Category Archives: Family Counseling

Choosing The Right Michigan Counselor For Your Needs

michigan counselor

The success of a counseling program relies heavily on the relationship between a therapist and his or her patient. Here at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan, we have specialists in nearly every area of mental health and behavioral development. We carefully match each patient with the counselor best suited for his or her needs to ensure a high success rate from the start. In this guide, we will go over how to choose the right Michigan counselor for your needs so you can overcome difficult obstacles in your life.

Figure Out What Issues You Are Dealing With

In order to get the right care for your needs, you must understand what those needs actually are. This may not be something you can assess on your own. It may take some psychological evaluation from one of the professionals at our Michigan counseling centers to determine what conditions you are dealing with at this time. For instance, you may feel like you have anxiety or unexplained depression, when in reality you suffer from bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. Our professionals can help you answer these questions and more so you can get the specialized care you deserve.

Work With Someone You Feel Comfortable Talking To

Your counselor or therapist should be someone you feel comfortable sharing your life story with. This is one of the keys to having a positive experience in therapy – being able to speak openly in a confidential, judgment-free environment. All of the counselors and therapists at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers care about their patients deeply. Our safe and secure offices in Metro Detroit provide a calm, soothing place where you can talk openly about your feelings and experiences. Together, you and your counselor will figure out what the root cause of your struggles are and what you can do to make your life better moving forward.

Be Honest About Your Feelings

If you do not feel that you are getting the help you need from your current counselor or therapist, be honest with yourself about that. Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers has more than 30 specialists working at multiple locations. If you would like to try working with someone else, we will listen to your concerns and match you with another person who will be able to help you. Your success is our top priority, and we will do whatever it takes to help you achieve your goals.

Consider Faith-Based Counseling

If you are a Christian, you may consider working with a Christian counselor to overcome your struggles. We offer Christian counseling programs that use the Holy Bible as a guideline for how to live a happy and productive life. You will still get the benefits of traditional counseling with the added bonus of building your faith in God. This service is completely optional, but it could provide the extra help you need to fight addiction, overcome anxiety, boost your self-esteem, and more.

At-Home ADHD Treatments For Children In Michigan

at home adhd treatments

ADHD treatment starts at home. Even if your child is prescribed medication for his or her ADHD, the environment you create at home will make a big difference in his or her progress and success. As part of our ADHD therapy programs in Michigan, we recommend lifestyle adjustments parents can make to improve their child’s symptoms and experiences. Listed below are some at-home ADHD treatments you can use for your child.

Encourage Physical Activities And Exercise

Exercise is a natural treatment for ADHD. The dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin that the brain produce during physical activity are similar to what a child may get from ADHD medication. Of course, you don’t need a prescription to keep your kid active. All you need is a ball and a yard to play in. Find physical activities that your child is excited about – riding bikes, hiking, playing a sport, dance, martial arts, etc. There are many options out there, and all of them will help reduce your child’s ADHD symptoms.

Create A Consistent Meal And Snack Schedule

Creating a schedule for your child’s meals and snacks will help maintain his or her blood sugar levels, which play a role in your child’s ability to concentrate throughout the day. Try to plan meals and snacks no more than three hours apart from one another. For instance, you may have breakfast at 8 AM, lunch at 11 AM, a snack at 2 PM and dinner at 5 PM. If your child is hungry after dinner, you could plan another snack time before bed. The more consistent you are with this routine, the less irritable your child will be throughout the day.

Note that foods with protein and complex carbohydrates help to reduce hyperactivity in children. Try to plan a healthy, well-balanced diet for your child that is rich in iron, zinc, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these will do wonders for your child’s symptoms, and they will help control his or her weight at the same time.

Set A Strict Sleeping Schedule

Sleep plays a vital role in the brain’s ability to process thoughts and emotions. Even as an adult, you may notice that you feel tired and less alert when you have an irregular or insufficient sleeping schedule. These side effects are worse in children, especially those who suffer from ADHD. As part of your at-home ADHD treatment, set a strict sleeping schedule that allows your child to get plenty of rest for the following day.

Establish a regular bed time, and turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed (televisions, phones, tablets, etc.). Create a wind-down period that gets your child calm before bed, such as reading a book quietly or taking a bath. Limit physical activity in these late hours, and you should see great success with your sleeping arrangement.

Troy Family Counseling: Reconnecting With Your Child After A Fight

family counseling

Parenting is tough. That’s not a secret. Children and parents do not always see eye-to-eye, regardless of how old they are. Having a fight with your child is natural, but it is important to reconnect with him or her once the argument is over. This helps strengthen your family bond, and it emphasizes how important your child is in your life. Whether you’ve had a bad day or your child has been particularly defiant, you can use these tips from our Detroit family counseling center to reconnect with your child after a fight.

Approach With An Apology When Applicable

If the argument with your child started because you were feeling irritable, stressed, or overwhelmed, you can start the reconnection process with a simple apology. This shows that you are accountable for your actions, which will teach your child to behave the same in the future. For instance, you may say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry for reacting the way I did. I should have given you a chance to explain the entire situation to me. I’m ready to listen now.”

Of course, you don’t have to apologize in every situation. If your child was blatantly in the wrong, you have every right to be upset and disciplinary to prevent your child from doing or saying the same thing again. With that in mind, make sure you take time to assess how you personally contributed to the start or escalation of the argument so you can own up to your actions just like you would want your child to own up to his or hers.

Have A Do-Over

Life doesn’t always give you second chances, but families do. One of the beauties of the unconditional love between a parent and child is the fact that you can re-do mistakes without judgment from your family member. In this case, you may want to have a simple do-over. After cooling off for a moment, you can talk to your child about how the argument got out of hand and agree to a “truce” of sorts. “Hey, can we start over? I don’t think we took the right approach to this.” As long as you both enter the new conversation with an open mind, you should have a positive result.

If you feel yourself getting upset once again in your do-over, try to control your tone and phrasing. Your child will feed off your emotions, so it is best to keep them as calm and approachable as possible.

Hug It Out

Children often need a physical reconnection after an argument – something that validates that you still love them and everything is going to be alright. Think back to episodes of The Brady Bunch or Full House where family members hug one another after a disagreement. This may seem silly on television, but it does wonders for helping a family stay connected after an argument. No matter what happened between you and your child, a loving hug may be able to take the tension away.

If you are not in the mood for a full-blown hug, you may be able to establish that physical connection by sitting next to your child and reading a book. You may give your child a kiss on the head and talk about how you don’t like arguing with him or her. The end goal is to help your child realize that even when you’re mad at one another, there is still plenty of love to go around.

Find A Middle Ground

There is always room for negotiation, whether you’re talking to a toddler or a teenager. One of the biggest processes we work on in our Metro Detroit family counseling programs is helping families learn how to communicate with one another. Parents must learn to listen to their children just as much as children must listen to their parents. It’s all about finding a middle ground without necessarily giving in to your child’s every request. Ask your child what he or she thinks a good compromise would be: “I want this right now, but you want that. What do you think we can do so both of us are happy?” Hopefully the two of you can come up with a winning plan for everyone.

Identify The Root Cause Of The Argument

What is really going on here? What’s the bottom line? Your child may seem upset about one thing, when really it is a reaction to something else going on. For instance, you getting upset about his or her bad grades may spark an argument because the bad grades are the result of bullying or childhood anxiety. These underlying causes aren’t always easy to pinpoint, but they will do wonders for helping you connect with your child. In every situation, try to figure out what the real issue is behind the anger, defiance, or outburst, and then work on ways to fix that problem moving forward. Your child counselor in Metro Detroit can help you work through these issues as a family so you can see success as quickly as possible.

Michigan Child Counseling: Handling Back-To-School Anxiety

back to school anxiety

Is your child worried about going back to school? Some kids get excited about seeing their friends and advancing to a new grade, but many other kids in Michigan experience intense anxiety about entering a new environment. If your child has been behaving oddly over the last few weeks, it may be the result of back to school anxiety. The tips below will help you get through the anxiety and onto exciting scholastic endeavors.

Attend The Open House At School

If your child’s school has an open house, make sure you and your child go to it. This gives you a chance to see where your child will be learning, and it will give your child a chance to meet his classmates, make new friends, and get re-acquainted with old friends. Think about the anxiety you feel when starting a new job. By touring the work place and meeting people that you’ll be working with, you can feel a little more comfortable in the new environment. The open house at your child’s school provides him or her with the same opportunity.

Also keep in mind that attending the open house will allow you to talk to your child’s teacher. In our recent post about preparing Metro Detroit students for academic success, we discussed the opportunities open houses provide for parents when preparing their children for the upcoming academic year. You can learn helpful techniques to continue your child’s education at home, and you can see what subjects your child may need help in over the next few months. If your school does not have an open house, see if you can schedule a time to meet with the teacher before school starts to learn this vital information.

Set Up Play Dates

If you meet other parents at the open house, you may consider scheduling a few play dates for your child before school starts. Having a friend to bond with at school will help curb your child’s anxiety. Some Metro Detroit schools have lists of contact information so parents can stay in touch with one another (email addresses, Facebook names, phone numbers, etc.). You could use and participate in that list so you can stay connected with other parents from the school. Their children may be facing back to school anxiety just like yours.

Establish A School-Like Schedule

Don’t wait until the last minute to get your child in “school mode.” A couple weeks before school starts, you should put him or her on a schedule similar to what he or she will experience at school. This includes an early bed time, an early wake-up time, and meals/snacks during the parts of the day he or she will most likely eat on a school day. The idea here is to get your child in a routine. Sudden changes can trigger anxiety for anyone – not just children. Easing into a school schedule will give your child one less thing to stress about.

Have A Practice School Day

Practice makes perfect, right? You might as well apply that principle to your child’s back-to-school experience. This is especially true for young children who have never gone to school before. Here are some different tasks you could try on your practice day:

  • Getting up and ready in the morning. Wake your child up early and make sure he or she gets dressed, brushes his or her teeth, eats breakfast, etc. This will also help you gauge how long it will take your child to get ready in the morning, in case you have to set up an earlier wake-up time.
  • Have lunch in a cafeteria. If this is the first year that your child will be eating in the cafeteria, give him or her a chance to practice at it. Go to a buffet restaurant and teach your child how to carry a tray, walk through the line, etc. That way he or she can eat lunch at school with confidence.
  • Work on the computer. Most classrooms in Metro Detroit now have computers in them for children to learn on. If not, they have computer labs that children visit a few times a week for lessons. Practice working on the computer with your child, even if it is something as simple as learning how to move the mouse around or how to click on an icon on the screen. These are skills your child may need in school.
  • Ride on a bus. Use public transportation to teach your child how to behave on a bus. Teach him or her to stay seated, hold his or her backpack in place, maintain a quiet voice, etc. You may also want to drive around on your child’s bus route to teach him or her about the stops along the way.
  • Go to the library. Pick out a few books to bring home and read with your child before school starts. You could also consider reading the books in the library to show your child how to be quiet in the building.

You can ask your child’s teacher about other ways you can prepare him or her for the day-to-day routine of school, and that will make your child all the more confident when the big day actually comes around.

Make School Exciting

Children thrive on reward systems. If you can make school seem like a reward instead of a chore, your child will be more excited to attend. Talk about all the great things your child gets to do at school, like crafts, recess, music lessons, or anything else that your child enjoys. If your child is not thrilled about school itself, you may set up rewards that he or she can earn while in school. For instance, if your child has good behavior all week long, you could give him or her more TV time on the weekend. If your child gets good grades every quarter, you may rewards him or her with a trip to the movies. The setup is entirely up to you, but it could be all the motivation your kid needs to get over his or her back to school anxiety.

Listen To Your Child’s Concerns And Address Them

Why does your child feel nervous about the first day of school? What is sparking his or her childhood anxiety? Is it riding the bus, making new friends, being away from home…? Talk to your child about why he or she is feeling anxious, and do what you can to address the concerns that come up. For example, if your child is worried about being away from you, you can explain that you will be able to spend every night together after you get home.

If you are having trouble identifying the cause of your child’s anxiety, you may consider reaching out to a child counselor like the ones we have here at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers. They are trained to notice signs of anxiety, childhood depression, low self-esteem, and much more. The counselor will help your child get through whatever struggles he or she is facing, and you can learn valuable lessons for at-home care. Get the tools you need to help your child succeed, and he or she is sure to have a great year in school.

Adopting In Michigan: How To Blend Your New Family

michigan adoption

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there are approximately 3,000 children available for adoption in Michigan at any given time. Fortunately, many of these children are able to find loving families to call their own. With that in mind, the adjustment to a new family and a new environment can be a struggle, especially for a child who has already had issues with abuse or neglect in the past. If you are considering adopting in Michigan or you have already adopted a new child into your family, follow the tips below to help your family blend together in the future.

Transition The Child Into Your Home At His Or Her Pace

Unless you are adopting a member of your family (like a niece or grandson), chances are you will need to go through a transition period before welcoming your adopted child into your home on a permanent basis. This gives you, the child, and other members of your family a chance to get to know one another. It’s important to handle this transition at the child’s pace. Some children adapt quickly and thrive in new environments, while others are reclusive, timid, and hesitant about moving to a new home. You may work with the child’s foster parent to establish a timeline best suited for his or her needs, as well as the needs of your family.

Create New Family Traditions

Oftentimes an adopted child will feel like an outsider because he or she does not fully understand current family traditions. You can still maintain your current traditions and teach your new child about them, but it would also be wise to establish some new traditions that your adopted child can feel a part of. For instance, you may turn Saturday night into movie night, where you make popcorn at home and watch a movie together as a family. Let your children take turns choosing the movies for movie night, or give them a choice of three movies and put them to a vote. You could plan a monthly camping trip or start a special project with your children (building a tree house, painting a barn, etc.). As long as your adopted child feels included in the process, he or she will start to bond nicely with your family.

Take Notice Of The Child’s Unique Interests

What does your adopted child like to do? If this is an activity your family already participates in, the transition should be quick and easy. If not, it gives you a chance to try something new. Perhaps the child has a strong liking for playing musical instruments. You could enroll him or her in music classes, and the whole family could go to his or her recitals. Encourage your other children to be supportive of your adopted child’s hobbies, and they may learn to love them as well.

Find The Appropriate Discipline Techniques For Each Child Individually

Discipline is an important part of parenting, but it can be difficult at first because you want your child to feel loved and supported. We have a comprehensive guide for discipline techniques for foster and adoptive children that may give you some insight on different techniques to try. As a whole, you need to make sure you find an appropriate discipline technique for each of your children as individuals. Learn what they respond to best, whether it’s taking away a privilege, giving them additional chores, excluding them from a fun activity, or anything else along those lines. With the right discipline in place, you won’t have to worry about your child resenting you – at least, not any more than a child naturally would.

Attend Family Counseling Sessions Together

Family counseling is a great way for blended families of all varieties to come together as a unit. For instance, if two people who each have children outside of the relationship get married, they may attend blended family counseling to get the kids to work well with one another. The goal of family counseling is to encourage communication and ensure that each child’s voice is heard. The counseling sessions are held in a safe, unbiased setting, where children and adults alike are able to speak openly about things going on in their family. If there are any unresolved issues between family members, a counselor can help the family members come up with ways to overcome those obstacles and move forward.

Eat Meals Together As A Family

If possible, it’s always ideal to eat meals together as a family. You may not be able to do this because of your work schedule or your spouse’s work schedule, but you should try to eat together as often as possible. Turn off the TV, put away your cell phones, and enjoy dinner with your loved ones. This is a valuable bonding experience that all of your children can benefit from, not just the adopted ones. Talk about things that happened throughout the day, and encourage your kids to participate in the conversation. This simple act will do wonders for your family bonding experience.

Learn About Your Adopted Child’s Culture And Heritage

If your adopted child is a different race or comes from a different country, you should take time to learn about his or her cultural background. What holidays are celebrated in that country, and what beliefs do they follow in that culture? Family blending is about more than just letting a child adapt to your lifestyle. You should also be willing to learn about and adapt to his. Doing this will help your child create his or her own identity, and it will help you see what your child may be passionate about in the future.

Create Individual Bonding Sessions With Each Member Of The Family

Each member of your family should take some time to get to know your new child. Set up bonding sessions for the child with each person in your family so they can interact one-on-one. For example, your spouse may take the child out to dinner by himself or herself for some parent-child bonding. Then you may schedule a time for your oldest child to teach your adopted child how to play a certain game, sport, or instrument. All of this will depend on the age of the child and the age of the other members of your family. Just make sure the bonding activities are enjoyable for everyone involved.

Let Your Child Choose His Or Her Room Décor

If your child is going to get his or her own room, let him or her be a part of the decorating process. In many cases, adopted children have never even had a room of their own, let alone the ability to select what goes on the walls, bed, etc. If your adopted child is sharing a room with another child, you can still let him or her pick out some new wall hangings or a new comforter. The key here is to make the child feel special, important, and proud of his or her unique style. This sense of entitlement can be a big confidence booster, which will ultimately lead to better experiences as a family.

How Predictable Consequences Could Improve Your Parenting Strategies

predictable consequences

Most children go through stages of defiance at some point in their lives. Their opinions suddenly become more important than their parents, and they choose to misbehave as a result of it. Many of the children that we work with in child counseling misbehave at school or at home simply because their parents aren’t sure what disciplinary tactics will work best for them. In this discussion, we will explore the benefits of predictable consequences and how you can use them to improve the relationship structure in your home.

What Are Predictable Consequences?

The predictable consequences principle follows the idea that for every action, there is a consistent and predictable reaction. In other words, every time your child behaves in a certain way, he is disciplined in the same way. This cause and effect relationship helps children identify what the consequences are for their actions so they may avoid doing them in the future. If your child knows that staying up past bed time will result in less TV time tomorrow, he’s more likely to go to bed.

Creating The Right Consequence For Each Action

At first, it can be tricky identifying which consequences you should use for which behaviors. Try ranking your child’s behaviors and the consequences he may experience as a result of them. For example, talking back may be considered less severe than hitting a sibling but more severe than not flushing the toilet. In the same light, taking away TV time may be more effective than sending a child to bed early but less effective than taking away a child’s tablet.

Consider how your child responds to different punishments and disciplinary strategies. Use the most effective strategies for the behaviors that you want to correct the most. These may be the behaviors that your child does most often (not brushing his teeth) or the ones that could yield the most negative results (punching at the wall). If you notice that a certain tactic isn’t working well for a certain behavior, you may need to move up in the rankings to find a more effective solution for the problem.

“Predictable Consequences” Doesn’t Mean Static Consequences

Just because you set up predictable consequences doesn’t mean your consequences cannot change. If your child gets used to a certain punishment, he may not be as affected by it as he originally was. This means that you need to adjust your consequences moving forward to something that will actually make an impact. If your child seems unaffected by taking away 30 minutes of his TV time, take away an hour or forbid him from watching TV altogether. You may have to use multiple consequences together to get through to your child. Identify your child’s currency, and use that to create a solid behavior-to-consequence system. Hopefully in time, you don’t have to use any consequences at all.

Discipline Techniques For Adopted And Foster Children

foster children

In accordance with most state laws, foster parents and adoptive parents are not allowed to use corporal punishment to discipline their children. Spanking, slapping a child’s hand, washing a child’s mouth with soap, and other physical acts of discipline are not permitted for foster children and adoptive children. For parents who are used to punishing their children (see “The Difference Between Discipline And Punishment“), this creates a need to change their parenting strategies to accommodate state rules and regulations. In this discussion, we will go over some safe and effective discipline techniques for adopted and foster children to help you correct a child’s bad behavior.

Why Is Corporal Punishment Forbidden In Foster Homes?

Corporal punishment is considered an antiquated disciplinary technique by today’s standards, but that is not why it is prohibited in foster and adoption programs. Most of the kids in the foster system are victims of childhood abuse and neglect. In their short lives, they have already been exposed to physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, food deprivation, malnourishment, rape, gang violence, and a slew of other issues that most of us hope to never encounter. Physical acts like spanking and swatting can be triggers for painful memories, which will make an already reserved child even less likely to trust the new adult figures in his or her life. In order to avoid traumatic flashbacks, it is best to find alternative discipline techniques for foster and adopted children.

Note that time-out can also be considered a trigger for some children. In particular, forms of time out that involve facing a wall or being isolated from a group in another room. While state laws vary with regards to time-out discipline for foster and adopted children, you should explore the other options listed below before sending a child into a mentally-straining situation.

Appropriate Discipline Techniques For Adopted And Foster Children

Now that you understand why corporal punishment and physical discipline are inappropriate for foster children and adopted children, try out these effective discipline techniques:

Ask Questions That Make The Child Reconsider His/Her Decision

Rather than telling a child that he has done something wrong, ask him questions about the situation and its consequences. Why did you do that? What did you gain from doing that? What are the consequences for your actions? Who did you hurt by doing that? The questions will vary from one situation to the next, but they should all be designed to make a child think about what he has done and why it was not a wise decision.

Get To The Root Of The Problem

Oftentimes discipline is not a matter of correcting a problem. The goal is to find the source of the problem and correct that instead. For example, if your child is misbehaving because he is being bullied by another child, you may need to confront the other child’s parents (or you, if it is a child in your household) about the bullying. If the child is acting out because he or she is homesick, work on making your place feel more like home. Preventative disciplinary actions are far more effective than punishment in the long run.

Ignore Bad Behavior When Possible

Children may act out as a way of getting attention. By ignoring their behavior, you show them that they are not going to be rewarded with attention for their actions. Of course, there are many instances where ignoring the problem only makes the problem worse, like if two children are in a fight or a child is trying to start a fire. Pick your battles and decide when you need to take action and when you need to let a child throw a tantrum.

Create A System For Earning And Losing Privileges

Rewarding a child for good behavior will encourage him to do well, but you can use this same practice in reverse to discipline a child. For instance, if your child does well, he can earn 30 minutes of extra TV or video game time. If he misbehaves, he gets 15 minutes taken away. Find out what your child’s currency is and use that as a tool to persuade him to behave properly. In time, he will learn to earn more than he loses.

Hold Weekly Family Meetings To Discuss Bad Behaviors

Having a weekly family meeting will ensure that every member of your family is on the same page with recent events. This gives you an open setting to discuss problems that have come up over the week and the solutions you developed for those problems. Let your children participate in the discussions so they can tell you how they feel about different topics. This could lead to valuable insight for the reasons behind the child’s behavior and what you can do to prevent them moving forward.

Work With A Family Counselor

It may be best to seek counseling as a family. Note that if you have foster children in your home, you may need to discuss this with the children’s caseworkers to make sure counseling does not violate any terms for their foster care. If you have adopted children, you can seek out child counseling or family counseling to work out difficult, repeat problems that come up in your household. Perspectives Of Troy offers family counseling services for blended families, adoptive homes, and more. Contact us at (248) 244-8644, and we will match you with the best counselor for your family’s unique needs.

Use Redirection To Distract A Child From Bad Behavior

Redirection can be an effective discipline technique for foster children and adopted children. In this case, you find something for the child to focus on that takes his mind off the bad behavior. For instance, if a child insists on picking on his sister, you may ask him to complete a project or chore with you in another room. This removes the child from the temptation until he is no longer interested in misbehaving.

Get Informed Ahead Of Time – Learn What You Can About Your Child

The better informed you are about your foster or adopted child, the easier it will be for you to come up with appropriate discipline techniques for him or her. Before a child comes into your home, study his case file and talk to the caseworker about behaviors you may expect from the child. Some children will come with a detailed case file outlining past experiences, court cases, medical records, etc., and others may only come with the clothes on their backs. It all depends on how long they have been in the system, why they were removed from their parent’s homes, and what kind of environment they were raised in.

If you notice behaviors developing that were not mentioned in the child’s original case file, contact the caseworker immediately. These behaviors will need to be documented, even if the child does not permanently stay in your home. For example, if the child becomes physically abusive to his siblings or other children in the home, you will need to have that on record in case someone gets seriously injured. As long as you act proactively and focus on your children’s needs, you should be able to find the right discipline techniques to help him or her develop into a smart, successful young adult.