Category Archives: Children Counseling

Barbie: An Unexpected Spokesperson for Children’s Mental Health


Barbie once represented the “perfect” female figure, with unrealistic body proportions that made young girls hate what they saw in the mirror. Over the last decade though, Mattel has completely transformed Barbie’s image to showcase beauty in all shapes and sizes. They came out with a line of curvy Barbie dolls, and they have striven to make Barbie an all-inclusive brand.

Now Barbie has taken on a new role as a spokesperson for children’s mental health. The Barbie YouTube channel, which has nearly 5 million subscribers, includes an array of videos that discuss depression, anger, low self-esteem, and more. Children and parents alike are starting to take notice of the subtle words of wisdom embedded into Barbie’s videos, and the mental healthcare community is fully here to support it.

Life Lessons from Barbie’s Vlog Channel

Barbie’s vlogs are designed to look like an actual person talking to a camera. It’s a format that children expect from their favorite YouTubers, like they’re having a conversation with a friend. While many of these videos are lighthearted, some talk about important mental health issues that people face at every age. Some examples include:

  • Sorry Reflex: Barbie talks about how people, particularly girls, often apologize for matters that aren’t their fault. She explains how to reframe “sorry” as “thank you,” helping empower young women in their daily lives.
  • Feeling Blue? You’re not alone: Barbie discusses how she feels sad at times for no apparent reason, and that everyone experiences that in some way. She then goes on to describe some ways she relieves sadness, such as journaling, meditation, and talking to other people – tasks we often discuss in depression counseling. She also explains that it is okay to feel sad, and that it’s nothing to feel guilty about.
  • Power and Empowerment: This vlog is all about “going high when they go low.” Barbie tells a story about her sister getting picked on in class. When she ignored the bully, the bullying stopped. But when the bully gets cast aside by her peers, the sister decides to befriend her, rather than joining the crowd. She encourages viewers to spread positivity and empowerment, even when it does not seem like the easy thing to do.
  • I’m So Cranky: Barbie explains that she’s having a “cranky day” because she didn’t get much sleep last night. Then she talks about ways to get through this type of day, including breathing exercises, listening to music, and some self-reassurance.
  • The Empathy Challenge: This video is mainly a baby food taste test, but at the end, Barbie challenges her viewers to think before they get angry. “Think about how they’re feeling…Put yourself in their shoes.”

Even in a vlog that’s silly in nature, Barbie incorporates small mental health tips for her viewers. Mattel is using their platform to help people of all ages feel better about themselves and their circumstances.

It’s Not Just for Young Girls – It’s for Everyone

Perhaps the best part of Barbie’s vlog channel is that the lessons within apply to everyone. We all have days where we feel sad, cranky, guilty, etc., and we all have our own coping mechanisms for those experiences. Barbie helps young girls feel like they aren’t alone, and adults resonate with the positive encouragement within the videos. There is something in the videos for everybody.

Other Ways to Help a Child’s Mental Health

If your child is struggling in school, being bullied, feeling down about their body, or simply unhappy with life at the moment, there are solutions available. Child counseling is a personalized experience where a professional child works with your child one-on-one. In this process, your child can overcome challenges and learn how to cope with different emotions he or she may be facing. You can also learn how to communicate effectively with your child and resolve conflicts within the family.

If you are interested in child counseling in Michigan, contact Perspectives Counseling Centers. We have several locations to assist you, and we will match you with the best therapist for your needs.

How to Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity (Part 2)


Continued from Part 1

Watch Your Child’s Social Media Activity

This is a topic that receives some controversy. Some parents believe it is important for children to have their privacy. This allows them to form independent opinions and feel a sense of responsibility. However, that privilege should only be available when a child is truly ready. It may take years of monitored social media activity for a child to understand the responsibility that comes with using the internet.

If your child has a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, know the login information. Have the accounts linked to your email address so you can get into them no matter what. Check your child’s messages and talk to them about any suspicious activity you notice. If your child has a phone, you may also need to do this with SnapChat and other communication apps.

Limit Your Child’s Time Online

It’s much easier to monitor your child’s online activity when it only occurs during a certain frame of time. You may let your child online for a short period of time after school or before bed, depending on how old he or she is. If your child as a cell phone, you may have him or her leave the phone with you overnight. You can also turn off the internet after a certain time period so you know your child is not online. Set guidelines that suit your family.

Lead by Example – Show Your Child What You Do Online (and When)

Show your child the right way to use the internet. Avoid being on your phone or tablet during family time. If you are online, let your child see what you are doing when possible. Children mimic what they see – the good and the bad. If you maintain a healthy relationship with the internet, your child is more likely to do the same.

Communicate as a Family

If you saw something funny online that’s kid-friendly, share it with your kids. Show them that you have nothing to hide about your time online. If they want to show you a video that they found entertaining, pay attention. This encourages your children to remain open about their online activity. If someone they do not know contacts them, they are more likely to tell you about it.

We encourage open communication for all family matters. If you need help building communication skills in your household, consider family counseling. Perspectives Counseling Centers offers family counseling in Michigan, with specialized counseling for teens, kids and adults. No matter what your family dynamic is, you can have a strong relationship with every family member. Call (248) 244-8644 to schedule an appointment with a family counselor near you.


How to Monitor Your Child’s Online Activity


Children are born with technology at their fingertips. They learn how to use computers, smartphones and tablets at a very early age, preparing them for life in the modern world. This constant access to the internet comes with consequences though. Children may be exposed to inappropriate content or improper influences just by browsing online.

In this guide from Perspectives Counseling Centers, we’ll help you monitor your child’s online activity so you can ensure his or her safety.

Why It’s Important to Be Informed

The internet seems harmless at first glance, but even seemingly innocent platforms have dangerous information on them. For instance, there are many inappropriate YouTube videos that target children, even though they contain sexual and violent graphics. The titles and thumbnails look like kid-friendly content, but a closer look at the videos shows images you may not want your children to see.

Child predators often use social media platforms to talk to children. Websites that start out as innocent may have ads that lead children down a dangerous rabbit hole. Simply put, the internet gives your child access to a world of information he or she may not be old enough for. Parents have to take action to limit and control that access.

Use Parental Controls Where Applicable

One of the easiest ways to block children from inappropriate content is to use parental controls. You can use parental control apps and web browser extensions, or you could set parental controls within a website. For instance, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube have kids accounts that only feature child-friendly content. If your child is allowed to visit these websites, you can make sure he or she only navigates that section of the site. The types of parental controls you use will depend on the device your child uses and how he or she accesses the web.

Talk to Your Child about the Internet

Children must be taught to use the internet properly, just like they must be taught to read or put on clothes. If your child needs help researching for school or using the computer in some manner, do what you can to assist him or her. It is better for you to teach your child than for him or her to start looking around alone.

When you feel that your child is old enough, talk to him or her about predators and other dangers on the internet. This is just like preparing your child for peer pressure or bullying at school. You hope your child never faces those issues, but if so, it’s best to be informed.

Continue to Part 2

Pros And Cons Of Online Schooling For Anxious Children (Part 2): Anxiety Therapy MI

child anxiety

Continued from Part 1

PRO: Personalized Education

Children with anxiety may have different learning requirements than other students. The same can be said for children with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, and more. Online schooling allows each student to get a personalized curriculum that is tailored to his or her needs. If a certain subject sparks anxiety from stress, the student can take a longer time on that work to reduce the anxiety symptoms. The class schedule is adjusted to fit the child, which may help a child with anxiety get better grades and feel more confident in school.

CON: A Lack Of Independence

Sometimes the lack of social interaction from online learning will cause a child to get extremely attached to the stay-at-home parent. Children who go to a traditional school learn independence from their time with other students. They may take on leadership roles in the classroom or find a club they excel in. This is hard to do at home. A boost of confidence may help a child with anxiety learn to overcome some of their fears and phobias.

If your child is enrolled in an anxiety counseling program like the ones we offer at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan, you can learn how to encourage independence within the family. Find hobbies that your child likes to do on his own so you can establish healthy boundaries and relationship dynamics. The anxiety counselor will be there to help every step of the way.

PRO: Creative Learning Opportunities

Because of the personalization that comes with online learning, parents have a chance to find creative ways to educate their kids. They are not limited to the rigid structure of a classroom, so they can find what works best for their child’s learning abilities. With that said, it is important for children to learn in a traditional way so they can adapt to teaching methods as adults.

CON: Difficulty Finding Personal Interests

One of the great benefits to traditional schooling is that children have a chance to experiment with interests and activities. They can attend music class, art class, computer class, physical education and more. They also have access to clubs within the school which may tap into an interest they haven’t discovered. That is difficult to replicate in a house. Working with a homeschool group like we mentioned in Part 1 of this guide will give your child more opportunities to find his or her true passions in life.

PRO: Reduced Performance Pressure

Online schooling still has the same general requirements as traditional schooling, but the pressure feels less intense. A child doesn’t have to constantly worry about getting better grades than his classmates or finishing a test on time. The process is much more carefree. There are still strict testing schedules that children must follow, but as a whole, most homeschooled children feel at ease with their curriculum.

CON: Self-Motivation

Self-motivation is a great trait to have. However, when it comes to online learning, a child is forced to constantly push himself or herself to do school work. At school, there is a thin veil of pressure over all the students to compete with their classmates to succeed. At home, the situation is much more relaxed. Older children in particular may become complacent with their “easy” schedule in an online school, which may hurt their productivity levels in the future. You, the parent, must strive to keep your child motivated in school so his or her academic performance does not suffer.

For more help with childhood anxiety, contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers today.

Pros And Cons Of Online Schooling For Anxious Children: Anxiety Therapy MI

online schooling

Online schooling was once reserved for college-level students, but it is becoming increasingly common for school-aged children as well. Children with anxiety may thrive in online schooling because they can complete their education at home without the pressure of a classroom. With that in mind, web-based instruction isn’t ideal for everyone. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of online schooling for anxious children.

PRO: Learning In A Controlled Environment

Schools try to be as structured as possible, but it’s hard for a teacher to control 20 kids at once. A child with anxiety may be overwhelmed by the constant hustle and bustle of traditional classes. With online schooling, education happens at home. The student is in a highly controlled environment that is tailored to his or her needs. This is a form of personalized training that cannot be replicated in an actual classroom.

CON: Limited Social Interaction

A child who learns online will not have the same amount of exposure to social settings as a child in school. This may hurt the child later on when he or she has to get a job, form personal relationships, and live in the “real world.” Children learn social ques from their peers. They learn the difference between mean and nice, how to read body language, how to avoid confrontations, and what to do around different personality types. Online learning does not provide a place to do that.

A good way to get around this is to sign up with a homeschool group. The group does extracurricular activities much like a school would, but it consists of people who homeschool their children. Parents can support one another and talk about their online schooling experiences, and children get a chance to make friends with other people their age. Most cities have homeschooling groups, and you can find them on social media or through local schools.

PRO: Minimal Anxiety Triggers

Since the house is a controlled environment, your child will have a limited number of anxiety triggers to deal with. This reduces the frequency and severity of anxiety attacks and keeps the child calm as a whole. If you work with an anxiety therapist like one of the ones at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan, you can learn exactly how to set up your child’s environment to keep it anxiety-friendly.

CON: Minimal Anxiety Triggers (Again)

While it is nice to know that your child is not constantly feeling anxious, a lack of anxiety triggers isn’t always a good thing. The best way to learn how to deal with anxiety, depression and other emotions is to face them in small doses. Your child’s anxiety counselor can help your child identify and overcome triggers as they arise. Without any exposure to those triggers though, that knowledge may never be put to the test.

Whether your child goes to school online or in a traditional classroom setting, he or she needs to have a definitive way to conquer feelings of anxiety. This is where anxiety counseling comes in. Your child will learn the exact tools and techniques necessary to handle various scenarios as they arise. We have several child anxiety specialists in our Michigan counseling centers who would be happy to work with your family.

Continue to Part 2

First Day Of School Prep For Anxious Children: Child Anxiety Counseling MI

school prep

The first day of school is scary for everyone, especially children with anxiety. Anxious children often need to be familiar with their surroundings in order to feel safe and calm. Getting thrown into the first day of school is the opposite of “familiar,” but there are some things you can do to make the process easier. Here are some school prep tips for children with anxiety, courtesy of our child anxiety counseling center in Michigan.

Tour The School Ahead Of Time

Most schools will have multiple opportunities for parents and students to tour the facility before the first day. Open houses, “meet the teacher” days, enrollment, orientation, and other events provide you with a chance to take your child to school to get familiar with the rooms. Walk with your child to each of his or her classes. Find a path from each of those classes to the child’s locker, and go over that path several times. Ideally, you should make a couple visits to the school to ensure that your child remembers where the classes are, where his or her locker is, what the locker combination is, and where important parts of the school are (gym, cafeteria, etc.). You may get a few eye rolls from your child, but this prep work will make a big difference when school starts.

Get Into A School-Like Routine A Couple Weeks Before

Create a school-like schedule for your child before school actually starts. This will include a set bed time, wake up time, get ready time, etc. You should plan out meals as close to their school times as possible. If your child normally gets play time after school, you could set that up before school starts. The goal here is to get your child into a routine so the first day of school feels natural. Routines are very important for children with anxiety.

Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute To Buy School Supplies

If you wait until the last minute to buy school supplies, you may not be able to find everything you need before the first day. This means that your child will either show up to school empty-handed, or he or she will have to tell the teacher about the missing supplies. This is a lot of pressure for a child with anxiety.

Of course, some instances like this are unavoidable. If you cannot get all of your child’s school supplies in advance, contact the teacher(s) about the issue. See if there are any alternative supplies you can buy or if there will be ones available at the school. Taking this pressure off your child will once again allow him to focus on school itself.

Ask Your Child What He’s Most Nervous About – And Reassure Him Along The Way

Talk to your child before the first day of school to find out what he is most anxious about. Once you know his fears, you can work on conquering them before school starts. For instance, if your child is worried about not having any friends at school, you could try to meet some other parents during the open house or parent teacher night. You could also encourage your child to play with other kids in the neighborhood around his age so he sees familiar faces in the halls.

There is always a way to combat a child’s anxiety. You just have to find it. By working with one of our child anxiety counselors in Michigan, you can learn unique techniques to reduce your child’s anxiety symptoms. Contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers to learn more.

Using Summer Reading For ADHD Treatment: MI ADHD Counseling

reading adhd treatment

School’s out, but that doesn’t mean your child’s learning has to stop. The summer is a great time to work on subjects your child may have struggled with. For children with ADHD, one of the biggest challenges is reading. Their short attention spans and inability to focus make it difficult to read more than a few sentences on a page.

In this guide, we will help you set up a summer reading program for ADHD treatment so your child is ready for the upcoming school year.

Make Books A Prominent Part Of Your Home

There are plenty of ways to get books for your child. You could buy them from a used book store or check them out for free at the library. You could also talk to other parents about sharing books over the summer, which you could exchange during play dates. The goal here is to make books seem like a normal part of the day – they’re always around and they’re always accessible. This plants the seed that reading is a “normal” activity and may encourage your child to start reading on his or her own.

Create A Family Reading Schedule

Reading should be part of family time. Instead of watching three shows at the end of the night, watch two and spend the remaining time reading a book together. If your child is nervous about reading in front of you, alternate who reads what. For instance, you may read a page and have your child read the next page. If your child is reading chapter books, you may read a chapter and have him read a chapter. You could also plan for 1-2 chapters a night and alternate who reads each night.

The possibilities are endless. By staying involved with your child’s reading, you make the process seem less like learning and more like fun. If you can maintain a positive attitude toward reading during the school year, your child will be set for success.

Set A Good Example – Read In Front Of Your Kids

Children want to follow in their parents’ footsteps. If they see you reading, they will naturally want to read more. Look over the morning newspaper or read a book at night before bed. You may be surprised by how much you enjoy it!

Avoid Electronic Reading Devices

You can read books on tablets, e-readers and smartphones, but that is not ideal for ADHD treatment. The screens on electronic devices reduce a child’s ability to focus, even if they are reading an e-book. Encourage your child to read physical books as much as possible. You could make a weekly trip to the library to pick out a new set of books. It’s a fun activity for the whole family.

Talk To Your ADHD Counselor

Your child’s ADHD counselor may have even more tips and tricks for you. Your counselor understands your child’s unique symptoms and personality. He or she can help you make a plan for your child’s summer reading program. Relax and have fun over the next few months, but don’t forget to add a little education into the mix. It will do wonders for your child when the fall comes.


Do Fidget Spinners Help ADHD? ADHD Treatment In Michigan

fidget spinner adhd

Fidget spinners are the hottest new toy to hit the market. Stores and manufacturers alike are promoting these devices as tools for ADHD treatment, autism treatment, anxiety treatment, and much more. The question is: do they actually work? Will fidget spinners reduce ADHD symptoms and improve your ability to focus?

There Is NO Scientific Evidence To Support These Claims

At this time, there is no scientific research to suggest that fidget spinners help ADHD, autism or anxiety. This is not to say that there are no benefits. There just isn’t evidence at this time to support that claim. The companies marketing fidget spinners as ADHD treatment devices are not accurately representing their product based on the research available today.

Fidget Spinners May Make ADHD Symptoms Worse

Some patients say they feel calm with fidget spinners in their hand. This is similar to a person using a stress ball to take their mind off a situation. However, most fidget spinners are noisy. They create a whirring sound that can be highly distracting, either for the person using the spinner or someone else in the room. If a spinner is moving around someone who has ADHD, that person may lose focus on their current tasks or conversations. In other words, someone else’s fidget spinner could be a big distraction for an ADHD sufferer.

No One Knows The Long-Term Effects Of Fidget Spinners

Because there are no scientific studies on fidget spinners, there is no way to tell how effective or harmful they are in the long term. Someone who uses their spinner multiple times a day could turn this into a habit: a potentially unproductive one. Nail biting, chewing on pencils, clicking pens – these are all bad habits that people use to calm their nerves. Fidget spinners may fall into this same category over time.

Get Tested And Proven ADHD Treatment

You don’t have to fall for the latest fad. There are plenty of effective ADHD treatments that have been clinically tested over time. Our ADHD treatment center in Michigan has helped hundreds of people overcome their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Each person has a unique set of circumstances, which means that your treatment program may be different than someone else’s. We will create a custom ADHD therapy program specifically for your symptoms and lifestyle.

Contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan to learn more.

5 Summertime Tips for Positive Mental Health

Between school, sports and other activities, the time between September and June can be overwhelming.   Summer is almost here!!! Now is the time to slow down a bit, enjoy the weather and take some time off.

Summer is also a good time to keep in mind some simple skills to improve mental health and resiliency before the busyness of September arrives again. Here are 5 tips to maintain positive mental health in kids this summer:

  1. Engage in a variety of activities. Variety is the spice of life. Variety stimulates brain activity, creates a well-rounded individual, and encourages social and emotional development. If a child engages in a variety of activities on a regular basis, they have more of an opportunity to develop a wider range of interests. Having a wide range of interests is something that can make finding and keeping friends easier. It also is a great way to cure boredom. Choose an activity from each of the following categories:

    Cognitive: reading, math, mind exercises, trivia games, crossword puzzles, geography games, science experiments)

    Physical: exercise, sports, bike riding, skateboarding, walking, hiking, swimming

    Creative: arts and crafts, imaginative play, dancing, acting, music, singing

    Reflective: time spent in nature, spiritual, talking with others, goal setting and planning, visiting a museum

  1. Promote balance. Creating a balance between school, leisure activities, sports, family, friends, chores and all the other areas of life can be challenging for a child and their parents. One of the biggest challenges parents have is helping their child engage in other activities besides their preferred activity. Video games and social media seem to be the most common preferred activities and the biggest source of conflict and disagreement. Balance helps us maintain good mental health as well as physical health. Teaching this skill early and modeling it consistently are two important ways to get kids to make it a part of their routine. Have children change activities at least every 2-3 hours; alternate between sedentary activity and movement activities. Also, alternate between solitary activities and those that involve engagement with other people.
  1. Maintain a healthy sleep schedule. Just because kids and teens CAN sleep in and stay up late because they don’t have to get up early for school doesn’t mean they SHOULD. Keeping a regular sleep schedule and maintaining good sleep hygiene will contribute to a more even mood pattern and lower the likelihood of tantrums/outbursts/meltdowns, as well as make the transition to a new school year easier.
  1. Learn a relaxation strategy. Learning to relax is a skill that benefits children, teenagers and adults. Deep breathing is a healthy way to reduce stress and anxiety.   Begin by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe from your diaphragm. Count to 3 slowly as you breathe in. Count to 5 as you breathe out. Do at least 10 breaths each time you practice.
  1. Join a group or camp. Summer is a great time to practice social skills like taking turns in conversations, recognizing social cues, conflict resolution and working with others. Summer is packed with opportunities to attend a camp or sign up for a group. Also, get a head start by joining a summer therapy group to gain skills and be ready for the new school year!

If you or someone you know could benefit from one of the many services offered by Perspectives, call 248-244-8644.

Channeling Your Child’s ADHD Energy: Michigan ADHD Treatment

adhd energy

Children are naturally hyperactive. A child with ADHD has even more energy than a child without ADHD. As a parent, you may struggle to control your child’s symptoms in a healthy, effective manner. In the suggestions below, we will review some great ways to channel your child’s energy and reduce ADHD symptoms.

Limit Time With Electronics

Electronics are mentally stimulating, but not necessarily in a good way. The rapid motions on a TV screen or video game can hinder a child’s ability to focus and learn. If your child spends a great deal of time on a playing video games, watching TV shows, or using apps, you may want to scale that back. Encourage outdoor activity as much as possible, and set structured timeframes for the TV, computer, gaming console, etc. You may deal with some rebuttal at first, but ultimately this is what’s best for your child.

Find Physical Activities Your Child Enjoys

Playing sports, dancing, cheerleading, swimming – these are all positive ways to channel ADHD energy. Every child is different, so it may take some time to find a physical activity your child enjoys. Talk to your child about sports he or she is interested in, or get a trampoline to put in the backyard. Something as simple as bouncing around for an hour can quickly wear off excessive energy.

Have Conversations With Your Child

After a long day at work, the last thing you probably want to do is talk to an 8 year old about his day. However, those little conversations will do wonders for your child’s ADHD symptoms. Ask your child what he or she did throughout the day, and react positively when a physical activity is mentioned. That sends a positive message that will encourage your child to move around more in the future.

You may not think talking is channeling energy, but for kids with ADHD, it is highly effective. These children often feel neglected during the day because they have so much going on in their minds. As you talk to each other, your child will learn how to focus and how to recall past memories. He will be working on his ADHD symptoms without even realizing it! And you will create a lasting bond that improves your relationship as a whole. Everybody wins.

Work With An ADHD Counselor

A professional ADHD counselor can help you gain a better understanding of how your child’s mind works and how you can adjust to that. Small differences in your schedule, your conversations, and your lifestyle will help your child in all areas of life. Your therapist will also help you, the parent, deal with the stress and frustration that often comes with ADHD. Contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers to schedule an appointment with an ADHD therapist in Michigan, and we will gladly help your family through this energy-filled development period.