels

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH


Rebellion in teens can be secretive or obvious depending on the personality of the teenager and the circumstances. It can show itself as rebellion against authority, against their peers, or against themselves. The article titled, “Symptoms of Teenage Rebellion” identifies some of the symptoms and breaks down each category of rebellion separating out normal behavior from abnormal behavior. Once you have come to the realization that your teen is rebelling, then it is time to take action to help them overcome the destructive behavior.

Think. The first step in helping your teen is to differentiate between normal teenage behavior and abnormal teenage behavior and address only the abnormal teenage behavior. Leave the normal teenage behavior for another day. Also, if your teen is in trouble for stealing from school and sneaking out of the house, then address one of the issues because the issues are not related. If however, your teen is in trouble for stealing from school and destruction of property at school, then address the issues together. Having a plan before you begin the conversation knowing in advance the range of discipline that will be given will give you confidence and help you to remain calm during the discussion.

Confront. The second step is direct confrontation of the issue at hand. Pay attention to the environment and the people around when beginning the confrontation. While their friends are over, while their siblings are in the room, and without your spouse is not a good time for confrontation. Rather choose a time that works for everyone and if needed, set a date. Select a neutral ground in the home to have the discussion, neither their room nor your room are appropriate as these should be places of comfort. As difficult as this may be, it is best to remain calm and unemotional during the discussion. Tears and bursts of anger can be interpreted as manipulation and increase the tension and emotions of the conversation. Keep the conversation on the one point you decided at the beginning resisting the urge to repeat yourself.

Listen. During the conversation, remember that this is not a time for lecturing; rather this is a time for gaining insight as to the real reason behind the rebellion. The type of rebellion should provide you with a clue as to what they are rebelling against but that it does not explain the why. To discover the why of rebellion, you need to listen past the words to the heart of the matter while paying special attention to the emotion shown. Look for body language to help you discover what is going on: do they look away when a topic is addressed, do they become angry at a comment made, do they shut down when you respond, or do they cry over what seems like a small issue. Don’t be afraid to identify and inquire about the emotion: fear, anxiety, sadness, excitement, guilt, or surprise.

Remember. At some point it may be useful to identify with the emotion your teen is feeling by remembering a time when you felt the same way. Use this as an opportunity to bond with your teen by sharing an experience with them. Oftentimes teens feel as though they are the only ones to feel a certain way and no one could ever understand them. Just sharing a similar moment and becoming venerable in front of your teen demonstrates a heart of understanding beyond the disciplining.

Counsel. Giving teens counsel is a tricky task because if they don’t feel like you really understand them, they won’t respond well to your counsel. Instead of giving counsel to unwelcoming ears, postpone the conversation until another time and give your teen a chance to absorb the conversation. This action alone demonstrates that you are more interested in helping them to grow than in blind obedience. If they are willing to receive the counsel, then keep it short. Better to get a small message across well then a long message out poorly.

Seek help. If during the process it becomes apparent that your teen is not responding positively, seek help from a professional. Choose a professional who has personal experience with teenagers, perhaps works with them in a coaching or teaching environment or has teenagers of their own. The best help includes some parenting advice as well as counsel for the teen because it is better for everyone to be on the same page going forward.

Rebellion does not have to overwhelming and can actually improve and deepen the communication between the parents and the teen. Use these moments to strengthen your relationship instead of creating a greater divide.


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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Symptoms of Teenage Rebellion

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Teenage rebellion is not just about skipping class, staying out past curfew, or smoking anymore, now the rebellion has taken on new forms and looks considerable different from the past. Understanding the early warning signs of teenage rebellion as opposed to normal development can make the difference not only in your relationship with the teen but in their lives as well. As a mother, teacher and counselor of teens, I have observed three main areas of rebellion in teens. Each of these areas is as important as the next and should be addressed.

Authority. As part of the normal developmental process of a teenager growing into adulthood, teens become increasing aware of the numerous authority figures in their lives. For a teen, the number of authority figures seems to multiply from parents to coaches to teachers to police officers to store managers to even older teens. While during childhood the authority figures were for the most part respected, for some teens they all of a sudden seem to become disrespected as the child ages. Rebelling against authority is open defiance of the rules established whether it is at home, school, athletic field or work. This rebellion may be obvious or it may be secretive, either way it is rebellion against an authority figure. The teen maybe staying out all night, not going to school, drag racing, sneaking out of the house, running away, drinking and driving, stealing from an employer, school or home, or destruction of property to name a few of the big ones. Also look for the not so obvious rebellion symptoms such as rolling of the eyes, not making eye contact, intentionally dragging out an instruction, sleeping instead of working, and name calling.

Peers. It may seem strange that this category would be included as a type of rebellion; however some teens do not have issues with the authority figures in their lives but rather with their peers. It is normal for teens to experiment becoming friends with different peer groups especially as their interests and activities change. Some teens do well with multiple peer groups while other teens struggle to fit into one peer group. The rebellion begins at teens struggle to fit into a peer group that is not accepting of them so they act out against that group. This can look like bullying on the surface and can result in fighting, backstabbing, and name calling. Some teens switch peer groups repeatedly as a way to prevent anyone from coming too close to them. In the end, they may experience isolation and loss of friends. Other teens identify so strongly with one group, a gang, to the point that they are antagonistic to others who are not a part of their group. All of this is rebellion towards their peers.

Self. As teens struggle with forming their identity separate and apart from their parents, often times they do not like what they see. Instead they began a self-loathing process that can rapidly become harmful behavior. Their rebellion against themselves displays as hatred for how they appear, how they think, how they act and what they have become. In order to feel better about themselves, they often engage in dangerous behavior to bring relief to the pain they feel. This self-harming behavior can be cutting, excessive piercings, binging/purging, drugs (illegal and prescription abuse), gambling, alcohol use, and excessive risk taking.

If any of these areas sounds familiar, don’t lose hope. The good news is that when rebellion is handled correctly, the impact on the teen’s life can be long-lasting. Look for the article titled, “What to Do If Your Teen Rebels” for ideas on how to properly handle the rebellion.


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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Monday, June 27, 2011

To Sleep or Not...

By: Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

To sleep, or not to sleep—that is the question:
Whether it is better for the mind to ponder
The outrageous thoughts and dreams
Or to tackle the sea of problems
And by challenging end them. To wake, to sleep—
Which one—

Yes, which one. It is some ridiculous hour when by all logic you should be sound asleep yet you find yourself wide awake for reasons beyond your understanding. So what do you do? Do you lie in bed trying to get to sleep? Do you get up and do some work? Do you turn on the TV in an attempt to distract your thoughts? Or do you wake up someone up to help you go back to sleep? Which to choose?

“It appears that every man's insomnia is as different from his neighbour's as are their daytime hopes and aspirations.” F. Scott Fitzgerald realized that one solution may work for you but may not work for your friends. You are different in personalities, dreams and experiences from others and even at times your personality, dreams and experience changes from part of your life to another. So finding a solution to the sleeplessness today, may not work tomorrow. This is why you need to have multiple solutions ready at a moment’s notice.


“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep I count my blessings instead of sheep…” Bing Crosby’s gave this advice in the 1954 classic “White Christmas” when his soon to be girlfriend was having a hard time sleeping because of her pestering sister. This is a reasonable approach which does work on occasion mostly because it distracts you from the thoughts that are consuming you in the middle of the night. Counting your blessings is about focusing your thoughts on the things you are grateful for instead of the things that need to be done or are causing you anxiety. This attitude of gratitude has a calming effect and you might find that you fall asleep while counting all of your blessings.


“If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.” Dale Carnegie’s advice suggests that is it better to get up and work then to worry. If you are struggling with a deadline, thinking about the email you forgot to send, or just realized a solution to a problem you have been pondering, then getting up and tending to the issue may be the very trick that allows you to get back to sleep. The little bit of sleep that you lose in productive work may actually be less than the sleep you would lose lying awake in bed worrying.

“You sleep alright?” asks the railcar employee to Eric Little as they arrive in London just before the Olympic trials from the movie “Chariots of Fire”.

“Like a log,” replies Eric Little waking up from his overnight railcar and looking at the newspaper.

“Aha, must have a clear consciousness,” he replies. A clear consciousness is one of the many ways to encourage the elusive sleep. Oftentimes as your mind rests, you become aware of mistakes from the previous day. If the thoughts that consume you are about your mistakes or other people’s mistakes then it is best to develop an attitude of forgiveness. Forgiving yourself and others is one way to clear your conscious and allow sleep to return.

“Come, bless├ęd barrier between day and day,
Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!”


William Wordsworth concludes in his poem "To Sleep". Sleep rejuvenates you body and mind and is essential for productive living. So the next time you find yourself sleepless, change your attitude to an attitude of gratefulness, an attitude of productivity, or an attitude of forgiveness and see if one of these does not help put you back to sleep.





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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finding That Perfect Mate

By: Linda Riley

At one point or another in our lives, we are all searching for that perfect mate. Relationships often start out well, but end poorly. Often we ignore what should be obvious “red-flags” that this person may not be the best choice for us. What are some of the common reasons for this?

1. Lacking the ability to evaluate the person’s character.

2. Being attracted to emotionally damaged people.

3. Getting sexually involved before we fully know the person.

4. Not establishing a foundation of friendship and trust.

5. Wanting it to work so badly that we accept being treated wrongly.

6. The inability to be alone, which makes us settle for anyone.

7. Not really listening when the person we’re dating talks about who they are, what they like and dislike, and what they believe and value.

8. Not really knowing ourselves well enough to be aware of what we need in a relationship.


We all have issues stemming from painful and disappointing life experiences, but some people avoid dealing with their issues and don’t take responsibility for their behavior. Personal growth is about striving to become a better and healthier person. Growing emotionally and mentally requires introspection and self-awareness. Really looking at who you are and thinking about who you want to be is a process that takes time, requires hard work, and in some instances, therapy. Many people would simply rather blame others or remain stuck; we need to look for people who take responsibility rather than deny or blame others.

If you have had a series of failed relationships, consider therapy as an insight-oriented way to better understand yourself and others. It could lead you to what you really desire: finding that perfect mate!

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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

Ranting and Raving

By Chris Hammond

The other day a female client told me about her husband’s ranting and raving over what seemed like nothing and then again it was something. His work was demanding more and more, he did not like his boss or the people he worked with, the house needed some repairs, his health was deteriorating, he got a stomach ache from his last meal, the dog wanted too much attention, and several other large and small complaints. His ranting and raving lasted well over several hours and resolved absolutely nothing. At the end, she was exhausted, frustrated, hurt and desperately wanted to help him but had no idea where to begin.

Sound familiar? Maybe it is a close friend, a co-worker, a child, a parent or a spouse who routinely rants and raves over what seems like nothing but usually is something. Their ranting and raving does not seem to resolve anything in the moment and by the time it ends they feel better and you feel worse. It is as if they unloaded their garbage onto you but you did not get a chance to unload and if you do try to unload during their ranting and raving, you have just added about an extra hour onto the discussion. The rants and raves are not once a year incidents, rather they are almost monthly and if they don’t do a little ranting and raving, the next one is likely to be twice as long.

For some people they type of relationship is likely to cause them to run away, they would rather not invest the time and energy into such a relationship. But for others, the benefits of the relationship far out way the monthly rants and raves, so they decide that the relationship adds more value to their life than it subtracts and they stay. This is the case for my client; she truly loves her husband, is committed to the relationship and wants to help but is unsure how.

It’s not your responsibility. Their rants and raves are their responsibility not yours. This is extremely difficult to remember in the moment as the ranter and raver is likely to blame you for some if not all of the problem. Once you look back over the course of your relationship, you will realize that even if you did change something that was not enough to stop their ranting and raving. It almost seems as if they have an insatiable appetite for ranting and raving and if it is not this than it is that. Their reaction is their responsibility; your reaction is your responsibility.

Change your expectations. During the ranting and raving you try to help the situation by offering advice, compassion or accepting responsibility for your mistakes, yet none of their efforts seem to reduce the ranting and raving. In fact, they seem to bring about even more and different ranting and raving. If you want to offer encouragement, do. Just don’t expect a return on your investment. Decreasing your expectations is not giving up rather it is recognizing that you are not in charge of their ranting and raving, they are.

Look for the nugget of truth. Ranters and ravers are not mindless people without intelligent thought rather they are people who have been pushed to their limit and they usually do have a valid point. The key is to find the nugget of truth in their ranting and raving and focus on that. For instance, they may be upset about your financial situation and declare that overspending on everything needs to stop. Well, if you are overspending on something, maybe it is the groceries, then work on modifying that behavior. Don’t try to change everything all at once because it just does not work. Instead focus on changing one behavior at a time. Find one nugget and work on changing it. Leave the other nuggets for another day.

Try praying. Ok, this is tricky because the type of prayer is extremely important. More than likely, after the ranting and raving is over, you are in pain and feel a heavy burden. So don’t pray that the person ranting and raving will hurt like you or that God will take revenge on them. Rather pray to release the negative energy onto God so that you won’t release the negative energy on someone else. Ranting and raving is like an infectious disease that can affect an entire community. Decide to end the cycle, pray, release, let go and if needed forgive the other person for hurting you. This will do far more good and will prevent the disease from spreading.

Get busy. When someone rants and raves the temptation is to replay the ranting and raving over and over in your head. We try to see where we went wrong, what we could have said instead to make a difference or how we could have stopped the cycle. This is a waste of valuable energy, instead, get busy doing what you need to do and put all thoughts of the incident out of your head. At first this discipline is difficult but with practice it becomes easier. You are what you think and if you continue to replay the negative thoughts, you will be negative in turn. You can choose to do something different and getting busy is more productive then stewing.

Ranter and ravers are not without their responsibility in the problem but you cannot fix them, they need to choose to fix themselves. Rather you can choose to do different behaviors, to think different thoughts, to absorb different emotions, after all you actually have more choice in the situation then the other person. Your positive reactions over time will make a difference in your life and hopefully the other person will want the same change in their life. Then and only then do you have the potential for a lasting solution.


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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Functional and Dysfunctional Grief

By Chris Hammond

Not everyone grieves in the same way. After all, we are different people with different physical appearances, different perspectives, different experiences, different thoughts, different emotions, different backgrounds, and different attitudes. So why when it comes to grief do we believe that there is one correct way to handle the loss of a loved one? There are in fact a number of constructive ways to manage the feelings of grief and some destructive ways. Learning the difference between the two is far more important.

Denial. It is not uncommon for someone to struggle with believing that a loved one has passed away or to pretend that the person has not really passed. For a time being, the person may even imagine conversations with their loved one, knowing how they would most likely respond in a given situation. This usually does not last too long after passing and is more of the emotions catching up to reality. The seeds of dysfunction can begin however when the emotions fail to accept the reality and the person relies solely on how they feel instead of what they know.

Anger. This is a hard emotional reaction for some. Some people become angry with the person who passed away blaming them for not taking care of themselves, not paying attention, abandoning their family or not caring for those left behind. Others become angry with themselves for not saying good-bye, not being there, having a fight or argument just before or not meeting their needs. Oftentimes, the anger does not come out at themselves or the person who passed, rather the anger shows itself at the others who are left behind. Being aware of this strong emotion and not allowing it to overtake current relationships keeps the destructive far away.

Bargaining. “If only”, “I should have”, or “I wish” are all bargaining methods of trying to regain control of life after someone had passed. When a person engages in this type of thinking, they are really saying that they had control over the timing or the situation of the person passing away. This is a normal response and while it sounds a little bit dysfunctional, this thinking can actually be helpful. The feelings of denial and anger seem to consume our thoughts and life seems to be out of control. In contrast bargaining is a way to return life back to some level of control. The dysfunctional side of bargaining is a continual behavior of negotiating life in attempts to keep others alive.

Depression. It is perfectly normal to feel depressed after losing a loved one, to not feel this way at some point is to engage in dysfunctional behavior. Depression is a valley in life, a period of time when things seem to slow down, a time for being introspective, a time for self-evaluation, and a time to reflect on what is already gone. These moments can bring greater clarity and meaning to our lives which can later enhance the quality of life. Depending on how close the person was that passed, this period can last for months or years without becoming destructive.

Acceptance. Not that we don’t miss the person who is gone or that we don’t still wish the person was alive, but at some point there is a realization that life goes on and we can be happy again. While happiness seemed elusive before, it now becomes more frequent and the simple things seem to bring us joy again. It is almost as if we return to a better form of ourselves as a result of the experience from having lost a loved one. Better in that we appreciated life more, appreciate our loved ones more, appreciate the time we have with others more and appreciate the person who passed more. The only dysfunction is never feeling these feelings again, in getting stuck in one of the other emotions.

Grief is normal and healthy. It can take on many different forms depending on the person experiencing the grief and the person having passed. The entire process can last a few weeks, months, or years and should not be rushed as if another task to finish. This is a valuable time of insight, reflection and understanding that can improve the quality of your life going forward.


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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Saying Good-bye

By Chris Hammond

Every once in a while God gives us the opportunity to say good-bye to a loved one before they pass away. You may have experienced moments such as this in the past or may be going through it right now. Either way, it is still difficult to endure. Nevertheless, these are rare precious moments to be treasured as gifts from God. Not everyone has the opportunity to say good-bye to a trusted friend, a close family member, a loved one, or a valued mentor. Some must deal with the shock and loss all at once, but sometimes God graciously grants us an opportunity to say goodbye. This is a gift that can be used as part of the healing process of letting the person go. In the moment, such times are difficult to endure, but in the end they are a blessing and are very often helpful in healing from the loss.

In some cases we avoid saying good-bye because we don’t want to admit the end is near. We don’t know what to say in the moment we see the person or we fear that we will say the wrong thing. All of these concerns are valid and should not be minimized. Yet, if we are honest with our feelings and examine each concern separately, we can find the seeds towards healing.

Not wanting to admit the end is near. Yes there is always hope and God can, and often does, work miracles in the most hopeless situations. In some of these situations, He performs miracles way beyond our expectations and beyond even our prayers. In other situations, there is no miracle, there is only waiting for the end of a cherished life. But the waiting does not need to be wasted; instead it can be used as an opportunity to bring closure to the many lives it affects. Accepting that a person we love is near death does not mean that we are without hope, rather it means we are facing all of the possibilities and allowing God to choose the best one. The seeds of healing lie in the continued hope and promise of God that the person we love, as a believer in Jesus Christ, is about to meet their Creator and spend an eternity with Him.

Don’t know what to say. Spend some time thinking and praying about what you will say before you see the person. This is not a time to rehash old arguments, talk about the mundane, or discuss the latest medical decision. Rather, this is a time to extend love by asking for forgiveness if needed, expressing how much the person has meant to you by specifically telling them what they have done for you or given you, and allowing them to speak to you. When God calls you to spend time with someone before they pass, it is more about allowing them to heal, and at the same time enabling you to heal as well. These are additional seeds of healing during a difficult time. The memory of these moments will enable you to know that you have allowed the person passing the awesome opportunity to say what they wanted to say to the person they wanted to say it to. This is ultimately a gift of peace.

Saying the wrong thing. Fear is a powerful distracter from doing the things God has called us to do, but you can have victory over fear. It is an emotion that is useful in situations of potential danger but not useful when we allow it to parallelize us and stop us from completing what we know is right. If you are unsure what is right, pray. God in His wisdom will give you an answer. Just be careful to accept the answer and not wait for another answer that you really want! Most of the time, the answers come in the most unlikely of places so be open to listening to the Holy Spirit. Don’t allow fear to stop you from doing what you should do, instead use the fear to propel you to be sensitive to the person and their family during a very difficult time. The sensitivity you show them and their family is the seed of healing as it demonstrates compassion and love beyond circumstance or feeling.

It is truly a privilege to witness both the beginning and the end of life as in both we become more aware of the awesome power of God mirrored through His creations. While the passing of a life is sad, for the person will be missed, the knowledge of their salvation is the hope we can continue to bring the generations yet to come. This is the beginning of healing from our loss.


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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Is This the Right One?

By Chris Hammond

How do I know if this person is “the one”? Can I live with them for the rest of my life? Are their behaviors a deal breaker or a bump in the road? If you are in the process of asking yourself these questions, then taking time to evaluate the situation may be in order. Premarital counseling with a pastor or licensed professional can be useful, but in the meantime look through the following checklist for your own self-evaluation.

1. Are there frequent arguments over nothing?

2. Do you or your partner use biting sarcasm to confront issues?

3. Are you staying in the relationship out of fear?

4. Do you have few areas of common interest?

5. Are either you or your partner overly dependent on your parents?

6. Is there any sign of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse?

7. Do you avoid discussing sensitive topics to prevent an argument or because you are afraid of their reaction?

8. Does your partner frequently complain about unreal aches and pains?

9. Does your partner make excuses for not finding a job?

10. Are you or your partner involved in any addiction such as alcoholism, drug use, gambling, or pornography?

11. Does your partner avoid contact with others and prefer to be alone?

12. Do you find yourself always doing what your partner wants to do?

13. Does your partner harm themselves or have extreme irrational fears, bizarre behavior, or inability to be affectionate?

14. Is your partner overly jealous, questioning you all the time about your whereabouts?

15. Is your partner overly critical and demanding that you adjust to their expectations?

16. Are you and your partner dishonest about your sexual past?

17. Do you have an uneasy feeling about the relationship?

18. Are your parents or friends strongly against the relationship?

19. Do you have a feeling of settling for less than the best?

20. Is there spiritual harmony?


Answering yes to a few of these questions does not mean that you are doomed. Rather, it signifies a need to better evaluate your situation and seek counsel outside your relationship. Some of these issues can be resolved quickly so that the foundation of your marriage is stronger than ever. However, if you answered yes to numbers 3, 6, 10, or 13, please seek professional help immediately. Those issues are more long term in nature and marriage will not fix the problem, it will only make it worse.



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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Fathers Do Not Come in One Size Fits All

By Chris Hammond

Trying to pick a card for Father’s Day is difficult these days. None of the cards I find seem to reflect my experience, gratefulness, or love that I have for the men in my life. I don’t have a grandfather who grew up in this country, a dad who loves sports, or a husband who played football, and none one of them are TV watchers. My grandfather did many activities with me and did not just sit in a rocking chair talking to me. My dad worked very hard for all of his life and still has yet to retire. My husband is extremely active in the lives of our children and does not leave the responsibility of raising our kids on me alone. So that eliminates about 90% of the cards out there and the rest of them are just plain silly.

Looking back on my life there are three significant fathers: my grandfather, my dad, and my husband. Each one shaped my life because they added significant value though teaching, contributed to healing the hurts, and nurtured my soul. Fathers do not come in one size fits all. Perhaps you do not have the ideal family background either, but we can reflect on the men in our life that helped us and give thanks to them.

My Grandfather. For many years in my life my grandfather served as both a grandfather and a father. My “baby daddy” was an abusive alcoholic adulterer that my mother, brother, and I left when I was only three years old. We moved in with my grandparents and from then until I was about nine years old, my grandfather was more of a father then a grandfather. He was compassionate, kind, gentle, always made time for me, and very loving. He taught me to listen to others and understand where they are coming from before jumping to conclusions. He was from Hungary and had much of the “old world” mentality so extended family was not really extended, we were all immediate family. He is the one who taught me to believe in God, a seed that has grown very strong in me as an adult and I’m eternally grateful for this gift. His unconditional love for me healed the hurt of not having a dad in my life.

My Dad. He married my mother when I was twelve years old and then promptly adopted both my brother and me. He did not need to do this. He already had children of his own, but he did this out of love for us to give us a complete family not just an integrated one. His willingness to adopt me showed me what it means to be an adopted member of the Kingdom of God and helped me to feel as though I belonged to someone. The healing that comes from this is beyond measure and even to this day I am overwhelmed with gratitude for his generosity. He taught me the value of hard work, how to stick things out through the tough times, dedication beyond feeling love to family, and determination. These gifts are present in me today and I see the benefits of his gifts in my life and the lives of my children.

My Husband. He is the father of all three of our children and having him as an active part of their lives has been the greatest gift. We all want to give our children more than what we have and sometimes we think of these gifts in terms of more stuff, more privileges, more money, or more time. I see it in terms of being able to give my children the gift of a consistent dad who loves God, is dedicated to his family, and enjoys spending time with them. My kids don’t have more toys than I did as a child, but they do have the same father who gave them life to also serve as a role model. This is far more precious of a gift than anything money could buy and watching them with him has brought healing to my own struggles as a child.

This year, think of the men in your life who have helped you and been a father to you in some way. Then take a moment to thank them for them and the not so obvious gifts that they have given you. Oh, and throw away the card, trust me, they will appreciate your sincere gratitude so much more.




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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Are We There Yet?

By: Chris Hammond

My husband and I just drove from our home in Orlando to the mountains of North Carolina and back in one weekend to drop off our three kids at summer camp. The kids were overly anxious to spend 2 weeks away from home, responsibilities, chores, each other, random work, and the list of books we gave them to read for the summer, so the number one question asked on the trip is…you guessed it…”Are we there yet?” Sadly, as our kids are often a reflection of both the good and bad in ourselves, I even caught myself secretly asking the same question by looking at the GPS estimated time of arrival more times than I can count and trying to beat the estimated arrival time.

And as annoying as the question gets from our kids, it is even more annoying when we badger ourselves with the same question. The origin of the question stems from a lack of systematic discipline in our lives to patiently wait and work hard for our goals. Instead we have a tendency to want whatever we want in the moment we want it without having to wait or work hard. Marketers know this desire and prey on it daily with advertisements that claim to give you what you want without working hard. Yet, obtaining goals quickly often causes them to fade just as quickly. We don’t need to look far to see evidence of that, just ask yourself what happened to the one hit wonders of the ‘80’s or the fad diets of the ‘90’s.

Instead of focusing on “Are we there yet”, an alternative is to look at what you can learn from the moment to add value to your life while trying to obtain a goal. I have learned three valuable lessons from the lives of my children about enjoying the ride on the way to the destination.

Get the ants out of your pants. Let’s face it; God has gifted some people with incredible energy, not the kind of energy mimicked by drinking too much caffeine, but mounds and mounds of limitless energy. We all have someone in our lives like this, they have two speeds: go, and I mean go fast, and stop; which is usually reserved only for sleep. They live off of little sleep and seem to get more things done in one day then several people can do in one week. One of the strengths, and simultaneously one of the drawbacks, of this energy is a constant desire to get things done now. It is a strength because it propels and motivates the person to continue working, but it is a drawback because some things just require more time, like driving from Orlando to North Carolina. So what do you do? Get the ants out of your pants. Use their antsy behavior as a signal to stop and allow them to run around for a while. When we get antsy about not having arrived at a goal yet, we should stop and channel that energy into a different activity for a while. That way when we return to focusing on the goal, our energy level will be renewed.

Stop and smell the roses. Just as God has gifted some people with incredible energy, He has also gifted some people with the ability to see the big picture and savor the moment they are in. These people tend to be more methodical in nature and value each step as a milestone wanting to mark the moments along the way. They see things that others often miss in the pursuit of a goal and tend to work more slowly and carefully. Their strength is in carefully plodding, but their weakness is sometimes never reaching their goal. So what do you do? Stop and smell the roses. Use their desire to enjoy the ride as a reminder that our path through life is more about the journey than the destination. Let them mark their moments, let them stop along the way because in the end they will be the ones who will remember the journey.

Save the drama for your mama. Then there is the one who seems to create something out of absolutely nothing. Yes, God has gifted even them with an ability to see just how big life can be lived and how much fun everything can be. They see every road detour is a chance to get lost or a chance to find a lost friend, every car accident means someone died or someone miraculously lived, every person who waves at them in the car as a best friend or a creep. There is no middle ground; life is either very large or very small. So what do you do? Save the drama for your mama. Life does not have to be a soap opera in which we are all players, but learning to see the humor in life can be very therapeutic. Let them have their stage, let them entertain the people in the rest area for a while, after all, you will most likely never see those people again.

So next time you have the urge to ask “Are we there yet?” remember instead to “get the ants out of your pants”, “stop and smell the roses”, and “save the drama for your mama”. Your ride will be much more enjoyable.


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Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Do You Struggle With Anxiety?

By Linda Riley

Anxiety often leads to avoidance behavior because when we feel anxious, we tend to avoid doing the things we both want and need to do. Therapy can help you confront and deal with your anxiety. It's important to understand how the body responds to stress. One must realize that anxiety symptoms, although uncomfortable and frightening, are generally temporary and not life threatening.

Anxiety basically affect us in three ways:
-Physically, resulting in the symptoms we experience
-The way we think
-The way we behave

Anxiety management involves learning techniques to calm down, to recognize how negative thinking impacts anxiety, and changing that limiting behavior.

Don't let anxiety control your life. Find the courage to overcome it.

Make an appointment with Linda Riley today and get the help you need!

How to Know When Your Child Needs Therapy

By: Chris Hammond, M.S.

When your child struggles for a period of time, has difficulty in school, seems different at home than at school, or acts inconsistently with their personality, therapy designed specifically for children can help them overcome these challenges. Most children experience difficulties from time to time while growing up. Some of these challenges are physical (their changing bodies), some are mental (their school work), some are social (their friendships), some are environmental (their home life) and some are spiritual (their religious affiliations). For some children, these challenges are easily faced and they continue to have a positive outlook on their future. For other children, these challenges become road blocks and they seem to be stuck in a negative cycle.

As a parent, understanding your child’s challenge and how to best motivate and encourage them is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship with them. Children take their cues from their parents so if a challenge is overwhelming for the parent, the child is likely to respond similarly. However, if a parent is understanding, concerned and empathetic the child is likely to respond positively. Sometimes just becoming aware of your child’s challenges and how best to deal with them will make all the difference in your relationship.

If your child has been dealing with abuse, developmental issues, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders, or post traumatic stress disorder then therapy is beneficial for both the parent and the child. Other struggles include social pressure, divorce, depression, anger, eating disorders, addictions, self harm, and grief. Some of the indications that your child may need therapy are:

• change in appetite
• nervous more than usual
• difficulty concentrating
• problems at school
• aggressive or angry
• nightmares
• trouble sleeping
• mood swings
• seems depressed
• loud noises are bothersome
• regressing to younger behavior
• refusing to talk
• fears separation from parents
• change in friends
• socially withdrawn
• personality change
• problem with life transition (death in the family, divorce, move, new school)

Most of the time, therapy is not a long process for a child as they adjust and adapt more quickly than adults. The combination of therapy for the parents and the child is doubly beneficial as it helps the entire family unit to be on the same page. If therapy is not timely, some of the challenges can be so overwhelming for a child that they feel defeated and this belief can last a lifetime. It is never too late to begin the therapy process with your child; it is only too late if never started.



Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Play Therapy

By: Chris Hammond, M.S.

Play therapy is interactive, intentional, and inspirational play to help children overcome the challenges they face. Because play is a child’s language, play therapy motivates and encourages children of all ages to heal and learn new skills. Play therapy works with children’s natural tendencies to overcome their challenges and assist families in building stronger connections.

Play Therapy is about as much fun as it sounds and yet it is a highly effective form of therapy over traditional talk therapy for children. Children naturally enjoy play and are encouraged to engage in play as part of their normal development, so they are more comfortable in a playful environment. Playing comes naturally to a child and entering into their world of play allows the child to feel more in control of the session. Therapy for children is about discovering where they are and helping them to move forward in productive ways not destructive ways. The best environment to accomplish this is one which allows the child to feel comfortable and play therapy accomplishes this goal.

There are several types of play therapy which may be utilized depending on the needs of the child. Traditional play therapy incorporates toys such as blocks, dolls, trucks, hats, children’s books, puzzles, games, and stuffed animals into the session. Sandtray therapy uses a sandbox along with small toys which the child can use to create pictures in the sand. Art therapy uses drawings, pictures, coloring, and play dough as a means to communication.

Play therapy creates a relaxed environment in which children can act out the challenges they face in a non-threatening manner. Through the use of art, clay, music, toys, puppets, games, books, sand trays, therapeutic toys, and dramatizations, the child is better able to communicate their struggles. Play therapy is fun for the child and it works! Adolescents and families also enjoy play therapy as much as children.

Most children experience difficulties from time to time while growing up. When your child struggles for a period of time, has difficulty in school, seems different at home than at school, or acts inconsistently with their personality, play therapy can help them overcome these challenges. Some other indications that your child may benefit from play therapy include:

• change in appetite
• nervous more than usual
• difficulty concentrating
• problems at school
• aggressive or angry
• nightmares
• trouble sleeping
• mood swings
• seems depressed
• loud noises are bothersome
• regressing to younger behavior
• refusing to talk
• fears separation from parents
• change in friends
• socially withdrawn
• personality change
• problem with life transition (death in the family, divorce, move, new school)

Play therapy works with your child individually or with your whole family depending on the needs of your family. During the initial visit, your family’s needs are assessed and a personalized plan is developed to go along with your family goals. The best form of therapy to accomplish your goals is then recommended.
For individual sessions, parents participate in the initial session and sit in periodically during later sessions as needed. Individual sessions are best for children dealing with abuse, developmental issues, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, mood disorders, or post traumatic stress disorder. Other struggles include social pressure, divorce, depression, anger, eating disorders, addictions, self harm, and grief.
For family sessions, the entire immediate family is asked to participate. These sessions are ideal for dealing with sibling rivalry, parenting issues, family tragedies, stress management, and newly formed families.

Play therapy works because it is fun for the child and the family. For the child, it hardly seems like therapy however the lessons they learn can last a lifetime. It is never too late to begin the therapy process with your child; it is only too late if never started.



Reprint Permission- If this article helps you, please share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint.

"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

Hurt

By: Chris Hammond, M.S.

There are times in our lives when things happen that hurt us. Perhaps it is the disappointment of our children, the broken trust of our spouse, the betrayal of a friend, the abandonment of a family member, the failure of a business, or the rejection of a neighbor. Whatever the incident, we have a choice to either deal with the hurt or bury the hurt.

Often the reason we bury our hurt is because we don’t want to feel the pain. We instead turn to some sort of medication to stop the pain as if the pain is the problem instead of a symptom of the problem. Medication does not necessarily come in the form of drugs, some medicate themselves from pain through excessive shopping, eating or drinking or perhaps fantasy thinking through gambling, pornography, television or video games. Whatever the medication, the goal is the same, to dull or distract us from the pain and hurt we feel.

But we can choose to deal with the hurt instead. The process is threefold beginning with recognizing the hurt has occurred, then responding constructively to the hurt and finally restoring the damaged relationship. With each step, the hurt diminishes over time allowing the stress of the incident to fade. However this process is not easy as many get stuck in one of the stages thereby not fully completing the steps and allowing the hurt to continue far longer than needed. Let’s examine each of the steps more fully to better understand the process.

Recognize. Our ability to recognize and be honest with the hurt we feel greatly impacts our ability to heal. Honest is the most difficult step because it requires us to admit to our pain and reach out for help. We often think feeling pain will make us weak or venerable for more pain, ironically the reverse is true. For it is in our honesty first with ourselves and later with those around us that we are able to begin the process of healing and restoration of relationships. By not being honest, we continue to lie to ourselves and those around us thereby setting ourselves up for even more hurt in the future.

Respond. Once we recognize the hurt, our response to the hurt can either destroy or rebuild our relationships. Angry outbursts, vengeful thoughts, ignoring others, and manipulation schemes are all examples of unhealthy responses to hurt which will eventually destroy the relationship. Alternatively, by lovingly confronting the hurt and processing it in a constructive environment, we can work towards the next step in the healing process.

Restore. Only after the hurt is recognized and then responded to properly can true restoration of a relationship begin. Broken relationships continue to cause pain even if they are distant; however healthy relationships allow us to prosper. Healthy relationships allow room for mistakes without judgment, for boundaries without control, for security without anxiety, and for safety without fear. They provide peace in our lives which ultimately brings harmony and freedom from strife.

One of the lessons learned from giving birth to children is that from the greatest pain comes the greatest joy. Just as in child birth, the pain is an indication of the upcoming birth of a child so the hurt in our lives can bring about unexpected joy through restored relationships. We are not created to feel only joy without pain; instead we feel the greatest joy after the pain. Use the hurt you feel as an opportunity to grow past the pain and into the joy of a restored fellowship with your child, spouse, friend, family member or neighbor.







Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Intern at The LifeWorks Group.

Hurt

By: Chris Hammond, M.S.

There are times in our lives when things happen that hurt us. Perhaps it is the disappointment of our children, the broken trust of our spouse, the betrayal of a friend, the abandonment of a family member, the failure of a business, or the rejection of a neighbor. Whatever the incident, we have a choice to either deal with the hurt or bury the hurt.

Often the reason we bury our hurt is because we don’t want to feel the pain. We instead turn to some sort of medication to stop the pain as if the pain is the problem instead of a symptom of the problem. Medication does not necessarily come in the form of drugs, some medicate themselves from pain through excessive shopping, eating or drinking or perhaps fantasy thinking through gambling, pornography, television or video games. Whatever the medication, the goal is the same, to dull or distract us from the pain and hurt we feel.

But we can choose to deal with the hurt instead. The process is threefold beginning with recognizing the hurt has occurred, then responding constructively to the hurt and finally restoring the damaged relationship. With each step, the hurt diminishes over time allowing the stress of the incident to fade. However this process is not easy as many get stuck in one of the stages thereby not fully completing the steps and allowing the hurt to continue far longer than needed. Let’s examine each of the steps more fully to better understand the process.

Recognize. Our ability to recognize and be honest with the hurt we feel greatly impacts our ability to heal. Honest is the most difficult step because it requires us to admit to our pain and reach out for help. We often think feeling pain will make us weak or venerable for more pain, ironically the reverse is true. For it is in our honesty first with ourselves and later with those around us that we are able to begin the process of healing and restoration of relationships. By not being honest, we continue to lie to ourselves and those around us thereby setting ourselves up for even more hurt in the future.

Respond. Once we recognize the hurt, our response to the hurt can either destroy or rebuild our relationships. Angry outbursts, vengeful thoughts, ignoring others, and manipulation schemes are all examples of unhealthy responses to hurt which will eventually destroy the relationship. Alternatively, by lovingly confronting the hurt and processing it in a constructive environment, we can work towards the next step in the healing process.

Restore. Only after the hurt is recognized and then responded to properly can true restoration of a relationship begin. Broken relationships continue to cause pain even if they are distant; however healthy relationships allow us to prosper. Healthy relationships allow room for mistakes without judgment, for boundaries without control, for security without anxiety, and for safety without fear. They provide peace in our lives which ultimately brings harmony and freedom from strife.
One of the lessons learned from giving birth to children is that from the greatest pain comes the greatest joy. Just as in child birth, the pain is an indication of the upcoming birth of a child so the hurt in our lives can bring about unexpected joy through restored relationships. We are not created to feel only joy without pain; instead we feel the greatest joy after the pain. Use the hurt you feel as an opportunity to grow past the pain and into the joy of a restored fellowship with your child, spouse, friend, family member or neighbor.







Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Intern at The LifeWorks Group.