24 09, 2014

Communicating with Teens

By |September 24th, 2014|Anger and Rage, Anxiety Disorder, Behavioral Disorder, Depression, Parenting|Comments Off on Communicating with Teens|

The teenage brain is adapting and growing daily. Development of the pre-frontal cortex (responsible for executive functioning and the ability to make wise decisions, set and achieve goals, and communicate effectively) continues to form until about age 24. Thus, even emotionally healthy teens struggle with decision-making and healthy communication.
Anyone who has either taught or raised a teenager is acutely aware that communicating with teens has the potential to be a frustrating and sometimes awkward event. When a teenager is dealing with issues of anxiety, depression, adhd, behavioral disorder, or other mental health disorder, communication can be even more challenging.
The Grant-Halliburton Foundation recently sponsored a dynamic conference entitled, “When Life Hands You Teenagers.”  One of the speakers, Michelle Kinder, from Momentous Institute, shared some great insights for communicating with teens during her session, “Connecting with Teens: Using the Side Door When the Front Door Slams in Your Face.”

Build a Safe Relationship:
Two important elements for adults to consider regarding building healthy communication with teens were addressed in this seminar. The first includes fostering a safe relationship with your teen. Teachable moments are priceless, but when a stressed teen is in the middle of a rage or meltdown, this is not the time to teach a valuable lesson about respect or responsibility. When a teen’s brain is going haywire, very little information will be retained! Kinder refers to this as being dysregulated, and this word clearly describes what is going on in the teenage brain during a stressful situation. Wait until both of you are calm, collected, and thinking clearly before seizing that teachable moment!

Consider the River of Well-Being:
Another element for adults to consider when communicating with a teen is described by the [...]

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    Conduct Disorder: Is your child’s behavior out of control?

27 06, 2013

Conduct Disorder: Is your child’s behavior out of control?

By |June 27th, 2013|Behavioral Disorder, Parenting|Comments Off on Conduct Disorder: Is your child’s behavior out of control?|

Conduct disorder is a type of behavioral disorder. It can be divided into two sub-categories: childhood-onset and adolescent-onset. Childhood onset is found more frequently in males, and it often involves physical aggression beginning at a young age. Traditional treatment involves counseling and behavior modification, with medication to treat associated disorders. Unfortunately, these treatments are highly ineffective with childhood onset, and many of these children will develop antisocial personality disorder as adults. Neurofeedback has been found to be a promising form of treatment for this disorder, as it actually changes the brain waves patterns associated with this behavior disorder.

Adolescent-onset conduct disorder occurs when a child moves from oppositional defiant disorder and/or other significant behavior issues at or around age 10. Without appropriate treatment, these children are at significant risk for illegal and dangerous behavior. With appropriate and effective intervention, including neurofeedback, adolescent-onset is much less likely to develop into antisocial personality disorder.

The majority of children and adolescents with this disorder also have a comorbid disorder that aggravates the symptoms. The comorbid conditions include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or AD/HD), Learning Disability (LD), Depression or Anxiety Disorder, Anger Disorder, Communication Disorder, and/or Tourette’s Disorder.  A study involving 236 children with ADD (AD/HD) revealed that 95% of these children had co-morbid conditions of oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, or related behavior issues (Bird, Gould, & Staghezza Jaramillo, 1994). An 8-year follow-up study revealed that 80% of these children still struggled with hyperactivity as adolescents. Additionally, 60% developed severe oppositional defiant disorder or progressed to full-blown conduct disorder.
How Can Brain Changers Help?
These staggering statistics scream loudly that more effective intervention is needed. Brain Changers offers a full range of non-medication Holistic Medicine based treatments that include Neurofeedback, and Counseling. [...]

17 04, 2012

Domestic Violence has become an Alarming Epidemic!

By |April 17th, 2012|Anger and Rage, Parenting|1 Comment|

Family Violence is an Epidemic in Our Community and Our Country

The January 2009 Homeless Count found 5,750 people living on Dallas streets or in shelters, including 1,139 children. For the second year in a row, women and children made up more half of the homeless population (52%). Domestic abuse/family problems were listed as the reasons for homelessness by 27% of the population.
According to WomenKind, Inc., 70% of the children of abused women are also physically abused, and 20% are sexually abused. The majority of abusive men were either abused as children or witnessed their mothers being abused.
The Surgeon General’s Workshop on Violence and Public Health reports that domestic violence is the number one cause of injury to women in the United States–more than rapes, muggings and auto accidents combined.
According to the FBI, a woman is beaten in this country every 15 seconds.
Sam Houston University Department of Criminal Justice finds that in one out of every three relationships, some type of domestic violence occurs. Nationally, domestic violence kills over 3,000 women each year.
Every year domestic violence results in almost 100,000 days of hospitalization, almost 30,000 emergency room visits and almost 40,000 visits to a physician according to WomenKind, Inc.
The National Institute of Justice reports that domestic violence accounts for 15% of the total number of all crimes reported.
The American Medical Association reports that family violence costs the nation from $5 to $10 billion annually in medical expenses, police and court costs, shelter and foster care, sick leave and absenteeism

Symptoms of Emotional Abuse – Women

Both Women and Men are victims of family violence!
Physical violence bears very specific indicators: the perpetrator uses physical force to subdue or control the victim. [...]

14 04, 2012

Oppositional Defiant Disorder – What is ODD?

By |April 14th, 2012|Behavioral Disorder, Parenting|4 Comments|

Oppositional Defiant Disorder is the most common among Behavioral Disorders. It typically involves an ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile, and defiant behavior toward most or all authority figures. Bullying among peers may also be noted. Although considered more common in boys than in girls, many young girls struggle with this disorder. The identifying behaviors are typically noted by age 8, but they may start as early as the preschool years. Traditionally, this disorder has been thought to be caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors.


Actively does not follow adults’ requests
Angry and resentful of others
Argues with adults
Blames others for own mistakes
Has few or no friends or has lost friends
Is in constant trouble in school
Loses temper
Spiteful or seeks revenge
Touchy or easily annoyed

Does my child have Oppositional Defiant Disorder?
In order to meet the criteria for oppositional defiant disorder, the pattern of misbehavior must last for at least 6 months and must be more severe than normal childhood misbehavior.
The pattern of misbehaviors associated with oppositional defiant disorder are significantly different from those of other children around the same age and developmental level. All children misbehave and test boundaries. However, with ODD, these behaviors lead to significant problems in school, home, and/or social activities.
Children who are suspected as having oppositional defiant disorder should be evaluated by a professional. One aspect of assessment is determine if there are other issues which might be causing or intensifying symptoms. In children and adolescents, the following conditions can cause similar behavior problems and should be considered as possibilities or co-morbid conditions:

Anxiety disorders
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD)
Bipolar disorder
Learning disability
Conduct disorder
Substance abuse disorders

Traditional Treatment:
The brain is the most complex [...]

21 02, 2012

ACE Parenting (Part 3): Effective Parenting

By |February 21st, 2012|Parenting|Comments Off on ACE Parenting (Part 3): Effective Parenting|

ACE PARENTING: Affirmative, Consistent, Effective Parenting
Part 3- Effective Parenting
 Effective parenting can be compared to art. Any artist will tell you that technique and skill are vital components of success within any given realm of artistry. Talent, or natural ability, is only a part of the puzzle! Effective artists must invest a lot of time and energy to develop their skills as an artist. Thus, it is with effective parenting! This type of parenting doesn’t just happen by accident or by a fluke; effective parents are developed through trial and error, hard work, and determination.
Effective parenting requires parents to think, plan, and respond proactively to their children and to specific circumstances. With regard to discipline, effective parents deliberately make disciplinary choices today that will have a positive effect on behavior today and in the future.
Dr. Phil has published a discipline questionnaire to help parents gauge how effectively they discipline their children:

Click here for Dr. Phil’s Discipline Questionnaire: A Discipline Questionnaire for Parents
E — Effective Parenting:
Effective parenting isn’t for the faint of heart! It requires determination and compassion. It means setting appropriate boundaries and being willing to follow through with pre-set consequences when children choose to behave outside of those boundaries. Effective parenting is ACE parenting! Effective parents are both affirmative and consistent. More importantly, effective parents are reassuring, loving, and encouraging!
Reliable and resolute in their planned and deliberate approach, effective parents practice the following skills with such clarity that parenting may seem to mimic art!

Respect — It is imperative that we demand respect from our children at all times! Respect is earned, and it is the parents’ responsibility to model and teach our children what respect looks like and [...]

14 02, 2012

ACE Parenting (Part 2): Consistent Parenting

By |February 14th, 2012|Parenting|Comments Off on ACE Parenting (Part 2): Consistent Parenting|

Merriman-Webster defines consistent in the following way: marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity; free from variation or contradiction; marked by agreement; showing steady conformity to character, belief, or custom.

ACE parenting believes in the phrase, Say what you mean and mean what you say!
Answer the following questions?

Does your child whine or grizzle when they don’t get their way?
Are you a push over or easily manipulated by your child’s requests or arguments?
Do you walk on eggshells around your child in order to maintain peace in the home?
Do you give in after telling your child “No”?
Does your child primarily run the household/call the shots in the home, whether directly or indirectly?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, there is significant room for improvement in the area of consistency!
A — Affirmative Parenting: This ACE Parenting technique was discussed in last week’s article, ACE Parenting – Part 1.
C — Consistent Parenting
Consistent parenting can be defined as dependable, reliable, and constant. The children know what is expected, and there are no surprises! Additionally, the children are very clear on what the consequences will be if they choose not to follow through with expectations and responsibilities. Consistent parenting allows children greater opportunities for success, as children can anticipate both expectations and consequences without question. This gives children a healthy sense of control; they are in a position to choose their actions, and it puts them in a position to accept responsibility for the defined consequences, as well.

Consistent parenting is proactive in nature. ACE parents catch their children behaving responsibly and appropriately, and they are very generous with honest and significant praise! Rather than react to specific incidents as they [...]

7 02, 2012

ACE PARENTING (Part 1): A is for Affirmative Parenting

By |February 7th, 2012|Parenting|Comments Off on ACE PARENTING (Part 1): A is for Affirmative Parenting|

ACE parenting is a full-time job, and it is not for the faint at heart! When our children are born, we do not leave the hospital with an instruction manual. There is not a switch that flips on to initiate healthy parenting when we bring our baby home!
Responsible, respectful, reliable children do NOT develop spontaneously! These characteristics develop as a result of children growing up in an environment where they have regular, meaningful interaction with at least one healthy adult.
Likewise, Behavioral Disorders such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) or Conduct Disorder (CD) don’t just develop spontaneously.  Both ODD and CD are greatly influenced by the environment and unhealthy patterns that develop in the home regarding expectations, behaviors, and discipline.

A — Affirmative Parenting:
To affirm means express agreement with something, to state positively, or to confirm a statement or action. Positive reinforcement, or affirmation, is a significant encouraging motivation for infants and toddlers when they learn to talk, walk, and even behave appropriately!
Negative reinforcement is still reinforcement, but it focuses on undesired behavior, rather on the desired behavior. Children naturally respond to the support they receive; if parents regularly wait for their children to misbehave before paying attention to their behavior or interacting with them, children recognize the connection between negative behavior and parent attention! When these children want attention, they know exactly what to do in order to get it … act out or misbehave! Negative attention is better than no attention at all, so children raised in this dynamic often develop a cycle of behavior that perpetuates negative attention from parents.
Affirmative parenting encourages parents to praise their children when they catch them doing something well! Children naturally crave parental attention; it is so [...]