0 comments on “Understanding your teenager”

Understanding your teenager

Hong Kong psychologist offering teen therapy

Parents and teenagers often get frustrated with one another because they feel as if they are misunderstood and unheard.  As a parent, if you understand some of the developmental needs of a teenager, you may feel less stressed when they act out.   Here are some key points on how you can better communicate with your teenager.

1. Social Pressure: Teenagers are under pressure to fit in with their social group.  They are constantly looking for validation from their peer group because they have not yet developed a solid sense of identity.  They might ask to do things their friends are doing, or have what their friends have so that they fit in. It is important to be flexible with this while still setting clear boundaries around what is safe and reasonable for your teenager.

2. Rejection: Teenagers often feel rejected if they have not found a peer group that they fit into.  They might also feel rejected by a love interest.  This sense of rejection can be horrible for your teen’s self-esteem.  It is essential that they come home to a safe space that is free of judgement.  As a parent, you might feel stressed by your teenager’s emotions and actions.  It is in these moments that you remind your teenager that you love them unconditionally, but you have to set boundaries to keep them safe.

3. Cutting: Sometimes teenagers feel overwhelming emotional pain, rejection or pressure.  They might resort to cutting to punish themselves, distract themselves from the emotional pain or to help them feel something other than numb.  If your teenager is frequently cutting, a professional should be consulted.

4. Self-Identity: Sometimes it might seem like teenagers are rejecting their parents.  This is in part because they are forming a self-identity.  This is part of their developmental process as they figure out who they are.  Try not to take this personally as it will increase conflict.  Instead, ask what activity you can do with them.  Set time aside to be with them.

5. Respect: Teenagers are often said to be disrespectful.  People in general, including teenagers, are more likely to respect those that they feel offer them respect.  If your teenager is disrespectful, be curious if you are respecting them.  Make sure to take the time to listen to their concerns.

6. Sleep: Teenagers need more sleep than adults.  Allow them to sleep in on the weekends.  Try to get them to sleep earlier at night.  Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day will help with fatigue.

7. Impulsivity: Teenagers are more impulsive than adults because they are still developing the frontal lobe region of their brain.  This can be dangerous if they are having suicidal thoughts, cutting or abusing substances.

If you feel overwhelmed by your teenager’s emotions and behaviours, reach out to a professional.  Practice compassion and empathy towards yourself and your teenager.

Monica_94

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Easing Academic Stress in the Home.”

Easing Academic Stress in the Home.

Hong Kong counselling therapist services-child therapy

Academic pressure is a major source of anxiety and stress for many children and teens.  As a parent, you want what is best for your child.  Here are a few pointers to help you ease the academic pressure your child might be feeling.

  1. 1. Have a stress free homework routine.  After school allow your child or teen to have a snack.  Food will help them to be in a better mood and help their brain concentrate better.  It is difficult to think when you are hungry.  Set a regular routine where after they eat, do homework, and then they can be rewarded with play or exercise.
  2. Allow your child breaks.  The brain can only focus for certain amounts of time.  Children have a shorter attention span than adults.  If your child is having a difficult time sitting still, make a game out of the homework.  Say, “If you can focus and do this worksheet properly, you can have two minutes to play, or do whatever you like.  When I count to ten, we resume the homework again.”
  3. Take the pressure out of the home.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  If your child is struggling in math, do not add more pressure by shouting or punishing them.  Sit down next to them and patiently explain it to them. If you are unable to be patient with them, hire a patient tutor.  Speak kindly to your child.  When your child is calm, they can think better.
  4. Allow play and exercise for added focus and brain power. Your child or teen needs to play and exercise in order to sit through school.  Exercise increases blood flow to the brain making it easier to focus and learn.  Children need to play to reduce stress.
  5. Stress reduction.  Anxiety and stress hinder learning because the fight or flight system is activated.  Anxiety and stress make it difficult to focus and learn.  Stress and anxiety can be reduced in different ways, such as play, art, exercise and breathing techniques.  Allow your child to open up to you and express how they are feeling without judgement and punishment.
  6. Sleep. Make sure your child or teenager is getting enough sleep at night.  Lack of sleep makes it difficult to learn.
  7. Proper nutrition.  Too much sugar will create fatigue and shorten attention span.  Proper nutrition and diet lead to a healthy body and brain.
  8. Remain calm.  The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.  This enables a better learning environment in and outside of the home.
  9. Decrease screen time. Overstimulation from the iPad, television, computer, video games and phone decrease attention. Limit the amount your teen or child is allowed to use these electronic devices.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or Skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Why is my teenager cutting?”

Why is my teenager cutting?

Hong Kong counseling and therapy services-teen-counseling

The modern teenager is under immense social and academic pressure.  Not only are teenagers going through rapid hormonal and brain changes, their social life is also rapidly changing with the advancement of social media.  Some parents struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with their teenager because teens and parents tend to view the world through different lenses.  Most teens want to be accepted and loved by their peer group as well as at home. Teenagers are seeking to find their self-identity amid the chaos.  Here are a few reasons why your teenager might be engaging in self-harm such as cutting.

  1. To alleviate emotional pain.  Physical pain takes the focus off of the emotional pain. Your teenager might not know how to cope with intense emotions such as rejection, loss or loneliness.  If your teenager is cutting because of this, listen to them speak about their feelings without punishing them or criticising them.  If you are unable to listen because of your own emotions, seek the help of a professional for teen counselling or for your personal support.
  2. They feel numb. If your teenager has become overwhelmed, they might have chosen to shut down their emotions.  They might feel numb because of voluntarily avoiding their emotions or due to severe anxiety or social anxiety.  The cutting helps them to feel alive.  If your teenager is cutting because of this, professional help for your teenager should be sought after.
  3. They want to punish themselves.  Your teenager might have gone through rejection, break-up or other failure and they believe they should be punished.  Speak to your teenager and try to help them understand that they do not need to punish themselves and that you love them.  If you are unable to be calm in this situation, seek a professional to speak to your teenager.
  4. Social Media.  Your teenager might have seen photos on social media glamorising cutting and self-harm.  Make sure your teenager understands that they do not need to always follow what their peers are doing as it can be quite dangerous.  Because you are the parent, your teenager might not listen to you about this.  Teenagers might believe that their parents are outdated and don’t understand.  If this is the case, seek a counsellor for your teenager.

Read more about your teenager here and about depression and suicide here.

 

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Why is my teenager cutting?”

Why is my teenager cutting?

Hong Kong counseling and therapy services-teen-counseling

The modern teenager is under immense social and academic pressure.  Not only are teenagers going through rapid hormonal and brain changes, their social life is also rapidly changing with the advancement of social media.  Some parents struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with their teenager because teens and parents tend to view the world through different lenses.  Most teens want to be accepted and loved by their peer group as well as at home. Teenagers are seeking to find their self-identity amid the chaos.  Here are a few reasons why your teenager might be engaging in self-harm such as cutting.

  1. To alleviate emotional pain.  Physical pain takes the focus off of the emotional pain. Your teenager might not know how to cope with intense emotions such as rejection, loss or loneliness.  If your teenager is cutting because of this, listen to them speak about their feelings without punishing them or criticising them.  If you are unable to listen because of your own emotions, seek the help of a professional for teen counselling or for your personal support.
  2. They feel numb. If your teenager has become overwhelmed, they might have chosen to shut down their emotions.  They might feel numb because of voluntarily avoiding their emotions or due to severe anxiety or social anxiety.  The cutting helps them to feel alive.  If your teenager is cutting because of this, professional help for your teenager should be sought after.
  3. They want to punish themselves.  Your teenager might have gone through rejection, break-up or other failure and they believe they should be punished.  Speak to your teenager and try to help them understand that they do not need to punish themselves and that you love them.  If you are unable to be calm in this situation, seek a professional to speak to your teenager.
  4. Social Media.  Your teenager might have seen photos on social media glamorising cutting and self-harm.  Make sure your teenager understands that they do not need to always follow what their peers are doing as it can be quite dangerous.  Because you are the parent, your teenager might not listen to you about this.  Teenagers might believe that their parents are outdated and don’t understand.  If this is the case, seek a counsellor for your teenager.

Read more about your teenager here and about depression and suicide here.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Understanding your teenager”

Understanding your teenager

Hong Kong psychologist offering teen therapy

Parents and teenagers often get frustrated with one another because they feel as if they are misunderstood and unheard.  As a parent, if you understand some of the developmental needs of a teenager, you may feel less stressed when they act out.   Here are some key points on how you can better communicate with your teenager.

1. Social Pressure: Teenagers are under pressure to fit in with their social group.  They are constantly looking for validation from their peer group because they have not yet developed a solid sense of identity.  They might ask to do things their friends are doing, or have what their friends have so that they fit in. It is important to be flexible with this while still setting clear boundaries around what is safe and reasonable for your teenager.

2. Rejection: Teenagers often feel rejected if they have not found a peer group that they fit into.  They might also feel rejected by a love interest.  This sense of rejection can be horrible for your teen’s self-esteem.  It is essential that they come home to a safe space that is free of judgement.  As a parent, you might feel stressed by your teenager’s emotions and actions.  It is in these moments that you remind your teenager that you love them unconditionally, but you have to set boundaries to keep them safe.

3. Cutting: Sometimes teenagers feel overwhelming emotional pain, rejection or pressure.  They might resort to cutting to punish themselves, distract themselves from the emotional pain or to help them feel something other than numb.  If your teenager is frequently cutting, a professional should be consulted.

4. Self-Identity: Sometimes it might seem like teenagers are rejecting their parents.  This is in part because they are forming a self-identity.  This is part of their developmental process as they figure out who they are.  Try not to take this personally as it will increase conflict.  Instead, ask what activity you can do with them.  Set time aside to be with them.

5. Respect: Teenagers are often said to be disrespectful.  People in general, including teenagers, are more likely to respect those that they feel offer them respect.  If your teenager is disrespectful, be curious if you are respecting them.  Make sure to take the time to listen to their concerns.

6. Sleep: Teenagers need more sleep than adults.  Allow them to sleep in on the weekends.  Try to get them to sleep earlier at night.  Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day will help with fatigue.

7. Impulsivity: Teenagers are more impulsive than adults because they are still developing the frontal lobe region of their brain.  This can be dangerous if they are having suicidal thoughts, cutting or abusing substances.

If you feel overwhelmed by your teenager’s emotions and behaviours, reach out to a professional.  Practice compassion and empathy towards yourself and your teenager.

Monica_94

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Connecting Through Play”

Connecting Through Play

Hong Kong psychologist counselling services-child therapy

People are social and long for human connection.  This connection includes the knowledge that you are seen and heard, and that you are respected and appreciated for who you are.  Children also need human connection; we can connect with them through play.  Play is a child’s way to innovate, problem solve and relax.  When we play with our children, we can teach them how to interact and play with other children on the playground or at home.  Here are some quick tips on how you and your child can connect and build a strong relationship through play.

Always ask first

This models the kind of behaviour that you want them to have with their siblings and other children.

Ask your child if you can play with them.  If they say no, do not be offended.  They might be in the middle of figuring out a solution to a problem they have been working on.
Ask them which toy they want you to play with.

Let them lead the play

This shows your child that you care about them and that you are willing to step into their world.

Do not tell them what you two are going to play.  Follow their lead.  Ask, what do you want to play?  What do you want me to do?

Make eye contact and excited facial expressions

This helps your child feel seen and loved.  When you act excited, they will be excited.

Sit on the floor with them; get down on their level.

Children have little control or power.  This is a way to show them that the two of you are on the same level leading to a deeper connection.

Set boundaries, rules and expectations. 

Let them know that hands and feet are for playing and not kicking.  Explain that if they throw toys, they will be taken away.  Rules and boundaries keep a child feeling secure.  This way he understands what is appropriate behaviour and what consequences will be if rules are broken.  The rules and boundaries set are also for parents to follow.  Parents also should not hit, kick or throw.
Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is Clinical Psychologist in Hong Kong

Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Am I sad or depressed?”

Am I sad or depressed?

US trained psychologist in Hong Kong counselling and therapy services

Sadness is an emotion that slows us down and teaches us that we made a mistake, or that something or someone hurt us.  Usually, when we are sad, we are still able to get out of bed and maintain our daily routines.  Depression is a deeper emotion that often feels like darkness or heaviness.  We find ourselves unable to go about our daily routines because we are too tired or unmotivated.  If you have been feeling depressed for more than a couple of months, help from a professional is a good idea.  Here are some warning signs that you might be depressed.

1. Your sleeping habits have changed:  You might find that it feels almost impossible to get out of bed.  You want to sleep for days because when you are sleeping, you can’t feel the pain.  Or you might find that you can no longer sleep at night.  You might feel tired all the time.

2. Your relationships begin to suffer: Your relationships might be suffering because you are so overwhelmed with pain that you feel like you can not deal with anyone else.  You might feel agitated with others and have little empathy for what they are experiencing.  You might withdraw because you do not want to burden anyone else.  This is exactly the time when you should reach out to others who are caring and supportive.

3. You feel hopeless: You begin to feel like you will be suffering forever and that there is nothing you can do to alleviate the pain.  You might feel like you will always fail, never reach your goals or always be stuck.

4. Your body aches for no reason:  You might find that your muscles are sore and stiff, but you haven’t been exercising.  You might also have a change in appetite, either eating too much or too little.  Your body might feel heavy.   Though you feel tired and unmotivated, exercise will help you.

5. You can’t focus: You might not be able to focus at work or school.  You might become easily distracted or feel like you are dreaming.

6. Difficult to find joy in anything:  You might not be able to enjoy things that you used to love, or have a difficult time enjoying anything.

7. Your hygiene has suffered: You feel like taking a shower, doing your hair or brushing your teeth is too much effort.

8. You think badly about yourself: You feel like you are worthless, and that there is little to nothing good about yourself.  You are stuck in a negative mental loop.

Depression can be difficult to overcome on your own.  It is not something to be ashamed of or hidden from others.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Skype or private session available

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “How to talk to your child about divorce”

How to talk to your child about divorce

Hong Kong counselling therapist services-child therapy

Divorce is a difficult situation for adults, let alone children and teenagers.  Parents who are separating might be experiencing their own grief, sadness and anxiety.  As the adult, it is important that you are able to be the secure base for your child or teenager during this time.  Children are intuitive and can sense the mood of their parents.  To hold a safe space for your child, make sure that you are calm.

Key points to remember while speaking to your child about divorce:

1. Unconditional Love: It is important that children understand that none of this is their fault.  A child might side with the parent who they feel is hurting or the same sex parent. No matter who the child lives with, or spends time with, it is important for them to know that you still love them and that they will not be punished for this.

2. Do not involve the children in the conflict.  The children should not know about the financial pressures or constraints of the divorce.  This is one more stress they do not need, they should not be involved in adult situations.

3. Expect to answer a lot of questions.  Your child or teenager might be hurt and confused.  Be prepared to answer the same questions over and over again as they try to process the situation.  Do your best to remain patient through this process.

4. Don’t interrogate your children.  Don’t ask them about the other parent or what the other parent is doing.  Do not make your children take sides.  When you say something negative about the other parent, the child unconsciously feels as if you feel the same way about them as they are genetically half of the other parent.

5. Listen to your child’s emotions.  Acknowledge your child’s emotions patiently.  You might say something like, “I know this is scary and you are sad.  It’s ok to cry and talk about it.  Your mum and dad will love you no matter what.  Even though you don’t live with both of us anymore, we are always your mum and dad.”

6. Be honest and sincere.  Children do not need to know the adult matters, but it is best, to be honest about the living arrangements.  Children understand more than adults often give them credit for, and lying upsets and angers them.  It is best not to introduce a new romantic partner to your child or teenager for at least six months.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Private or skype sessions available

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Should I stay with my cheating partner?”

Should I stay with my cheating partner?

Hong Kong counsellling therapist

People cheat for many reasons.  It might be that the primary relationship lacks physical or emotional intimacy.  Another reason might be that one person feels unappreciated and seeks validation outside of the primary relationship. For more information on why people cheat, click here.

It is difficult not to take being cheated on personally.  Trust in the relationship is missing and may be hard to repair.  Here are some options and points to consider in an unfaithful circumstance or relationship.

1. Was your partner trying to hurt you or get revenge?  If your partner had an affair to punish you, can you forgive this?  Are they punishing you for having an affair? Or are they punishing you because you have not met some of their expectations?  This is a conversation to have to with your partner to understand their motivation and if you can repair the relationship.  If your partner cheated to hurt you to have more power or control over you, be cautious in taking them back.

2. Your partner is insecure in relationships in general: If your partner cheated because they are afraid you will abandon them, or they are insecure in relationships in general, they might always cheat.  If your partner is insecure because you have not been appreciative, emotionally or physically available, then you can aim to work towards repairing the relationship if you have the desire to save it.

3. Your partner wanted new sexual experiences: Your partner may have cheated because they wanted a unique or varied sexual experience.  If your relationship lacks sexual intimacy, your partner may have strayed to have their sexual needs met.  The question to ask yourself in this situation is, why don’t I want to have sex with my partner and can we work and repair this?  Am I ok with an open relationship?  Do I also want new sexual experiences that we can try as a couple?

4. Your partner wanted validation: Does your primary relationship have gratitude and appreciation for one another.  Couples often focus on what they do not have in a relationship instead of what they do have.  If someone is feeling taken for granted, or neglected, they might rationalise having an affair.  This is an opportunity to make your relationship stronger if you can see past the violation of trust and use it to build intimacy in your relationship.

An affair can break a relationship if the trust has been broken past the point of repair.  If both partners are willing to work on the problems in the relationship, a relationship can become stronger after an affair.  An affair might bring new appreciation to the relationship because it brings an awareness to how hurtful losing the relationship would be.  If you believe the relationship is worth saving, focus on the other person as a person and not a possession.  A marriage counsellor or therapist might be able to help both partners see the other person’s perspective and help the couple to communicate better.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment. Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Easing Academic Stress in the Home.”

Easing Academic Stress in the Home.

Hong Kong counselling therapist services-child therapy

Academic pressure is a major source of anxiety and stress for many children and teens.  As a parent, you want what is best for your child.  Here are a few pointers to help you ease the academic pressure your child might be feeling.

  1. 1. Have a stress free homework routine.  After school allow your child or teen to have a snack.  Food will help them to be in a better mood and help their brain concentrate better.  It is difficult to think when you are hungry.  Set a regular routine where after they eat, do homework, and then they can be rewarded with play or exercise.
  2. Allow your child breaks.  The brain can only focus for certain amounts of time.  Children have a shorter attention span than adults.  If your child is having a difficult time sitting still, make a game out of the homework.  Say, “If you can focus and do this worksheet properly, you can have two minutes to play, or do whatever you like.  When I count to ten, we resume the homework again.”
  3. Take the pressure out of the home.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  If your child is struggling in math, do not add more pressure by shouting or punishing them.  Sit down next to them and patiently explain it to them. If you are unable to be patient with them, hire a patient tutor.  Speak kindly to your child.  When your child is calm, they can think better.
  4. Allow play and exercise for added focus and brain power. Your child or teen needs to play and exercise in order to sit through school.  Exercise increases blood flow to the brain making it easier to focus and learn.  Children need to play to reduce stress.
  5. Stress reduction.  Anxiety and stress hinder learning because the fight or flight system is activated.  Anxiety and stress make it difficult to focus and learn.  Stress and anxiety can be reduced in different ways, such as play, art, exercise and breathing techniques.  Allow your child to open up to you and express how they are feeling without judgement and punishment.
  6. Sleep. Make sure your child or teenager is getting enough sleep at night.  Lack of sleep makes it difficult to learn.
  7. Proper nutrition.  Too much sugar will create fatigue and shorten attention span.  Proper nutrition and diet lead to a healthy body and brain.
  8. Remain calm.  The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.  This enables a better learning environment in and outside of the home.
  9. Decrease screen time. Overstimulation from the iPad, television, computer, video games and phone decrease attention. Limit the amount your teen or child is allowed to use these electronic devices.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or Skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel