Spend Quality Time With Your Teen

A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

To improve your parent-child relationship, I recommend this 20 minute daily activity. – Sandra

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Set aside 20 minutes a day where there are no interruptions. Turn off cell phones and try to pick a time when you do not have other things that either of you need to be doing.

2. Let your teenager know that this time will be your special time together, and that you have no expectations on how this time will look.

3. Follow your adolescent’s lead. Talk about whatever they want to talk about. Discover what they want from you during this time. Do they want you to admire them? Respond to them but do not take over and direct them.

4. Watch, wait and wonder about what your teen is telling you. Enter their world and reflect on their experience of life.

5. Avoid giving advice or showing displeasure with what they are offering to share with you.

6. Instead, make observations and/or ask questions about what you hear. (”You sound proud of yourself. What are you planning to do next?”)

7. Have fun. Try to give yourself over completely to the enjoyment of a glimpse into your teenager’s life. You will only find it boring if your mind is stuck in the adult world. Try to be entirely present with your teen. Your adolescent will tell you a lot about themselves and their world if you allow yourself to be receptive.

8. Remember this is not a teaching time. Try to avoid praising or criticizing. You want the motivation of making good choices to ultimately come from within the teenager rather than through praise or punishment.

9. Sometimes, these conversations may elicit strong reactions or uncomfortable feelings on the part of the parent. These reactions may be helpful to reflect on in a supportive setting, like with a parent educator, therapist or another parent you feel safe with. It is important to understand what your feelings mean in regards to your relationship with your child.

10. Try to spend quality time every day, particularly during times of stress in the teen or family’s life.

Last, but not least, make sure to also leave 20 minutes a day for yourself to rest, relax, and do something just for you. (Catching up on household tasks does not count) This time allows you to restore yourself.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens At Risk For Drug Addiction

Help

A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Negative feelings aren’t always comfortable. Self-medication is often an attempt to avoid uncomfortable emotional states. – Sandra

Many people strongly dislike feeling sad, anxious, angry or insecure. So much so, that they will do anything to avoid these feelings, such as taking or drinking mood altering chemicals. People who are at high risk of actually becoming addicted to these substances often lack a feeling of deep connections to others. Meaning, they are emotionally cut off from most of the people in their life.

Adolescence, with all the changes that accompany it, can be an intense time where teens are often overwhelmed by new feelings. Substance abuse in teenagers may be used for attention seeking, escaping feelings of social isolation, and/or fitting in.

Reaching out in times of challenge is always a wise decision. If you have noticed changes in a yourself, your child, or a friend’s behavior that leads you to suspect that drugs are involved, I have numerous resources available to help you to help yourself/them.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Is Your Teen Being Bullied?

bullyorbullied

A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist

A solid anti-bullying campaign starts in the home – with loving parents. – Sandra

“As a father, I will serve as the champion defender for my son. I do not want him to be the target of a bully’s reckless comments, but I cannot isolate him in a protective bubble. He will, one day, feel the sting of someone’s deliberate arrows of cruelty. And to prepare him, I will spend plenty of time coaching my son on how to neutralize the comments from an angry peer.” ~ Nick Vujicic

UNDERSTANDING BULLIES:
Many times a bully is seeking power. If they don’t receive a sense of having some legitimate power at home – because they are in an environment where they are constantly being told what to do, as well as how and when to do it – they may seek power outside the home which can present in the form of bullying.

I also think it is important for us to understand that kids who are bullied may be attracting the attention of the other kids in ways that make them feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they are smaller, acting in unusual ways, suffering from mental or emotional challenges, or lacking maturity and/or social skills. The bully then exploits these other kid’s discomfort by leading them to pick on the victim – or simply react out of their own discomfort.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PARENTS:
We live in a world where differences in preference and opinion abound. Teaching your teen self-love and acceptance, and helping them to be comfortable in their own skin will enable them to respond in ways that will prevent the bullies from deriving the satisfaction they are seeking from their bullying behavior.

There are also ways to handle insults from bullies that can remove their sting. For example, if someone makes a mocking comment about one’s clothes, hair, accent or physical features, a simple response could be to say: “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Thank you for sharing yours.” For the bully is seeking a particular response from their victim, and when they fail to get that response, the bullying stops being fun for them. Unless the bully is pathologically disturbed, simple techniques like using humor or walking away can resolve the situation.

Of course, physical violence must be dealt with through adult intervention, with the intention of creating a corrective experience (i.e., anger management classes for the bully and emotional support for the victim). However, I want to caution parents to not get caught up in rejecting attitudes toward bullies as this can create humiliation and shame, a contributing factor behind bullying behavior.

It is up to parents and teachers to truly listen, as well as keep the lines of communication open with the children in their care. It is essential that kids to realize that they do not have to handle being bullied – alone. Working together, we can find a way for victims and bullies alike, to safely get assistance.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Inspire Your Teen To Cooperate

A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Have you noticed how the parent-child connection is often at the heart of your teen’s willingness to cooperate with you? – Sandra

Too frequently, I see parents using rewards and punishment to influence their teen’s behavior, often resulting in power struggles and resentment – on both parts. It is also not uncommon for parents to repeat the parenting responses they saw modeled by their own parents.

In my Effective Parenting of Teens Class, I teach parents about secure and insecure attachment styles, and how to apply this knowledge in their relationship with their teen. Each week, we work on very practical applications of this knowledge with examples from their day-to-day life.

I help parents slow down, and become curious about what their teen’s behavior may say about what they are needing in that moment. Although is is appropriate to set boundaries and have expectations for a teen’s behavior, it is also important to utilize your relationship with them to teach alternative ways of responding to their challenges.

Parents need an environment where they feel understood and not judged. In discussing sensitive family topics, I demonstrate to parents what responsiveness and sensitivity to their teen looks like through kind and respectful interactions with them.

 

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Initial Consultation.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Tips On Parenting Teenagers

A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist and Life Coach

Parenting teens is an entirely different job than parenting small children. – Sandra

Parents must make the transition from being a parent who provides for all their child’s needs to one who coaches their teen to handle their frustrations and needs for themselves. The challenge is how to deal with the willfulness, clinging, or the demands typical of this period.

Parents need to be able to respond to their teen in ways that affirm the dignity and power of both parent and child. The parent who cannot tolerate their teen choosing to defy them, by wanting to do things independently of their parents, will make that child feel as though the price of their autonomy is the loss of love.

Successful navigation of this phase of life involves setting boundaries and enforcing consequences without becoming punitive, angry, or judgmental. Respectful parenting involves seeing the frustrations teens encounter when pushing against imposed boundaries as opportunities for them to exercise the muscles of self-control, self-respect, and respect for others.

The parenting role must shift during the teen years to supporting their growing independence and preparing them to meet the challenges & frustrations of daily life. Your responsibility as a parent is to teach your child the skills they will need to succeed in the world prior to leaving your home. Respectful, conscious and positive parenting is fair, flexible, and has learning, rather than submission as its goal. Every word, facial expression, gesture, or action on the part of a parent gives the child some message about self-worth.

Hearing and respecting feelings, allowing choice, yet setting fair and clear limits on unacceptable behavior is the healthy balance that we should all strive for. Some parents use authoritarian parenting strategies that do not allow the child an independent voice or sense of efficacy. Other parents overcompensate with overly permissive parenting that doesn’t teach kids about limits and self-control. Research shows both extremes can interfere with kids’ ability to regulate their emotions and form healthy relationships as adults. Learning to cope with uncomfortable feelings is a crucial part of developing into a mature adult. 

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Parenting Emotionally Explosive Teens

A Note From the LA Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Does your teen tend to come unglued when things don’t go their way? – Sandra

According to Dr. Ross Greene, a pioneer in the treatment of kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, highly reactive teens have not yet made the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and conflict resolution their own.

Explosive behavior occurs in teens when the demands of the environment exceed their capacity to respond adaptively. Many popular explanations for explosive behavior place blame on the kid– or his parents. In Collaborative Problem Solving it is believed that if a teen had the skills to exhibit adaptive behavior, he wouldn’t be exhibiting explosive behavior.

VIDEO TUTORIALS FOR WORKING WITH EXPLOSIVE TEENS:

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1. Kids Do Well if They Can — The most important premise of Collaborative Problem Solving is the belief that if kids could behave better they would.

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2. What’s Your Explanation? — Your explanation for your teen’s explosive behavior has major implications for how you respond and whether you’ll try to help.

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3. Three Options for Solving Problems — There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with reactive kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B.

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4. Collaborative Conflict Resolution a.k.a. Plan B — Tips on identifying the unresolved problems that are precipitating challenging episodes, and how to implement Plan B.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Maximizing Your Teen’s Cooperation

family problems

A Note From the L.A. Teen Therapist & Life Coach

Your teen is in the process of learning how to tolerate and digest their uncomfortable feelings, so be sure to give them the space to do this. – Sandra

Sometimes parents need to act as their teen’s surrogate frontal lobe by helping them name their feelings, explore options, and figure out if solutions agreed upon take both party’s needs into consideration. For a teen to be able to participate successfully in conflict-resolution discussions with you, they must first:

  • Be able to identify and articulate their concerns.
  • Be able to consider a range of possible solutions.
  • Be able to reflect on the likely outcome of those solutions, as well as the degree to which they are mutually satisfactory.

How can you help your teen gain the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance and conflict resolution? By involving them in the decision-making process in a collaborative way. Explosive behavior occurs in teens when the demands of the environment exceed their capacity to respond adaptively.

Here is a list of video tutorials explaining Collaborative Problem Solving, a new approach to working with challenging behavior in teens.

1. Kids Do Well if They Can — The most important premise of Collaborative Problem Solving is the belief that if kids could behave better they would.

2. What’s Your Explanation? — Your explanation for your teen’s explosive behavior has major implications for how you respond and whether you’ll try to help.

3. Three Options for Solving Problems — There are three ways in which adults try to solve problems with reactive kids: Plan A (which is unilateral problem solving), Plan C (dropping the problem completely), and Plan B.

4. Collaborative Problem solving aka Plan B — Tips on identifying the unresolved problems that are precipitating challenging episodes, and how to implement Plan B.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Hiring a Teen Mentor

headphonesaroundneck2

 A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist

It is rare today when you do not see a teen with their phone in their hand. – Sandra

Immersion in texting and social media seems to be contributing to a major loss of solid communication skills amongst teens; the ability to read body language and hold eye contact, focused listening and the knowledge of how to keep a conversation going.

I often hear teens expressing that texting is much easier for them than speaking in person. Ultimately, your teen’s social skills, and ability to carry on a conversation, have a major impact on the impression your teen makes on their teacher, potential employer and adults in positions of authority.

The teen most likely to stand out from the crowd is the one who can communicate effectively, manage their feelings, and behave in a respectful and mannerly fashion. These are the ones who will make the team, ace the interview, and be invited back as an honored guest by their friend’s parents. This is where I can help.

Although younger aged counselors may have their own Instagram accounts, and only be only a handful of years away from the teen experience themselves, they may also be overly immersed in popular culture. The value of working with an experienced therapist is that I have honed my social skills, developed tried and true emotional coping skills, and have a solid understanding of the character traits necessary to overcome life’s obstacles.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Initial Consultation.

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teens: On How To Deal With Bullies



A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist and Life Coach

Click on the arrow above to watch the video. Read on to learn about dealing with bullies. – Sandra

“I’m being bullied at my school but am too afraid to tell a teacher or friend for fear it might make it worse. What can I do to make them stop?”

There is a very old saying that goes “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Of course words can hurt your feelings! But what this means is you have a choice over how you think about the words said about you.

The purpose of someone saying mean things to you is to upset you. My question to you is do you think what they are saying about you is true? If not, then make believe you don’t hear them and just walk away.

If the insult is about something true, try finding humor in it. Nobody is perfect, and we all have our little imperfections and faults. One way to get around the challenge of mean words is to turn them into a joke. “Hah, hah, very funny.”

Unfortunately, name calling is a very normal experience in childhood, which can continue into adulthood. Therefore, it is extremely helpful to develop a good sense of humor and be able to laugh about yourself.

The best way to make a bully stop teasing you is to not give the name-caller the satisfaction of seeing you upset. By taking away their sense of power over you, the game stops being fun for them.

Just know that the teasing may not go away immediately, as the bullies will continue test you to see if they can still make you react. The key to your success is to be totally consistent in how you respond.

*Note: If your teen is being bullied, I can help to empower them and turn the situation around. I invite you take that critical next step, and allow me to demonstrate the support I can offer to you and your family.

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.

Teaching Teens Life Skills

A Note From The L.A. Teen Therapist and Life Coach

The following are some teen skills that teens will need to know to succeed in the world. – Sandra

CAN YOUR TEEN DEMONSTRATE THE FOLLOWING LIFE SKILLS?

  • Expressing feelings appropriately
  • Making a sincere apology
  • Resisting peer-pressure while maintaining dignity with peers
  • Maintaining proper and appropriate hygiene
  • Using proper table manners
  • Planning and preparing a meal
  • Managing time effectively
  • Being a smart consumer
  • Using conflict resolution techniques to avoid arguments
  • Maintaining proper boundaries with others
  • Minimizing the chances of becoming a victim of crime
  • Handling emergency situations
  • Knowing how to act and what to say during a job interview
  • Earning, saving and spending money responsibly
  • Being able to recognize a person of poor character

If not, you may want to consider setting aside a portion of time each week to discuss and teach these skills to your teen. The best way to approach the subject is by creating a heartfelt discussion. You want to make this a positive experience for your teen.

Implementing these concepts can take some time, and will vary substantially depending on the emotional maturity of your child. Please don’t feel like you have to tackle them all at once. Try setting aside 20 minutes at a time each week where there are no interruptions, and have fun with the process.

… EMPOWERING TEENS TO BE THEIR BEST SELVES.

“The best example of Sandra’s work is in my daughter’s renewed enthusiasm and attitude towards life. My daughter now sees every problem as one that can be solved, every uncomfortable experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sandra’s work with my daughter has helped her become a more secure, confident and happy individual.”

Worried About Your Teen? FREE Parent Consultation

For more information, please visit my website:

SandraDupont.com

verified by Psychology Today

Adolescent Therapist|Parent Coach|Teen Mentor

Providing service for: Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Beverly Glen, Culver City, Brentwood, Westwood, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Topanga Beach and Topanga Canyon, Ocean Park, Hancock Park, West Hollywood.