Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day

By David Joel Miller.

To all the mothers out there who have given their unconditional love regardless of what your children look like or do here is wishing you a happy mother’s day.

If you didn’t have a mother like that, then work on giving yourself that love on this day devoted to the way a caring mother can make us all happy.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Belonging.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Family of teddy bears.

Belonging.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Belonging.

“I didn’t belong as a kid, and that always bothered me. If only I’d known that one day my differentness would be an asset, then my early life would have been much easier.”

― Bette Midler

“When you know and respect your Inner Nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don’t belong.”

― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it, to begin with.”

― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Family.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Family.

Your family

Family.

“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough”

― Walt Whitman

“That’s what people do who love you. They put their arms around you and love you when you’re not so lovable.”
― Deb Caletti

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”
― George Burns

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Should your daughter’s therapist be talking to you?

By David Joel Miller.

When should your child’s therapist include you in the conversation?

Sometimes the therapist should be talking to the parent and sometimes not.  Which is which and what factors are in play?

The child’s age.

Successful children

Children.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

If your child is 4 then yes, most of the time the therapist should actively engage you in the conversation and in participating in the process of therapy. You need to be a part of what is going on. You are with the child 24 /7 and you will need to do things to maintain any progress that is made in therapy. Mostly, if the child is young, the parent needs to be involved. Most of the work will focus on helping the parent to manage this child’s symptoms in the home environment.

When your child is older will the therapist talk to you?

What if your child is 44? Sorry folks, I know that you parents think of this person as your child, you care about them and want to help them. But once they pass 18 they get privacy and confidentiality. Unless they are severely disabled and you are their only caregiver it is unlikely you will be included in the conversation at all. Even then most of the conversation will stay confidential between the client and therapist. Your child will need to tell you what you want to know or you will not get the information.

Between four and 18 years of age the “including parents” part gets iffier. The older the child the less that parent will be included in the therapy.

The more the parent pushes to know every detail of what the child is saying in therapy the more this intrusion can interfere with making progress. As the parent pushes more to control the therapy we therapists also get progressively more suspicious.

I love it when the parent cares about their child and wants them to get well. But the parent who insists on being present at every session and wants to know everything that the child says and the therapist does – what is up with that?

Is the parent the solution to the child’s problem or the cause?

Most therapists have stories of parents who seemed over interested in what their child said in therapy. One reason this happens is that the parent is the cause of the problem.

Parents who are abusing their children are afraid the child might talk about that abuse. Some parents have their own secrets they want to hide, drug use, alcoholism, criminal activity, all manner of things.

Even if the parent is not the proximate cause of the problem, the family’s situation may be what is making this child depressed. Most parents want the conversation focused on the child and they do not want any discussion of the domestic violence or other problem behaviors that take place at home. Some parents do not want the therapist finding out that one parent has been missing for a few years in prison or that there have been a whole string of step parents.

When parents are present, or when the child thinks the parent will hear what they say, they don’t talk about the embarrassing things.

Most kids do not talk about the pressures to have sex or the urges when parents are present. They know what their parents have told them about drugs, alcohol, and sex. They also know what the parents are doing in these areas and that what parents say and do are often at odds. So lots of embarrassing things get left out of conversations when the parent is present in the therapy room.

The fear that the parent will disapprove or the risk of embarrassment should the parent know what is going on might keep the child from talking about things that really need to be discussed.

Even that fear of failing algebra may not get talked about with mom in the room. The kid knows mom will just rag on them to study more rather than hear that this fear of failing algebra is giving them test anxiety and making it harder to finish the test.

Therapists help families through role changes.

During those late teen years, the parent’s role moves from protecting the child to teaching them how to make choices and learn from their mistakes. Parents, if your teen’s problems are severe enough to need the services of a professional then you probably will not be involved in the discussion until the teen has worked the problem out.

One thing a therapist should do is help the teen work up the courage to tell their parents what is wrong. Sometimes we even facilitate the teen telling the parents embarrassing things.

Many a child is surprised to find that when they do work up their courage and tell the parent this secret, the parent is more understanding and supportive than the teen expected.

Lots of problems could be worked out if a family could just talk about the issues in a supportive; “we are all in this together” atmosphere. But for family’s who can’t do this or have lost the ability to talk with each other, there are professionals that can help.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day

By David Joel Miller.

To all the mothers out there who have given their unconditional love regardless of what your children look like or do here is wishing you a happy mother’s day.

If you didn’t have a mother like that, then work on giving yourself that love on this day devoted to the way a caring mother can make us all happy.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Do therapists tell parents what kids say?

Embarrassing parents - swan duckling

By David Joel Miller.

How much confidentiality should children get?

This can be a very touchy issue. Nothing more infuriates a parent than the sense of loss of control over their child’s care. Parents routinely want to know all about what their child is talking about in therapy. Children often ask “Do you have to tell my parents,” before they will disclose something. There are no simple answers.

Two primary questions here.

1. How much should the parents be told?

2. How much are they legally entitled to know?

There are good reasons why parents need to know what is going on with their child. There are also some equally good reasons why they should not be told. Let me try to explain both.

Consider this a general answer and deliberately vague, lots of factors play into this situation and these vary widely from location to location. So the legal practice in one state may not apply in another. From the therapist point of view, there are something’s the parents need to know and other things that will interfere with the process if the therapist tells them.

The exact legal requirements are another issue which varies with the jurisdiction.

Parent, therapist, and the child may also discuss ahead of time just what things will be told to the parent and what should be kept confidential.

Some parents want to know everything the child says. They want the counselor to pry those secrets out of their child. They ask us things like “Is he doing drugs?” “Is she having sex?” The great illusion of some parents is that if they knew all their children’s secrets they could better control the child’s behavior and “Keep them from making mistakes or doing something wrong.”

Let me give you a real-life example of a parent’s effort to control their child’s behavior and how it backfired. This particular example is based on a news story, not my clinical practice so parents, if I have seen your child, relax this is not your kid. I have imagined a few things that were likely to happen after the news account left off.

Dad was worried about his daughter staying out late and was suspicious she was having sex with one of the boys from her school. Dad wants to put a stop to this behavior. He gets an adult this girl trust to talk with her. Have that sex talk. She reveals that yes after going to a local hangout she and this boy did go off and have sex. The girl is 17 the boy is 18. So this sex, in my state, would have been illegal as statutory rape but not reportable by the counselor as child sexual abuse.

Dad is told. He becomes enraged. Dad pressures the police and the local D. A. to arrest this older boyfriend for statutory rape. Dad also files a lawsuit against the hangout where the two of them met for endangering the morals of children. Let’s not worry about the merits of a suit like this just now. The boy is in jail, the hangout is fighting to stay in business and now checks all the kid’s ID’s and no longer allows anyone under 18 to enter. Everyone in this small town knows who had the sex that caused the problems for all of the other teens.

The result?

This Girl, now furious with her father, sneaks out her window, goes to another spot and hooks up with a couple of older guys. She is going to get even with dad. She is now having sex with lots of older guys, not just the one cute potential boyfriend who is away in jail.

A better approach would have been to talk with the girl about love, relationships and the dangers of unprotected sex.

Parents make the mistake of thinking that they need to control children’s behavior to keep them safe. So very often that “protected” child turns 18 and now all bets are off.

Parents, at some point in your child’s life, probably in the teen years, your role should move from protecting your child to teaching them how to make good choices. That learning to make choices part scares most parents. What if they make a mistake?

Parents fear this because frequently those parents have made all those mistakes themselves.

We all need to live our lives, learn to make choices, for better or worse and sometimes in the process we fall down and get hurt.  A good parent can loosen their grip enough to let the child make some decisions and learn from them before they reach the point of having to face those huge, life-altering, decisions all alone.

Lots of teens ask me to not tell their parents things because they know they have messed up. Often the parents are very understanding and can help the teen solve the problem. Embarrassment and the keeping of secrets are not helpful to the teen.

Some reasons parents should not be told what their child says.

If there is a danger the parent will overreact, or harm the child then the counselor may be ethically bound to keep things from the parent.

More than one parent was concerned about what the child was saying because the parent was engaged in illegal activity, used drugs or had some other secret they wanted to hide.

If you are the parent whose child is in therapy, trust the therapist to tell you what needs to be told, to report what legally has to be reported and to try to help your child through the process of learning to make their own decisions.

If you are that teen in therapy, have this conversation with your counselor. Ask them what sorts of things they will be telling to your parents and what is confidential. Unless there is a safety issue involved it is generally best to let your parents know what problems you are dealing with and the counselor can help you with the process of telling them. Don’t let embarrassment keep you from getting help. We all make mistakes in life. The smart people know they need to fix those mistakes and sometimes that means asking for help.

New Book Bumps on the Road of Life is now available in Kindle format for preorder. It will be released on 11/13/17. The paperback version should be ready shortly.

Bumps on the Road of Life.

Your cruising along the road of life and then wham, something knocks you in the ditch. Sometimes you get your life going again quickly. Other times you may stay off track and in the ditch for a considerable time. If you have gone through a divorce, break up or lost a job you may have found your life off track. Professionals call those problems caused by life-altering events “Adjustment Disorders.” Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of Adjustment Disorders, how they get people off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Bumps on the Road of life

Amazon Author Page  – David Joel Miller

More to come as other books are completed.

Thanks to all my readers for all your support.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books