Child and Teen Counseling with family in Phoenix Arizona and Scottsdale Arizona

Children and teenagers must learn healthy boundaries with their parents: physically, mentally, and emotionally in order to be balanced in school, at a job, with peers and with many other aspects of their life.

The earlier you are able to set up a healthy system in your home the better chance you have of having peace and harmony and success with your family and your child or teenager.

Respecting and honoring ones parents is paramount and vital for balance in the home and in school. If a child can not do this he can not respect him or herself and therefore will not learn to respect teachers or peers and will have a very low sense of self because he or she will carry guilt and shame or might simply live life blaming others and not taking accountability for their own unhealthy behaviors. It is hard to take accountability and apologize however it is needed in a huge way in society.

Healthy relationships are built on mutual respect. If one party does not display respect : physically, verbally, or emotionally than the relationship is off balance and work must be done to create balance in the family. I have worked w imbalances for over 15 years . One of many imbalances is use of smartphones and video games it is like 24-7 Disneyland in your child’s hands and limits are essential for balance.

Video games are created to HI-JACKyour child’s brain that is not developed and keep them playing as long as they can. Video game designers use psychological principals like partial re-enforcement to hook your child and teen and keep them playing the game. Better Technology today in 2019 is used than in 2003 when I wrote an article about the dangers of playing video games for long periods of time. There is research today to support many disorders connected with playing video games for long periods of time: ADHD, Conduct Disorders, Oppositional Defiance, Mood disorders, Depression, Anxiety and more.

Games are more interactive with more engagement and more visual and auditory stimuli as well as kinesthetic stimuli that hit all parts of the child or teens brain and keeps them hooked!

The variable reward system rewards the brain system like a drug and keeps the child or teen wanting to play more due to the brain cravings.

Many children and teens play free video games , on average each child spends 90.00 on extra purchases usually using there parents credit card or a gift card.

Mental Health Behavioral experts have compared video games to “Crack”cocaine. Some children have used parents credit cards and spent in excess of 1,000.00 dollars on extras in games.

Many parents do set limits on the video gaming however when the child has to get off he does not want to get away from his or her addiction and it is  a stressful fight that is tearing away at family relationships and impacting homework, grades and relationships.

Many children and teens are lacking social skills and interpersonal skills for healthy relationships, family, job acquisition, interviewing and making peers.

Psychiatrists are concerned about the mental health of children who spend so much time with video games that they neglect: exercise, friendships, complete school work.

Most parents do not take the time to watch the video games their children play. Many video games reward the child for acts of violence. Why would you want your child exposed to violence daily? Many children and teens play video games three hours per day.

Parents must ask themselves what positives can come around for allowing their child and adolescent continuous exposure to violent video games.

Research shows excessive use of violent video game exposure to children and adolescents may be a higher risks for behavioral and other health problems.

There is a lot of controversy regarding video game addiction. The reality is that when a child or teen is spending hours in his room playing video games there could be a potential problem. Playing video games one hour a day quickly turns into gaming 4 hours a day and keeps increasing. Children and teens are playing video games like: Mind Craft, legends of Zelda, World Of War Craft, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Forte night as well as many other games on a daily basis.

Many teens are addicted to video games. They spend all day playing video games and neglect: school, sleep, eating healthy diets , social 
skills , and family.

Many countries like China and S Korea take web addictions seriously.

Parents can ask themselves the following questions to see if their child has a gaming issue. Is your child avoiding life’s events or emotions by playing video games? Is your child struggling socially? Is your child having issues with family members and communication? Is your child suffering from a sense of low self esteem? Is your child in pain due to a divorce or separation? Is your child having struggles with academics? Is your child having poor sleep habits? These are all red flags that your child needs to find alternative solutions to hi or her challenges.

Most games have a great deal of visual stimuli and many researchers believe that the reinforcement used on video games stimulate the reward center in the brain and makes these games addictive. MRI studies of children and teens brains show stimulation at the reward centers when playing these video games. Currently a game called Candy Crush is making over 700,000 dollars per day because children and adults need to soothe their brains and can not wait 30 min for there game generated free play so they spend money in order to continue playing. Keep in mind this is a “free” game.

There is a connection with high video game play and: impulsiveness, loneliness, low social skills, low self esteem, depression, anxiety, and poor school performance. Some children may use video gaming as an escape from life’s stress as well as maintaining a sense of control in their world.

Many teens and children have a very unhealthy relationship with the internet. Children and teenagers are spending an unhealthy amount of time on the internet, x box live, Play station, DS Players, iPhones, Smart Phones, You tube, Video gaming, and more. Children need balance and spending hours on gaming and electronics is not healthy in many ways.

Parenting plays a huge role in children behavior. Parents that are busy and not affectionate will foster more internet use. It makes sense if a child is not able to express his feelings or thoughts he or she will channel their energy into an activity that will help them numb out. Children and teens that spend a great deal of time on the internet also tend to have poor social and interpersonal skills. Authoritarian parenting and neglectful parenting appears to foster more internet addiction. Children that are socially withdrawn or shy or have aspergers or autistic disorders may gravitate toward technology because it is more comfortable than a social interaction however avoiding fears and anxieties and emotions is not the solution and mental and physical health will suffer if a child is spending a great deal of time with electronics and technology.

Controlling parenting appears to create a poor relationship with children. These children in a study in Greece  where the children tended to feel that their inability to talk to their parents and express themselves drove them to use the internet and were more likely to show addictive behaviors. Numerous studies show that internet addiction for high use daily will have a very negative impact on physical health as well as mental health in children and adolescents.

Parenting that is too permissive is also problematic. Many parents use electronics, Tablets, computers, video games as a substitute for communication and social interactions. Electronics are also keeping your child from developing skills like athletic skills, playing an instrument, clubs, family communication and more.

Parents  that identify with their child spending more than one hour per day on the internet or with electronics and that observe their children showing fatigue, irritability, anger when not online, nervousness, impairments at school, issues with homework and grades, relationship issues at home or with peers should get professional help as soon as possible from an expert that works with children, teens and families.

LifeworksAZhelps parents with behavior modification as well as working with youth to modify and choose healthier behaviors. Lifeworksaz helps children manage stress, improve social skills, manage stress, manage depression, regulate anxiety, regulate and manage mood, host self esteem, improve family dynamics, improve communicationand more.

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Teens and parents can work on: healthy communication, parenting, 
limits, boundaries, work ethics and values.

I have worked with children and teens with a variety of mental health disorders: conduct disorders, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Addiction w Video Games, Depression, anxiety and much more. One vital piece is not only helping the child but making tips to parents on best approaches to communication as well as helping create a behavioral system in the home that works. Below are a few areas that I work with and how I approach my client’s. Conduct disorders at times have a brain wiring biological approach so it is important to be patient and open to re wiring your child’s thought patterns. 

Conduct Disorders are a common mental health Disorder in children and teenagers. It is characterized by severe aggressive behaviors( physical aggression, property damage, theft, and violating others  rights) and antisocial behaviors. Conduct disorders aree under studied and the physical and mental burden on parents and society is said to be over 8 times that of conduct disorders.

Conduct disorders are associated with a higher risk of depression and anxiety for children , teens, and adolescents. Conduct disorders in teenagers and children are also associated with a higher risk of substance use and substance abuse disorders. Over fifty percent of children with conduct disorders develop antisocial and or borderline personality disorders as adults. This gets typically passed on to their children many times. An ounce of prevention through counseling and mental health services can be worth a great deal.

Children and teens can work on emotional regulation , stress, and anger management as well as problem solving during challenging interactions with parents, self, and peers. 

Working with parents on how they approach the child or teen is important. For example instead of saying your child “ is a bad kid” or your child is intentionally fighting with you..a different approach is required.

A parent can tell themselves( to yourself) my child’s brain wiring needs re wiring. This will help the parents anger and frustration and not add fuel to the fire. Encouraging your child or teen to : cool down, reframe thoughts, use progressive relaxation, VMBR and more can encourage change. The teen needs a lot of patience to rewire his or her brain from parents and support systems.

Communication skills may need to be changed. How one talks to the child or teen is important. Asking instead of ordering or demanding is very important. Developing a stronger relationship with your child or teenager is important. There are many ways to approach an improved relationship. A professional can help you modify your approach as well as create a behavior modification system for your child or teen adolescent.

Many parents are aware that exercise is good for physical health and mental health, however, recent research shows that small amounts of exercise boosts the function of a gene that increases the connection of neurons and the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.

Exercise is inexpensive and or free depending on what exercise you want your child or teen to sign up for or practice. A parent can encourage a child to : bicycle ride, walk, run, jump on a trampoline. A child or teen can do dance videos or dance. There is martial arts and sports like: tennis, basketball, baseball, track, wrestling, cheerleading, volleyball, football and more that are great for your child or teen ( physically, mentally, and emotionally).

Exercise like taking 4000 steps will prime your child and teens brain for learning so it does not have to be hours of exercise. Even in small amounts of exercise show the growth of dendritic spines for synapses that help the brain learn and use memory.

One in Five Children and teens in Phoenix Arizona, Scottsdale Arizona, Chandler Arizona and the USA have a mental health diagnosed disorder and or learning disorder according to a large National survey. This can include and is not limited to Attention Hyperactive Deficit Disorder, ADHD, ADD, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, Conduct Disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, OCD, Panic attacks, separation anxiety, and more. The ages of this study took children and teenagers that were from birth till 18 years old. The above statistics are the median however in some states the rate of mental health disorders are as low as 7 percent and as high as twenty two percent depending on the area.

The latest research shows that over sixty percent do not seek support or assistance from a: Child and teen psychotherapist, Fanily Psychotherapist, Child psychologist, family psychologist, or a social worker in the field of counseling psychology.

Over eight percent of mental health disorders begin in childhood. Children with mental health issues and learning issues are at risk of poor outcomes in school and in all aspects of life. Research in 2017 state there are 20 million children and teens that are impacted by mental health disorders before the age of eighteen.

An estimated 39 percent of all adolescents have had an anxiety disorder according to research. Almost 9 percent had severe impairment with their anxiety disorder.

Of all the children and teenagers that have an ADHD diagnosis almost seventy percent were taking medication and there were 30 percent that were not taking medication for their ADHD diagnosis.

Approximately ten percent of adolescents were diagnosed with major depressive disorders.

All disorders should be assessed by a mental health professional.

I have been working with children and teens for over 18 years as well as families. There are many disorders that our society can label your child with including: ADD  Disorder, ADHD Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorders, Generalized anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, OCD obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, Depression Disorder, Dysthmia Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Adjustment Disorders, Non suicidal Self Injury Disorder.

My approach is a strength based approach. I believe it is vital to work with the parents and well as work individually w the child or teen to make desired change. The child’s most important person in their life is usually the parent and the parent is most involved and is the eyes and ears of hot is going on in your child’s life.

I do not label children and teens. In my opinion labeling a child can create a huge stigma of : disability, dysfunction, and disease. The reality is your child is  whole and may have areas that need improvement but he is not a label and he is much more than a diagnosis. Many youth will use their diagnosis as a reason not to excel or get better in life and this is why I have never labeled a child in almost 20 years of working with youth.

My approach is helping a child overcome issues, stress, challenges etc that are impacting him or her and the family. I believe we should focus on how we can : get homework done, How we can be respectful, how we can honor our Mom and dad, how we can exercise, How we can excel in school, how we can find a balance in our lives.  I believe it is important to look at a child’s sleep patters, eating habits, exercise, school, social patters, self esteem, and other habits and find a balance in your child’s life.

 Many children and teenagers are struggling with untreated mental health issues. Most children and teens are not screened for : depression, Anxiety, oppositional defiance, conduct disorders, ADHD, substance dependence and abuse, Grief and loss and more. These disorders are impacting the stress in your home, your relationships, work, and happiness. Your child may be struggling socially and academically as well.  It is important to address theses meant health and emotional and or behavioral disorders early on so your child or teen can grow up to be a well balanced healthy and successful adult. If left untreated the challenges in adulthood become magnified ten fold or more destroying relationships and children and careers.

US statistics state that over 200,000 children in Phoenix and Scottsdale have a serious mental health issues that needs treatment. These numbers would increase for Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Peoria, Buckeye, Ahwatukee, Arizona children and teens that need counseling treatment and or other mental health services in the valley of the sun. This not include less serious mental health issues for emotional, social, and behavioral disorders that are not extreme or serious however may be having a negative impact on a child or adolescent teen in Phoenix Arizona or Scottsdale Arizona.

When mental health issues are left untreated they can lead to alcohol and drug abuse, difficulty maintaining a job, difficulty staying in school, challenges with relationships, and challenges with the law.

Teenager and children with even mild or signs of depression, anxiety( social, Phobias, Generalized anxiety, PTSD) and/or behavioral issues( conduct disorders, ADHD, defiance disorders) were more likely to have severe problems that significantly reduced their ability to lead; healthy, balanced, and successful lives as adults, according to many research studies.

Learning tips and tools to manage: stress, anxiety, anger, depression, as well as teaching parents tools that can help their children be balanced , successful, and happy is vital.

Family counseling and therapy, Parenting tips, combined with child and teen counseling and therapy has shown the best results in research with children and teens with mental health, emotional, and social challenges.. www.lifeworksaz.comhas expertise working with children and teens and families for over 15 years inPhoenix AZ., Chandler AZ, Scottsdale AZ., Cave Creek AZ., Anthem, Arcadia, and Biltmore.

Articles are not to be taken as a substitute for professional advice or counseling.