Do’s and Don’ts of Homework Battles

Is homework ruining your family evening time?

For a lot of folks, it’s a dreaded and lengthy battle each night.

Kids come home physically and mentally drained from their day at school. Parents are getting off of long days at work and equally exhausted.  Throw in some afterschool activities to juggle around and it can be a huge challenge finding time to get the homework in.

If your child struggles with focused attention or any other area of learning, the task of getting homework done can be especially painful.

How to Find the Homework – Home life Balance

The reality is that for most children, homework is an expectation of school.  It’s important for parents to be supportive of this while also fostering independence and being mindful of a balanced life for their child.

Your child’s whole self and wellbeing are important. Homework is important, but handling it doesn’t have to be such a struggle.  Below are a few ‘Do’s and Dont’s’ that can make the evening homework routine run smoother.

 Homework Do’s and Don’ts


DO:                Be supportive of your child’s teacher.  If there’s a problem, talk to the teacher.

DON’T:           Criticize the assignments or the teacher.


DO:                 Provide quiet study time in a well-lit place.   Play instrumental music in the background if that helps.

DON’T:           Have your child do homework on their bed, or with tablets, TVs or other distractions around.


DO:                  Ask your child’s teacher how much time homework should be taking.  Communicate if your child is struggling at home.

DON’T:          Spend all evening on homework or excessively worry about your child failing or getting ‘behind’.


DO:                 Chunk work into smaller steps and take breaks if your child struggles with work endurance or focus.

DON’T:          Go on homework marathons.


DO:                  Check work for accuracy, neatness, and completeness (as they get older, give them more independence with this).

DON’T:           Do your child’s homework for him/her.


DO:                  Give kids a chance to have a snack/play before they start working.

DON’T:           Wait until around bedtime to get started.


DO:                  Encourage effort.

DON’T:           Praise perfection (this discourages risk-taking).


DO:                  Enjoy family time and have dinner together.

DON’T:           Spend evenings yelling or fighting over homework.


DO:                  Encourage play and physical activity like sports or dance.

DON’T:           Overschedule your child or over emphasis extracurricular.


DO:                  Consider professional help (tutoring, mental health) if needed.

DON’T:          Just assume it will get better without interventions.


Know When To Seek Help

If your child is having excessive difficulty with homework, it could be a sign of something else going on like ADHD. Other common problems include learning disabilities (like dyslexia) or sensory processing issues. Or it could be that your child needs glasses.

Before you assume that your child is simply misbehaving, rule out all other possible causes. Talk to your pediatrician and your child’s teacher and evaluate the need for additional services if the problem persists.

Keeping Perspective

You want your child to do well in school.  But in the end, your relationship with your child and their positive self-image is much more important.  The dread and negativity that come along with homework battles are not good for your relationships at home, your mental health or for your child’s mental health.  Keep a school-home communication open and positive, set up the environment for success and do your best.

Your child is so much more than their academic self.  Find positives in the every day and highlight the strengths of your child.

Wishing you happy homes and peaceful evenings-

Jenna

Jenna Fleming, LPC, NCCJenna Fleming is a licensed professional counselor serving kids, teens, and parents in Georgetown, TX.   Her group practice offers counseling servicescourses and classes to support families in getting on track and staying that way.

A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Depression

The CDC reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth.  Increasing stories in the news are bringing to our awareness the seriousness of childhood depression.

Many parents feel overwhelmed, frustrated or frightened by the topic.  It’s important to shed some light on the issue so that we can recognize the signs and understand strategies for helping.

What is childhood depression?

Depression may be present when your child…
• Has an irritable or sad mood for most of the day. Your child may say they feel sad or angry or may look more tearful or cranky.
• No longer enjoys what used to make him happy.
• Has drastic weight or eating changes.
• Has a big change in sleep patterns (too much or too little)
• No longer wanting to be with family or friends.
• Is no longer able to do simple tasks because of lack of energy
• Has low Self-esteem. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
• Is unable to make choices or has trouble focusing.
• Has little or no care about what happens in the future.
• Experiences aches and pains when nothing is really wrong.
• Has started self-harming (cutting) or having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.
Any of these signs can occur in children who are not depressed, but when seen together, nearly every day, they are red flags for depression.

“Normal” teen behavior vs. Depression

The teen years are hallmarked by change and independence.  Hormones are going crazy, the pleasure center of the brain is magnified while the frontal lobe (decision-making) is muted. Normal teens are: moody, challenging, affectionate one day and a jerk the next.  Sigh.

But every child is different and so knowing your particular child or teen is essential so that you can recognize when BIG shifts occur in personality, behavior or habits.

Red Flags

Any actions of self-harm or talk of suicide should be taken seriously as well as major shifts in the symptoms listed above.   You can also take the PHQ-9 assessment: Depression Screener PHQ-9_English

What should I do if I think my child is depressed?

Pay attention, validate emotions and encourage your child to engage with others.  One-on-one time with parents, pointing out strengths build the parent-child bond.
Tend to physiological needs– sleep, hydration, nutrition, medication.  The basics for good mental health include a healthy diet, enough sleep, exercise, and positive connections with other people at home and at school.
• Tell your child’s doctor. Some medical problems can cause depression. Your child’s doctor may recommend counseling or medication.
Limit screen time, monitor use of electronics and encourage physical activity and connections with others.
Talk about bullying.  Being the victim of bullying is a major cause of mental health problems in children.
Consider getting professional counseling support, where they can risk assess and develop a plan, help your child process emotions, build coping tools and strengthen tolerance of distress.
Support healthy coping skills for your child:  Find relaxing ways to deal with stress, talk and listen with love and support, help your child learn to describe their feelings, break down big tasks into smaller steps, focus on seeing things in a positive light.

When Safety is a Concern

• Treat any thoughts of suicide as an emergency.
• Weapons, medicines and alcohol should be locked up.
• Follow your child’s medical/mental healthy treatment plan. Make sure your child attends therapy and takes any medicine as directed.
• Develop a list of people to call when feelings get worse.
• Watch for risk factors, which includes talking about suicide in person or on the internet, giving away belongings, increased thoughts about death, and substance abuse.
Suicide and Crisis Resources: 
• Bluebonnet Trails Community Services: http://bbtrails.org/ 1-800-841-1255
• Suicide hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE, 1-800-799-4889 (for deaf or hard of hearing)

Have Questions?  Want to Start Counseling?
Contact us for a free phone consult.

 

We’re here to help!

Jenna

Jenna Fleming, LPC, NCCJenna Fleming is a licensed professional counselor serving kids, teens, and parents in Georgetown, TX.   Her group practice offers counseling servicescourses and classes to support families in getting on track and staying that way.

10 Tips to Help with Your Child’s Anxiety (in difficult times)

Anxiety is an unpleasant and a real emotion.   Life has ups and downs and at some level, we all experience anxiety from time to time.

Amplified Anxiety

A tendency of people who feel anxious is to be attracted to behaviors that worsen the anxiety.  Behaviors such as over-thinking, excessive media watching or withdrawal from others tend to make anxiety worse.

We’re all seeking comfort and security.  Those times when anxiety increases, we need to be on ‘top of our game’ with self-care, boundaries, and tools to prevent anxiety from spiraling.

Common Triggers

Periods of transition such as the start of the school year, a move or changes in home life can create feelings of uncertainty and increase anxiety.  Our environment plays a big role as well.  A high pressure, tense environment increases stress.  And community tragedies- as we are experiencing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey- impacts even those who are not directly touched by it.

If your heart pours out (as does mine) toward our brothers and sisters impacted by the recent events in the news, please channel your energy into action while also being mindful of boundaries and your self-care.

10 Tips for Helping Kids

Children are impacted by changes, environment, and the turbulence in the world.  Below are 10 tips for helping your anxious child and preventing anxiety from snowballing.

  • Respect and validate your child’s feelings.  Remind your child that all feelings will eventually pass and encourage him to use words to express his feelings and needs. Ex. “I feel___.  I need ___.”
  • Teach your child deep, slow, belly breathing.  Don’t underestimate its effectiveness because it’s simple. This very portable skill can manually regulate and calm the body.  Try “Box Breathing”- Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4 and hold for 4 (repeat).  Try a whole song’s worth in the car.
  • Filter and place limits on technology and news media. The messages that come through technology can cause disturbing mental images and confuse the brain, making symptoms of anxiety worse- and often causes additional issues.
  • Soothe the senses. Engaging in the senses helps to ‘ground’ a person who feels ‘swept away’ by emotion.   Try: calm music, diffuse lavender, fidgets (things to do with our hands), chamomile tea, lower lighting before bed and avoiding caffeine.
  • Listen to your child and ask “Tell me what you are thinking?”  This will help to reveal scary thoughts and scenes that build up in your child’s mind.
  • Rather than swooping to reassure, ask your child “How likely is (that thing you’re afraid of) to happen?” You’ll be teaching him to challenge his anxious thinking.
  • Prompt your child with “Tell me some things you can do to handle this situation” and help her to brainstorm, rather than just giving her solutions.  She’ll feel empowered.
  • Let go of “mental health days” “skip days” or other ways of avoiding feared situations.  This tends to make the anxiety stick more firmly and leads to further avoidance and regression.
  • Recognize when you are anxious and say aloud what you can do to calm down and solve the situation.  Avoid over thinking, catastrophizing or perseverating on stressful topics. You’ll be modeling boundaries and coping for your child.  Modeling is the most powerful way to teach. 
  • Celebrate every small step and have a playful, light heart!  You got this!

The world is full of uncertainty, but I am certain about one thing- LOVE always wins.  Make small steps toward healthy habits and stay grounded in LOVE.  This is the path of healing.

I wish you a calm spirit, a peaceful home…

…and may God shine His Grace and Blessings upon Texas.

With great hope and love,

Jenna

Jenna Fleming, LPC, NCCJenna Fleming is a licensed professional counselor serving kids, teens, and parents in Georgetown, TX.   She offers counseling servicescourses and classes to support families in getting on track and staying that way.

5 Tips for Happy Family Trips

Family Trips

Ever grabbed chocolate from a box, expecting your favorite caramel square…only to find it was loaded with that weird cherry goo?  Ugh!

That taste just doesn’t go away easily!

What a waste!  All that anticipation just to get a disappointed.

(sorry, cherry lovers)

In all seriousness- lots of folks plan months in advance for the perfect family vacation expecting one thing and getting another.

You spend hours booking flights, finding that right place to stay and packing bags.  Vacationing takes time, money and energy.  Of course, you want it to be enjoyed!

But sometimes when it comes to actually taking the trip-  it can end up feeling like anything but a vacation.

The kids are whining, parents are stressed and everyone’s frustrated.

(That cherry goo doesn’t sound so bad now, huh?!)

Listen…vacationing doesn’t need to be so aggravating.

Having some fun with the whole family can be within reach.  It just takes a little planning ahead and getting into the right mindset.

Here are some Tips:

 1.  Define your desired outcomes– We all want enjoyable vacations, but what that means can be very different for each person.

The number one reason for conflicts in families is communication issues.  Ask your family what their expectations are.  For one person it may mean going on new adventures, for another, it could be to relax.   Those are very different expectations!  Get clear on what everyone wants so that you can avoid catastrophe.  Not everyone will get their exact ‘made-to-order’ vacation and that’s okay.  The act of clearing up communication alone can stave off a lot of frustrated, invalidated and unhappy moments.

2.  Decide what’ll get you there-  Knowing what is the first step, planning how is next.

Don’t fret if family members have different expectations.  It’s really common for one partner to want a relaxing vacation, another to want an adventurous one and the kids just want to play!  Ask your tribe “What will help us have the vacation we want?” You may be surprised how much there is in common.  For instance- whether a person wants an adventurous, relaxing or fun-filled vacation, it’s likely they want the family to be able to get along.  Talk about these things.  It really helps by creating awareness and ownership of everyone’s part in the family experience.

3.  Plan for the tough moments-  Think about what may block the good times from rolling.

Fights, excessive tattling, begging Mom/Dad to buy something or bedtime battles can turn Paradise Island into the Island of Aggravation.   Does your son need a special blanket to sleep well?  Could your kids earn spending money before the trip?  Do you know your daughter misbehaves when parents are stressed?  Do you get stressed if you don’t have an itinerary- or just the opposite?  Know thyself!  Know thy family!  Plan accordingly.

4.  Take proactive measures–  The best way to deal with difficult behavior is to prevent it.

Having the knowledge of what makes a great vacation is wonderful, but insight is almost useless without action.   Decide what’s in your control, what predicts the outcome you want and what’s the best leverage to get you there? How can you best plan for the bumps so they don’t send the whole family off track?  Start verberizing what you know will help.  Then use the Nike method- just do it!

5.  Have the right attitude– Vacationing is a great time to unplug from our familiar world and dive into something new.

The change of pace can be refreshing, exciting and sometimes unpredictable. The only guarantee is that things won’t always go exactly as expected.  And that’s okay- Life’s really about moving with the flow, not against it.  These summer days won’t last forever and this time with your family is precious.  Having the right attitude helps with your own stress and it spills out into your whole family, making it enjoyable for everyone else, too.  Be present, laugh and enjoy the little moments.   If you get caught up in a moment of stress (as we all do), breathe, smile, and ask yourself “What’s the worst possible outcome?“.  Often it’s not so bad.

The best adventures are colorful ones filled with highs, lows and wild times!

And there is no such thing as a perfect path- just enjoy the one you’re on.

Family life is quite the adventure.  A little planning and having the right attitude can help us to relax and enjoy a bit more of the vacation we all want!

And you may want to even grab a few chocolates for the road (btw…the cherry ones actually aren’t so bad once you have a few…it’s mostly the shock factor that gets ya).

I wish you the very best adventures ahead…

Jenna

Jenna Fleming, LPC, NCCJenna Fleming is a licensed professional counselor serving kids, teens, and parents in Georgetown, TX.   She offers counseling servicescourses and classes to help families enjoy life more fully and get to a smoother, healthier path.

3 Steps to Less Anxiety and Getting More Done

Your mind is a powerful gift.  It can also be a total pain in the rear.

How do I know this? Because my mind can be a huge pain, too.  So is the mind of every client I’ve ever had.

And so is just about every single person’s- It’s one of our common human experiences.

But this is ok, because leading a happy and fulfilling life does not mean having a perfectly calm, peaceful mind.

It’s about whether you allow your “monkey mind” to run the show or whether you use your freedom of choice.

Your “monkey mind” is the constant, often unsettled thoughts that run through your mind on a daily basis.

“I have to schedule that hair appointment.”   “Did I order school supplies yet?”    “I have to check my phone notifications.”    “What’s that weird smell in the pantry?”

Sound familiar?   (Well- hopefully not that last one)

“Monkey mind” can also rear its ugly head with trouble letting things go or as overthinking a situation.

“I can’t believe I did that.  I’ll never live it down.  I’m so embarassed!”   “What a jerk! How dare he say that to me. I’ll never forgive him for this.”   “Things will not be okay unless they are perfect.”   “I MUST do this or that.”  or “What’s wrong with them/me?” 

You see our mind is almost always playing ‘background music’ and this keeps us trapped in misery, anxiety, and distraction from actually accomplishing the things we want to do.

Our society today doesn’t help these matters at all.

Being ‘connected’ often means that we are constantly on call and bombarded with a steady stream of social media updates, real-time news and emails to return.  We have access to virtually unlimited information and entertainment.  Walk into any public place and you’ll see kids and adults alike on some sort of screen.

This is not how humans were designed to interact.

We are physical and social beings.  Technology is a wonderful tool.  But as with anything, too much of a good thing can become harmful.

Technology addiction is becoming an increasing problem.

Social media updates, phone notifications, and video games train our minds to have shorter attention spans.  Technology raises dopamine levels, a ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter in the brain.  This excessive ‘noise’ literally wires our brain to become addicted, more distracted and less resistant to the “monkey mind”.

Many people feel trapped by their anxiety or victims of their excessive thoughts or distractions.

You are not alone.  And you are not a victim.

Victor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor.  In his masterpiece Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl teaches us:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. To choose one’s own way.

Frankl teaches us that as humans, we have the gifts of self-awareness and imagination and that we have the free will to use these gifts in any circumstance.

Your monkey mind does not have to be such a pain in the rear.

There are 3 simple shifts you can make.

1. Go on Airplane Mode

Setting limits on our technology is an important mental health habit.  Going on ‘airplane mode’ simply means to designate some boundaries around when you will be on and offline.  As we adults practice this life skill, it also models for our children what we should also be expecting- screen time limits.  Modeling is the most powerful way we teach.

Set designated times of the day to ‘unplug’.   Check and respond to emails in a couple of ‘batches’ rather than throughout the day.   Turn social media notifications off or take them off of your phone.   Use extensions like Chrome’s “newsfeed eradicator” to help you from falling into the trap of endless hours of reading social media updates.

2.  Stop Believing Everything You Think

Anxious thoughts come with implied demands. Your mind says, “If you do as I say, I will shut up and leave you alone. I’ll stop giving you this thought, and then you’ll feel ok.”

This is a lie.

It might be an hour from now, or it might be five seconds from now. But it’s a guarantee, your mind WILL come up with something to bug you about. It will not leave you alone as it promised. So if you obey, your mind wins.

Become self-aware.  Notice and realize the thought you’re having.  Don’t try to stop them- that only makes them worse.  Ask yourself “Is this true?” “Is this helpful?” “Is this what I want?”.  Then make a choice based on what YOU want to do.

3.  Focus on One Thing

If you feel like you stay busy all day and barely accomplish anything, chances are you’re focusing on too many things at once.

Multitasking is overrated, impossible for our brains to actually do and a huge time waster.  There are certainly exceptions, but it often occurs because of procrastination or avoidance or because of poor decisiveness or boundary setting.

It’s perfectly fine to have a list of things to do or ‘big rocks’ for your day. But when it comes to the actual act of doing, you need to set aside time for doing just ONE thing at a time.

To train yourself in this new habit, write down the one thing you’d like to accomplish.  For example “Finish folding the laundry”.   Start with 20 or 30 minutes for the task at hand with no distractions.  You’ll be amazed at the quantity of what can be accomplished when you focus on just one thing rather than 10.

Even though you can’t stop your monkey mind, practicing these three things will eventually lead to a decrease in anxiety and more of what you actually want.

If you do these things consistently, for a long enough period of time, you will see huge shifts in your life as your patterns change.  Freedom from the “monkey mind” allows you to enjoy life more fully and live with greater intent.

In the words of Victor Frankl.

It’s this spiritual freedom, which cannot be taken away which makes life meaningful and purposeful.

One of the kindest things you can do for your family and for yourself is to practice presence.

And it is hands-down the best parenting tool I can suggest.

Change comes from action- not just insight.

What one thing can you do to set some boundaries around your ‘monkey mind’?

Write that down and commit to doing this with complete integrity.  Keeping promises to ourselves is one of the best ways we can increase our self-confidence.

I believe in you!

The salvation of man is through love and in love. – Victor Frankl

Sending you love and peace of mind,

Jenna

Jenna Fleming, LPC, NCCJenna Fleming is a licensed professional counselor serving kids, teens, and parents in Georgetown, TX.   She offers counseling services, courses and classes to help families enjoy life more fully and get to a smoother, healthier path.

Why Families Struggle with Relationships (and ways to fix it)

I still print photos.

Yes, I know I’m a dinosaur.

I don’t print all of them.  But I do have a pretty hefty and poorly organized box of hold-in-your-hands snapshots from over the years.

It’s fun to pull them out every now and then- and comes in real handy for my kid’s last minute school projects.

Plus, walking down memory lane completely melts my heart- those chubby cheeks and toothless smiles are so dang adorable!

Thank goodness photos don’t really capture the whole story.

Between all those moments of sweetness and joy has equally been my own mistakes and frustrations.

Family life is bumpy.

And rollercoaster-y.   And exhilarating and sacrificing.

It pushes us to grow as human beings and tests the meaning of unconditional love.  This is its nature.

Family life is also a tremendous gift and the foundation of our society.

When asked by a reporter at her Nobel Peace acceptance “What can one do to promote world peace?”, St. Teresa of Calcutta responded: “Go home and love your family.”

Her version of “Think Global. Act Local.” …I think.

So simple and yet not always so easy.

Lot’s of people experience more than just ‘bumps’ in life, which can make strong relationships seem impossible.

You might have grown up in a family where it felt like the rollercoaster went only one direction- down.

Or maybe you’ve gone through huge hurdles like the loss of a child, infidelity, divorce or you feel really overwhelmed with behaviors from your kids.

Perhaps you’re just feeling ‘lost’ and off track or really disconnected from your spouse or children- and not sure why or how you can fix it.

If this is you, you are not alone.

Sometimes a counselor can help.  Please get help if you need it.

But there are also other ways to move momentum upward, to a more loving, happier family life.

Ask questions about your childhood

The first place to get started is with yourself- and a great place to begin is with your earliest years.

Ask yourself: When I was a kid...What were relationships like?  What did I learn about family life?  Are those the values and behaviors I want in my family today?

People resist this kind of self-reflection.  That’s normal (but not helpful).

We come up with all the reasons not to…

“I turned out okay.”    “What’s the point, you can’t change anything now.”    “That stuff doesn’t affect me.”   “I’m nothing like my parents…”

Those are excuses that block your growth and self-awareness- so dump them.

This isn’t about wallowing in a pity party, it’s about being realistic with our story, embracing who we are and moving forward consciously.

Let me explain…

Why Attachment Theory Matters

In 1949 work was started from a theorist named John Bowlby and expanded on by Mary Ainsworth.  Together, their research birthed what we call Attachment Theory.

Attachment theory tells us that parent-child relationship is crazy important.

It also teaches us that having healthy relationships requires self-reflection and self-awareness.

Here’s why-

After studying post-war orphans Bowlby concluded that “a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with (infant and) his mother” is essential to thrive.

In the 70’s Ainsworth looked at Bowlby’s theory in action through a series called the “Strange Situation Test”.

Ainsworth placed a mother, her 12-month infant and a stranger (to the baby) in various scenarios. The child’s reaction (or lack of) was organized into styles of attachment- either secure or insecure.  The latter of these was broken down into 3 types of insecure: Anxious-avoidant, Anxious-ambivalent, and Disorganized.

Ainsworth found that mothers who had securely attached children responded in a nurturing and attuned (present) way with their baby.

She also found that almost all moms with insecurely attached children were themselves insecurely attached.

And that the attachment style of the baby tended to stay with him as he grew.

So in a nutshell, relationship patterns stick with us and get passed on to our kids.  (Disagree?  Keep reading…there’s more.)

Attachment Styles Explained

Here’s a breakdown of the childhood attachment styles, the style of parenting and resulting adult traits:

  • Secure: Parented in a way that was attuned and responsive.  As adults, they are able to create meaningful relationships, set boundaries and are empathic.
  • Insecure, Anxious-avoidant: Parent was unavailable or rejecting.  As adults, they tend to avoid closeness or emotional connection; distant; critical; rigid.
  • Insecure, Anxious- ambivalent: Parent communicated in an inconsistent or sometimes intrusive way.  As adults, they can be anxious and insecure; erratic; blaming; unpredictable; sometimes charming.
  • Insecure, Disorganized: Parent ignored or didn’t see the child’s needs, the child was traumatized.  As adults, they can be untrusting while craving security or attention; insensitive; chaotic; abusive.

This information is grossly general, but still really valuable.

Since the beginnings of attachment theory, there has been a mountain of research to validate it and information to give us helpful direction.

But listen up, because THIS is my favorite part-

We now understand that if you’ve had bumps in life as a kid, you aren’t destined to stick with an insecure attachment, you can EARN your secure attachment.

I’m personally a proud member of the earned-secure club and I wouldn’t want it any other way (a colorful past can make a person enormously resilient and empathic).

Earned secures understand that the past is significant, but it does not determine the future.

Earning Security

Becoming an earned securely attached adult requires 3 things: Self-reflection, self-awareness, and forgiveness.

Why?  Well, you can only change what you are aware of.  And forgiveness cuts the cord of resentment or dependence that continues the unhealthy patterns.

Forgiveness is saying “I’m letting this go”, it is not saying “That was okay”.

This is a very important distinction.

In my line of study, I’ve had the benefit of diving deep in this area with brilliant teachers and mentors.  You can, too- but without all of the expense and time.

For less than the cost of gas to see a therapist, Dr. Dan Siegel writes about this in his book Parenting From the Inside Out.   It’s awesome and can walk you through a lot of this stuff.

For even quicker and free access, here’s an AttachmentQuestionnaire from his work on the topic.

Self-work requires carving out time, but it’s so worth it.

Moving onward and upward

We hold on to ‘old habits’ and patterns in our relationships.  Some are helpful.  Some are not. We’re usually unaware of most.

As you become more aware of your past, many patterns will reveal themselves.  Keep what’s helpful.  Dump the rest.

And when you feel off track as a family, these are some excellent guiding questions.

  • What is deeply meaningful to our family?
  • What is blocking or limiting this from happening?
  • What actions can help us get more of what we want?

These three questions are as simple as they are complex.

Love your tribe

That messy box of mine contains more than just photos.  It’s filled with memories of the most valuable gifts I have in this world- my family.   There is no greater treasure and nothing more important to invest in- which often starts with our own self-work.

All families are lovely messes of good times and challenging times.  Through them all, it’s LOVE that binds- that’s really all you need (the Beatles nailed it).

The greatest gift you can give your family is your time and attention.  

Change is tough.  Counseling can help, but sometimes the office isn’t the right fit.  I get that.  That’s why I’ve created an e-course for people looking for a little extra family support.  It’s packed with tons of direction and support- all that you can do from your home.

I also have a free monthly newsletter (scroll down to sign up) and facebook page with tons of support for strengthening families and navigating tough parenting issues.

There are so many resources today to support your family.  More important than ‘what’ is simply to take action on something.

Above all, remember that the journey is meant to be enjoyed.  So just breathe, smile and let go of perfection (it’s so over-rated).

…and if you can, print a few photos along the way.

Jenna

Jenna Fleming, LPC, NCCJenna Fleming is a licensed professional counselor serving kids, teens, and parents in Georgetown, TX.   She offers counseling services, courses and classes to help families enjoy life more fully and get to a smoother, healthier path.